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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

2014 Emmy Preview: Downton Abbey

Click here for the introduction to The Cover 3's "2014 Emmy Questions" series

COLD, HARD LOCK NOMINATIONS: Outstanding Drama Series, Best Actor (Hugh Bonneville), Best Actress (Michelle Dockery), Best Supporting Actress (Maggie Smith), Best Supporting Actor (Jim Carter)

STRONG EDUCATED GUESS NOMINATIONS: Best Supporting Actress (Joanne Froggatt)

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have seen the first two seasons of Downton Abbey, and I am not a fan. I was never a fan, but I continued to watch because the show continued to get Emmy nominations. However, this is a show that is not meant for me. I am a 27 year old male. I have female co-workers who love this show, and my parents love this show, but this show is not meant for me. However, this is a post about whether, objectively speaking, Downton Abbey can earn Emmy nominations, and my personal; feelings are irrelevant to that notion.

QUESTION ONE: Will Downton Abbey lose their dominance this year?

We live in a great age of television, and in an era best characterized by quantity. Downton Abbey will have to compete with Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, Mad Men, Masters of Sex, The Americans, The Good Wife, and True Detective for only six spots. It's extremely easy to discount Downton Abbey. Out of the 8 editors and 4 experts at GoldDerby, only 5 of them predicted that Downton Abbey would earn an Outstanding Drama Series nomination, none of them predicted Hugh Bonneville to earn a nomination, only 4 of them predicted Michelle Dockery would earn one, and only 2 predicted that Jim Carter would earn a nomination. As much as I personally want to discount Downton Abbey and as much as I want to see more deserving nominees get their due, I think it's a fool's errand not to think that Downton Abbey won't dominate like they always do. I believe the demise of Downton Abbey is overrated, and I think critics who think Downton Abbey is all of the sudden going to lose all of their nominations is thinking with their heart and not their head.

They key to remember is the demographic that are the Emmy voters. It's full of television insiders, and those of an older generation. There is absolutely a demographic for Downton Abbey, and a lot of their demographic just happens to be those with an Emmy vote. This is a similar demographic that recently awarded Steven Speilberg's "Lincoln" 11 Oscar nominations. This is a demographic that has consistently voted for Downton Abbey for the past 3 years.

The first year Downton Abbey was Emmy eligible, it considered itself a mini-series as opposed to a drama series. It was a move seemingly made to earn nominations without competing in an over-crowded drama series field. No matter, Downton Abbey won Outstanding Mini Series, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini Series (Maggie Smith), Outstanding Writing for a Mini Series, and Outstanding Directing for a Mini Series. Elizabeth McGovern also earned a nomination for her work on the show.

The very next year, Downton Abbey declared itself a drama series, and still dominated the nomination field. The show earned even more nominations as it was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor, Outstanding Lead Actress, Outstanding Supporting Actor (twice), Outstanding Supporting Actress (twice), Outstanding Directing, and Outstanding Writing.

In 2013, Downton Abbey lost a few of its nominations that it had earned in the year before, but it still had an actor nominated in all 4 of the major acting categories and it was still nominated for Outstanding Drama Series.

I understand the field is even tougher in 2014, but Downton Abbey is the reason for such a tough field. I wouldn't count them out of any category like many critics are doing right now.

QUESTION TWO: Can Joanna Froggatt earn back her Emmy nomination?

Obviously, since I have not seen the show for the past couple of seasons, I can not judge Froggatt's work completely. However, I do believe she will get nominated for an Emmy this year.

Two years ago, Froggatt earned an Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series nomination for her work as Anna Bates. Last year, she did not. Last year was a pretty deep year for supporting actresses and stronger work seemed to push Froggatt out of the field. However, this year, the field is not as deep. Long time perennial nominee Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) has a terrible Emmy submission episode just because she wasn't used at all this season. Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones is in a similar boat as Hendricks, except she's even weaker because she's only been nominated once (last year) throughout Game of Thrones three year run. Morena Baccerin wasn't nominated in 2012, but was nominated in 2013; however, I don't see her nominated in 2014 for her work on Homeland because the Showtime show was just an atrocious disaster this season. 

Many of the females who earned a nomination in 2013 in this Supporting Actress category are not primed to earn another one in 2014. That leaves Joanna Froggatt the ability to swoop in and earn another Emmy nomination. If not her, then at least another actress on Downton Abbey.

QUESTION THREE: Will Maggie Smith win another Emmy this year?

Maggie Smith is apparently the only actor from Downton Abbey that's a no-brainer no earn an Emmy nomination. I can see that as Smith's character is far and away the best one on the show. She won an Emmy in 2011 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini Series or Movie and again in 2012 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She lost in 2013 to Breaking Bad's Anna Gunn and I think the same will happen in 2014 as a part of Breaking Bad's farewell tour at the Emmy's.

So, no, I do not think Maggie Smith will win another Emmy this year. Sorry Countess of Grantham fans. 



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