This year’s Emmy Race for Outstanding Limited Series has a new favorite


Pictures: HBO, Hulu, Netflix

With the schedule moving to June, the eligibility period for the 2021-22 Emmys is over. Now all that’s left to do is take stock of the season’s many shows and decide which ones are most deserving of accolades.

In recent years, the limited series has become the busiest and most high-profile format on TV, with top talent flocking to streaming platforms and premium cable to make their five- to twelve-episode masterpieces. Surveying a landscape riddled with overlapping subject matter – there was an awful lot of true crime and con artist shows this season – you could say we live in a limited series bubble, but a happy consequence is that the categories Limited Series Emmy Promise To Be savagely competitive this year.

While the past few years have seen big brands HBO and Netflix battle it out for limited series supremacy at the Emmys, a third emerging superpower is about to shake things up. Could this be the year of Hulu?

We’ve sifted through the dozens and dozens of limited series competing this year and broken down the top contenders by their platforms or networks. Unlike the Comedy and Drama categories, which have increased their number of nominees in recent years, last year’s Limited Series category only had five shows. The competition promises to be fierce.


Hulu has only been nominated once already in the Outstanding Limited Series category (in 2020 for Small fires everywhere), but this year the streamer appears to be up for at least two nominations in the category, and a whole bunch of actor nominations are also in play. Dope, about the origins of America’s opioid epidemic, has been winning awards since winter, when Michael Keaton won SAG, Critics Choice and Golden Globe awards for his lead performance. The show’s biggest competition in this category may well be internal, as the Elizabeth Holmes series The stall, which has consistently been hailed as the best rogue series of 2022, stands as a major contender. Amanda Seyfried looks like the performance to beat in the Lead Actress category, with Naveen Andrews and Laurie Metcalf leading a star-studded and spectacular array of supporting players.

Although less secure, other serious competitors to Hulu include Pam and Tommywhich is striving to score nominations for Lily James and Sebastian Stan as a pair of titles, as well as Seth Rogen in the Supporting Actor category. Plainville’s daughter was a little more controversial, but Elle Fanning could get a double nomination between this and Great in the comedy categories. And then there is Candythe true detective series about real ax murderer Candy Montgomery, which features a stellar performance from Jessica Biel.


by Netflix The Queen’s Bet beat HBO Easttown Mare and I can destroy you last year, in the platform’s biggest show of force at the Emmys. It’s a whole different vibe at Netflix this year on many fronts, including their weak Emmy prospects. Invent Anna was the most important element of the platform this season, and although it attracted a lot of attention, it was not all good. Julia Garner is a huge Emmys favorite, so she’ll likely contend for the lead actress for her mystifying performance as con artist Anna Delvey, but a nod to the outstanding limited series seems long overdue.

Netflix’s best chance in the category would seem to be with Housemaid, Molly Smith Metzler’s series about a young mother struggling to provide for her young toddler. The reviews have been excellent, and Margaret Qualley probably matches Amanda Seyfried in terms of locks for a lead actress nomination. (Qualley’s real-life mother, Andie MacDowell, is also a supporting actress contender.)

A much longer plan, though it deserves on many levels, is Mike Flanagan’s chilling tale of religious mania, Midnight Mass, which should at least place Hamish Linklater’s terrifying and committed performance in Lead Actor. None of Flanagan’s previous Netflix series – The hauntings of Hill House and Bly Manor – received the Emmy recognition they deserved, and Midnight MassA long time ago, the September premiere does not help her at all.


HBO has triumphed in this category in six of the past ten years, most recently in 2020 with watchmenand their list of suitors is generally solid, led by The White Lotus. Mike White’s biting take on white privilege competes in the limited series category despite returning for a second season and involving star Jennifer Coolidge, via a semantic loophole that doesn’t make much sense but indicates that HBO really thinks it can win here. With one category question settled, the other will be whether the show ends up cannibalizing its own nomination tally by competing in acting categories. Everyone is counting on nominations for Coolidge and Murray Bartlett, but there are also strong cases to be made for Connie Britton, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Lacy, Natasha Rothwell and Sydney Sweeney.

