With Tom Hiddleston reprising his beloved character, the six episodes of Marvel Studios’ “Loki,” which premiered on Disney+ in June 2021, were a massive success for the phase four entry. Disney and Marvel are hoping to have a similar success after the limited series “WandaVision” led the Emmy nomination field with 23. After initial plans to submit it in limited series, Variety has learned exclusively that “Loki” will seek Emmy love in the drama categories.
Disney’s original plan was to submit the third MCU TV series in the limited series field alongside its other MCU counterparts “Hawkeye” with Jeremy Renner and “Moon Knight” with Oscar Isaac. But, unfortunately, that’s not so simple because of “Loki’s” post-credits scene in the final episode that reads: “Loki will return in season 2.”
According to the Television Academy rules and regulations, the criteria to compete in limited series: “The program must tell a complete, non-recurring story, and not have an ongoing storyline or main characters in subsequent seasons.”
The Primetime Emmys have been actively trying to crack down on the designations of series, with some that return for subsequent seasons. This has been an ongoing issue, and the Television Academy has been making various tweaks and rule changes over the last decade to address it. After merging limited series and tv movies in 2011, the two entities were separated again in 2014 with the rising popularity of anthology series like “American Horror Story.”
In 2017, HBO’s “Big Little Lies” nearly swept the limited series categories, including three acting wins for Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgård and Laura Dern. However, they announced a second season after its awards run, forcing the 2019 sophomore outing to compete in drama series. This is an ongoing issue the TV Academy has been trying to address but hasn’t cracked the code yet.
As the second season gears up for shooting, Disney and Marvel were left with no other choice but to proceed with either drama or comedy submissions, which echoed their decision with “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” last awards season. However, drama is the smarter choice for “Loki” due to the competitive nature of comedies this year that include the returns of FX’s “Atlanta,” HBO’s “Barry” and Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
So is there room for Hiddleston and others on the drama side of the house?
The English-born actor already has been embraced by the Emmy community before for AMC’s “The Night Manager” in 2016 for outstanding limited series (as one of the executive producers) and lead actor limited. He’s a well-known and respected actor in Hollywood. However, it may be tough to maneuver around the likes of the “Succession” men (Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong) and the final seasons of “Better Call Saul” (Bob Odenkirk) and “Ozark” (Jason Bateman), aside from it being a genre show, something that’s harder to nab attention.
All six episodes were helmed by Kate Herron, credited with constructing an impressive artisan team and building the audacious sets for the Time Variance Authority. While paying homage to science fiction classics like Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” (1982) and Terry Gillam’s “Brazil” (1985), she could be a strong contender for a nom, even if the series may face an uphill battle in the top category. Per Emmy rules for submitting for outstanding directing in a drama series, a director can only submit themselves for one episode solely, as opposed to limited series, if they helm every episode, the entire show acts as their representation (i.e., Scott Frank for “The Queen’s Gambit” and Barry Jenkins for “The Underground Railroad”). So the question becomes, what episode does Herron submit? Conventional wisdom points towards episode three (essentially “Before Sunset” on an alien planet) or episode five (that introduces the multiple Lokis).
The Creative Arts categories will have plenty to chew on from the series in categories like production design, cinematography and visual effects. Composer Natalie Holt’s aural work has also been a noteworthy highlight. She could be a specific highlight in the campaign for outstanding music composition for a series, especially since a woman has yet to win the category since its inception in 1966. She has one previous nom for PBS’ “Victoria” in 2017.
Aside from “Hawkeye” and “Moon Knight” competing in limited series, Marvel also has the anthology series “What If…?” that was created by A.C. Bradley. However, it will compete for outstanding animated program.
Created by Emmy winner Michael Waldron (outstanding animated program for “Rick and Morty”), the show follows the events of “Avengers: Endgame” (2019), where Loki steals the Tesseract and is now placed into an alternate reality. The series also stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku, Eugene Cordero, Tara Strong, Owen Wilson, Sophia Di Martino, Sasha Lane, Jack Veal, DeObia Oparei, Richard E. Grant, and Jonathan Majors.
“Loki” is now streaming on Disney+.