Equivalent to the Oscars for American television, the Emmy Awards return Sunday evening with a ceremony organized in flesh and blood, but in small numbers, for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to this semblance of return to normal, the evening promises to have its share of records and historic firsts.
1Michael K. Williams: posthumous victory?
Michael K. Williams, who made an impression with his portrayal of Omar Little in the cult series The Wire, died on September 6 in New York. His disappearance could not influence the 25,000 voters of the Academy of television: it occurred after the close of the poll. But he is the favorite in the category of best supporting role in a drama series with Lovecraft Country, which mixes civil rights, supernatural and horror.
The actor has already been selected four times but has never won the precious Emmys statuette. If he is awarded on Sunday, Michael K. Williams will be the seventh actor to be crowned posthumously, alongside artists like Ingrid Bergman.
2“Pose”: a transgender candidate in the running
Series Pose explored for four seasons the culture of “balls”, a musical outlet for young gay and transgender people in New York in the 1980s. Two years ago, Billy Porter, star of the series, became the first black public actor to win the Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series.
Sunday, it may be the turn of another member of Pose to go down in history. “Mj Rodriguez has a chance to be the first trans to win in the category of best actress” but will find on her way Emma Corrin, who plays Princess Diana in The Crown, confides to AFP Michael Ordona, journalist at Los Angeles Times.
3“Scarlet maid”: an evening without a trophy would be humiliating
In 2017, The Scarlet Maid became the first series broadcast on a video-on-demand platform to win the Emmy for Best Drama Series. At the time, spectators and critics were won over by this adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel about an America of dystopia, authoritarian and oppressive towards women. But public interest in this series led by Elisabeth Moss has eroded over the seasons and the flood of rewards has ended up drying up.
The Scarlet Maid Despite everything this year has some 21 nominations in total but has so far not won any in the technical categories that have already been awarded. If she leaves empty-handed on Sunday evening, she will suffer a defeat unparalleled in the history of the Emmy Awards.
4The Netflix year?
A pioneer in video on demand, Netflix needs ten wins on Sunday to equal the historic Emmy Awards won in a single year: 44. The performance was produced by CBS in 1974, at a time when most series were weekly and where everything happened on the airwaves. The record is at hand for Netflix, with The Lady’s Game, worldwide success dedicated to a gifted and quirky chess player, who has already won nine Emmys in technical categories. She is well placed to win the trophies of the “limited series”, directing and best actress (Anya Taylor-Joy).
The Netflix team can also count on its thoroughbred The Crown, favorite of punters for the flagship category of the “best drama series”. Many of the comedians from the series romanticizing the lives of the British royal family are also holding the rope, including Emma Corrin as Princess Diana, Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles and Gillian Anderson (X-Files) camping an astonishing Margaret Thatcher.
5Short straw: limited number of guests
After a 100% virtual party in 2020 because of the pandemic, the Emmy Awards are taking place again with guests in person but they will be handpicked. The limit having been set at 500 people (against 4 to 6000 in normal times), an appointment only gives the right to three invitation cards. This caused a stir in certain categories, such as the best drama or comedy series, which can sometimes have close to twenty producers.
“Can you imagine that? The pivotal moment in your career, you were nominated for an Emmy. You’re pulling the straws and you can’t go to the ceremony … A lot of people are going to be,” comments Clayton Davis, awards specialist for the magazine Variety.