Perhaps the one category that is the most dubious category when it comes to what gets nominated, and then what wins, the Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie looked to throw in quite a mixer this year too when it came to the nominations slate. The past two years have been dominated by Charlie Brooker’s anthology series ‘Black Mirror’, with San Junipero and USS Callister winning in 2017 and 2018, and the polarised reactions that the television academy received upon their wins led the Emmys to add an interesting twist to their nomination requirements for a TV film to the following: A television movie is defined as an original program, which tells a story with beginning, middle, and end, and is broadcast in one part with a minimum running time of 75 minutes.
Now, simply considering this, all ‘Black Mirror’ anthology episodes meeting the runtime requirement should automatically disqualify based on the “original program” criteria, but again, the very term and its usage are a bit of a grey area. Come 2019, and Netflix and Charlie Brooker and ‘Black Mirror’ have changed the game again with ‘Bandersnatch’, that was in actuality released as a TV movie and is listed separately from all other ‘Black Mirror’ offerings. Now since it’s a ‘choose your own adventure’ film, like the titular book/game in the movie, the runtime varies from 40 minutes to somewhere near 150 minutes, and that is if you consider viewers contend themselves with only one ending.
When I watched Bandersnatch’, I couldn’t keep my controller down and HAD to finish all endings that cost me a total of more than 300 minutes, the most I have spent on any movie in a single viewing, ever. However, since now the air around ‘Bandersnatch’s technical difficulty in securing a nomination is cleared, we also do have HBO reigning in quite a battle to regain its lost glory in the category. Read on to find what movies I think are the strongest contenders for Outstanding TV Movie at Emmys 2019.
Should Have Been Nominated
Another HBO nominee that I predicted to be on the list, Native Son made quite some noise at the Sundance this year, but the way I see it, has failed to garner significant approval from the TV viewing audience. The film, made twice already based on the novel, is based on the Richard Wright novel of the same name wherein a young African American boy is hired as a chauffeur for a wealthy white family and an affluent businessman, and enters a whole new world, one that is turned upside down when things don’t go as envisaged. Despite its relevant subject matter, and a central riveting performance from Ashton Sanders, ‘Native Son’ just couldn’t take off with the Academy audiences.