2005: Lost, “Pilot” [WRONG]
2006: Grey’s Anatomy, “It’s the End of the World/Life As We Know It” [WRONG]
2007: The Sopranos, “Made in America” [CORRECT]
2008: Mad Men, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” [CORRECT]
2009: Mad Men, “A Night to Remember” [WRONG]
2010: Mad Men, “Shut the Door, Have a Seat” [CORRECT]
2011: Mad Men, “The Suitcase” [WRONG]
2012: Downton Abbey, “Episode 7” [WRONG]
After discussing the writing and directing episodes in the comedy genre, we now move on the drama ones where the competition is really intense. To say that these categories are crazy is actually an understatement, as one can make a case for almost all the nominated episodes. Once again, let’s begin with the writing one, which is shocking as for the first time, Mad Men was snubbed in this category. I’d pay to be a fly on the wall of Matt Weiner’s office when he saw this nomination list.
Like with last year, Downton Abbey puts all their eggs in one basket by submitting only a single episode for consideration. And as predicted, it easily gets the nomination despite stiff competition from a lot of shows this year. With that said, if last year’s Christmas episode can’t figure out a win despite being the frontrunner last year, I don’t see how this one will figure out in this year’s race.
Then we have last year’s Homeland, whose win was a bit of a surprise considering the show’s pilot was penned as a frontrunner in the directing category and ended up losing there and winning here instead. For this year, they got nominated for one of the most talked about episodes of the past TV season. I’m fairly confident that they will eat up Q&A, so it’s not wise to dismiss them this year.
Speaking of those directing/writing mash-up, it is surprising that the most buzzed episode of the past year, Game of Thrones’ Rains of Castamere ended up nominated for its writing than its showy directing. While this can easily go the route of Homeland’s pilot last year and might contend for the win here, I don’t know if the writing is the stand out aspect of the episode.
And after a string of snubs year in and year out, not only does Breaking Bad finally get nominated, but they got two episodes in this category! However, it’s fairly shocking that it’s not for their more buzzed episodes this season (like Fifty-One). While getting nommed twice ensues confidence in the show, and that this category has no problems with vote splitting, there’s not a standout between the two of them that will propel them to a win. If needed to choose though, I’d go with Say My Name.
As for the winner, I still see a scenario of Game of Thrones winning as a reward for the episode altogether… or possibly a Breaking Bad win as a late consolation. But I guess I’ll stick with Homeland’s to win here for the second year.
Prediction: Homeland, “Q&A”
Runner-Up: Game of Thrones, “Rains of Castamere”
1. Homeland, “Q&A”
2. Game of Thrones, “Rains of Castamere”
3. Breaking Bad, “Say My Name”
4. Downton Abbey, “Episode 4”
5. Breaking Bad, “Dead Freight”
2005: Lost, “Pilot” [CORRECT]
2006: Six Feet Under, “Everyone’s Waiting” [WRONG]
2007: The Sopranos, “Kennedy and Heidi” [CORRECT]
2008: House, “House’s Head” [CORRECT]
2009: Mad Men, “The Jet Set” [WRONG]
2010: Lost, “The End” [WRONG]
2011: Boardwalk Empire “Pilot” [CORRECT]
2012: Homeland, “Pilot” [WRONG]
Now for the directing episode, let’s begin by continuing where we ended up in the upper part of the discussion. Homeland’s Q&A is nominated for both writing and directing this year. And while it is the writing frontrunner, the same can’t be said here. After all, it is rare for episodes to sweep writing and directing episodes in the same year. Also, the show lost last year despite being the undeniable frontrunner for its pilot episode. The only way I see it wins is if they really embrace Q&A.
Aside from Homeland, Downton Abbey is also nominated here. And I think this is an even longer shot than its writing chances. However, they keep nominating the show, so maybe all it needs is a passionate batch of supporters and can pull off an upset.
During the nomination predictions, the overwhelming frontrunner here is Looper director Rian Johnson’s directed Breaking Bad episode Fifty One. Surprisingly, it’s not the BB episode nominated, and Gliding Over All made it instead. I actually think this has a chance here, and isn’t it awesome for a female director to be rewarded? With that said, the past two years has an overwhelming female directors nodded too and that didn’t work in their favor.
Last year’s surprise winner was Tim van Patten for his work in Boardwalk Empire. Now he’s back for Margate Sand, but one factor that won’t work for him this time is the overdue narrative that probably pushed him last year. Last year was his first directing Emmy win despite dozens of nominations already, and the ATAS probably think it’s time to give him one. While he can still pull a consecutive win, I don’t think it’ll be enough.
Lastly, there’s David Fincher for the pilot episode of House of Cards. When movie star directors are nominated for Emmys, they usually go on and win instantly. However, there are still instances of them losing out such as Quentin Tarantino’s buzzed episode for CSI in 2005, so it’s not as easy victory for Fincher.
With all that said, I think Fincher will still barely have the edge to pull off that win. He might not be Martin Scorsese levels of lock in 2011, but he’s a pretty respected director that is on his first Emmy nomination so I’m still confident with him winning in the end.
Prediction: House of Cards, “Episode 1”
Runner-Up: Breaking Bad, “Gliding Over All”
1. House of Cards, “Episode 1”
2. Breaking Bad, “Gliding Over All”
3. Homeland, “Q&A”
4. Boardwalk Empire, “Margate Sands”
5. Downton Abbey, “Episode 4”
Next part of the series will now tackle the supporting categories!
To check my complete Emmy predictions, you can see them here.
You can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl