As Emmy Eligibility Ends, Other Awards Bodies Boost ‘Small Axe’ and ‘I May Destroy You’

The Emmy eligibility window is coming to a close, but there's plenty of alternative awards buzz to mine.
"I May Destroy You"
"I May Destroy You"

It’s finally (almost) here.

Monday, May 31 marks the close of the 2020-2021 Emmy Award eligibility period, stemming the fire hose of Peak TV for the briefest of moments, before immediately resuming. (Don’t worry about the resumption just yet. That’s future you’s problem.)

And while the closing moments of May saw a few high-profile releases, including the return of both HBO’s “In Treatment” and Netflix’s “Master of None,” the main source of Emmy buzz came in the form of outside awards bodies this week.

We start with the 2021 BAFTA TV Craft Awards, as distributed by the British Academy, honoring the finest behind-the-scenes work in the industry. With an event presented on the organization’s social media channels, there were a few big winners that might just give their shows a boost when it comes to July’s Emmy nominations.

It was Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” that proved to be the night’s big winner, nabbing top honors in five categories, including costume design, scripted casting, makeup and hair design, production design, and photography and lighting. But hot on the anthology series’ heels was Michaela Coel’s “I May Destroy You” which won three categories, including, writer: drama, directing: fiction, and for editing: fiction.

While “Small Axe” won the most awards, there’s an argument to be made that Coel’s awards — she won for writer and shared directing honors with Sam Miller — came while in direct competition with McQueen himself. However, the BAFTAs still have another batch of winners to announce, including actors and overall series (that will take place June 6), and it will be fascinating to see which miniseries (as they’re still referred to within the organization) reign supreme.

It’s good to see both series having such strong showings with BAFTA, as they’ll both compete in the Limited/Anthology Series categories at the Emmys, which are shaping up to be the most competitive fields of the year. While both “Small Axe” and “I May Destroy You” will ideally make it into two of the five nominee slots, it’s not a sure thing, so any buzz, no matter the source, is reason for celebration.

As for the other awards making waves this week, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced the nominations for the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Tuesday, with soap operas leading nominees, including “General Hospital” with 21, “The Young and the Restless” and “Days of Our Lives” with 11 each, and “The Bold and the Beautiful” with nine.

While the Daytime Emmy Awards have nothing to do with the Primetime Emmy Awards, they are an interesting window into the rest of the TV industry, particularly now that children’s programming has become the purview of NATAS after years of being overseen by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

But if you’re here because you’re anxious to hear about which of those kid shows made its mark, prepare to be disappointed. While Tuesday’s announcement included some categories in which kids shows compete, it did not include the kid show-specific categories. The nominees for both the Daytime Children’s Programming & Animation Emmy Awards and the Daytime Lifestyle Programming Emmy Awards will be announced Monday, June 28.

Scoring early nominations in general categories are youth-oriented shows including three Netflix players: “Trinkets” and “Julie and the Phantoms,” each of which nabbed seven noms and “Dash & Lily,” which earned six. IndieWire favorite “The Babysitter’s Club” earned a single nomination for Outstanding Costume Design/Styling, but will hopefully have a stronger showing come June.

Tune in next week as IndieWire dives head first into Emmy coverage, featuring interviews with some of TV’s greatest talents and the return of the Awards Spotlight series.

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