Danny Strong’s sobering and kaleidoscopic look at the opioid crisis landed 14 nominations, including directing, writing and six for acting, and can boast a certain social import that its competitors cannot. It already won a Peabody Award and a SAG Award for Michael Keaton, who as Dr. Samuel Finnix looks unstoppable in the lead-actor-in-a-limited-series race.
The Dropout (Hulu)
Elizabeth Meriwether’s show about Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes (played by Amanda Seyfried) rolled out more recently than any of its competitors (March-April 2022) and is tied for the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of the lot (89 percent). Its six nominations include two for directing and one for writing, but it earned just one acting nom (for Seyfried).
Inventing Anna (Netflix)
Another ripped-from-the-headlines entry is this recounting of the misdeeds of Anna Delvey, aka Anna Sorokin, whose scams were uncovered by a New York magazine exposé. Its three nominations (the others are for star Julia Garner and casting) are a category low, as is its Rotten Tomatoes score (64 percent). But it may well have been seen by the most voters.
Pam & Tommy (Hulu)
A third Hulu contender is Robert Siegel and D.V. DeVincentis’ look back at the mid-’90s theft of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s sex tape and its impact on the stars’ careers. It feels a bit lightweight, but it did land a formidable 10 nominations, including mentions for stars Lily James and Sebastian Stan (who play Anderson and Lee), although none for directing or writing.
The White Lotus (HBO)
Mike White’s quirky look at class and racial tensions at a Hawaiian resort — in which guests (and workers) experience vacations from hell — was released the longest time ago (summer 2021) but is the most nominated by far (20, including eight acting nominations) and is tied for the highest Rotten Tomatoes score (89 percent). A second installment has already been announced.
Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers (Disney+)
Director Akiva Schaffer’s blend of live action and animation, with its title characters voiced by John Mulaney and Andy Samberg, has evoked comparisons to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, another PG-rated, self-referential comedy. Released May 20 (more recently than any other nominee), it’s at a solid 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Ray Donovan: The Movie (Showtime)
The story that would’ve been told in the Showtime drama series’ eighth and final season, had the show not been unexpectedly canceled in February 2020, was condensed by showrunner David Hollander into this film, which reunited the original cast, led by Liev Schreiber, and stands at a category-high 87 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Reno 911!: The Hunt for QAnon (Paramount+)
The Cops parody that ran on Comedy Central from 2003 to 2009, and briefly thereafter on Quibi and The Roku Channel, returns for another off-the-wall story about hapless law enforcers, this time venturing on an alt-right booze cruise. It wasn’t widely enough reviewed to have a Rotten Tomatoes rating, but it was rated abysmally by viewers.
The Survivor (HBO)
Barry Levinson directed Ben Foster in this drama — not a true made-for-TV movie, but an acquisition from 2021’s Toronto International Film Festival — about an Auschwitz prisoner who literally had to fight for his life to survive the Holocaust. It’s at 85 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but Foster, who dropped 62 pounds for the role, wasn’t nominated for his leading role.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas (Roku)
This category’s only entry with multiple noms (it’s also up for choreography) revived a series canceled in June 2021 by NBC after two seasons and answered its central question: How did Zoey get her special powers? It dropped Dec. 1, longer ago than any of its competitors, but delighted fans (who rated it 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes).
This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.