Only one week ago, Prime Video’s spring smash hit miniseries Daisy Jones and The Six ended its four week run with a deeply felt finale that gave fans everything they wanted and more. But is “a fan-favorite” all that Daisy Jones and The Six is? Or can it fly even higher?
While Prime Video has yet to release any official viewership numbers for Daisy Jones just yet, it’s been #1 or #2 on their “Top 10 in the US” chart ever since its first three episodes dropped on March 2nd (truly only falling to #2 two weeks ago with the release of Janine Nabers and Donald Glover’s hotly anticipated Swarm), and it’s been a dominant force in the pop culture discourse on social media all month long. And while critics are mostly “medium” on the series – giving it a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 62 on Metacritic – audiences have much stronger adoration for it, resulting in an 81% audience score on RT, an 8.1/10 on IMDb, and a 4.3/5 on Letterboxd. Throw in the star power that series leads Riley Keough and Sam Claflin possess, and you start to see a potential Emmy contender take shape.
The best news for Daisy Jones is that, thus far, the Limited or Anthology Series field for this year’s Emmys remains in flux. Many assume that Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, Hulu’s Fleishman Is in Trouble, and Apple TV+’s Black Bird will take up three spots, but what of the other three? There’s Showtime’s George and Tammy (for which Jessica Chastain just won a SAG Award, making her a strong contender for the Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series Emmy, which raises her show’s profile), but it could just be seen as a performance showcase. Then there’s HBO Max’s White House Plumbers and Love & Death, but the former will be a “late-breaker” (only starting to air on May 1), while the latter (premiering April 27) could be like George and Tammy and contend solely as a performance showcase for star Elizabeth Olsen.
Beyond those contenders, it’s kind of slim pickings, which allows a mainstream hit like Daisy Jones to rise above its less laudatory critical notices and put up a fight for a spot as past averagely received but “zeitgeist-y” nominees have in this category (Little Fires Everywhere, Inventing Anna, Pam & Tommy, and so on and so forth). Additionally, it does help that Daisy Jones appears to be Prime Video’s main push in the miniseries categories, allowing them to devote almost all their efforts to it. There is the aforementioned Swarm to consider, but Daisy Jones has demonstrated stronger saying power than that show (both in viewership and in social media discussion, partly due to its nature as a weekly release as opposed to a “binge”) and seems to be stronger in a larger number of categories, while it might be smarter to single in on a select few for Swarm (such as Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series for star Dominique Fishback).
What are these categories Daisy Jones can contend in? Well, at the moment, I believe the show to be strongest in Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series (despite it quickly becoming crowded, as you can already tell from how many times it’s been mentioned in this article) thanks to Riley Keough’s towering portrayal of the title character – it may even be stronger here than in the main Limited or Anthology Series category. It’s such a staggering star turn (and maybe the best yet for the actress, who has been steadily on the rise for the past decade thanks to her celebrated contributions to indie film in features like American Honey, Logan Lucky, Zola, and more) and easily the “showiest” from the ensemble that she stands out as the show’s best chance for acting recognition, and though this category is – as has been stated – crowded (with Chastain, Olsen, and Fishback all throwing their names into the ring alongside Fleishman Is in Trouble‘s Lizzy Caplan and The English‘s Emily Blunt), I think Keough has what it takes to remain in the conversation, no matter how her miniseries performs elsewhere.
Even still, I do believe Daisy Jones has the ability to perform well elsewhere too, starting with the other acting categories. Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series is no less crowded a category than Lead Actress – with Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story‘s Evan Peters, Black Bird‘s Taron Egerton, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story‘s Daniel Radcliffe, George and Tammy‘s Michael Shannon, and Fleishman Is in Trouble‘s Jesse Eisenberg all in the mix – but since Daisy Jones is truly such a two-hander between Keough and co-star Sam Claflin, it feels foolish to not consider him here, since he has become a “big name” in his own right too and shares so many of her showiest scenes with her (and has quite a few of his own as well).
The next likeliest star to net an acting nomination for the show would be Camila Morrone – playing Camila, the wife of Sam Claflin’s character Billy and the last (yet certainly not least) member of this chaotic love triangle of sorts – as she’s asked to carry many of the show’s most brutal emotional beats and she does so with wondrous grace, which has even made her the MVP of the miniseries for many thanks to her ability to empathetically explore a complicated character and refuse to reduce her to “the wife.” Morrone may be the least well known of this trio, but she’s still on her way up in the industry, turning heads in 2018’s Never Goin’ Back and 2019’s Mickey and the Bear before knocking it out of the park here, in her highest profile part yet. Her Emmy hopes are also helped by the fact that the Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series field is wide open right now – with only Fleishman Is in Trouble‘s Claire Danes and Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story‘s Niecy Nash-Betts seen as “sure things.”
Elsewhere, if Daisy Jones does make it into the Miniseries line-up, it would make sense for it to be competitive in the directing and writing categories too. James Ponsoldt – of The Spectacular Now and The End of the Tour fame – directed the pilot and the following four episodes, and his name recognition could help him. However, it’s Nzingha Stewart whose direction stands out the most in my opinion, particularly due to the fact that she handles much of the show’s most kinetic concert scenes and kills it (in episode 6 and episodes 8-10), transporting us back to these vibrant venues in the 1970s with sumptuous style to spare. And when it comes to writing, should the show truly “pop,” I could easily see series developers (and Oscar nominees) Scott Neustadter and Micheal H. Weber nab a nom for writing the pilot, though I’d personally pull for Harris Danow and his immensely affecting adaptation of the book’s ending in the show’s final episode, “Track 10: Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide.”
Below-the-line, Daisy Jones should continue to shine. Thanks to it being a period piece recreating the looks and locales of 1970s America, it seems like a shoo-in for nominations in categories such as Outstanding Period Costumes, Outstanding Period and/or Character Hairstyling, Outstanding Period and/or Character Makeup (Non-Prosthetic), and Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Period or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More). Furthermore, it’s also more than worthy of recognition in Outstanding Casting for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie (the best way to recognize the effectiveness of the entire ensemble), Outstanding Main Title Design, Outstanding Picture Editing for a Limited or Anthology Series (for how deftly it transitions between the storylines of the past and the present), and Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited or Anthology Series/Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Limited or Anthology Series (those concert scenes don’t just sound like that on their own).
And of course, I’d be remiss to not mention its monstrously high chances at earning Emmy attention in the music categories, particularly for Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited or Anthology Series. Frankly, you could fill up this entire field with song’s from the show’s companion soundtrack Aurora, but if I were Prime Video, I would only focus on a few, with my primary pick being the profusely popular “Look At Us Now (Honeycomb).” It’s the first song Daisy and Billy sing together, it represents the moment they join forces as musicians (and begin to fall in love), and it’s just that damn good. “The River” – as their most performed piece at concerts – strike me as a strong #2, but I would concentrate their energy on getting a win over filling up the field with nominations, and I think “Look At Us Now” is their best bet to take home a trophy.
It’s still early days for Emmy season, and there could be a lot of shake-ups between now and May 31 (the end of the eligibility period). Still, Daisy Jones has done all its needed to thus far, drawing attention for its ability to become a mainstream crossover hit with considerable support on social media, and though it may not be as explicitly “prestige-y” as some other miniseries contenders, it’s got “good enough” critical scores to stay in the conversation and the powerhouse performances and consummate craftwork to stand out even further. So as you put together your first Emmy predictions of the year, don’t underestimate Daisy Jones and the power of Prime Video’s campaigning prowess.