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Emmy Predictions 2018: Outstanding TV Movie

Can three HBO movies fend off another Netflix original series? [Updated: August 13]

The Tale

Laura Dern in “The Tale”


Last Year’s Winner: “Black Mirror: San Junipero”
Still Eligible: Yes. (The series, not the episode/movie.)
Hot Streak: HBO has won more times in this category than all the other networks combined. The premium network has 19 total Emmys. In second place, CBS and NBC are tied — with six wins each.
Fun Fact: There have been four ties in the TV Movie category, but none since 1993.

Another year, another limited selection of TV Movies. After 2017 saw a Dolly Parton special nominated and an episode of “Black Mirror” win, 2018 is looking to be just as eclectic. Not only is Netflix’s anthology series back with another power player — the buzzed-about Season 4 starter, “U.S.S. Callister” — but it’s looking to make it two years in a row for the same show; something fairly unprecedented given the category is TV movie.

“Black Mirror” has a good shot, given how much love was shown to the alt-reality “Star Trek” movie — as well as Jesse Plemons’ unsettling interpretation of William Shatner — but HBO has three strong contenders. “The Tale” earned rave reviews out of Sundance and more once it hit HBO at the end of May. With Emmy-favorite Laura Dern front-and-center and a compelling story behind the scenes, Jennifer Fox’s incredible film looks to be the critics’ pick.

But did enough people see it? The same question may be facing HBO’s other two films, as well. “Paterno” couldn’t even get the legendary Al Pacino into the acting race, despite a terrific performance and a good history with the TV Academy. But Barry Levinson cracked the director’s race and the story resonated with those who saw it. “Fahrenheit 451,” starring Michael Shannon and Michael B. Jordan, saw less critical acclaim, but Jordan’s burning prestige factor right now could fuel a late run at the trophy.

And then there’s “Flint.” Starring Queen Latifah and dealing with topical subject matter, the Lifetime movie is also a bit under-the-radar, but it’s got star power behind it and could benefit from getting the full, sole push from its network. Of course, the latter point could apply for “Black Mirror,” and Netflix has a little more muscle these days than its cable competitor.

Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding TV Movie (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. “Black Mirror: U.S.S. Callister”
  2. “Fahrenheit 451”
  3. “Flint”
  4. “Paterno”
  5. “The Tale”

Will Win: “Black Mirror: U.S.S. Callister”
Could Win:
“The Tale”
Should Win:
“The Tale”

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