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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

2014 Emmy Predictions and Hopefuls: Best Direction

Recently, the Emmy's released every person and show eligible in all of their categories for the 2014 Primetime Emmy's for their nomination ballot. This post is dedicated to everything related to Outstanding Directing in both the comedy and drama series categories. It will be both who I think will actually earn a nomination as well as who I think deserves to earn a nomination. However, there is one main ground rule- I have to go off of the actual Emmy nomination ballot. Which means that if the director isn't actually eligible to earn a nomination in real life (a la Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron for directing the Believe pilot), then he or she is not eligible to be mentioned in this post. Makes sense, doesn't it? Let's begin!



- Alex Graves (Game of Thrones) "The Children"
- Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) "Who Goes There"
- Rian Johnson (Breaking Bad) "Ozymandias"
- Tim Van Patten (Boardwalk Empire) "Farewell Daddy Blues"
- Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) "Felina"

DIRECTOR THAT COULD PLAY SPOILER: Lesli Linka Glatter (Homeland) "The Star"

COLD, HARD LOCKS: Tim Van Patten, Vince Gilligan, Cary Joji Fukunaga


WHAT I'M PROBABLY WRONG ABOUT: Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad) "To'hajiilee" not earning a nomination

Breaking Bad is at least getting two nominations here, and Vince Gilligan is guaranteed to get one of them for directing the series finale. I'm just not sure who is getting the other spot. Conventional wisdom says its Rian Johnson considering how fucking amazing "Ozymandias" is, but the Emmy's also snubbed Johnson for both "Fly" and "Fifty-One" (Breaking Bad), and those episodes were just as incredible (albeit to a lesser extent). So Rian Johnson directing an amazing episode apparently isn't enough to get him an Emmy nomination. Michelle MacLaren is a long time Breaking Bad director who's work actually has been recognized by the Emmy's as she has two prior nominations in this category for "Gliding All Over" and "One Minute" and her Emmy submission episode, "To'hajiilee" is no slouch either. However, despite Johnson and MacLaren directing the two best Breaking Bad episodes this season, both of them might get snubbed by the Emmy's. The Director's Guild of America gave Breaking Bad two nominations- one of them went to Vince Gilligan for "Felina" and the other shockingly went to Bryan Cranston for "Blood Money". While Cranston is certainly in the running in this Enmy's category, I think the final Emmy vote will come between Johnson and MacLaren because the Emmy's have not been so welcoming in honoring Bryan Cranston as a director the way the DGA has. My head says to choose Michelle MacLaren for the second Breaking Bad spot, but ultimately I picked Rian Johnson just because I believe in my heart of hearts that quality will win out.

Cary Joji Fukunaga directed all 8 of True Detective's episodes this season and since the Emmy's are going to love True Detective this year, they are are going to love Fukunaga. But even if the Emmy's will be just tepid on the HBO mini-series, Fukunaga would still be nominated thanks to his oner at the end of "Who Goes There". I may not have enjoyed True Detective, but I would still probably give the directing Emmy to Fukunaga.

Tim Van Patten has been nominated in this category for the past three years, once for Game of Thrones and twice for Boardwalk Empire, and is the current reigning champion of this category. Even though Boardwalk Empire had a down year, Van Patten is still going to get nominated.

Unless Breaking Bad gets three nominations here, I think the last spot will either go to Alex Graves for his work on Game of Thrones or Lesli Linka Glatter for her work on Homeland. My head says go with Glatter and she's been nominated here twice since 2010 and Game of Thrones can't get a nomination in this category without Tim Van Patten's name, but my heart is going with Graves. Despite for the fact that Alex Graves used his weakest of his four Game of Thrones episodes as his Emmy submission episode, I just think Game of Thrones excellent fourth season outweighs Homeland's terrible, terrible third season. Although again, this is another of example of me going with my heart over my head.


- Alex Graves (Game of Thrones) "The Children"
- Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) "Who Goes There"
- Neil Marshall (Game of Thrones) "The Watchers on The Wall"
- Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad) "To'hajiilee"
- Rian Johnson (Breaking Bad) "Ozymandias"

POTENTIAL OBVIOUS SNUB: I don't think there will be a true snub in this category, unless I'm wrong about Game of Thrones earning a nomination. Game of Thrones hasn't been a true contender in this category so their nomination isn't at all a lock. However, Alex Graves has directed the best episodes this season (although the Emmy rules dictate he can only be eligible for one) and Neil Marshall directed the epic penultimate episode (any problems I had with the episode was on the writing side, and certainly not because of the director) so hopefully one of them will earn an Emmy nomination. 



