Friday, July 17, 2015

Emmy Nominations Blog-a-palooza

And two months later, she comes back to her blog...

I spent most of May and June transitioning out of my job as interim artistic director at Heartland Theatre, directing the annual 10-minute play festival there, and actually taking a vacation. It seems I needed some time off. But local theatre and entertainment have gone on without me too long, I think! You didn't get to hear my side of the "Class Reunion" plays -- terrific all around, if I do say so myself -- or the TV, movies and stage shows that came and went while I was AWOL. I even missed the Tony wrap-up.

So what lured me back? The 2015 Emmy nominations, of course! I always have opinions on that sort of thing and I can't keep them under wraps a minute longer.

If you want to see Uzo Aduba (Orange Is the New Black) and Cat Deeley (So You Think You Can Dance) read the list of nominees, you can find that video here or here. If you want to read the complete list, all the way through Outstanding Costumes For A Contemporary Series, Limited Series or Movie on page 11, the Emmy site can help you out.

Here are some highlights:

Louie (FX)
Modern Family (ABC)
Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
Transparent (Amazon Instant Video)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Veep (HBO)

Should win: Parks and Recreation, which finished out its run with a triumphant series finale.
Will win: It's hard to bet against Modern Family, which has won the past five years. But surely the Academy is tired of it by now. One can dream... Transparent has the zeitgeist (and a bunch of Golden Globes) but Veep is an Emmy favorite. Still, I'm holding onto hope for Parks and Recreation.

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish (ABC)
Don Cheadle, House of Lies (Showtime)
Louie C. K., Louie (FX)
Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth (Fox)
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes (Showtime)
William H. Macey, Shameless (Showtime)
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent (Amazon Instant Video)

Should win: Jeffrey Tambor
Will win: Jeffrey Tambor

Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback (HBO)
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation (NBC)
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie (Netflix)

Should win: Amy Poehler. She has made Leslie Knope a beautiful mix of ambition, good cheer and idealism, and that work deserves to be celebrated before we put Parks and Recreation out to pasture.
Will win: Lisa Kudrow has done amazing work with a flawed character who is too real to be all that funny, Amy Schumer is the current It Girl (and definitely funny), Edie Falco keeps doing yeoman work with Nurse Jackie, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is an Emmy fave with three wins in this category for Veep plus one for The New Adventures of Old Christine and one as a supporting actress for Seinfeld. So who will win? Probably Louis-Dreyfus. Emmy voters love their streaks.

Better Call Saul (AMC)
Downton Abbey (PBS)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Homeland (Showtime)
House of Cards  (Netflix)
Mad Men (AMC)
Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)

Should win: I am partial to Mad Men. Like Parks and Rec, this powerhouse finished up its run this year.
Will win: Game of Thrones may have all the buzz, given its 24 nominations and polarizing plotlines (especially concerning violence toward women), but I think Mad Men will emerge as the victor in celebration of its brilliant final season.

Kyle Chandler, Bloodline (Netflix)
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom (HBO)
Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC)
Bob Odenbirk, Better Call Saul (AMC)
Liev Schrieber, Ray Donovan (Showtime)
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards (Netflix)

Should win: Jon Hamm
Will win: I refuse to accept any outcome other than Jon Hamm finally winning an Emmy for his fantastic work as complicated, screwed-up, product-of-his-time Don Draper.

Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime)
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)
Taraji P. Henson, Empire (ABC)
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black (BBC America)
Elizabeth Moss, Mad Men (AMC)
Robin Wright, House of Cards (Netflix)

Should win: Anybody except Claire Danes. This is a talent-packed category. Tatiana Maslany, previously overlooked, certainly deserves the Emmy for her insane array of Orphan Black clones, as does Viola Davis, who is so brilliant that she makes the otherwise crazy How to Get Away with Murder so very watchable. And then there is the force of nature known as Taraji P. Henson as Cookie on Empire, while Elizabeth Moss, so good for so long on Mad Men, and Robin Wright, a bright spot in a dismal season of House of Cards, are also worthy.
Will win: I'll go with Viola. She was a stunner. Her taking-off-her-wig scene was as good as it gets on TV.

American Crime (ABC)
American Horror Story: Freakshow (FX)
Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
The Honorable Woman (Sundance)
Wolf Hall (PBS)

Should win: Olive Kitteridge
Will win: Olive Kitteridge

Agatha Christie's Poirot: Curtain, Poirot's Last Case (Acorn TV)
Bessie (HBO)
Grace of Monaco (Lifetime)
Hello Ladies: The Movie (HBO)
Killing Jesus (National Geographic Channel)
Nightingale (HBO)

Should win: Bessie is the total package.
Will win: Bessie. Poirot is also wonderful, and in Curtain, the show (and Poirot himself) boarded that crime-solving Orient Express in the sky, which may give it some sentimental oomph. Still, Bessie was bold and sad and provocative and everything an Emmy winner should be.

And outside those categories... If you are connected to Illinois Wesleyan University, you will be pleased to know that alum Richard Jenkins was nominated as lead actor for his work on Olive Kitteridge, while Jane Lynch is representing ISU with a nomination as host of Hollywood Game Night.

It's also noteworthy that half of the nominated field for Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie is British this time out. The English trio are Ricky Gervais (Derek Special), David Oyelowo (Nightingale) and Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall), with Americans Jenkins, Timothy Hutton (American Crime) and Adrien Brody (Houdini) filling out the category. Over on the actress side of Limited Series or Movie, Emma Thompson (Sweeney Todd) is the lone Brit, facing Queen Latifah (Bessie), Frances McDormand (Olive Kitteridge), Felicity Huffman (American Crime) and Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Honorable Woman).

If I'm picking winners for TV movies and minis, nobody much on the male side stood out for me, but I'll go with Queen Latifah as Best Actress. Mo'Nique was also nominated for Bessie, for her supporting role as Ma Rainey opposite Queen Latifah's Bessie Smith, and if I'm honest, I'd like to see both of them win.

The Emmy Awards will be broadcast on Fox on September 20th. I'm sure prognostications will become more prevalent as we get nearer to September. In the meantime, it's well worth your while to check out the last episodes of Mad Men and Parks and Recreation as well as Bessie and Veep from HBO, Poirot's Curtain, Tatiana Maslany and Orphan Black, Transparent on Amazon and Kimmy Schmidt and Bloodline on Netflix. It's all still out there for the viewing.

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