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9 Shows to Watch for During the Winter TV Awards Season

With a completely different eligibility window from the Emmys, upcoming awards ceremonies could boast some unique nominees.

"The Crown" Season 4

“The Crown”

Netflix

It’s been nearly a month since the 2020 Emmy Awards ceremony was held, a socially-distanced triumph that proved that not only can the Hollywood awards machine continue, but ceremonies might actually be improved by a forced shift in perspective.

That said, now that we’ve all taken a bit of time to clear our heads of the cobwebs of the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmy Awards, we’re free to tackle new and pressing matters: namely, TV’s winter awards season.

For those unfamiliar, the winter awards season encompasses a plethora of guild and specialty ceremonies, honoring a wide variety of industry fields, including acting, directing, costumes, animation, to name a few, as well as the Golden Globe Awards as presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

There are a number of significant differences between the build-up to the Emmy Awards and those in the winter season. For one thing, Emmy season is purely television’s time to shine, with the focus remaining entirely on the exceptional achievements on the small screen. The winter awards season sees both film and TV being awarded and doubles as the lead-up to the Academy Awards, meaning that often TV is overshadowed by its big screen big brother.

But the most significant — and interesting — thing about the season is that it operates under a completely different eligibility calendar than the Emmy Awards. Where TV shows need to have aired between June 1 and May 31 to be considered by the Emmys, winter awards adhere to a more traditional calendar year metric with eligibility running from January 1 to December 31. (Of course, that’s not the case for the film industry that has been absolutely ravaged by the ongoing pandemic, where the eligibility period for submissions has been extended by several months.)

What that really means, though, is that we could see a lot of new contenders in the competitions to come. Don’t expect any love for HBO Emmy darlings “Watchmen” or “Succession,” or perpetual Amazon Prime Video contender “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” all of which last aired episodes in 2019.

Instead check out our early look at which shows could be players once the next batch of awards start heating up:

"The Crown" Season 4

The Crown” Season 4

Netflix

Drama Series

“The Crown” (Netflix) 

No surprise here. So long as Netflix keeps churning out seasons documenting the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II and her royal(ly messed up) family, awards buzz will follow. Though some found the third season of the series a slight step down from prior years, the show still garnered four nominations, including a Golden Globes win for Olivia Colman in her first turn as the queen.

The season in contention for winter awards has yet to be released and is scheduled for release on November 15. The season will introduce a young Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin) to the world, in addition to the Iron Lady herself, Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson). Early trailers for the season already have the internet aflutter, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dying to see how the show tackles the wedding of the century.

“The Mandalorian” (Disney+)

If Hollywood didn’t know what to make of the breakout star that was Baby Yoda — fine, The Child — when “The Mandalorian” debuted last year, now’s the chance to make up for lost time. With 15 nominations and nine wins, the Emmys embraced the first season of the series with open arms. Season 2 premieres October 30. Look for the show to make its mark at the guilds, particularly in below-the-line specialties.

“Perry Mason” (HBO)

Potentially an off-kilter choice, but don’t be taken aback if you see “Perry Mason” popping up this winter, specifically at the Golden Globes. It’s a show that feels like it could slip into the organization’s niche of “respectable, visually-lush, and kind of surprising” that they push into the nominees every once in awhile. “Mason” is a prestige drama a little like “Boardwalk Empire,” and maybe a little under the radar like “Mozart in the Jungle.” It just feels right. Plus, lead actor Matthew Rhys has been nominated twice at the Globes for his previous role as Philip Jennings on “The Americans.”

Cate Blanchett in "Mrs. America"

Cate Blanchett in “Mrs. America”

Sabrina Lantos/FX

Limited Series

“Mrs. America” (FX)

The FX limited series tracing the long and arduous road of women’s liberation, specifically the movement to pass the Equal Rights Amendment was excellent, but had the misfortune of running into the (brilliant) “Watchmen” buzzsaw that mowed down all its competition.

But this winter is a perfect opportunity for “Mrs. America” to make its mark. It’s stacked cast of big name stars, including Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, and Uzo Aduba, in addition to its pitch-perfect period costumes and styling, which means that there are plenty of opportunities for the series to win big.

“Unorthodox” (Netflix)

The little limited series that could, “Unorthodox” made a big splash during Emmy season in an incredibly competitive field, scoring eight nominations. Newcomer Shira Haas nabbed tons of buzz for her performance in the series about a young woman in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community fleeing her arranged marriage and the country to seek a better life.

“The Undoing” (HBO)

Call this one a shot in the dark, but keep an eye out for “The Undoing,” the latest collaboration between David E. Kelley and Nicole Kidman, in which she plays a woman whose life spirals out of control after, well, some bad shit goes down and she must come to terms with where to go from here. Hugh Grant also stars as Kidman’s husband, with Susanne Bier directing the whole of the series. That’s a lot of star power under one roof, and the show, which premieres October 25, could have people talking in the months to come.

"Schitt's Creek"

“Schitt’s Creek”

Pop TV

Comedy Series

“Schitt’s Creek” (Pop TV)

Maybe the biggest gimme on the list, “Schitt’s Creek” pulled off a historic sweep at the Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, winning every major comedy category. I’d say it has the potential to pick up a few more accolades for its final season before everything is said and done.

“The Great” (Hulu)

Definitely a different kind of comedy, “The Great” is loosely based on Catherine the Great and stars Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult as the Emperor and Empress of Russia in a satirical series created by Tony McNamara, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of “The Favourite.”

The series is definitely it’s own unique thing and had a promising showing for its first season at the Emmys, with nominations for both writing and directing. No surprises here if it manages to breakthrough in the coming months.

“Ramy” (Hulu)

The same could also be said about another Hulu comedy, “Ramy.” It’s a series the Golden Globes is familiar with, at the very least, as it awarded creator and star Ramy Youssef with the award for best actor in a comedy series last year and could definitely resurface the show in both series and actor this year.

Plus, the series added two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali for Season 2, whose nuanced performance will make him hard to resist for any awards body.

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