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Anonymous Emmy Ballot: Director Says ‘Versace’ Is ‘Wildly Inconsistent,’ While ‘Game of Thrones’ Gets ‘Bolder and Richer’

But the helmer still casts a ballot for the "American Crime Story" edition and several of its stars because "it takes a lot of risks and mainly makes it work."

“Game of Thrones”


With the revolution in how television is created, produced, and consumed, a lot can happen in a year. And indeed, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” returns to the Emmy race this year in a dramatically changed landscape. After all, with “Thrones” out of contention last year, that allowed Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” to take the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy — and with it, make history as the first streaming service to land one of the top series prizes.

This year, “Game of Thrones” will face off with an entirely different back of nominees (except one, “The Americans”) than it did in 2016, when the HBO drama won the Emmy. That includes last year’s winner (“Handmaid’s Tale”), another HBO tentpole (“Westworld”), two Netflix favorites (“The Crown” and “Stranger Things”), and a broadcast success story (“This Is Us”).

Can “Game of Thrones” recapture the Emmy? One anonymous director who filled out an Emmy ballot for IndieWire thinks so. “Nothing else matches it, and the show gets bolder and richer every season,” this person wrote.

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.

In this year’s final edition, a director explains their picks in this year’s Emmy race. Read on below:

Outstanding Drama Series

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

Sets the bar for ambition and execution. Nothing else matches it, and the show gets bolder and richer every season… This season as the stories converge, the show feels that it’s building to an inevitable but still wide-open dramatic conclusion.

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

Outstanding Comedy Series

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

Takes more chances artistically than almost any show on television. It’s truly a singular vision, perfectly pitched.

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”


Outstanding Limited Series

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

It’s wildly inconsistent in tone and execution, but it takes a lot of risks and mainly makes it work. A few episodes are particularly affecting and original.

Outstanding Television Movie

Fahrenheit 451
The Tale
☑ USS Callister (Black Mirror)

A tricky combination of retro geek fan re-creation and cautionary tale. Feels fresh and original.

Read More: Anonymous Emmy Ballot: Director Has Soured on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ But Pays Tribute to the End of ‘The Americans’

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

It’s a brilliant performance. Utterly transparent, often wordless, wry, intelligent, rangey, full of unexpected moments, and hugely emotional.

THIS IS US finale "The Wedding" Episode 218 -- Pictured: Sterling K. Brown as Randall -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

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

This is an incredibly subtle performance, finely nuanced, deeply felt and complex but also with touches of humor.

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

She is fresh, wildly funny and always relatably human. She is also intensely watchable.

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

The year’s biggest surprise. Hader disappears into this off-center, sad/funny character that is surprisingly touching.

Seven Seconds Season 1 Netflix Regina King

Regina King, “Seven Seconds”

Cara Howe / Netflix

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

She is always great, and here too believable and grounded and authentic.

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

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)

It’s a flamboyant performance but it’s also daring and a bit of a high wire act that he somehow manages to make believable, funny and sympathetic.

THE HANDMAID'S TALE -- "The Word" -- Episode 213 -- Serena and the other Wives strive to make change. Emily learns more about her new Commander. Offred faces a difficult decision. Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski), shown. (Photo by: George Kraychyk/Hulu)

Yvonne Strahovski, “The Handmaid’s Tale.”


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

This is her year, showing new dimension and depth to a character that could so easily be a monster. You hate her and you love her… or at least you feel sympathy for her, which is no small achievement.

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

This was a good season for NC-W… He brought a lot complexity to the role which has found him transitioning from a despicable character to one who has earned the audience’s understanding and sympathy. His work with Lena H and Peter D has been especially strong this season.

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

Always grounded, real, funny, sexy and touching.

Brian Tyree Henry, "Atlanta"

Brian Tyree Henry, “Atlanta”


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

Sharp and funny and brings a lot of dimension to a role that could be slight… but isn’t in this case.

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)

Walks the line between camp, caricature and realism… capturing the essence of Donatella as we would imagine it, while adding a surprising dose of empathy.

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

A surprisingly rangey and affecting performance.

Outstanding Reality/Competition Program

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

A mixture of progressive politics and artistry, with a lot of heart.

Outstanding Structured Reality Program

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

In its best episode,s the message of tolerance and understanding elevates the makeover show to something weirdly unifying and uplifting.

W. Kamau Bell arrives at night one of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater, in Los Angeles2017 Creative Arts Emmy Awards - Arrivals - Night One, Los Angeles, USA - 09 Sep 2017

W. Kamau Bell


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

It’s a quick, clever, personal and insightful look at race relations.

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

Makes every show a party, while making a strong message about inclusion and self acceptance for all.

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

Expertly written and argued, and delivered with great passion and humor.

Tracey Ullman as Angela Merkel


Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

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

More political and pointed in its social commentary this past season, and all the better for it.

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

An unlikely success, helped by strong casting and unexpected (and generally successful) directorial choices.

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee - Puerto Rico Trip

“Full Frontal: The Great American Puerto Rico”


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

[No reason given.]

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
☑ Vice

Bold takes on the stories that no one else is covering.

[Production assistance by Liz Shannon Miller.]

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