Female directors took home the Primetime Emmy Awards for comedy and drama series directing in the same year for the first time, as helmers from “Hacks” and “The Crown” prevailed against tough competition.
Lucia Aniello won for directing the pilot episode of “Hacks,” the HBO Max comedy that also won lead comedy actress for star Jean Smart. Aniello also won for comedy series writing along with “Hacks” co-creators and executive producers Jen Statsky and Paul W. Downs.
“It’s very surreal,” Aniello said of winning for writing. “It feels very much like a fever dream.”
Jessica Hobbs won for helming the fourth season finale of “The Crown,” the episode “War” depicting the depth of the dysfunction of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s doomed marriage. Hobbs’ win was part of an impressive near-sweep for “The Crown.” When pressed backstage, Hobbs said she tried not to think about how the retrospective would be received in 2021 but rather focus on the feelings that the characters would have had in the moment.
“I wouldn’t say we think so much about how they’ll be perceived,” Hobbs said, but rather “the real circumstances for the person at that the time.”
The last woman to win for drama series helming was Reed Morano, for the pilot of “The Handmaid’s Tale” in 2017. Before that, it was a more than 20-year gap after Mimi Leder’s win in 1995 for “ER.”
On the lighter side, women are no stranger to winning for comedy directing. In 2018, Amy Sherman-Palladino won for Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Gail Mancuso scored back-to-back wins in 2013 and 2014 for “Modern Family.”
The milestone wins for female helmers came one day after Lesli Linka Glatter, one of TV’s most prominent director-producers and a , was elected president of the Directors Guild of America. Glatter is a six-time Emmy nominee for drama series including “Homeland” and “Mad Men.”
Women creatives also took home key writing kudos, including Michaela Coel scoring writing for a limited series for HBO’s “I May Destroy You.”
“I just wrote a little something, for writers, really. Write the tale that scares you, that makes you feel uncertain, that is uncomfortable. I dare you,” Coel said in accepting her trophy for “I May Destroy You.” “In a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others to help us determine how we feel about ourselves, and see in turn still the need to be constantly visible, for visibility these days seems to show equate to success. Do not be afraid to disappear, from it, from us, for awhile and see what comes to you in the silence.”
(Pictured: Lucia Aniello and Jessica Hobbs)