An exciting and welcomed twist to the Emmy race for outstanding television movie has arrived, as Mimi Cave’s horror-comedy “Fresh,” starring Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones, is being submitted for Primetime Emmy consideration.
This offers an interesting possibility in a category that hasn’t drummed up much excitement over the last couple of years. While buzzy titles like “Bad Education” and three consecutive “Black Mirror” episodes dominated, the soulful purpose of the category has seemed to be missing. Last year’s winner, “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square,” was the only film of the five other nominees to have another Emmy nomination (for outstanding choreography for scripted programming, which it won for Debbie Allen).
Since the separation of the TV movie and limited series categories in 1992 (merged again in 2011 before being separated again in 2014), there’s never been a traditional horror film nominated in the category. So while the category is stacked with contenders such as HBO’s “The Survivor” from Barry Levinson and Netflix’s animated feature “The House” contending for recognition, perhaps “Fresh” could be the first for the genre?
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The switcharoo also highlights the banner year for its star Sebastian Stan, who will now have another shot at gold for his work as Steve, the charming and cannibalistic serial killer — another strong outing alongside his turn in the miniseries “Pam and Tommy,” also from Hulu. While the categories for outstanding limited series and outstanding television movie are separated at the Emmys, the actors from both sides compete in the acting categories. However, while his work by him on “Fresh” is undoubtedly entertaining, the Romanian-born performer has a significantly better shot for his interpretation of Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee.
The 39-year-old’s alluring talents have been a fascinating journey to watch unfold in Hollywood over the last decade. While getting his start as the gambling addict Carter Baizen in the classic series “Gossip Girl,” he’s churned out incredible performances in films such as “I, Tonya” (2017) and “Destroyer” (2018). His most recognizable character of him has been Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, most recently appearing in the Disney+ drama series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”
Though Stan has unfortunately garnered few accolades thus far, aside from a Critics Choice nom for “Political Animals” in 2013, he may finally be within arm’s reach for his first major awards nomination. He also has a role in Emmy winner Benjamin Caron’s (“The Crown”) directorial debut film “Sharper,” opposite Julianne Moore and John Lithgow, due out later this year from A24 and Apple Original Films.
“Fresh” is another potential Emmy vehicle for Stan’s co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones, best known for her stunning work in the miniseries “Normal People” and now co-starring opposite another MCU superhero actor, Andrew Garfield, in FX’s crime-thriller “Under the Banner of Heaven.” In addition, Edgar-Jones has an upcoming role in Olivia Newman’s adaptation of “Where the Crawdads Sing” from Sony Pictures, produced by Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter.
Written by Lauryn Hahn, “Fresh” was acquired by Searchlight Pictures ahead of its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January. In March, the film released on Hulu and received positive marks from critics and audiences.
Adam McKay and Kevin J. Messick produced the thriller. McKay is a two-time Emmy-winner for outstanding variety special live (2019 for “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’”) and outstanding drama series (HBO’s “Succession” in 2020). Off his recent Oscar nomination for Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up,” this marks one of four possible noms McKay can receive this year — HBO’s “Succession” (drama series), “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” ( drama series and directing the episode “The Swan”) and “The Invisible Pilot” (documentary series).
The current Emmy predictions for outstanding television movie are below. The full rankings can be found on Variety Awards Circuit prediction pages and are updated every Thursday.