The jury is still out on whether Amazon Freevee’s mockumentary sitcom “Jury Duty” will be able to break into the Emmys race, but the excitement for the comedy has taken the TV world by storm, and Amazon sees an opening for it.
Variety has learned exclusively Amazon plans to submit the eight-episode inaugural season for the Emmy comedy categories, seeking recognition in over a dozen key races including acting, writing and directing.
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Created by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, the series follows the inner workings of a jury trial through the eyes of Ronald Gladden, a solar contractor from San Diego, who is unaware that his jury duty summons was not official and everyone on the jury aside from him, is an actor.
Gladden has been the comedy’s breakout star of the series and will seek TV Academy consideration in the lead comedy actor race, where he’d have to face off against seasoned Emmy winners like Bill Hader (“Barry”), Steve Martin (“Only Murders in the Building”) and Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”). However, whether or not the Television Academy will deem Gladden, who isn’t an “actor” and the only person unaware the case was fake, eligible to compete, remains a question heading into the submissions deadline.
Gladden has been an audience favorite, becoming the unknowing star of his version of “The Truman Show.” There’s precedent for such mockumentary-esque performances being recognized. Will Arnett may have played detective Terry Seattle on Netflix’s “Murderville,” which had a different celebrity and case in each of its six episodes, but the TV Academy deemed it ineligible to submit for variety sketch. Instead, it had to compete in the comedy races where its guests Conan O’Brien, Marshawn Lynch and Sharon Stone all submitted in their respective categories.
Some elements are similar to past nominees like Larry David, who plays a fictionalized version of himself in HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and Michael J. Fox, who picked up a nom for guest comedy actor for playing himself. You could also look at anyone from NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” that has picked up multiple acting mentions throughout its nearly 50-year run. “Reno 911” brought two noms to Kerry Kenney, as Deputy Trudy Wiegel, when it was on Comedy Central before moving to The Roku Channel, although in the short-form acting categories where it was eligible.
The “Jury Duty” ensemble, notably James Marsden, who plays an exaggerated version of himself as an alternate juror, will be submitted in the supporting comedy races (and it’s quite possibly his finest acting performance of his career yet). The other actors eligible to submit include Mekki Leeper, Edy Modica, Ishmel Sahid, David Brown, Cassandra Blair, Maria Russell, Kirk Fox, Susan Berger, Ross Kimball, Pramode Kumar, Ron Song and Brandon Loeser.
Noteworthy, it would be difficult to imagine a world where Susie Farris wouldn’t be considered a slam dunk entry for best comedy casting for managing to assemble this ragtag team of comedians (and one non-actor) who are perfectly made for this absurd court case.
The directing by Jake Szymanski and the various writing teams will also be submitted for attention, although Amazon has yet to confirm which episodes, in particular, will be chosen.
Emmy submissions are due on Tuesday, May 9.
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