All right, all right, all right.
The Emmys race for Best Drama just kicked into high gear with news breaking of HBO’s plans to submit its new hit series — not miniseries — “True Detective” as a contender for Best Drama. Many anticipated the show would contend and easily win Best Miniseries considering its structure — the show will have a new set of characters and a new plot in its second season — but like many of the ramblings from lead character Rust Cohle, HBO has loftier goals in mind.
Contention is tight in the Best Drama race. Just today, Showtime announced it was submitting “Shameless” in the comedy categories rather than drama, which it had been submitted in every year prior to 2014. That sure looks like a smart move now. With “Breaking Bad” back to defend its Best Drama title as well as perennial contenders “Mad Men” and “Homeland” still vying for a spot, “True Detective” isn’t a lock by any means, even if it should be considered a favorite. It will tangle with the likes of “Downton Abbey,” a previous miniseries contender that switched to drama series after season one, “House of Cards,” and a slew of other contenders. Last year, HBO nabbed a spot for “Game of Thrones” and is apparently looking for two or more this year (three if “Boardwalk Empire” can slip in; four if “The Newsroom” earns more surprise Emmys love).
The real drama, though, is in the Best Lead Actor category. Bryan Cranston will be in contention again after his surprising loss last year, and Jon Hamm is still win-less at the Emmys with “Mad Men” entering its final season this April. Then you have Jeff Daniels who shockingly stole the trophy for his role as Will McAvoy on “The Newsroom” in 2013. It’s doubtful last year’s champ will go unnoticed this year, at least for a nomination. That’s three spots, and it’s hard to imagine Kevin Spacey dropping out after the heat generated by this season’s “House of Cards.” So can Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson both earn spots on the Lead Actor shortlist, or will one be relegated to Supporting Actor status? It’s tough to decide strategically who should go where, with Supporting Actor being an easier field competitively and McConaughey having an edge in accolades.
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No matter how the details shake out, HBO has to be shown some respect for daring to roll the dice. Winning Best Drama certainly means more to viewers than Miniseries, but attention paid on national TV is nothing to be taken lightly by any network. Another McConaughey acceptance speech would have certainly made headlines. Now, HBO needs to start hoping voters don’t scoff at the idea of nominating a television series with only eight episodes.