Highlight: The dazzling depiction of a botched attempt by Carlos’ squad to blow up a plane at an airport, and a daring daytime raid and hostage-taking at a German embassy.
Why he might win: If awards are based on ambition and audacity, Assayas has a great chance.
Maybe not: A long, subtitled, multi-language film with no stars? Not exactly vintage Emmy-winning material.
“Too Big to Fail”
Highlight: When Treasury secretary Hank Paulson (William Hurt) sits the CEOs of the nation’s top banks in a room, and Fed chair Ben Bernanke (Paul Giamatti) explains the oncoming financial cataclysm, a chill sweeps through the room.
Why he might win: Well-liked in the industry, Hanson manages a perfect balance of film savvy and TV classiness.
Maybe not: Heady material, with money techno-speak galore.
Highlight: When Kate Winslet’s Mildred discovers Evan Rachel Wood as daughter Veda making love to her husband Monty, played by Guy Pearce, the emotional fireworks unleash the most dramatic scene on TV this year.
Why he might win: With this number of noms for a virtual masterpiece? The director should win.
Maybe not: If voters decide against a “Mildred” sweep, or find any part of the ambitious project uneven, then perhaps no.
“Downton Abbey” (Part 1)
Highlight: Pick any scene that’s dominated by the presence of Maggie Smith’s Countess Violet, particularly those in which she goes on the offensive to ensure the marriage of eldest granddaughter Mary to an eligible suitor.
Why he might win: Emmy voters have a traditional weakness for British period dramas.
Maybe not: In terms of name recognition, Percival might not jump off the ballot.
Sheri Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini
Highlight: The meticulous re-creation of the turning-point scene in “An American Family,” in which Diane Lane’s Pat Loud tells Tim Robbins’ husband Bill in public what she thinks of philanderers.
Why they might win: Pulcini’s and Berman’s ability to bring PBS’ landmark doc back to life may win over voters with a long memory.
Maybe not: How many voters really remember the original?
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