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Emmy Predictions 2017: Outstanding TV Movie

Final Predictions: History repeats itself with this largely familiar batch of nominees, but everyone aside from last year's winner is hoping for a fresh result in 2017.

Mackenzie Davis in "Black Mirror."

“Black Mirror”

David Dettmann/Netflix

Last Year’s Winner: “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride”
Hot Streak: HBO has won more awards in this category than all the other networks combined. They have 19 total Emmys. CBS and NBC are tied for the second highest total – six.
Fun Fact: “Jackie” fans take note: The First Lady was awarded an Emmy for “A Tour of the White House,” her famous televised walking tour that highlighted the historical alterations and preservations she’d help make to the White House. Jackie Kennedy remains the only First Lady to win a statue (though Michelle Obama’s “Billy on the Street” segment was nominated in 2015).

Netflix’s big bet paid off, and there might still be money to win. Despite the popular perception of “Black Mirror” as a limited series, Netflix decided to submit each standalone episode as a TV movie. And lookie there, if “Black Mirror: San Junipero” didn’t make the cut.

Netflix’s huge jump in total nominations year-to-year — 54 in 2016 to 91 in 2017 — tells us two things:

  1. It’s got a lot of content, and creatively choosing where to run it is a good idea.
  2. TV Academy voters are taking the time to watch Netflix, and they like what they see.

Those 91 nominations were spread across 27 programs, and, even though “San Junipero” only netted two of those nominations, it very well could be more popular than the competition in this category.

“The Wizard of Lies” would beg to differ. Starring two-time Oscar-winner Robert De Niro and three-time nominee Michelle Pfeiffer, both of whom received individual nominations, the HBO biopic is the prestigious pick. In the grand tradition of Emmy-winning movies from the pay cable giant — “Bessie,” “The Normal Heart,” “Behind the Candelabra,” “Game Change” — this one fits the bill with a true story, A-list cast, and impeccable production.

That being said, last year’s prestige HBO entry, “All the Way,” fell to “Sherlock,” and history could very well repeat itself in 2017. The TV Academy seems to be the PBS’ series biggest fan, as its won nine trophies in the last two years (despite critics turning ever so slightly on those seasons). HBO would rather see “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” be the surprise winner, of course, though Oprah Winfrey’s surprise acting snub indicates a lack of overall support for the book adaptation.

And then there’s “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love.” The NBC holiday special beat out quite a few contenders to get here, and the nomination may very well be its prize — unless, of course, Ms. Parton’s “Nine to Five” fans show up in droves.

Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding TV Movie, which will be updated throughout the awards season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2017 race, and read the rest of the predictions in all categories, as well.

The Nominees:

  1. “Black Mirror: San Junipero”
  2. “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love”
  3. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  4. “Sherlock: The Lying Detective”
  5. “The Wizard of Lies”

Will Win: “Black Mirror: San Junipero”
Could Win: “The Wizard of Lies”
Should Win: “The Wizard of Lies”

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