Ever since I was little, I’ve always been a fan of entertainment awards. I remember cheering loudly every time Rugrats won the Nickelodeon Choice Award for Favorite Cartoon (the show pretty much won every year during its prime.) Yes, awarding mostly wealthy celebrities is silly. Yes, awards are 100% subjective. Yes, X never wins, X totally deserves to win, Y always wins, awards are political and biased! But, still, there’s something so fascinating about the art and practice of prizing, particularly when it comes to the “EGOT.” I love “studying” awards and watching programs and movies that have been nominated for them. So, on this blog, I certainly plan on discussing various awards and the nominees and who I think will/should win.
Today, I will be “analyzing” the nominees of all the major Movie/Limited Series categories for this year’s (2015) Primetime Emmy Awards. I’m ranking the contenders based on personal preference, not making an “objective prediction.”
- Finn Wittrock (American Horror Story)
- Michael Kenneth Williams (Bessie)
- Damian Lewis (Wolf Hall)
- Richard Cabral (American Crime)
- Denis O’Hare (American Horror Story)
- Bill Murray (Olive Kitteridge)
If anyone from the top 4 won, I’d be satisfied. Wittrock completely stole the show in American Horror Story, while Michael Kenneth Williams gave the best performance I’ve ever seen from him (I’ve never seen The Wire, though). Cabral is a nice surprising choice. Ironically, Bill Murray is the frontrunner in this category, but I still haven’t figured what was so earth shattering about his performance. But after his Oscar snub nearly a decade earlier, maybe the industry wants to see Bill Murray win a major award for his acting.
Worthy Snubbed Performances
Christian Borle (Peter Pan Live!), Andrew Buchan (The Honorable Woman), David Earl (Derek Special), John Gallagher Jr. (Olive Kitteridge), Elvis Nolasco (American Crime), Johnny Ortiz (American Crime), Cory Michael Smith (Olive Kitteridge)
- Mo’Nique (Bessie)
- Zoe Kazan (Olive Kitteridge)
- Regina King (American Crime)
- Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story)
- Angela Bassett (American Horror Story)
- Kathy Bates (American Horror Story)
Sarah Paulson might actually have a chance this year; and I wouldn’t mind one bit, particularly because she should have already received a couple Emmys from previous years (wonderful in Game Change). Despite her impressive double trouble hat check, it’s the less flashy performances in this category that really impressed. I’m especially happy Zoe Kazan got a nomination for her subtle, yet mousy performance. Angela Bassett was literally just OK, while I thought Kathy Bates (who is usually deserving of Emmy love) was legitimately bad this time around. I didn’t get her accent.
Worthy Snubbed Performances
Frances Conroy (American Horror Story), Claire Foy (Wolf Hall), Caitlin Gerard (American Crime), Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story), Taylor Louderman (Peter Pan Live!), Kelli O’Hara (Peter Pan Live!), Lili Taylor (American Crime), Christine Woods (Hello Ladies: The Movie)
- American Crime (“Episode One”)
- Hello Ladies: The Movie
- Olive Kitteridge
- Wolf Hall
- The Honorable Woman
It’s not exactly fair, but I’m more impressed with original scripts than adapted scripts. Although John Ridley was technically only nominated for the first episode, he created the whole series and probably oversaw the other episodes that weren’t credited to him. American Crime is a wonderfully, complex and complicated miniseries. Despite its low ratings, it’s much stronger than the Shondaland shows that aired around it. I’m glad American Crime received all the nominations it did, and this is a category it needs to win.
- Lisa Cholodenko (Olive Kitteridge)
- Dee Rees (Bessie)
- Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story “Monsters Among Us”)
- Peter Kominsky (Wolf Hall)
- Hugo Blick (The Honorable Woman)
- Tom Shankland (The Missing)
- Uli Edel (Houdini)
This is really between Bessie and Olive Kitteridge. Ultimately, I’d give it to Cholodenko, who had the fortune of having more time to really let the story breathe. There were some really beautiful shots in that miniseries. Ryan Murphy was essentially nominated for the first episode of “Freak Show.” Ryan Murphy, like always, did a great job establishing the world, but there were stronger episodes later in the season (like “Orphans,” which was submitted). Uli Edel’s nomination is pretty much unnecessary. Houdini is essentially a two and a half hour trailer.
