Emmys Shocker: Donald Glover's 'Guava Island' Out of Race (Exclusive)

Sources close to the production said Glover feels that the 54-minute blend of music and visuals, which premiered at Coachella before hitting Amazon Prime in April, is a film, not a television program.
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Donald Glover

TV Academy favorite Donald Glover will not be a 2019 Emmys contender, after all.

Glover's acclaimed FX show Atlanta, for which he won best directing for a comedy series and best actor in a comedy series Emmys in 2017, was not on the air over the past year, but a side project of his, Guava Island, was — specifically, on Amazon Prime — and was widely expected to be a top contender in a host of Emmy categories. However, contrary to reports previously published by other outlets, The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Guava Island will not even be submitted for voter consideration.

Sources close to the production tell THR that Glover, 35, feels that Guava Island — a 54-minute blend of music and visuals which premiered at the Coachella Music Festival on April 11 ahead of Glover's headline performance there as alter-ego Childish Gambino on April 12, and which has been available for streaming on Amazon Prime since April 13 — is a film, not a television program, and therefore does not want it competing alongside TV programming at the Emmys.

Earlier reports indicated that Guava Island would be entered for Emmy consideration in the best variety special (pre-recorded) category, which would have pitted it against another music superstar's unconventional but acclaimed blend of music and visuals, Beyonce Knowles' Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce, which was shot at Coachella a year before Glover's performance, and which Netflix is now streaming. Also competing in the category: Netflix's Springsteen on Broadway, CBS' Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool, Fox's Rent: Live (in this category because it wasn't live) and a host of stand-up comedy specials — the backers of which must now be breathing a slight sigh of relief.

Reportedly inspired by Purple Rain and City of God, Guava Island was shot in Cuba over four weeks last summer, from a script by Stephen Glover, Donald's brother, and under the direction of Hiro Murai, who also helmed numerous episodes of Atlanta (including its pilot) and the breakout Gambino music video "This Is America." The New York Times described it as a "lighter and poppier ... expansion, musically and stylistically, of 'This Is America.'" As the Times put it, "Any festival in the world would have coveted Murai's first feature," but it wound up at Coachella and then on a streaming service without having had a one-week theatrical run in theaters, which would appear to preclude it from film awards consideration, as well.