After The White LotusHBO has a deep bench, highlighted by HBO Max’s The staircase, which has the advantage of being fresh in the minds of voters, not to mention the outstanding performances of Colin Firth, Toni Collette and Parker Posey. Firth should be a major contender in Lead Actor for his brilliantly ambiguous performance. Meanwhile, the hope is that voters will have memories stretching back a little further to December for Patrick Somerville’s painfully beautiful post-apocalyptic. station eleven, one of the best shows of the year across all genres, but perhaps doesn’t have enough flash or star power to hang on in such a competitive category. The performances of Mackenzie Davis, Himesh Patel and Danielle Deadwyler would be nice surprises on the morning of the nomination.

Whereas Scenes from a wedding proved to be divisive, the fact that this was such a naked performance showcase for stars Oscar Isaac and recent Oscar winner Jessica Chastain should position them both for nominations, even if the show itself lacks. In the meantime, here we are again with David Simon and his new series We own this town, back on the rhythm of urban corruption in Baltimore. Of Thread through Treme until more recent miniseries like show me a hero, The deviland The Plot Against AmericaSimon never seems to get stopped by the Emmys, and given the battle for attention among the top shows in this category, it’s not good that this year will break the streak.


The only other network to really compete with HBO in the limited series category for the past decade has been FX, and while they don’t have the volume of top contenders like some of the other platforms, they probably do part of the mixture. . Under the banner of heaven – which was released under the “FX on Hulu” label at Sunset – was a gripping true-crime story from Oscar-winning actor Dustin Lance Black, and its lead performance as Andrew Garfield should have him squarely in the conversation. The main actor. Whether the supporting categories have room for co-stars Wyatt Russell, Gil Birmingham, Denise Dough or Daisy Edgar-Jones is another story.

And then there is the case of Accused. by Ryan Murphy American crime history The anthology series has won the limited series award twice before, but this iteration was significantly less well-received and felt a bit buried on FX now that cable has taken such a big place in streaming. . But you underestimate Ryan Murphy’s performances at the Emmys at your peril. Even if they don’t end up landing Best Series nods, recent acting nominations for the stars of Halston, Pawland Hollywood That means we won’t be surprised if Beanie Feldstein or Sarah Paulson crash the lead actress lineup for their performances as Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp, respectively.


While the 2022 Emmys are shaping up to be pretty cool for Apple in the Comedy and Drama categories with Ted Lasso and Breakupdon’t expect the same level of success in Limited. We crashed got caught up in the gluttonous scam show trend, though Anne Hathaway’s delightful performance definitely had her fans and could struggle. Otherwise, it’s Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes doing lush period stuff in The Essex Serpenta show that could have very well gone to the Emmys ten years ago before everyone got on the limited-edition gravy train.


This is probably the year when Yellowstone falls into the drama series category, so it would probably be wise not to underestimate the Yellowstone spin off 1883especially in a category that, if you go back more than a decade, really favored westerns. 1883 returns for a second season, but as an anthology series starring David Oyelowo, meaning it can still compete as a limited series. There is also the very rowdy The offerwhich told the true behind-the-scenes story of how The Godfather it’s done. After a lot of hype, the series wasn’t exactly a hit with critics, but it does offer some really great performances, especially Juno Temple, as well as Matthew Goode playing legendary producer Robert Evans.

Somewhere else…

Starz could be up for its first nomination in this category since 2014 with its extravagant Watergate drama Gas lighting. Certainly, when you have the likes of Julia Roberts and Sean Penn on a ballot, they’re going to get votes (though that’s not a guarantee; Roberts was snubbed in 2019 for his performance in Back home).

At Amazon, they hope to repeat – or even improve – the projection for A very English scandalwhich won Ben Whishaw an Emmy in 2019. For A very British scandalPaul Bettany and Claire Foy will be vying for her and his nominations in a scandalous 1960s divorce case.

And finally, a network miniseries hasn’t been nominated in this category since 2016. American crime at the ABC. This year, NBC will attempt to buck that trend with Renee Zellweger’s transformative performance in The thing about Pam. If Zellweger and The first lady‘s Viola Davis may crack the lead actress category, along with Jessica Chastain, it would be a lot of Oscar-winning competition for Amanda Seyfried.

Nominations for the 74th Emmy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, with the ceremony to follow in September.

Joe Reid is Primetimer’s editor and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The AV Club and more.


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