This year’s winter awards season offers a plethora of limited series with strong ensembles.
In a Variety Awards Circuit video presented by HBO, senior editors Danielle Turchiano and Michael Schneider revealed their predictions for how limited series like “Mare of Easttown” and “White Lotus” may perform at the Critics Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Golden Globes — and unfortunately, how ensemble casts may not get the recognition they deserve.
“I think everyone knows [‘Mare of Easttown’] is beloved. It won a number of Emmys — and had ‘Queen’s Gambit’ not been in the running, it would’ve won the limited series,” said Turchiano.
Jean Smart, who plays Helen in the series, has been lauded not only for “Mare of Easttown,” but for “Hacks,” which continues to earn critical acclaim.
“Jean Smart continues to be a double threat with both that and ‘Hacks’ in the winter awards space,” said Schneider.
“White Lotus,” meanwhile, maintained its momentum earlier this year partly thanks to its traditional release strategy.
“That was a show that we were all talking about — that smart aspect of HBO doling it out week to week meant that we were obsessing over it for weeks on end,” said Schneider.
Does this mean it’s finally time for Jennifer Coolidge, whose performance generated praise and memes aplenty, for her moment in the limelight?
“This has to be her time, it has to be,” insisted Turchiano.
Murray Bartlett also captivated audiences as an unhinged hotel manager in Mike White’s HBO series.
“I mean, that’s a character actor who killed it — I expect more good things for him in the future, but I think he definitely needs to be recognized for playing that character,” remarked Schneider.
Another top contender is “Dopesick,” starring Michael Keaton in his first leading television role.
“He’s been celebrated before on the film side of ballots like Critics Choice and Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild, when it comes to ensemble,” said Turchiano. “A: he’s stepping into TV, which is a major deal, and B: he’s surrounded by so many great people that really bring humanity and life to, effectively, a news headline.”
There are some doubts as to whether voters took to limited series that were darker in nature, including “Scenes From a Marriage” and “The Underground Railroad.”
“Because it’s so emotionally raw, I wonder if everybody is able to sit down and finish it,” Turchiano said of the former, starring Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac.
Schenider added, “That’s kind of an issue, especially limited series, to dive into some really tough subjects that are really well done but nonetheless, a barrier to entry to some voters.”
With some of the best ensemble TV casts in limited series, Schneider said it was unfortunate that there wasn’t a specific limited series ensemble category at the SAG Awards.
“It’s unfortunate that there’s not that category, but at least, individually, those can be awarded in other award shows, too,” said Schneider.
Watch the full discussion above.