- Beth McCarthy-Miller (Modern Family) "The Late Show"
- Gail Mancuso (Modern Family) "Vegas"
- Lena Dunham (Girls) "Two Plane Rides"
- Louis C.K. (Louie) "Elevator, Part 6"
- Michael Trim (Orange Is The New Black) "Can't Fix Crazy"

DIRECTOR THAT COULD PLAY SPOILER: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) "Pilot"

COLD, HARD LOCKS: Lena Dunham, Louie C.K., Modern Family will get two nominations

STRONG EDUCATED GUESSES: Beth McCarthy-Miller, Gail Mancuso, Michael Trim

WHAT I'M PROBABLY WRONG ABOUT: Steve Levitan (Modern Family) not earning a nomination. 


The only two people who are locks to get a nomination in this category in recent years are Lena Dunham (Girls) and Louis C.K. (Louie), and I think they are both locks to earn a nomination this year. Everyone else is pretty much up for grabs and educated guesses.

Another lock is that Modern Family will earn a nomination, and conventional wisdom says they'll get two. They have consistently gotten two directing nominations in the past, and when in doubt, always predict Modern Family. The reason question comes down to specifics. I think the choices are between the following four: Beth McCarthy-Miller, Gail Mancuso, Steve Levitan, and Bryan Cranston. Beth McCarthy-Miller is a staple in this category, although it's been for her work on 30 Rock. However, she's only eligible for Modern Family this year, and I have a hard time creating a prediction list and leaving McCarthy-Miller's name off of it. Beth McCarthy-Miller has 3 Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Primetime Emmy nominations for her work on 30 Rock and 5 Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Program Primetime Emmy nominations for her work on SNL. I think McCarthy-Miller is going to add two more nominations in 2014 (one in this category and the other for directing The Sound of Music Live). I think Gail Mancuso earns the second Modern Family nomination. She's a former winner in this category for her work on Modern Family, and her submission episode, "Vegas", is superb. It's extremely busy and one that showcases how difficult comedy direction can be. It's tough to go against the show's creator, Steve Levitan, but the Emmy's have done it before. Bryan Cranston is the dark horse here and he earned a Director's Guild of America nomination for directing Modern Family's "The Old Man and The Tree" (his Emmy submission episode as well), but in a deep year with stiff competition from his own show, I think it will be unlikely he earns a nomination.

Lastly, I think Orange Is The New Black earns a nomination here. I think the show is going to ultimately win a butt load of awards, and frankly, it's just so damn good that I have a hard time leaving it off of any comedy Primetime Emmy prediction list. It's possible I may be overrating just how OITNB will be received by the Emmy's, but historically, rookie shows as good as Orange Is The New Black has been have not only earned lots of nominations, but also have won.  Michael Trim is the show's go-to director and his Emmy submission episode, "Can't Fix Crazy"- the show's Season 1 finale- is pretty darn good. Jodie Foster has become a Netflix regular and she's eligible for directing OITNB's third episode "Lesbian Request Denied", but I think it'll be another year or two before the Emmy's finally start recognizing her work as a director.

The elephant in the room here though is Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The duo is responsible for The Lego Movie and the Jump Street films, and they directed the Brooklyn Nine-Nine pilot. Overall, it's not a good episode as the show didn't get off to that great off a start creatively, but historically the Emmy's LOVE pilots and they have Little Brother Syndrome with Hollywood. Martin Scorsese (Boardwalk Empire) and David Fincher (House of Cards) have won Emmy's in recent years based upon name and reputation alone. Now Lord and Miller aren't even remotely in that class yet, but they are huge in Hollywood right now, and it wouldn't surprise me if their name propels them to a nomination. Plus, I think Brooklyn Nine-Nine earns a handful of nominations in 2014, so if the Emmy's truly love the show like Golden Globe voters did, a Lord/Miller nomination isn't outside the realm of possibility.


- Gail Mancuso (Modern Family) "Vegas"
- Jeff Schaffer (The League) "Rafi and Dirty Randy"
- Morgan Sackett (Parks and Recreation) "Anniversaries"
- Tristram Shapeero (Community) "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics"
- Michael Trim (Orange Is The New Black) "Can't Fix Crazy"


Community is such a smart and brilliant show, and it's coming off of an excellent fifth season. Community deserves more nominations than the zero it's going to receive. Only two of its episodes are eligible, but both are wonderful. Plus if David Fincher can earn an Emmy nomination, shouldn't a parody David Fincher episode also earn one?



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