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Emmy Dream Ballots: The Most Deserving Limited Series & Movie Nominees

"Fargo," Bill Murray and a "Time Traveling Bong" highlight a great group of limited entries at this year's fantasy Emmys.

On Thursday, July 14, the Television Academy will announce the nominees for the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, and we have all the faith in the world they’ll get every single choice just right.

OK, maybe they won’t, but only because the 19,000-plus voters literally can’t get every choice right. Unless all the categories squeeze out miraculous ties resulting in extra nominees — similar to last year’s Comedy Supporting Actress category — there are simply too many outstanding series and performers to fit on the overall ballot.

So our choices below not only represent IndieWire’s highest recommendations in the top-line limited series and movie categories, but also some of the shows and performers overlooked thus far in the campaign season. On a related note, category placement is determined, aptly, by our own wishes and not the submission guidelines of the TV Academy. It would be grand to hear their names announced at all come nomination day, but we just hope they know how much their work has been appreciated this past TV season.

Emmys Dream Ballot: The Most Deserving Drama Nominees
Emmy Dream Ballots: The Most Deserving Comedy Nominees

Now, without further adieu, IndieWire’s dream ballots (all choices listed alphabetically):

Show Me a Hero

Outstanding Limited Series

  1. “Fargo”
  2. “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
  3. “Show Me a Hero”
  4. “The Spoils Before Dying”
  5. “Time Traveling Bong”
    In Case of a Tie: “11.22.63”

Unlike the other programming categories, Limited Series and TV Movie are limited to five slots instead of the seven for Outstanding Drama and Comedy series. That means some hard cuts have to take place, even though the total number of nominees on the ballot are less. Still, of the above, three stand a good shot of actually making the cut — “Fargo,” “The People v. O.J. Simpson” and “Show Me a Hero.” Sporting superb reviews across the board and an attractive array of acting talent, these three are the elite offerings of 2016. But don’t go dismissing their comedic brethren. “The Spoils Before Dying” is a specific and singular homage to ’50s noir, and “Time Traveling Bong” proved itself unafraid to tackle sexism of every era, all while lighting up. These five all deserve to be recognized as “outstanding.”

Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Limited Series

IndieWire Interviews:

‘Fargo’ Creator Noah Hawley Explains the UFOs in Season 2 (Thanks to Beau Willimon)
David Simon’s ‘Show Me a Hero’: How Director Paul Haggis Controlled Chaos

Johnny Depp The Art of the Deal Donald Trump

Outstanding TV Movie

  1. “All the Way”
  2. “The Dresser”
  3. “Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie”
  4. “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill”
  5. “A Very Murray Christmas”
    In Case of a Tie: “7 Days in Hell”

You guys, there are so many great TV movies that won’t be nominated for an Emmy this year. Don’t get me wrong — I hope Funny or Die’s campaign for their exquisite faux-documentary, “Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie” makes the cut, just as I pray Sofia Coppola’s under-appreciated, melancholy Christmas movie, “A Very Murray Christmas,” sneaks in. Both need their star power to carry them forward, even though the quality is certainly high enough. “7 Days in Hell” is wild enough to make some noise, but HBO will likely be throwing most of its weight behind “All the Way” (and “Confirmation,” but we’ll just let that one lie). “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” a live recording of Audra McDonald’s history-making performance as jazz singer Billie Holiday, could benefit from the HBO boost (and love for McDonald). Certainly it’s deserving; just as much as “All the Way” and “The Dresser,” two of 2016’s heavy hitters and rightly so. Still, it would be nice to see some comedies fight their way in, even a sad one.

Emmy Predictions: Outstanding TV Movie

IndieWire Interviews:

Sofia Coppola on Directing ‘The Fantasy Version’ of Bill Murray in Netflix’s ‘A Very Murray Christmas’
Watch: Johnny Depp Is Donald Trump In 50-Minute Mock Doc ‘The Art Of The Deal: The Movie’

True Detective Season 2 Rachel McAdams

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  1. Kirsten Dunst, “Fargo”
  2. Julianne Hough, “Grease Live”
  3. Riley Keough, “The Girlfriend Experience”
  4. Rachel McAdams, “True Detective”
  5. Samantha Morton, “The Last Panthers”
  6. Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
    In Case of a Tie: Ilana Glazer, “Time Traveling Bong”

I know, I know. It’s shocking to see “True Detective” included in any kind of Emmys story, but here we are. Set aside your aghast reaction for a second and remember how well McAdams handled the transition from rom-com starlet to moody cop drama. She was the highlight of every episode — sometimes the only highlight, but still a ray of light in a sea of darkness. So we’d like to see her get something out of the experience, other than a lifetime of “True Detective” Season 2 jokes. A few of you may have been shocked to see Keough included, too, simply because “The Girlfriend Experience” earned a second season at Starz. But limited series is where they slotted Season 1, and we’re happy to play along because it means we got to add her here (when she might have been a tougher squeeze in the drama category). Paulson is your frontrunner, and rightfully so, but Dunst would be in any other year (and we wouldn’t exactly be torn up should she upset her FX sister). Oh, and let’s not forget about Hough and Morton — two silent killers who may have worked harder than anyone else on the ballot. Kudos to both for making it look effortless.

Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

IndieWire Interviews:

How Riley Keough and ‘The Girlfriend Experience’ Found Their Own Identity (With Steven Soderbergh’s Help)
‘American Crime Story’ Star Sarah Paulson on the Everyday Sexism That Powered Her Marcia Clark Obsession
Kirsten Dunst on Picking TV Over Movies, and How She Wishes She’d Killed More People in ‘Fargo’ Season 2

A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS Bill Murray & Chris Rock

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  1. Bryan Cranston, “All the Way”
  2. Johnny Depp, “Funny or Die Presents Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie”
  3. Anthony Hopkins, “The Dresser”
  4. Oscar Isaac, “Show Me a Hero”
  5. Bill Murray, “A Very Murray Christmas”
  6. Courtney B. Vance, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
    In Case of a Tie: Patrick Wilson, “Fargo”

Bryan Cranston? Obvious. Anthony Hopkins? Of course. Johnny Depp? Did you see “The Art of the Deal: The Movie”? I mean, how could you turn him down? It’s his best performance since he first donned Capt’n Jack’s hat. Oscar Isaac? The indie community’s favorite leading lad may have shot to stardom with “Star Wars” last year, but it was “Show Me a Hero” that showed us what he could do. Courtney B. Vance? A name you might not have known a year ago, and one you’ll never forget now. That leaves good ‘ol Bill Murray, who won an Emmy just last year for “Olive Kitteridge.” Guess what? He’s even more impressive playing himself. What a year for this category. What a damn fine year.

Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

IndieWire Interviews: 

‘All The Way’: Bryan Cranston Reveals the Tiny But Important Change From Stage to Screen
Anthony Hopkins Teaches You How To Act, From Stage to Screen, via ‘The Dresser’
Courtney B. Vance on the Love Affairs in ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’ That Did and Should Have Happened

FARGO -- “Fear and Trembling” -- Episode 204 (Airs November 2, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: Jean Smart as Floyd Gerhardt. CR: Chris Large/FX

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  1. Olivia Colman, “The Night Manager”
  2. Catherine Keener, “Show Me a Hero”
  3. Regina King, “American Crime”
  4. LaTanya Richardson Jackson, “Show Me a Hero”
  5. Winona Ryder, “Show Me a Hero”
  6. Jean Smart, “Fargo”
    In Case of a Tie: Rachel Keller, “Fargo”

The sheer number of “Show Me a Hero” candidates above — as well as their distinguished competitors — should be telling as to how amazing these three women were. Keener had the biggest, most notable and perhaps the most relevant arc of anyone on the series and she handled it without showboating for even one second. Ryder disappeared into her part, reminding us what the Oscar nominee is capable of when she really turns it on. LaTanya Richardson Jackson, a veteran character actress and Tony Award nominee — what can we say about Jackson that hasn’t already been said? She, too, grounded a character who could have been obnoxiously overwrought in the wrong hands, turning her into the heart of a movement. Just go ahead and give Regina King two Emmys this year, for “The Leftovers” and “American Crime”; that is, if we’re not required by moral standards to honor Olivia Colman for besting two heavy hitters in Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie in a very manly miniseries. That just leaves Jean Smart, the matriarch of a Midwestern crime ring unafraid to inflict her feminine touch on a gang of loose cannon sons. Come to think of it, her character and Colman’s may get along swimmingly…

Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Tom Hiddleston as Jonathan Pine; Tom Hollander as Major Lance Corcoran; group - The Night Manager _ Season 1, Episode 3 - Photo Credit: Des Willie /The Ink Factory/AMC

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  1. Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
  2. Ted Danson, “Fargo”
  3. Tom Hollander, “The Night Manager”
  4. Hugh Laurie, “The Night Manager”
  5. Nick Offerman, “Fargo”
  6. Bokeem Woodbine, “Fargo”
    In Case of a Tie: George Clooney, “A Very Murray Christmas”

Sterling K. Brown may get all the attention this year — and rightly so — for “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” Same for Ted Danson in “Fargo,” and Hugh Laurie may steal the spotlight for “The Night Manager.” But our favorite of the lot are three would-be second fiddles — even in the supporting categories. Nick Offerman and Bokeem Woodbine were refreshing changes of pace for “Fargo,” bringing out would-have-been-unseen depths in their opposing characters, using only their eyes, swagger and inflection. Tom Hollander utilized his precise pronunciation paired with a steady gaze to add pep to “The Night Manager,” making us fall for his character even when he threatened our protagonist. So, really, why not nominate them all — the top tier support and the ones supporting them? No job is less valuable, and no actor less talented.

Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

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