Worth its weight in fame: China looks sharp ahead of this year’s Emmy Awards

The Emmy award is a copper, nickel, silver and gold sculpture of a winged muse holding aloft an atom – representing the television “arts and sciences” – and wholesale she’s not worth much more than $US400.
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To the winner – either the television programs which take out drama, comedy and limited series, or the actors, directors and writers nominated for those same programs – the long-term value is much greater.

The precise economics of an award’s “worth”, however, is hard to pin down.

The Oscar “bump”, as its known, is worth an average of around $US14 million in box office terms.

Nicole Kidman was nominated for the lead actress Emmy for her role in Big Little Lies. Photo: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle

Television’s commercial metric is harder to break open, but few disagree an Emmy win is worth its weight in … well, at the very least copper, nickel, silver and gold.

Some shows –The West Wing,30 RockandLostamong them – actually posted audience drops after Emmy wins; but others, such asThe Shield, were saved from commercial uncertainty because the afterglow of the Emmy win soothed skittish advertisers.

is going into this year’s 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards with an impressive form, and two wins from four nominations at last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Fashion designer Perry Meek and creative director John McKelvey won outstanding costumes in a variety, nonfiction or reality program and outstanding commercial respectively; Sam Neill and Ben Mendelsohn, nominated for outstanding narrator and outstanding guest actor, lost out.

Luminous performance: Judy Davis as Hedda Hopper in Feud.

But we sail into this weekend’s “night of nights” with a robust form: actors Nicole Kidman, Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis, director Kate Dennis and producer Bruna Papandrea all up for key awards.

Given the critical acclaim for their work – notably the stunning reviews forBig Little LiesandThe Handmaid’s Tale– we’re in with a reasonable chance in the categories where we are competing.

And for Dennis in particular, the nomination alone has been transformational, effectively shifting her into a high tier of Hollywood directors: among themBetter Call Saul’s Vince Gilligan,The Crown’s Stephen Daldry andHomeland’s Lesli Linka Glatter.

Coming out of last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys – where the first 93 of the 120 Emmy Awards were given out in a heaving two-night extravaganza – Netflix’sStranger Thingsand HBO’sWestworldwere trending strongest.

Those two shows took home five Emmys apiece, ahead of HBO’sThe Night Of(which had four wins),Big Little Lies,The Handmaid’s TaleandVeep(three wins apiece) andThe CrownandFeud: Bette and Joan(two wins apiece).

The night’s biggest category – outstanding drama – is almost splitting at the seams, but was gifted a little breathing room by the absence ofGame of Throneswhich, this year, fell outside the qualifying airdate.

Director Kate Dennis is an Emmy nominee for her work on The Handmaid’s Tale. Photo: Paul Harris

The seven nominees are:The Crown,The Handmaid’s Tale,Westworld,Stranger Things,This Is Us,Better Call SaulandHouse of Cards.

It’s a formidable lineup, and whileThe Crown,WestworldandThe Handmaid’s Taleare rock solid contenders, it’s hard to imagine notoriously weepy American sensibilities not giving the award toThis Is Us. Given it’s a network show, that’s a huge win.

In the drama acting categories, its hard to go pastThis Is Us’ Sterling K. Brown for outstanding actor in a drama series. He was luminous. For outstanding actress, most likely it’s Elisabeth Moss forThe Handmaid’s Tale. (Unless she’s given a royal outpacing byThe Crown’s Claire Foy.)

The seven outstanding comedy nominees areBlack-ish,Atlanta,Veep,Master of None,Silicon Valley,Unbreakable Kimmy SchmidtandModern Family.

It’sVeep’s to lose, particularly given the clock is now ticking towards its series finale, butBlack-ishis a strong emerging contender and it would be nice to see a network comedy wrestle the award back from cable.

In the comedy acting categories, the smart money is on Donald Glover fromAtlanta, unless he’s bumped byTransparent’s Jeffrey Tambor; outstanding actress will surely go toVeep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, though it would be nice to see it go toBlack-ish’s Tracee Ellis Ross.

2017 Primetime Emmys n form guideNicole Kidman, nominated for outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie.

Up against:Felicity Huffman, Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon and Reese Witherspoon.

Prediction:Kidman’s stunning performance inBig Little Liesought to secure the win, but Hollywood has a hard-to-shake affection for Lange.

Geoffrey Rush, nominated for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie.

Up against:Riz Ahmed, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert De Niro, Ewan McGregor and John Turturro.

Prediction:In a dense field, Ahmed and Turturro are serious contenders, but it’s hard to see anyone outpacing Robert De Niro.

Judy Davis, nominated for outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie.

Up against:Laura Dern, Jackie Hoffman, Regina King, Michelle Pfeiffer, Shailene Woodley.

Prediction:Tough to predict; Davis’ performance was luminous but ifBig Little Liessweeps the night it’s down to Dern and Woodley.

Kate Dennis, nominated for outstanding directing for a drama series.

Up against:Vince Gilligan, Stephen Daldry, Reed Morano, Lesli Linka Glatter, the Duffer Brothers and Jonathan Nolan.

Prediction:Dennis is the dark horse in a tight race, but Nolan’sWestworldand the Duffer Brothers’Stranger Thingsare both favourites.

Bruna Papandrea, nominated (as producer ofBig Little Lies) for outstanding limited series.

Up against:Fargo,Feud: Bette and Joan,GeniusandThe Night Of.

Prediction:Aside from strong contenders inFeud: Bette and Joanand HBO’s amazingThe Night Of,Big Little Liesshould have this sewn up.

The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air live on Monday from 10am on FOX8 or can be streamed on Foxtel Now