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Anonymous Emmy Ballot: Editor Says Bourdain Has Already Been Honored, So Give It To Letterman, ‘Despite His Flaws’

Also: With "Late Night with Seth Meyers" not in the running, a vote for "Jimmy Kimmel Live" as Outstanding Talk Show: "The best right now."

David Letterman Netflix My Next Guest

“My Next Guest Needs No Introduction”


“Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” scored six Emmy nominations this year, including two for Bourdain himself: Outstanding Informational Series or Special, and Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program. The digital series “Anthony Bourdain: Explore Parts Unknown” also received a nomination, giving voters seven shots at honoring the late chef and host.

But the death of a star doesn’t necessarily guarantee a posthumous Emmy. Just last year, it was thought Carrie Fisher might land the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Emmy for her role on “Catastrophe,” but instead it went to Melissa McCarthy.

“Parts Unknown” won the Outstanding Informational Series or Special Emmy four years in a row, from 2013 to 2016, so the CNN series has a track record in the category. But voters may also choose to honor Bourdain in the writing category, and give the series award to another program.

One editor, filling out IndieWire’s anonymous Emmy ballot, argued that Bourdain, “rest his soul, has been recognized for this great series many times,” and instead threw their weight behind David Letterman, host of Netflix’s “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman.”

“Letterman, despite his flaws, is a national treasure who needs to keep exploring this format,” they wrote. “This is the most interesting in this category.”

IndieWire reached out to creatives across the industry this year to share their own Emmy ballots, anonymously, and explain why they made their choices. Performers, writers, producers, publicists, executives, and craftspeople from across the industry offered up their answers, and IndieWire has been posting some of those ballots last week and this week.

Here’s how an editor made their picks on this year’s Emmy race. Read on below:

"The Handmaid's Tale"

“The Handmaid’s Tale”


Outstanding Drama Series

The Americans
The Crown
Game Of Thrones
☑ The Handmaid’s Tale
Stranger Things
This Is Us

Hard to watch, but brilliantly executed on all levels and almost every episode.

Read More: Emmy Predictions 2018 — The 70th Annual Primetime Emmys

Outstanding Comedy Series

Curb Your Enthusiasm
☑ The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Such joy in watching Mrs. Maisel and company follow their dreams during a time that was even tougher for women to do so.

Outstanding Limited Series

The Alienist
The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Genius: Picasso
☑ Godless
Patrick Melrose

Great execution, story and characters overall.

Outstanding Television Movie

Fahrenheit 451
☑ Paterno
The Tale
USS Callister (Black Mirror)

Levinson, Pacino and Baker – winning combination.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Claire Foy/The Crown
☑ Tatiana Maslany/Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss/The Handmaid’s Tale
Sandra Oh/Killing Eve
Keri Russell/The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood/Westworld

Maslany plays many different characters and moves flawlessly and powerfully from one to another.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman/Ozark
Sterling K. Brown/This Is Us
Ed Harris/Westworld
Matthew Rhys/The Americans
Milo Ventimiglia/This Is Us
☑ Jeffrey Wright/Westworld

Wright’s performance is nuanced, layered and intriguing, balancing humanity and technology in a way that draws you in, is believable, sad yet hopeful.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 1 Rachel Brosnahan

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Nicole Rivelli/Amazon Studios

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Pamela Adlon/Better Things
☑ Rachel Brosnahan/The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Allison Janney/Mom
Issa Rae/Insecure
Tracee Ellis Ross/black-ish
Lily Tomlin/Grace And Frankie

This is a tough one, but Brosnahan is marvelous in this role and it’s endlessly enjoyable to follow her story.

Read More: Full IndieWire Awards Coverage

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson/black-ish
Ted Danson/The Good Place
Larry David/Curb Your Enthusiasm
Donald Glover/Atlanta
Bill Hader/Barry
☑ William H. Macy/Shameless

Macy is amazing in this role, as always. There’s more depth and skill at work here than in the other roles/shows.

Law and Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers Edie Falco NBC

Edie Falco, “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders”

Justin Lubin/NBC

Lead Actress in a Limited Series/Movie

Jessica Biel/The Sinner
Laura Dern/The Tale
Michelle Dockery/Godless
☑ Edie Falco/Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
Regina King/Seven Seconds
Sarah Paulson/American Horror Story: Cult

Falco balances the complex and many sides to her character with empathy, without judgement, and great skill.

Lead Actor in a Limited Series/Movie

Antonio Banderas/Genius: Picasso
Darren Criss/The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Benedict Cumberbatch/Patrick Melrose
☑ Jeff Daniels/The Looming Tower
John Legend/Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert
Jesse Plemons/USS Callister (Black Mirror)

All of these actors bring so much skill to their roles, but Daniels is just an actor in his own category, handling this role with rare prowess and competence.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Alexis Bledel/The Handmaid’s Tale
Millie Bobby Brown/Stranger Things
Ann Dowd/The Handmaid’s Tale
Lena Headey/Game Of Thrones
Vanessa Kirby/The Crown
☑ Thandie Newton/Westworld
Yvonne Strahovski/The Handmaid’s Tale

Newton is brilliant in this role, crossing the line between human being and robot with such facility, artistry, courage and beauty.

