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Friday, May 30, 2014

2014 Emmy Questions: Breaking Bad

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

COLD, HARD LOCK NOMINATIONS: Outstanding Drama Series, Best Actor (Bryan Cranston), Best Supporting Actor (Aaron Paul), Best Supporting Actress (Anna Gunn), Best Director (Vince Gilligan, "Felina"), Best Screenplay (Vince Gilligan, "Felina")

STRONG, EDUCATED GUESS NOMINATIONS: Best Supporting Actor (Dean Norris), Best Director (Rian Johnson, "Ozymandias"), Best Screenplay (George Mastras, "To'hajilee")

QUESTION ONE: How many Emmy's will Breaking Bad win?

Breaking Bad is not a matter of if it will get nomination, but will it win? Breaking Bad is currently the reigning champion of Outstanding Drama Series and Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Anna Gunn). Aaron Paul has two-Emmy wins under his belt and Bryan Cranston has three for their work on the show. Breaking Bad has been nominated so many times over the course of its run that it's too many nominations for me to count (#humblebrag!). 

The real question is will Breaking Bad's final go-around propel it to dominate the 2014 Emmy's, or was that the reason it won last year? Season 5a of Breaking Bad ran in 2012, but because of the Emmy voting eligibility period rules, it was nominated at the 2013 Emmy's. Season 5b of Breaking Bad aired in 2013, but again because of the eligibility rules, it will get nominations at the 2014 Emmy's. Emmy voters get a certain bloc during the summer months to determine who they believe should be nominated for an Emmy, and later who should win an Emmy. During the summer months of 2013, when Emmy voters were determining who should win, Emmy voters could also watch new episodes of Breaking Bad.

The first episode of Season 5b aired on August 11, 2013 and the season ran until September 29, 2013. The 2013 Emmy nominations were officially announced on July 18, 2013 and the deadline to turn in your ballot ran until August 30, 2013. Not only were Emmy voters able to see the first 3 episodes of Season 5b (albeit voters didn't get to see the best episodes yet), but the Breaking Bad hype train was well into full swing during this voting period. It's not as if the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad came out of nowhere with no press coverage or media buzz surrounding it. I don't know that Emmy voters saw some episodes of Breaking Bad, or heard about the show and said to themselves, "I have to pick this show to win this year," but I think it's ignorant to assume that the new episodes and the hype surrounding it didn't subconsciously affect voters either. And if that was the case, how will no hype affect the show for the 2014 Emmy's?

It'll be almost 10 months since "Felina" aired when the 2014 nominations are released and about a full year come voting time. I wonder how much Breaking Bad will still be fresh in voters minds after seeing full seasons of True Detective, Game of Thrones, and Mad Men among others. You'd like to hope that Emmy voters will vote based upon merit alone, but these people are human after all.

With all of that being said, Breaking Bad seemed to be universally loved by fans and critics alike. Both Hitfix's Television Critics Poll and Metacritic named Breaking Bad as the best show of 2013 and the Breaking Bad finale drew an impression 10.3 rating. So while the back half of Breaking Bad probably helped the first half's ability to win, that doesn't necessarily mean the second half won't also be a juggernaut.

I think the major categories will be a two man race between Breaking Bad and True Detective. I realistically think once the Emmy conversation comes back into full swing, the Breaking Bad Hype Train will be full steam ahead and it will dominate all categories. 

QUESTION TWO: Which director not named Vince Gilligan will earn an Emmy nomination?

While I'm certain only television nerds like myself actually care about this question, I think it's important to the Breaking Bad discussion nonetheless. I believe that Vince Gilligan is going to earn a nomination for both writing and directing the series finale "Felina" because the finale is considered one of the best series finales of all time and because it's a way to honor the show's creator. In addition, I think the show will earn another nomination in the Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series category. While Breaking Bad has never had two directors nominated in this category before, I believe it will happen this year because this is the Emmy's final chance to honor the show. My problem is, I don't know who besides Gilligan will earn a nomination. 

I think the choice is between Rian Johnson for "Ozymandias" and Michelle MacLaren for "To'hajiilee". MacLren is no stranger to the Emmy's having earned two nominations for her work on the show which included "One Minute" and "Gliding All Over". I wouldn't be surprised if she earned another one as she seems to be an Emmy darling. Now MacLaren also directed a couple of Game of Thrones episodes this season, so it's certainly possible she gets nominated for that, but considering the quality of those Game of Thrones episodes, I think if she gets one at all this year, it's for her work on Breaking Bad. 

On the other hand, we have Rian Johnson. Johnson directed the single greatest episode on television in 2013 with "Ozymandias."  I remember "Ozymandias" blowing up the internet when it first came out and being universally praised when it aired. And rightfully so. The episode was the true finale of the show with the last two episodes playing more like an epilogue than a series finale. Johnson isn't normally in the Breaking Bad rotation like Gilligan and MacLaren is, but he's still directed a handful of episodes. In fact, he's probably directed the three best Breaking Bad episodes which includes "Fifty-One," "Fly," and obviously "Ozymandias". 

With razor thin choices like this, I always choose quality over everything else, which means it's Rian Johnson's nomination. "Ozymandias" was, in all aspects and with no disrespect to MacLaren, the superior episode. Although, for all I know, it will be someone else completely else like Bryan Cranston for directing "Blood Money" like what the Director's Guild of America did that will earn the second nomination. 


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