Emmy Circuit 2016: Best Limited Series Has ‘O.J.’ and ‘Roots’ Fighting for the Top Spot

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It’s hard to remember a time when the limited series category had so much mass appeal.

FX has revolutionized the art form with the start of anthology series American Horror Story in 2011. While the network has only one once, for Fargo in 2014, the years previous had been dominated by HBO original movies such as Game Change and Behind the Candelabra. Starting in the 2014 season, Emmys decided to separate made for TV movies and limited series into two distinct categories.

This year, FX has quite a few strong horses in the running, with Fargo returning for a well reviewed second season and The People vs. OJ Simpson dominating the conversation. Fargo, in particular, won Best Movie/Miniseries at the Critics Choice Awards and took home three of the four acting categories. They also have American Horror Story: Hotel in the running. Despite less than stellar reviews, the anthology series has been nominated four consecutive years in the running, so it is never safe to discount.

American CrimeAlso back this year is ABC’s American Crime, which upset last year in the Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for Regina King. Despite low ratings, the show received more acclaim then ever this year, which dealt with the topic of consent in a rape case between two boys in a conservative high school. ABC also has Madoff in the race, starring Richard Dreyfuss. However, with only mildly positive reviews and a stacked lineup, it doesn’t really stand a chance.

HBO never counts itself out of a race. While True Detective season 2 might not be their best bet, they will try and push Show Me a Hero starring Poe Dameron himself, Oscar Isaac, fresh off his win at the Golden Globes for the role. It’s a big budget HBO “cause” series and they did win big last year with Olive Kittridge, so keep an eye out for a spoiler here.

Roots2016PromotionalPosterThe all time Emmy champ, with 37 nominations and nine wins, Roots is being remade by the History channel. While there is a lot unseen here, The History Channel was able to turn Hatfields & McCoys into an awards juggernaut. Plus, it is hard to discount anything related to Roots.

AMC’s big horse in the race will be The Night Manager, starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. While lauded when it first premiered, talk seems to have been waning on this title, while The People vs. OJ Simpson, Fargo and American Crime still seem to be topics of conversations. Can it keep momentum up to score a nomination?

As in many categories, Hulu is a bit of a wild card player. Will they try harder to promote their comedies (Casual, Difficult People, Mindy Project), drama (The Path) or will they really push for 11.22.63 in this category. The time traveling limited series revolving around JFK’s murder is a hot project and will be on people’s radar. However, can it crack the top 5?

If the Emmys are feeling more into prestige, see previous nominations for Wolf Hall, The White Queen and all the Sherlock and Downton Abbey embrace, they will have plenty to choose from on that front. BBC has two entries this year, War and Peace, which was simulcast on A&E, Lifetime and History Channel, and London Spy with Ben Wishaw and Edward Holcroft. Neither quite lit the world on fire, but they do have a chance.

Similarly is the Flesh and Bone miniseries on Starz from Breaking Bad alum Moira Walley-Beckett. While reviews were mixed, it did eek out a surprise miniseries nomination at the Golden Globes.

Finally, if Kristen Wiig was able to churn out a surprise Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie nomination for Spoils of Babylon, we know voters are watching IFC. Could it be possible the new installation, The Spoils Before Dying can reap a nomination in the top category? Unlikely, yes. However, strange things do happen.

Check out the official predictions for Best Limited Series in the Emmys section!

Chris’ Predictions:

1. The People vs. OJ Simpson
2. Fargo
3. American Crime
4. Roots
5. Show Me a Hero

What do you think?

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Written by Christopher James

Christopher James has been an Oscar obsessive ever since watching his first ceremony at age 5 when "Titanic" won Best Picture. He is a recent graduate from Loyola Marymount University with degrees in Screenwriting for Film and Television and Marketing. Christopher currently works in media strategy and planning at Liquid Advertising, based out of Los Angeles, CA. You can find Christopher running on the sunny beach, brunching at trendy restaurants or mostly just sitting in a dark room watching movies and TV in sweatpants. Follow me on Twitter @cwj92movieman


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