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau/Game Of Thrones
Peter Dinklage/Game Of Thrones
Joseph Fiennes/The Handmaid’s Tale
☑ David Harbour/Stranger Things
Mandy Patinkin/Homeland
Matt Smith/The Crown

Under-recognized actor who does a great job as the lifeline to the viewer in this role.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 1 Alex Borstein Rachel Brosnahan

Alex Borstein and Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Nicole Rivelli/Showtime

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Zazie Beetz/Atlanta
☑ Alex Borstein/The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Aidy Bryant/Saturday Night Live
Betty Gilpin/GLOW
Leslie Jones/Saturday Night Live
Kate McKinnon/Saturday Night Live
Laurie Metcalf/Roseanne
Megan Mullally/Will & Grace

Such a watchable, unique and terrific talent, Borstein displays such moxie, cunning and craft.

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Louie Anderson/Baskets
Alec Baldwin/Saturday Night Live
Tituss Burgess/Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Brian Tyree Henry/Atlanta
Tony Shalhoub/The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kenan Thompson/Saturday Night Live
☑ Henry Winkler/Barry

Though Louie is vulnerable, sweet and brilliant in “Baskets,” he has rightfully been recognized year after year, and this feels like the role and the year in which Winkler should be recognized for his fantastic portrayal of some of the people we meet in the entertainment industry. Funny!

Read More: Anonymous Emmy Ballot: Publicist Says ‘Silicon Valley’ and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Have Gone Downhill, But Raves for ‘Barry’

Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Sara Bareilles/Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert
Penélope Cruz/The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Judith Light/The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Adina Porter/American Horror Story: Cult
☑ Merritt Wever/Godless
Letitia Wright/Black Museum (Black Mirror)

Wever is amazing in this fantastic gender-bending role. A stunner!

THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY "The Man Who Would Be Vogue" Episode 2 (Airs Wednesday. January 24, 10:00 p.m. e/p) -- Pictured: Edgar Ramirez as Gianni Versace. CR: Jeff Daly/FX

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”

Jeff Daly/FX

Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Jeff Daniels/Godless
Brandon Victor Dixon/Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert
John Leguizamo/Waco
Ricky Martin/The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
☑ Edgar Ramírez/The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Michael Stuhlbarg/The Looming Tower
Finn Wittrock/The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

This underrated, under-recognized actor always delivers, and this is the role he should be recognized for.

Outstanding Reality/Competition Program

The Amazing Race
American Ninja Warrior
Project Runway
☑ RuPaul’s Drag Race
Top Chef
The Voice

Still fabulous and getting better each season.

Outstanding Structured Reality Program

Antiques Roadshow
Fixer Upper
Lip Sync Battle
☑ Queer Eye
Shark Tank
Who Do You Think You Are?

This reboot is fantastic!

Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program

Born This Way
Deadliest Catch
Naked And Afraid
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked
☑ United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell

The others feel old. “United Shades” is relevant and current.

Hollywood Game Night

“Hollywood Game Night,” hosted by Jane Lynch


Host for a Reality or Reality/Competition Program

W. Kamau Bell/United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell
Ellen Degeneres/Ellen’s Game Of Games
RuPaul/RuPaul’s Drag Race
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn/Project Runway
☑ Jane Lynch/Hollywood Game Night

She’s amazing.

Read More: Emmys: Donald Glover and Rachel Brosnahan Appear to Be Comedy Locks, But Spoilers Lurk — Screen Talk Emmy Edition

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
☑ Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
The Late Late Show With James Corden
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

The best right now. Also love Seth Meyers, but he isn’t listed here.

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

At Home With Amy Sedaris
Drunk History
I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman
☑ Portlandia
Saturday Night Live
Tracey Ullman’s Show

Brilliant, should be recognized!

Outstanding Variety Special (Live)

The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards
60th Annual Grammy Awards
☑ Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert
Night Of Too Many Stars: America Unites For Autism Programs
The Oscars

Fine production and very good performances, interesting take and direction. The Oscars were not good this year, Grammys are overdone, Globes are underdone, “Night of Too Many Stars” is too much.

Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)

Carol Burnett Show 50th Anniversary Special
Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2018
☑ Dave Chappelle: Equanimity
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee Presents: The Great American* Puerto Rico (*It’s Complicated)
Steve Martin & Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget For The Rest Of Your Life

By far the best in this category.

Outstanding Informational Series or Special

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Leah Remini: Scientology And The Aftermath
☑ My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman
StarTalk With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Letterman, despite his flaws, is a national treasure who needs to keep exploring this format. This is the most interesting in this category. “Vice” is way too focused on the extremes of any given subject, Bourdain, rest his soul, has been recognized for this great series many times, Remini is overzealous and the series is produced more like a reality show than a documentary series. “StarTalk” is boring.

[Production assistance by Liz Shannon Miller.]

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