The limited series may be home to some of the coolest, most creative work on television, and at the Emmys tonight The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story dominated the format, taking home five different awards — including Outstanding Limited Series.
Created by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood), the Ryan Murphy-produced show is a fictional account of the O.J. Simpson trial, and started Emmy season as a standout with 22 nominations (it was bested only by Game of Thrones, with 23 nominations). The show had already won four awards as part of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards last weekend, where it was lauded for more technical categories like editing and sound mixing. But Sunday night's ceremony was where the show was poised to make a big impression, with American Crime Story nominated in almost all main categories — and some of the show's actors even competing against their own co-stars.
Some of the best acting on TV
Writer D.V. DeVincentis kicked things off with a win for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special, but when it came to the acting categories the show caught fire. Sterling K. Brown won Outstanding Supporting Actor for the category for his portrayal of attorney Christopher Darden (beating out both John Travolta and David Schwimmer, who had been nominated for their work on the program). Longtime Murphy collaborator Sarah Paulson, a mainstay of the American Horror Story series, won for her portrayal of Marcia Clark — who actually attended the ceremony as Paulson's guest — with Courtney B. Vance beating out his co-star Cuba Gooding Jr. for his performance as Johnnie Cochran. The only category the show didn't emerge victorious in was directing, where three of its directors were competing against each other in a field of six nominees.
But it was the win for Outstanding Limited Series that really capped the night for the show. American Crime Story was up against Noah Hawley's critical favorite Fargo, AMC's The Night Manager, Roots, and John Ridley's American Crime. The win marked an impressive evolution for the limited series. Murphy's American Horror Story helped launch the idea of anthology show as we know it today, leading to shows like Fargo and True Detective. Programs with a fixed length have been able to bring in writers, actors, and directors that traditionally wouldn't be willing to sign up for a years-long television commitment. With American Crime Story, Murphy was trying to take that idea even farther — not only filling his show with well-known talent, but using it to tackle a real-world case imbued with particularly modern social relevance. The show will be returning with a season season focused on Hurricane Katrina.