Hamilton Benefits From Category Fraud At Emmys

Lin-Manuel Miranda is Alexander Hamilton in HAMILTON, the filmed version of the original Broadway production. Courtesy of Disney.

When Hamilton bypassed theaters and launched on Disney+, there were questions about whether or not it would be eligible for an Oscar.

It turned out, however, that Hamilton did not meet the qualifications even with a planned theatrical release. It’s a filmed Broadway musical so it’s not exactly a documentary either. When Disney submitted the film to the Critics Choice Awards, they did so as a TV movie. This answered the immediate question of how they were going to campaign Hamilton. But come Emmy night, there was a lot of confusion. How does Hamilton get a number of nominations for actors in Best Limited Series, Anthology or Movie while winning Best Variety Special (Pre-Recorded. You cannot have it both ways! I like Hamilton. It’s a fine musical but this is a case of category fraud through and through. All you need to do is take a look at social media following the Emmys.

This is one of those areas that perhaps the Television Academy will need to reevaluate going forward. Are we going to see this next year with Come From Away from Apple TV+? Or are they not going to bother with campaigning it? What about the upcoming Netflix’s upcoming Princess Diana musical? Where do these musicals fit in the bigger picture? Are they variety specials? Or are they TV movies? I think this is something that the Academy needs to just outright tell us one way or the other. If you nominate actors for a TV movie category, there should not be any kind of win in the Variety category. If you ask me, it’s category fraud.

Listen, there is a lot to say about tonight’s broadcast. However, I’m going to stick with this particular subject for now. How is it that the Academy nominates actors in one category but the musical in another? It makes zero sense! Is this a Disney FYC thing or is this a case of the Academy screwing everyone over? From the outside looking in, it’s frustrating. Saturday Night Live stars do get nominated for the comedy series category but to be fair, it’s a variety sketch series and is also a comedy series when you think about it. The same cannot be said for the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical. A TV movie by default is not a variety special. You cannot have it both ways.

Hamilton is currently streaming on Disney+.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.