Michaela Coel’s “I May Destroy You” is on quite a roll: after picking up two BAFTA Awards and a Peabody, the HBO limited series is now officially in the running for Emmys, winning nine nominations Tuesday.
The series was nominated in the limited or anthology race, and Coel scored in the lead limited series/TV movie actress race. These mark creator and star Coel’s first-ever Emmy nominations. Meanwhile, Paapa Essiedu was nominated in the supporting limited series/TV movie actor category.
Other nominations include limited series/movie casting, limited series/movie/special directing, limited series/movie writing, contemporary costumes and music supervision.
The 12-episode series launched on the premium cabler in June 2020 and was a hit with critics and audiences alike right out of the gate. Variety‘s own chief television critic Caroline Framke reviewed the series then as a “blazing new series” and “an astonishing work of patience, empathy and, finally, understanding.”
It continued to make headlines through the winter when the HFPA snubbed both the series and star Coel at the 78th annual Golden Globes, while SAG voters nominated Coel and Broadcast Film Critics Assn. voters nominated both Coel and the series. Coel didn’t pick up wins at the SAG Awards, nor at the Critics Choice Awards, but she did nab the two aforementioned BAFTA trophies (for herself as lead actress and the series as a whole) in May and a Peabody in June.
As Emmy FYC season got underway, momentum just kept rolling, which can be rare for series that launched almost a calendar year earlier. During nominations-round For Your Consideration season, “I May Destroy You” and Coel herself became early favorites among quite a number of contenders. Variety polled more than 130 Emmy hopefuls and 21.5% of them selected “I May Destroy You” as the series they hoped would be nominated — the majority by a mile.
Even Coel’s peers in the limited series category were rooting for the show. As “WandaVision” creator Jac Schaeffer put it, “I think that it is groundbreaking in the truest sense of the word. She took subject matter that can be so tough and alienating and complex, and she invited us entirely inside the experience and it was funny and deeply surprising, and the twists and turns of that show go so far beyond narrative cleverness.”