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Emmy Predictions 2019: Best Animated Program

Ben Travers

Last Year’s Winner: “Rick and Morty”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: Out of 29 eligible seasons, “The Simpsons” has been nominated 26 times and won 10 times. In comparison, “South Park” has been nominated 17 times and one five times out of 21 eligible seasons. Those are high batting averages, but not the highest among multiple winners. “Bob’s Burgers” (which has won twice) has been nominated seven times in eight seasons, and  “Futurama” (another two-time winner) technically has eight nominations for just seven seasons — Comedy Central split the final two seasons into halves, qualifying four times, but still only counting as two full seasons.
Fun Fact: Here are a few need-to-know rules about the Best Animated Series category: Animated series are nominated for a single episode, but air three episodes in the eligibility period to qualify as a series; the episode’s writer can choose to be part of the animation team honored in this category or submit their episode for series writing categories, but they cannot submit to both; an animated program may be entered in a category either according to medium (animation) or content (comedy, children’s).
Notable Ineligible Series: “Rick and Morty,” “Archer”

At the bottom of this page are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Animated Series (listed in alphabetical order). This article will be updated throughout the season, so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz from the 2019 race, and read predictions in the rest of the categories, as well. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be given out Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15. The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, September 22. Fox is broadcasting the ceremony.

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The State of the Race

With last year’s winner out of the running, will the animated series race embrace change or revert to tradition? Though plenty of the same nominees pop up year after year, the TV Academy has been spreading its winners’ spotlight over multiple shows for the past decade — there hasn’t been a repeat champion since 2009, when “South Park” won its second straight Emmy.

Let’s start with the mainstays. “The Simpsons” is looking to break its own nomination record in the category by landing lucky No. 27. “South Park” hopes to keep pace with its eighteenth nod, while “Bob’s Burgers” could inch closer to double digits with its eighth nomination. All three have won multiple times before, with Fox’s newer comedy being the most recent (“Bob’s” won in 2017). Finally, last year’s surprise nominee “Big Hero 6: The Series” could go for a second nomination if it can submit the latter half of its season.

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That leaves a slot open for a few older shows looking to get back in the race — and a few more that want to break in for the first time. “Family Guy” hasn’t seen any Emmy love since 2008, while a slew of Netflix original series haven’t been nominated at all: “F Is For Family” is zero for two, “Big Mouth” missed in its freshman year, and the critically acclaimed “BoJack Horseman” has somehow been overlooked four times.

The fleet of newcomers could include at least five major contenders, as well as a little internal competition from Netflix. Not only does Netflix have established critical darlings (but unproven Emmy fare) in “BoJack” and “Big Mouth,” but it also has Matt Groening’s third creative project, “Disenchantment.” Both “The Simpsons” and “Futurama” played very well with the TV Academy, so reason dictates the creator’s latest piece will get quite a push from the deep-pocketed streamer.

But it also has David Fincher and Tim Miller’s experimental anthology series “Love, Death & Robots” — and Fincher himself hasn’t done too shabby with the Emmys either — as well as Lisa Hanawalt’s new comedy about 30-something bird-women, “Tuca and Bertie.” With the voice talents of Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong, this one should catch a few eyeballs when it launches in May. (It’s also getting a boost from the Tribeca Film Festival, which will host its world premiere May 1.) Finally, TBS offers “American Dad” and “Final Space,” while “Gen: Lock” hopes to represent for Rooster Teeth (and executive producer Michael B. Jordan).

Predicted Nominees:

  • “Big Mouth”
  • “Bob’s Burgers”
  • “BoJack Horseman”
  • “The Simpsons”
  • “South Park”

Spoilers: “Big Hero 6: The Series,” “Disenchantment,” “Family Guy,” “Love, Death + Robots,” “Tuca and Bertie”

In a Perfect World: “F Is For Family”

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