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  17 Sep 2021, 10:17

Netflix finally eyes TV's top prize with 'The Crown' at in-person Emmys

   LOS ANGELES, Sept 17, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - Netflix is tipped to finally win
television's biggest prize Sunday as its critically adored British royals
drama "The Crown" battles "Star Wars" series "The Mandalorian" at an Emmys
ceremony held in front of a scaled-back live audience.

  Despite turning the entire TV landscape upside-down since its
groundbreaking online platform launched in 2007, leading streamer Netflix has
never won for best drama at the small-screen version of the Oscars -- nor
best comedy, nor best limited series.

  "'The Crown' does feel like it finally has come to the moment where it's
going to have its moment," Variety awards editor Clayton Davis told AFP.

  "It's going to be the first big series win for Netflix."

  As well as "The Crown" -- which in its fourth series depicts the ill-fated
marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana -- the streaming giant is
banking on the wildly popular "The Queen's Gambit."

  Starring Anya Taylor-Joy as a gifted but troubled chess prodigy, that show
sent chessboard sales skyrocketing worldwide, and is the favorite to win top
honors in the fiercely competitive limited series section -- for shows ending
after one season.

  Add in nominations for wide-ranging offerings from Regency romp
"Bridgerton" to nature documentary "David Attenborough: A Life on our Planet"
-- plus 34 Emmys won in technical categories announced ahead of Sunday's gala
-- and Netflix could be eyeing an all-time record haul.

  "What we're seeing is Netflix finally breaking through. They've always done
well with the nominations, but never the final tally," said Deadline
columnist Pete Hammond.

  "This is a turning point for them," he told AFP.

  If anyone can ruin the party, it will likely be Disney+, the new kid on the
TV streaming block in just its second year, bringing beloved big-screen
characters from "Star Wars" and Marvel films to the Emmys party.

  Baby Yoda and a digitally de-aged Luke Skywalker helped "The Mandalorian"
jointly top the overall nominations count alongside rival drama "The Crown."

  The other outside bet for best drama is "Pose" -- Billy Porter's LGBTQ-
focused show exploring New York's 1980s underground ballroom culture has
mounted a dazzling Emmys campaign for its final season.

  In limited series competition, quirky sitcom-inspired Marvel superhero show
"WandaVision" has exceeded all critical expectations.


  The category also features Kate Winslet's small-town detective drama "Mare
of Easttown," and British break-out series "I May Destroy You," which
examines the aftermath of a rape -- both from traditional Emmys juggernaut
HBO.

  - 'Fun, ritzy party' -

  Last year's ceremony -- held before coronavirus vaccines were available --
was an entirely virtual affair, with comedian Jimmy Kimmel standing in a
deserted downtown Los Angeles auditorium as winners beamed in via video.

  This time, comedian Cedric the Entertainer takes on hosting duties, with a
strict guest list of 500-odd nominees gathering in the venue's outdoor
section, under strict pandemic precautions including proof of inoculation.

  "Making that level of celebrities ill is not on our agenda," Emmys producer
Ian Stewart told Variety, nonetheless promising a "fun, ritzy party" for
those who clear security.

  With the Delta variant still raging and international travel complicated,
some overseas contenders including the cast of "The Crown" are expected to
dial in from a London satellite hub. The strategy echoes the approach adopted
last year by the cast of "Schitt's Creek," who swept every comedy acting
prize at the start of the Emmys ceremony as they beamed in from their base in
Toronto.

  This year, Apple TV+ phenomenon "Ted Lasso" is the comedy frontrunner,
including and Jason Sudeikis is a favorite for best actor for his work as an
out-of-his-depth American football coach handed control of an English soccer
team.

  "I think the show will end up with another 'Schitt's Creek' kind of
situation, where it wins everything in the first 45 minutes of the show,"
said Hammond.

  Many A-list stars are expected to appear Sunday, but others such as
"Friends: The Reunion" nominee Jennifer Aniston have decided to stay away for
health reasons.

  The slimmed-down audience capacity means some of those in contention will
not even have invitations.

  "It's going to look different," said Davis. "Hopefully, I just cross my
fingers this is the last 'hybrid' show that we see.

  "I'm really just hoping it's the last one. Because I'm done with them. And
I think the rest of America are."

 

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