2015 Primetime Emmy Predictions: Limited Series

Outstanding Limited Series

Olive Kitteridge (from variety.com)

Olive Kitteridge
(from variety.com)

Will win: Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
Could win: American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)
Dark horse: The Honorable Woman (SundanceTV)

  1. American Crime (ABC)
  2. Wolf Hall (PBS)

Among the nominees, Olive Kitteridge has generated the most buzz. It was nominated for the Globes, has won the Critics’ Choice, DGA and WGA, and has won 2 Creative Emmys last week. The mini-series/TV movie category (now called Outstanding Limited Series) has always had years where a mini-series/TV movie sweeps everything. The Normal Heart failed to do it last year, but I feel like Olive Kitteridge is bound to make it this year.

Challenging its supposed victory is American Horror Story: Freak Show. I never found the show scary (but maybe it is a cultural thing). Anyway, this has always been the “could win” show, but has never actually won the trophy in this category. It is probably because of the lack of urgency, since the show is here to stay. So without any doubt, I’m putting it again beside the tag “could win”.

I’ll put The Honorable Woman as the dark horse simply because Maggie freakin’ Gylenhall topbills the show. And Maggie successfully made an upset early this year when she won the Globes at the expense of hugely favored Frances McDormand.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Will win: David Oyelowo as Peter Snowden on Nightingale (HBO)
Could win: Richard Jenkins as Henry Kitteridge on Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
Dark horse: Adrien Brody as Harry Houdini on Houdini (History)

  1. Timothy Hutton as Russ Skokie on American Crime (ABC)
  2. Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell on Wolf Hall (PBS)
  3. Ricky Gervais as Derek Noakes on Derek: The Special (Netflix)

Oyelowo is most likely to win, probably because the Academy Awards snubbed him and maybe the Emmys sympathizes with him. He also won the Critics’ Choice this year, so yeah.

Richard Jenkins could win because Olive Kitteridge is, again, the frontrunner in the limited series category. And if it wants to pull off a sweep, the guy must win.

I put Adrien Brody as the dark horse here, but because I’m biased. This is his first major nomination after his surprising win in the Academy in 2002 for The Pianist. Brody is a terrific actor, and if we did not expect him to win in the Oscars yet he did, what more in the Emmys?

(Though, I also would love to see has-been Timothy Hutton winning. The youngest Supporting Actor winner of the Academy has not been nominated in anything major since his Golden Globe nods in 1981. His win here could probably be a nice tale of redemption, or you know, just a middle finger to the whole politics of Hollywood which failed to bring out the best in this actor.)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Will win: Frances McDormand as Olive Kitteridge on Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
Could win: Maggie Gyllenhaal as Nessa Stein on The Honorable Woman (SundanceTV)
Dark horse: Jessica Lange as Elsa Mars on American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)

  1. Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith on Bessie (HBO)
  2. Felicity Huffman as Barbara “Barb” Hanlon on American Crime (ABC)
  3. Emma Thompson as Mrs. Lovett on Live from Lincoln Center – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Concert with the New York Philharmonic (PBS)

Academy Award-winner Frances McDormand has lost the Globes, but won the SAG and Critics’ Choice. Again, this is not an indicator of anything, but it nonetheless reflects that many people approve of her performance and believe that it is worthy of recognition. And if she wins, she will be one step away from completing her EGOT.

Her closest competitor would be Maggie Gyllenhaal, who won the Globes. And my choice of dark horse is Emmy favorite Jessica Lange, whom the Emmy voters might feel of rewarding again since this is her last season for AHS.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Will win: Bill Murray as Jack Kennison on Olive Kitteridge (Episode: “Security”) (HBO)
Could win: Richard Cabral as Hector Tonz on American Crime (Episode: “Episode Ten”) (ABC)
Dark horse: Finn Wittrock as Dandy Mott on American Horror Story: Freak Show (Episode: “Bullseye”) (FX)

  1. Damian Lewis as Henry VIII of England on Wolf Hall (Episode: “Crows”) (PBS)
  2. Michael K. Williams as Jack Gee on Bessie (HBO)
  3. Denis O’Hare as Stanley on American Horror Story: Freak Show (Episode: “Pink Cupcakes”) (FX)

Bill Murray has won the Critics’ Choice and was given a nod in the crowded Globes supporting actor category. I think he will win because this is the category where movie stars get an Emmy. And because this is Olive Kitteridge.

My alternate would be Richard Cabral. American Crime has a number of nominations, and if it were to win at least one, it would be in a category where there are not so many heavy contenders.

I’m putting Finn Wittrock here as my dark horse, and again, it is subjective. The Emmy voters love to recognize old people, so being nominated at a relatively young age (30 years old) means that the voters took notice.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Will win: Sarah Paulson as Bette and Dot Tattler on American Horror Story: Freak Show (Episode: “Tupperware Party Massacre”) (FX)
Could win: Mo’Nique as Ma Rainey on Bessie (HBO)
Dark horse: Kathy Bates as Ethel Darling on American Horror Story: Freak Show (Episode: “Edward Mordrake”, Part 1) (FX)

  1. Angela Bassett as Desiree Dupree on American Horror Story: Freak Show (Episode: “Show Stoppers”) (FX)
  2. Zoe Kazan as Denise Thibodeau on Olive Kitteridge (Episode: “Pharmacy”) (HBO)
  3. Regina King as Aliyah Shadeed on American Crime (Episode: “Episode Four”) (ABC)

I believe that this year will decide if the Emmy voters love Sarah Paulson, or if they just love to nominate her but won’t give her the win. This is her most challenging role yet in the horror anthology, and a win after three consecutive nominations would be sweet.

She’s a not a sure win though, and it is because Mo’Nique exists. Academy Award winners are heavy contenders in the mini-series category, as proven by Kathy Bates’s win last year. So if neither Paulson nor Mo’Nique wins, expect another upset by Bates.

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

Will win: Olive Kitteridge, Directed by Lisa Cholodenko (HBO)
Could win: American Horror Story: Freak Show (Episode: “Monsters Among Us”), Directed by Ryan Murphy (FX)
Dark horse: The Honorable Woman, Directed by Hugo Blick (SundanceTV)

  1. Bessie, Directed by Dee Rees (HBO)
  2. Houdini, Directed by Uli Edel (History)
  3. Wolf Hall, Directed by Peter Kosminsky (PBS)
  4. The Missing, Directed by Tom Shankland (Starz)

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

Will win: Olive Kitteridge, Written by Jane Anderson (HBO)
Could win: The Honorable Woman, Written by Hugo Blick (SundanceTV)
Dark horse: American Crime (Episode: “Episode One”), Written by John Ridley (ABC)

  1. Bessie, Written by Dee Rees, Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois, and Horton Foote (HBO)
  2. Wolf Hall, Written by Peter Straughan (PBS)
  3. Hello Ladies: The Movie, Written by Stephen Merchant, Gene Stupnitsky, and Lee Eisenberg (HBO)
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