‘Shōgun’ Shakes Up the Emmys Race With Move to Drama

Shōgun” is on the move. And it’s shaking up the Emmys race.

As announced earlier this week, the critically acclaimed FX drama, adapted from the 1975 historical novel by James Clavell, will officially compete in all drama categories at the 76th Primetime Emmy Awards.

This means “Shōgun,” which ended its 10-episode first season in April and was originally billed as a limited series, where it was considered an Emmy frontrunner, will now be competing with drama heavyweights such as Netflix’s “The Crown” and Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show.”

On the acting side, breakout star Anna Sawai will be in consideration for her first Emmy nomination, in the lead drama actress category, which is likely to also include recent Oscar winner Emma Stone (“The Curse”), Imelda Staunton (“The Crown”) and Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon (“The Morning Show”). She could push out other actresses in the running, like Carrie Coon from HBO’s “The Gilded Age.”

A similar argument can be made for Hiroyuki Sanada, who is vying for a lead drama actor nomination, along with co-star Cosmo Jarvis, who both join the conversation opposite contenders Dominic West (“The Crown”), Gary Oldman (“Slow Horses”), Donald Glover (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith”) and Walton Goggins (“Fallout”). A nomination for Sanada would mark only the second time an Asian actor was recognized, after “Squid Game’s” Lee Jung-jae.

The “Shōgun” switch allows for a tiny bit of breathing room in the crowded limited series field, boosting the chances of contenders like FX’s “Fargo,” HBO’s “True Detective: Night Country,” the Netflix phenomenon “Baby Reindeer” and Apple TV+’s “Lessons in Chemistry.” Netflix’s “Ripley” and Apple TV+’s “Masters of the Air” could also benefit from the vacated slot.

The show’s category move has been rumored to be in the works for the past several weeks. Some prognosticators thought “Shōgun” would follow the example set by HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” which won best limited series at the 2017 Emmys before then switching to the drama category to make way for a second season, which came in 2019. FX/Hulu has teased the possibility of second and third seasons, re-upping with Sanada (who also exec-produces) and announcing it was in discussion with the James Clavell estate to continue the story. Co-creators Justin Marks and Rachel Kondo, and executive producer Michaela Clavell are all on board for more episodes.

Set in 1600s feudal Japan, “Shōgun” follows a shipwrecked Englishman, John Blackthorne (Jarvis), who is found marooned in a fishing village and comes bearing secrets that could help Lord Yoshii Toranaga (Sanada) tip the scales of power and weaken the influence of Blackthorne’s enemies. Their fates become tied to their translator, Toda Mariko (Sawai), a mysterious Christian noblewoman and the last of a disgraced line. While serving her lord, Mariko is forced to come to terms with her newfound companionship with Blackthorne, her commitment to the faith that saved her and her duty to her late father.

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