LOS ANGELES: The contenders for this year’s Emmy Awards will be revealed on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), with “Squid Game” set to become the first non-English-language drama series ever nominated for the television equivalent of the Oscars.
Netflix’s dystopian South Korean hit is set to rival returning heavy hitters such as HBO’s “Succession,” as TV productions delayed by early pandemic lockdowns returned to our screens.
The nominees will be announced at a ceremony broadcast live from 3:30 p.m. GMT, after which final round voting will begin for the 74th Emmy Awards, scheduled for September 12.
Here are five things to look out for when announcing the nominations:
The “one inch barrier” is no more?
Three years ago, South Korean film “Parasite” won Best Picture at the Oscars, overcoming what its director Bong Joon-ho called the “one-inch barrier of subtitles.”
Could this be the year when television does the same?
“Squid Game,” a violent satire in which society’s marginalized compete for money in deadly versions of children’s games, is Netflix’s most-watched series.
“It’s great,” Deadline awards columnist Pete Hammond said.
“I’d be surprised if it’s not among the top two or three voters in terms of nominations.”
Apple TV+’s hit series “Pachinko” was also largely shot in Korean.
A separate International Emmys ceremony has been held since 1973, but no foreign-language show has ever entered the prestigious drama ranks of the Primetime Emmys.
Crowded drama, comedy fields
The total number of dramas and comedies competing for the Emmys this year is much higher than last year, when the pandemic delayed the production of many award-winning shows.
After skipping a year, the 2020 Best Drama winner “Succession” — the saga of a powerful and devious family — returns to drama, as does Netflix crime series “Ozark” and AMC spin-off “ Better Call Saul”.
In the comedy, former Amazon Prime winner “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” — about a 1950s housewife turned comedian — and HBO’s Bill Hader vehicle “Barry” both return.
They will collide with last year’s big winner “Ted Lasso”, – after the uplifting antics of a football coach out of his depth – and the acclaimed second season of Jean Smart’s “Hacks”.
Can “Yellowstone” attract voters?
Soapy neo-Western “Yellowstone” — which stars Kevin Costner and racked up 11 million views for its fourth season premiere — is an undeniable juggernaut.
But he only ever earned one Emmy nomination, in a minor technical category.
Voters may have been put off by its place on Paramount’s relatively small cable network, or by its ostensible conservative leanings — though the show has recently gripped more liberal American shores as well.
“We’ll see if sheer popularity plays into this race this year,” Hammond said.
“If so, ‘Yellowstone’ will have its day in the sun. It’s watched everywhere. We’ll see if it’s watched by the Television Academy.”
High hopes for Hulu
HBO and Netflix tend to dominate nominations, but 2022 could be a banner year for Disney-owned Hulu.
The US-only streamer, which specializes in more adult-oriented content than Disney+, is creating originals such as 2017 drama winner “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and has ramped up production.
This year, he has the limited series favorite “Dopesick,” in which Michael Keaton plays a doctor involved in the opioid epidemic in the United States.
In the same category, Amanda Seyfried plays disgraced biotech star Elizabeth Holmes in “The Dropout,” and “Pam and Tommy” chronicles the theft of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s infamous 1990s sex tape.
The comedy “Only Murders in the Building,” starring Selena Gomez, Steve Martin and Martin Short as an unlikely trio of true-crime podcasters, is also set to rack up nominations for Hulu.
Limited slots for limited series
Once a neglected distant cousin of drama and comedy, the Emmys limited series category is getting more competitive and jam-packed with quality every year.
Alongside Hulu’s suitors, HBO’s “The White Lotus” – a satirical look at the hypocrisy and wealth among visitors to a luxury hotel in Hawaii – is hugely popular, while Netflix delivers a heartbreaking saga about the domestic violence “Maid”.
Despite the wealth of riches, the limited series categories typically only offer five nomination slots, compared to eight in drama and comedy.
“They have to change the rules,” Hammond said.
“It’s the strongest area of the Emmys, and this year is no exception.”