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Emmy Predictions 2018: Outstanding Limited Series

After a surprising twist in the nominations, which limited series will ride into the sunset with a bag of gold? [Updated September 10 — Final Predictions]

Michelle Dockery and Merritt Wever, "Godless"

Michelle Dockery and Merritt Wever, “Godless”

Ursula Coyote/Netflix

Last Year’s Winner: “Big Little Lies”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: Over the past five years, HBO and FX have alternated wins in this category. Since HBO’s “Big Little Lies” won in 2017, it’s FX’s “turn” in 2018.
Fun Fact: The “American Horror Story” franchise has been nominated five times in this category, one short of the record held by “Prime Suspect” — except the PBS series had won three times by this point, and “American Horror Story” has never won.

Twin Peaks” and “The Looming Tower” are out, “The Alienist” and “Genius: Picasso” are in; that was the surprising revelation on Emmy nominations’ morning, as two of the presumed limited series frontrunners couldn’t even make the initial cut. How does that change the race to the finish line? Quite a bit.

Two series in particular should be breathing a bit more easily right now. “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” has the “American Crime Story” brand backing it, not to mention the full power of Ryan Murphy, so FX must be liking its chances now that the critics’ darling and historical Hulu threat are out of the running. Netflix, though, is likely itching even more for its first win in the category, and “Godless” could get them there. Jeff Daniels and Michelle Dockery’s western sports a cast of TV Academy favorites, earned solid reviews, and appears to be widely seen.

Then there’s the dark horse: While Showtime thought it had a good shot at two slots here, “Patrick Melrose” is now a sneaky pick to win. Benedict Cumberbatch has never been better, he’s beloved by Emmy voters, and the relatively short limited series (five episodes) should be an easy binge for anyone who hasn’t caught up yet. Moreover, it’s got weighty subject matter, confidant style, and is less divisive than the hit-or-miss “Versace” and “Godless.” (“Versace” earned less raves than its “ACS” predecessor, while westerns in general can be a turn-off to some viewers.)

So what about those surprise nominees? “The Alienist” scored six nominations overall, but none in the acting categories; it looks like it’ll need another shocking turn of events to walk away with the gold. As for “Genius: Picasso,” it nabbed a critical nod for Antonio Banderas, but has less total nominations than the “Einstein” edition, which won zero in 2017. It, too, looks like a longshot.

Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Limited Series (listed in alphabetical order), which will be updated throughout the season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2018 race, and read predictions for the rest of the categories, as well.

The Nominees:

  1. “The Alienist”
  2. “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
  3. “Genius: Picasso”
  4. “Godless”
  5. “Patrick Melrose”

Will Win: “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Could Win:
Should Win:
“Twin Peaks” (How was this left out?)

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