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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

2014 Emmy Questions: Fargo

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

COLD, HARD LOCK NOMINATIONS: Outstanding Mini-Series or Movie, Best Lead Actor (Billy Bob Thornton), Best Lead Actor (Martin Freeman), Best Lead Actress (Alison Tolman), Best Supporting Actor (Colin Hanks), Best Screenplay (Noah Hawley)

EDUCATED GUESS NOMINATIONS: Best Director (Adam Bernstein)

QUESTION ONE: Will Fargo be considered a Drama Series or a Mini Series?

The Emmy rules are so loose that for a show like Fargo, the network and the show can decide for themselves whether they are a TV show or a mini series. In Downton Abbey's rookie year, it entered itself into the mini series category, and then once their Season 2 came along, they started considering themselves a Drama Series. However, the only reason this is even a real discussion is because HBO recently entered their mini series True Detective as a Drama Series as opposed to a Mini Series.

However, after HBO did that, FX CEO John Landgraf complained to Deadline about the move. He called for tougher Emmy rules and thought it was "unfair" that a show that's clearly a mini-series would compete as a regular television show. Therefore, I'm confident that FX will have Fargo compete as a mini-series. It would seem pretty hypocritical for Mr. Landgraf to complain about a mini-series competing in the drama categories and then go ahead and have his mini-series compete in the drama categories.

I could talk on end about the strategy of having Fargo compete in the drama categories versus the mini series/TV movie categories, and about how FX continually gets screwed over by the Emmy's. However, I think at the end of the day Fargo will compete as a mini-series because John Landgraf and FX believe their show is a mini-series and therefore it's only fair and right and logical that Fargo competes as a mini-series. 

Critics to Landgraf's complaints would cite FX shenanigan's of having American Horror Story compete in the mini-series categories as a farce considering it's really a TV show. However, I believe that John Landgraf and FX truly believe in their heart of hearts that American Horror Story is a mini-series, and that's the only reason the show competes in the mini-series categories. By the way, I don't think there's a clear cut answer to American Horror Story. It certainly has many elements of a mini-series (completely different story lines and locations, a new name every year) and I think it's wrong to say AHS is 100%, without question a television show. John Landgraf would probably argue until he's blue in the face with you if you believed otherwise.

Fargo is a mini-series. FX has said all along that Fargo is a mini-series. FX believes that Fargo is a mini-series. Therefore, Fargo will compete in the mini-series categories.

QUESTION TWO: Which actors will earn a nomination?

Deciding who gets a nomination for a mini-series is a lot tougher to predict than who will get one for a drama and comedy series. With a regular TV show, there is a past history which tends to be a good predictor of future nominations. However, due to the volatile and singular nature of one-time mini-series and TV movies, it's tougher to get a gauge on things. However, there is one thing that IS clear, which is good news for Fargo- the Emmy's love movie stars. 

Recently, movie stars like Zooey Deschanel, Alec Baldwin, Jeff Daniels, Vera Farmiga, and Don Chedle have all earned Emmy nominations. And that's just for the regular television categories. The star's names are even bigger in the mini series/movie categories. That's probably because it's a lot easier for movie stars to make a one time project than deal with a fluid television schedule. Stars like Al Pacino, Helen Mirren, Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Sigourney Weaver, Ellen Burstyn, and James Cromwell have all earned Emmy nominations in the miniseries and movie categories (and "coincidentally" every one of those actors has been nominated for an Oscar). And that was just in 2013 alone.

The Emmy's love for movie stars is great news for Fargo which stars (Oscar winner) Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Colin Hanks, Oliver Platt, Adam Goldberg, and Keith Carradine as well as big names such as Bob Odenkirk, Glenn Howerton, and Kate Walsh. Ironically though, the least known actor out of the entire series, Alison Tolman, is the actor who has the greatest chance of earning an Oscar nomination. The reason for this is because at the end of the day, the best way to earn an Emmy nomination is to give a great performance, and Alison Tolman has given a great performance. Plus, and I apologize if this sounds sexist, but it's just the reality of Hollywood, it's easier for a female to get a nomination because they're aren't as many great roles for females as there are for males in Hollywood. 

Billy Bob Thornton is also a lock to get a nomination because not only does he also give a great performance, he's an Oscar winner. 

The only real problem for Fargo now is who else out of their plethora of actors will get a nomination. I think the only other people to get one are Martin Freeman and Colin Hanks. Because at the end of the day, there are only four real starring roles in Fargo, and everyone else is just secondary. Plus, as great of an actor as guys like Oliver Platt, Adam Goldberg, and Bob Odenkirk are, they aren't on the same level (at least in the Emmy's eyes) as even someone like Thornton. 

QUESTION THREE: Which director from Fargo will earn a nomination?

The mini series/movie category is different than the drama and comedy categories. In the serialized TV show categories, a show can possibly have multiple writers and directors earn a nomination as long as they're different people. This is not true for the mini series categories. This won't be a problem for Fargo in the writing category because Noah Hawley wrote every episode, but it will be a problem in the directing category. 

Adam Bernstein, Randall Einhorn, Matt Shankman, and Scott Winant have each individually directed two episodes of Fargo; however, only one of them can earn a nomination. If I had to guess, I'd day Bernstein earns the nomination because the Emmy's consistently love pilots and Bernstein directed episodes 1 and 2. Shakman also has a shot because the Emmy's also love finales, but my gut tells me it's Adam Bernstein.

But really, this is a question that I think only the Emmy's can answer come nomination time. 


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