A number of stars doing double- and triple-duty on series have been rewarded for their off-camera work with writing or directing Emmy nominations this year, notably “Ozark’s” Jason Bateman, “Abbott Elementary’s” Quinta Brunson, “Barry’s” Bill Hader and “Only Murders in the Building’s” Steve Martin.
Meanwhile, indie film helmers are finding a warm welcome, with drama series directing noms going to Karyn Kusama for the pilot of Showtime’s “Yellowjackets,” Lorene Scafaria for the “Succession” episode “Too Much Birthday” and Cathy Yan for “The Disruption” installment of “Succession.”
Oscar winner Peter Jackson may add another trophy to his case. He earned a directing nomination for documentary/nonfiction program for his work on Disney+’s Beatles docuseries “Get Back.” Ben Stiller is up for Apple TV+ drama “Severance” and Bo Burnham is back with a nom for directing Jerrod Carmichael’s HBO standup special “Rothaniel.” Amy Poehler’s documentary study of “Lucy and Desi” brought the multi-hyphenate her first Emmy directing nomination.
Emmy’s annual tally of nominations for writing and directing are always a bellwether of what the creative community deems to be the state of the art. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the scribes and helmers in the nominees circle this year was Mary Lou Belli, a veteran director, for “The Baby Daddy Groundhog Day” episode of BET+ comedy “The Ms. Pat Show” — a show that was not high on Emmy prognosticators’ radar.
The scribe tribe is still very high on “What We Do in the Shadows,” giving the FX series two noms for comedy series writing, for Stefani Robinson (for episode “The Wellness Center”) and Sarah Naftalis (“The Casino”). HBO’s “Barry” is still considered a cool-kid even in Season 3, with a two-fer of comedy writing noms, one for Duffy Boudreau (“710N”) and one for series creators Alec Berg and Hader (“Starting Now.”)
Brunson was recognized for the pilot of “Abbott Elementary,” the ABC comedy about a public elementary school in Philadelphia. “Abbott” is the lone broadcast series to command a nom for comedy or drama series.
“Hacks” won for comedy writing and directing last year, and its trio of creators — Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky — are up again for their work on Season 2 episode “The One, The Only”. Also nommed are Martin and John Hoffman for the pilot of “Only Murders” and Jane Becker for “Ted Lasso” (“No Weddings and a Funeral”).
Drama-wise, “Yellowjackets” has undeniable buzz. The Showtime drama was a surprise entry in the drama series race, and it commanded two drama series writing noms, for the pilot written by creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson, and for “F Sharp” penned by Jonathan Lisco, Lyle and Nickerson.
AMC’s “Better Call Saul” scored a writing nom for the chilling “Plan and Execution” episode written by Thomas Schnauz. “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong grabbed another nom for “All the Bells Say” episode. “Ozark” creator Chris Mundy was rewarded for his series finale “A Hard Way to Go.”
“Severance” scribe Dan Erickson is a first-time nominee for penning “The Way We Are” installment of the Apple TV+ series. Netflix’s “Squid Game” grabbed a mention for series writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk, for “One Lucky Day.”
The limited series race was hugely competitive this year given the plethora of acclaimed projects. “Dopesick” writer-producer Danny Strong made it for “The People vs. Purdue Pharma” episode of the Hulu series.
The rest of the field is comprised of first-time writing nominees. Mike White took the Emmy spotlight for the first time with bids for writing and directing for HBO’s ‘The White Lotus.”
“New Girl” creator/executive producer Elizabeth Meriwether snagged her first Emmy bid for the “I’m in a Hurry” installment of Hulu’s Elizabeth Holmes miniseries “The Dropout.” Sarah Burgess did the same for her work on the “Man Handled” episode of FX’s “Impeachment: American Crime Story.” Molly Metzler Smith was recognized for “Snaps” from Netflix’s “Maid.” And Patrick Somerville got in for the “Unbroken Circle” episode of HBO Max’s “Station Eleven.”
Strong joins White in the limited series directing field for “Dopesick,” the same episode that earned him the writing nom. “The Dropout” commanded two helming noms in the category: Michael Showalter for his work on “Green Juice” and Francesca Gregorini for her work on “Iron Sisters.”
John Wells, veteran showrunner and former WGA president, dipped into the directing side for a nom for “Maid.” Hiro Murai was recognized for “Station Eleven” episode “Wheel of Fire.”
Murai, who was previously nommed in the category for “Atlanta” in 2018, also grabbed a second helming mention on the comedy series side for his work on the “New Jazz” segment of “Atlanta.” “Only Murders in the Building” has a double-dip in the category with Jamie Babbit up for “True Crime” and Cherien Dabis up for “The Boy From 6B.” “Ted Lasso,” which had three noms in the category last year, is repped again this year by MJ Delaney for “No Weddings and a Funeral.”
For drama series, “Succession” is still the show to beat with three noms. Series executive producer/director Mark Mylod’s work on “All the Bells Say” joins with Yan and Scafaria in the hunt for Emmy gold. Stiller got a nod for directing the “Severance” Season 1 finale “The Way We Are” while “Ozark’s” Bateman is up for helming the series closer, “A Hard Way to Go.” “Squid Game’s” Hwang Dong-hyuk is up for “Red Light, Green Light.”
(Pictured: Emmy directing nominees Jason Bateman, Lorene Scafaria and Bill Hader)