- David Oyelowo (Nightingale)
- Richard Jenkins (Olive Kitteridge)
- Timothy Hutton (American Crime)
- Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall)
- Adrien Brody (Houdini)
- Ricky Gervais (Derek Special)
I really wanted to enjoy Brody’s performance more, but it’s hard to enjoy a performance when it’s heavily edited and bogged down with voice over. I’m a huge fan of Derek and Gervais would have been a worthy winner last year when he was nominated for Comedy Series, but his performance seems so small compared to the powerhouse actors he’s up against. Ultimately, I have to give most of my support to David Oyelowo, for his one-man performance in the underrated Nightingale. He is devastating, and injects a character (who is suffering from PTSD) that could come across as annoying (for the audience) with sympathy and understanding.
Worthy Snubbed Performances
Benito Martinez (American Crime), Stephen Merchant (Hello Ladies: The Movie), James Nesbitt (The Missing), Evan Peters (American Horror Story)
- Queen Latifah (Bessie)
- Frances McDormand (Olive Kitteridge)
- Felicity Huffman (American Crime)
- Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Honorable Woman)
- Jessica Lange (American Horror Story)
- Emma Thompson (Sweeney Todd)
I struggled between Latifah an McDormand; but in the end, I’d be a little happier if Latifah ended up taking the top prize for her deeply emotional portrayal of Bessie Smith. I have to admit though, Latifah’s performance seems a little more overtly “Emmy bait” than McDormand’s (biopic); but the scene where Bessie loses her adopted child gave me chills. McDormand has her fair share of explosive moments (the hospital burglary or any scene with John Gallagher Jr. comes to mind). Right now, unless Jessica Lange wins another unnecessary, unearned Leading Actress Emmy, McDormand is the frontrunner here.
Worthy Snubbed Performances
Kerry Godliman (Derek Special), Nicole Kidman (Grace of Monaco), Frances O’Connor (The Missing), Allison Williams (Peter Pan Live!)
- Olive Kitteridge (HBO)
- American Crime (ABC)
- American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)
- Wolf Hall (PBS)
- The Honorable Woman (Sundance)
I cannot express how happy I am that American Crime was able to get a nomination here. Considering how difficult it’s been for Network dramas to get Emmy recognition lately, it’s nice seeing the voters embrace this Network limited series. A win would be awesome, but Olive Kitteridge was truly one of my favorite things from last year. The relationships and the emotions are so real. Unlike miniseries like The Honorable Woman which was too complicated (and had too many wheels spinning) for its own good, Olive Kitteridge relies on simple, straightforward storytelling. It’s a program that continues to stay with me.
Worthy Snubbed Program
- Bessie (HBO)
- Nightingale (HBO)
- Hello Ladies: The Movie (HBO)
- Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case (Acorn TV)
- Killing Jesus (National Geographic)
- Grace of Monaco (Lifetime)
There was a time when the Television Movie category was relatively prestigious, while the “Miniseries” category was seriously lacking real competition. However, in this post-True Detective world, it seems like the roles have reversed. I know at first glance this category looks like a disaster. Two of the “movies” are really series finales and one movie was originally made for the theatres (and presumably a bunch of Oscars). It may look like voters were scraping at the bottom of the barrel, but 4 out of 6 of these movies are actually good. As someone who had never watched Hello Ladies, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the series finale movie. It was definitely cut from the “Rom Com cloth,” but there were still enough funny bits that made me interested in exploring the rest of the series. On the other hand, I’m not sure why voters would embarrass themselves by nominating Grace of Monaco. If they wanted Nicole Kidman to show up, she would have been more deserving of a nomination than the movie itself. Overall, the movie is simply lifeless (and those close ups were too much). It was clear everyone involved only saw Oscars in their eyes, so we ended up with a hollow, generic movie that’s a hundred times worse than La Vie En Rose. The movie is not as frightening as the 9% on Rotten Tomatoes suggests, but the movie in no way deserves a win or even a nomination for that matter.
Worthy Snubbed Movies
Derek Special, Zapped (yes, Zapped is better than Grace of Monaco)