You did watch the end credits, right? Don’t tell mama if you didn’t. HBO’s miniseries “Sharp Objects” just wrapped its eight-episode run on August 26 with one big shocker (SPOILERS AHEAD). And while we’re just three months into the 2019 Emmy eligibility period, Emmy talk is already underway. Star Amy Adams is already receiving a lot of deserved praise, so let’s talk about Eliza Scanlen, who gave the show’s breakthrough performance as Camille’s 15-year-old half-sister Amma.
Based on Gillian Flynn’s novel of the same name, “Sharp Objects” was brought to the small screen by showrunner Marti Noxon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “UnReal”) and director Jean-Marc Vallee (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “Big Little Lies”), who directed all eight episodes. The Southern Gothic miniseries revolves around Camille Preaker (Adams), a journalist who returns to her home town of Wind Gap to cover the murders of two girls, Ann Nash (Kaegan Baron) and Natalie Keene (Jessica Treska).
Scanlen’s character Amma plays the innocent daughter to her and Camille’s mother Adora (Patricia Clarkson) while at home, but she’s a mysterious roller-skating bad girl out with her friends. In the show’s penultimate episode, “Falling,” we find out that Adora suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which led her to poison her own children in order to dote on them, resulting in the death of her daughter Marian (Lulu Wilson) many years ago. So when additional evidence is found in her house everyone is led to believe that she also committed the grisly murders of the two girls.
When she’s finally arrested and charged in the finale, “Milk,” you think the mystery has been solved. Adora is in jail, Amma has moved with her sister to St. Louis, and all is right with the world. Then comes the bombshell. Camille finds the dead girls’ teeth arranged as floor tiles in Amma’s dollhouse, to which Amma meekly responds, “Don’t tell mama.” Two post-credits scenes then reveal that she’s not only Wind Gap’s infamous killer, but also continuing her killing spree in St. Louis.
“Sharp Objects” was the first major Hollywood project for the 19-year-old Scanlen, an Australian actress who had a supporting role in the Australian soap opera “Home and Away.” Throughout the eight-episode run of “Sharp Objects” Scanlen has received praise for her chilling portrayal of Amma. Matthew Dougherty (IGN) says she, Adams and Clarkson do “terrific work throughout.” Meredith Borders (Slash Film) describes Scanlen as a “beautiful question mark in every episode, manipulative and sad, sympathetic and false.” And in our Gold Derby forums there is already an outcry for her to receive awards recognition:
Djoko: “I never expected to be blown away by Eliza Scanlen as much as I was throughout the series. She is definitely going to win the Emmy and has an amazing future ahead of her.”
Marcus Snowden: “‘Don’t tell mama’ has to be one of the most chilling lines of dialogue in television all year. Eliza Scanlen deserves an Emmy for the show. It’ll be offensive, frankly, if she doesn’t win.”
chanelmoviestar: “Maybe it’s because she’s a newcomer, but Eliza Scanlen was the standout for me. I can’t wait to see what’s next for her. She’s the future of Hollywood.”
Reis: “Scanlen is conquering me more and more, week after week. I need this girl being nominated in everything.”
Jays: “Scanlen is a revelation, I can’t wait to see what she does in the future.”
Atypical: “We’ll look back on this performance as the one that set off Eliza Scanlen’s meteoric career.”
Last year another HBO miniseries, “The Night Of,” racked up a whopping 13 Emmy nominations and 4 wins despite ending almost an entire year before Emmy voting began, and the same is true for “Sharp Objects,” which the Emmys won’t be able to recognize until the summer of 2019. But until then we have other industry awards to consider, where we could see the show and Scanlen get their initial recognition, such as the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, and SAG Awards.
Golden Globe voters especially love to recognize fresh faces, so perhaps Scanlen has a chance to land her first major nomination just a few months from now. And talk about a “meteoric career” — Scanlen will be joining the star-studded cast of Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of “Little Women,” which is scheduled to hit theaters on December 25 of next year. That means 2019 is shaping up to be another very good year for Hollywood’s breakthrough performer.