It already looks like Queen Bey and the king of subscription networks are eyeing their next crown.
Though only released three nights ago, HBO is already planning to submit Lemonade for consideration in the 2016 Emmy pool, Variety reports. That’s right, not Grammy; Emmy (though it’s likely Beyoncé will probably snatch up a few golden Grammies to compliment her $30,000 golden ‘Hold Up’ dress as well).
Accompanying Beyoncé’s new album by the same name, the Queen of Houston debuted a one-hour-and-five minute television special dubbed The Visual Album. Initially, HBO aired it for twenty-seven hours on their services and then handed the baton to Beyoncé, who is only releasing it through iTunes and her streaming company Tidal for the time being.
Not unlike her video for her ‘Formation,’ which dropped a few days before the Super Bowl Halftime Show in February, the Lemonade special featured artful scenes of gothic New Orleans-Louisiana country, constructed mostly by the finest costume designers behind Beyoncé as well as the work of Melina Matsoukas, Todd Tourso, Dikayl Rimmasch, Jonas Akerlund and Mark Romanek.
Other than Beyoncé, Kahlil Joseph is given the lead director nod in HBO’s written submission. Joseph, though known for his full-length movies like The Reflecktor Tapes, is currently best known for his hand in one of the most famous rap songs of the day. Joseph’s creative and raw style breathed Kendrick Lamar’s song ‘Good Kid m.a.a.d city’ into visual form, a short film entitled Maad.
Lemonade, then, has Joseph sitting in the driver’s seat for hip-hop most’s iconic again. While raw would be an excellent descriptor for the Beyoncé special–especially around the middle, in the hellish red light, fire, and morose, blank stares of the characters during the ‘6 Inch’ sequence–it doesn’t encompass the entirety of the piece, which ranges in theme anywhere from martial strife to impoverished hardships to vulnerable intimacy to the American black struggle. During ‘Sandcastles,’ Beyoncé kneels before her keyboard with airy hair and sings soulfully over flitting shots of Jay-Z’s softness with her and their daughter, Blue.
And then from that gentle modern, Lemonade cuts into the intensity of ‘Freedom,’ featuring vivid cuts from girl to girl–as the ‘black daughters’ characters make up much of the special–and then to the haunting rawness of ‘Forward,’ possibly the most wrenching section of the film. During the song, clipped for the film, the video pans over the mothers of slain young, black men from several eras–though the most notable was Michael Brown’s mother, who shook her head so slightly with tears wetting her eyes.
And while this isn’t Beyoncé’s first try at a visual album, which she also created for her 2013 album self-named, Lemonade is the first that truly moves smoothly like a television-movie, rather than one music video after another. In between each song are scenes of black men and women speaking on different topics as well as recitations of the visceral poetry by Warsan Shire, which move fluidly like rain under the umbrella of Bey’s multi-leveled narrative.
“I’m from New Orleans. For some reason, I feel like I can be anything I wanna be,” a young man says in one scene while driving. In the next scene, heavy storm clouds crackle thunder, hinting at Katrina.
Kristopher Tapley, Co-Awards Editor at Variety, had this to say on the powerful Visual Album:
“Lemonade should be a shoo-in for consideration in the lighting design/lighting direction category, given the lush imagery from vignette to vignette. The frames conjured by the seven d.p.s credited on the film have drawn comparisons to the work of Terrence Malick, and the project does have one definitive connection to the reclusive director: Joseph shot behind-the-scenes footage for Malick’s 2013 film To the Wonder.”
A nomination at this year’s Emmys wouldn’t be the first for Queen Bey either; she’s already been recognized for the 2013 Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show, as well as her collaboration with Jay-Z in the On the Run Tour.
If Lemonade scoops up the nom this year, it wouldn’t be HBO’s only contender either. Alongside the Visual Album, the subscription-network behemoth is firing off Game of Thrones, Veep, Silicon Valley, and others. Regardless of that, from the hype Lemonade has already received in the last three days, HBO and Beyoncé might not only snag a nomination–they might just walk on that stage in September.