Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 Emmys: First Reactions

Emmy nominations were announced todays and, as always, there were some great additions, some tragic omissions, and some real surprises. So, let's start with the important thing-- how did I do with my predictions? Below are my thoughts, including how many of the nominees I correctly predicted. And to prove I'm not lying, feel free to check my original predictions for the drama and comedy categories.

Drama Series: 6/6! (Off to a good start)

Comedy Series: 5/6 (Silicon Valley—which I had not even considered at all—managed to make its way into this category. Knocking out Girls, which some had seen winning the whole shebang. Personally, I cannot stand the show, so I am happy to see it left out here, but it’s still surprising

Actor in a Drama: 5/6 (Woody Harrelson is the only one I didn’t predict, but it’s not surprising. I bet it was close between him and Michael Sheen—the only one I predicted who didn’t get a nomination).

Actress in a Drama: 5/6 (While I incorrectly predicted Michael Sheen, I failed to predict his co-star Lizzy Caplan who grabbed a nomination here! Great to see. But, I must say, I’m pretty shocked that Elisabeth Moss was left off the ballot this year. Seems like a huge snub for one of Mad Men’s strongest performers.

Supporting Actor in a Drama: 5/6 (Jon fucking Voight. I knew he would PROBABLY get a nomination, but it still feels weird to me that we’re giving out nominations to a show as mediocre as Ray Donovan. And also sad that this means Dean Norris got left off the list.

Supporting Actress in a Drama: 4/6 (Froggatt and Headey beat out Baccarin and Monaghan in my predictions. Baccarin’s lack of a nomination—coupled with Damian Lewis’ lack of a nomination, signals how much Homeland is officially out of the running this year. And Monaghan’s lack of a nomination is a surprising upset for True Detective, which might prove that Game of Thrones is still the HBO drama to beat in the long run).

Actor in a Comedy: 4/6 (I always felt wary about giving a slot here to Andy Samberg, but I never would have guessed that his slot would go to Ricky Gervais. Gervais’ work in the incredibly disappointing Derek is nothing I ever would have thought to see on an Emmys nomination list, but the Emmys has always had a bit of a love affair with Gervais so I guess I shouldn’t be THAT shocked. Also, William H. Macy manages to get nominated for the first time for his work on Shameless thanks to that show decided to submit as a comedy this year instead of a drama. The show didn't fair better elsewhere in the Emmys, but at least they nabbed a nomination for their main star).

Actress in a Comedy 6/6 (Not much to say here. Amy Poehler better win).

Supporting Actor in a Comedy: 5/6 (Wow, the Emmys have really gone off of Modern Family, with it scoring only two nominations in this category. I’m very surprised Eric Stonestreet didn’t make it, and I’m MORE surprised that Fred Armisen did. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s wonderful, but…really? If a performer from a sketch comedy show had made it here, it really really really should have been Key or Peele).

Supporting Actress in a Comedy: 3/6 (This category is really worrying for Orange is the New Black—of the four incredibly strong actresses who submitted themselves here, only one was actually nominated. That ruins my ballot, but also bodes poorly for the show as a whole, since so much of the appeal is the supporting cast (although, luckily, this show cleaned up in the guest actress category, scoring nominations for Uzo Aduba, Laverne Cox, and Natasha Lyonne). Combined with Eric Stonestreet’s lack of a nomination, Sofia Vergara’s lack of a nomination here also insures that Modern Family’s Emmy run is pretty much over. And while I am not all that surprised that Anna Chlumsky made it here, I am surprised at the other two nominees. Allison Janney—a fellow Kenyon grad, so whoooo alma mater pride—is an amazing actress but I didn’t think Mom had enough buzz to allow her to get a nomination in such a competitive category, but I was proven wrong-- plus, she's nominated twice this year, as she also scored a nomination for her guest star work on Masters of Sex. And while I am shocked to see Kate McKinnon get a nomination here, I am so happy she has. She’s incredible and is easily the standout performer of SNL at this point. She, Aidy Bryant, Bobby Moynihan, and Taran Killam could basically do the show themselves at this point.

