While “True Detective” star Matthew McConaughey was considered the frontrunner in the lead drama actor race at the 2014 Emmy Awards, it was director Cary Joji Fukunaga who scored the show’s sole win for Outstanding Directing at Monday’s ceremony. The season’s only director, Fukunaga won the gong for “Who Goes There,” which featured a six-minute, single-take tracking shot at the close of the hour.
The series also won four awards at the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony, including casting, makeup, main title design and cinematography. McConaughey and costar Woody Harrelson lost out to “Breaking Bad” lead Bryan Cranston, and the departing AMC series also took home the Outstanding Drama award.
“Detective” may have suffered from competing in the crowded drama category, when most pundits considered the anthology show a miniseries, in the same vein as “Fargo” and “American Horror Story.” A similar fate befell “Orange is the New Black,” which competed in the comedy category and lost to “Modern Family,” instead of vying for the drama prize.
Fukunaga reflected that being the only director of the season presented “a lot of difficult challenges” and “an immense amount of work,” but that being the sole auteur on a TV show is appealing because “you ensure that your vision, along with the writers’ vision, will be continuous.” He pointed to the work of Steven Soderbergh on Cinemax’s “The Knick” as an example of a director establishing a particular template for a new series. “Steve had to go and one-up me with one more episode,” he joked, of the drama’s ten-episode order.
Though he admitted that “Breaking Bad” and other, more established series “deserve to win the awards,” Fukunaga conceded that “any kind of recognition is great for the show… it’s awesome that people are recognizing the value of the quality of the work.”
Addressing the show’s recent plagiarism controversy — and McConaughey and Harrelson’s playful response during the telecast — Fukunaga said, “I think they treated it just right. You have to make fun of it, you can’t take that seriously.”
The director will not be returning for season two of “True Detective,” and wryly told reporters, “I definitely cannot tell you who’s been cast or any of the plot points.” Instead, he’ll return to film, having recently wrapped “Beasts of No Nation” with Idris Elba, which he’ll be editing until January.