The annual Emmy Awards are scheduled to take place on Sunday, September 19. Nominees were announced on July 13 and while the eligibility period for the awards was June 1 2020 - May 31 2021, here we are looking at how demand for the nominated series and talent stands just before the winners are announced. While the shows chosen by the Academy haven not always lined up with audience favorites, the good news is the gap between these has been closing in recent years.
So for those of you still looking to place bets on who the winners will be, here is how demand for the series and talent in a few categories stacks up ahead of the big night:
Best Comedy: How long is the Academy’s memory?
Taking a look first at the shows in the running for best comedy series two observations stand out. Ted Lasso has taken the lead as the most in-demand of these shows and held onto that spot for the past two months. It began airing episodes in its second season in July and will continue through October. Momentum and current buzz is definitely on the side of this show.
However, taking a longer range view of things, it is clear that Cobra Kai has held onto the top rank among these shows for the majority of the past year. It truly had an incredible season 3 debut on Netflix, nearly hitting 100x the average series demand for the week of January 10. The question is will the Academy go with the show that has been the audience favorite for most of the year; will they pick the currently hot and buzzy Ted Lasso; or will one of the other series walk away with the prize?
Best Drama: A tightening race
While The Mandalorian had a phenomenal run up in demand during its season 2 release culminating in a weekly peak near 100x, the difference in demand across the shows nominated for Best Drama has narrowed significantly since then. It’s worth noting that among these shows every series except Bridgerton has ranked at least 2nd at some point in this time period. That’s not a good indicator for Netflix’s second British period drama nominated in this category this year.
Best Actress, Limited Series: I may surprise you
It’s a fair question when considering acting categories how much an impact the individual talent themselves has as opposed to the show they are acting in. The jury is still out on that but we can provide insight into both by looking at show demand as well as demand for individual actors. Below are the lead actresses nominated in the limited series category and the demand for each during the Emmys eligibility period.
The most in-demand actress of these five was a bit surprising! Knowing that Elizabeth Olsen was nominated for her role in WandaVision, one would think that the huge Marvel fanbase would automatically put her in the lead. In fact, Anya Taylor-Joy ranks as the most in-demand actress among these nominees, with 28.28x the average talent demand compared to Elizabeth Olsen’s 21.03x. In this category at least it looks like both critical acclaim and popular demand have aligned behind Anya Taylor Joy.
Considering the shows these actresses were nominated for (below) it looks like it could be a tighter race. Each of the series at one point during the eligibility period, except Genius: Aretha, was more in-demand than the others. WandaVision, not unsurprisingly, had the highest peak of these. I May Destroy You and The Queen’s Gambit had similar high peaks while Mare of Easttown peaked above these but below WandaVision at around 30x the average series. This could again be a question of how long the Academy’s memory is - I May Destroy You peaked at the very beginning of the eligibility period. Is that ancient history when it comes to members voting?
Good luck to everyone trying to guess the winners of these categories. You can put as much data as you want behind predictions but it’s notoriously difficult to predict how the Academy will vote. Just remember (if you ever get tired of trying to guess winners picked in a smoke filled back room) that there actually is a data driven award for best show backed by popular demand.