Other categories:

Best Guest Actress in a Comedy: Speaking of Laverne Cox, she makes history as the first transgender Emmy nominee. Her success, and the extent to which her star has risen, is a wonderful example of how transgender performers can easily find success in this business when given an opportunity. The lack of well-known transgender actors doesn't have to do with their lack of talent or the fact that they don't exist, it has EVERYTHING to do with the attitudes of those making film and television. Hopefully Cox won't be an anomaly and we'll see more transgender artists appearing on lists such as this.

Best Supporting Actor- TV Movie/Miniseries: Really? Alfred Molina got nominated for The Normal Heart? What? He’s good in the movie, very good, but, what? The role he plays, as crucial as it is, is just not an award-worthy role. His nomination here proves that The Emmys are so ready to give The Normal Heart all of the awards (while this award probably will go to Matt Bomer, and I’m not complaining about that, for me the standout performance in the film was absolutely Joe Mantello, who out-acts the entire cast in one single scene).

Best Supporting Actress- TV Movie/Miniseries: Interesting that Julia Roberts in The Normal Heart is going up against Ellen Burstyn, who played that role in the Broadway Production and who was SO much better than Roberts was. Roberts was good, but Burstyn was show-stopping.

Outstanding Animated Program: The Simpsons has not been nominated in this category for the first time since the category’s inception. Pretty shocking. Even more shocking is that its spot was taken by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While my guess is that Futurama will take it home, I’d love to see Bob’s Burgers win it, although their submitted episode—“Mazel Tina”—doesn’t strike me as the series’ best entry from this year. But, the big news is that, for the first time, Archer managed to get a nomination! This is big! I had hoped this would happen but didn’t think itwould, and I’m so excited!

Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series: It is an absolute crime that Rian Johnson is not nominated for directing the Breaking Bad heavyweight episode “Ozymandias.” The direction was jaw-droppingly gorgeous and I had just assumed it would show up here (although it was nominated for writing, it seems likely that Emmy voters will just heap all of the praise onto the finale episode “Felina.”) I’m also sad that the brilliant episode of The Killing entitled “Six Minutes,” which I’ve praised multiple times already, failed to make it in this category, where I actually thought it might have a shot.

Writing for a Variety Series: While I’m sad that it didn’t fair even better, I’m so glad to see Key & Peele nominated in this category. So deserved. A win is highly unlikely, but so glad this show has gotten at least some Emmys recognition (they also got nominated for Best Makeup for their brilliant East/West Rap, and for Outstanding Musical Lyrics for their superb Les Mis parody).

Outstanding Structured Reality Show: If Guy Fieri wins an Emmy then I will stop watching television. It’s that simple.

The Square, a documentary that was released by Netflix, received a few nominations. It was also nominated for Best Documentary at The Oscars, which makes it, I believe (I could be totally wrong), only the second program to be nominated for both an Emmy and an Oscar (the first is The Twilight Zone, which won awards for writing at the very first Emmy ceremonies, and had one of its episodes—“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”—win the Best Live Action Short Oscar.

For everyone who wonders why Community still didn’t get nominated, relax, it did! Community was nominated for Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or a Variety Program! Pssh, and people said that this show couldn’t get the recognition it deserves.

So, based on these nominations, what will win for Best Series? We, of course, can’t say. But, often the key lies in Editing. Consider the Oscars—since 1981, every film selected for Best Picture has been nominated for Best Editing (and around two thirds of the Best Picture winners have won the Best Editing award to boot). I’m not sure if such a correlation also exists at the Emmys. But, I will say this. Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black each scored three out of five nominations for best editing in the drama and comedy categories respectively.

Share your thoughts on the Emmys in the comments!

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