Y’know…sometimes I hate how much time of my life I dedicate on the Emmy awards. I pour over the nominations when they’re announced in the morning. I spend at least week, really looking through them, recognizing the snubs, any patterns, any hidden gems, or oddities. I make sure to watch every episode of every major miniseries contender, even the mostly boring Texas Rising. I then patiently wait for Gold Derby to post episode submissions, even though there’s a 50/50 chance that they’ll even matter. I watch all the episode submissions, even if I’ve already watched the season for that episode. And then I write my posts. People like me (like the moderators and posters on Gold Derby) spend a lot of time on the Emmys because…well…god knows why. But after last night’s Creative Arts Awards…I’m starting to rethink my life and interests. Because, really, what’s the point of taking the Emmys seriously, if the voters themselves don’t take them seriously?
There was one win last night that has made me almost change my outlook. If it wasn’t for this win, I probably wouldn’t be writing this long introduction. If it wasn’t for this win, I would accept this year as another “Ya win some, ya lose some” kind of year. But this particular win is so baffling. So lazy. So disrespectful…that I still feel like I’m in a cruel nightmare.
Margo Martindale’s Emmy for Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series for The Americans.
On paper…that looks inoffensive, right? Martindale is a great character actress who, after years of consistently good performances, is finally being recognized by a wider audience. But if you actually watched The Americans, you’d know that Margo Martindale had ONE SCENE this season. ONE. And it wasn’t an extraordinary scene. It’s not a scene that showed any range or much emotion. The scene isn’t even completely necessary. It is literally a scene to assure the audience that Martindale’s character was still alive. Otherwise, the scene is unmemorable, unremarkable, and in no way, shape, or form deserving of an Emmy.
The fact that Martindale was nominated in the first place is BS right there. This was her third nomination for The Americans. Her first nomination was completely deserved, although the right actress won that year (Carrie Preston). Her second nomination was a bit more problematic, but, OK, whatever, she had an important scene and at least she didn’t win. However, as I’ve already mentioned before, if a guest actress had to be nominated for The Americans, it should have been Lois Smith. Despite this weird, name checked nomination, I never thought in a billion years Martindale would win. There were three strong contenders in the category: Rachel Brosnahan, Allison Janney, and Cicely Tyson (whom I don’t know what she did to deserve such disrespect from the Academy).
Margo Martindale won an Emmy for two minutes…and that’s unacceptable. I thought maybe the Academy had learned something after the whole Ellen Burstyn debacle from a few years back…but I guess not. As far as I know, this might the worst acting win from at least the last ten years. I feel bad harping on an actress I generally admire and root for…but even she has to know, deep down, that she did not deserve this Emmy. Maybe a couple years ago when her character was a major part of the show. But, NO, she did NOT deserve an Emmy for season 3 of The Americans. I don’t even know how or why she was submitted in the first place. Maybe if the producers or the network had a shred of dignity, they wouldn’t have shrewdly played the Emmy game by submitted an actress they knew would be namechecked.
Margo Martindale’s win made me question some of the other wins that evening. Reg E. Cathey won an Emmy for his relatively brief role on this season of House of Cards. It’s easier for me to accept Cathey’s win because, in my opinion, the one scene he had, while subtle, was pretty powerful. If voters really did watch the episodes (which I don’t think they did), the scene between Cathey’s character and his son could have stood out. But, now? I’m wondering…did the voters really watch the episodes, and consider each performance rationally? Or did they just vote for Cathey because he’s a respected veteran on a popular show. As much as I liked Cathey’s performance, he was nowhere near the top of my ranking. Beau Bridges, Alan Alda, and even Michael J. Fox would have been better winners.
There were other questionable winners throughout the evening. It’s not worth mentioning here (although, the Alan Alda Masterclass Special winning Children’s Program annoyed me more than anything. Hey voters. How about giving the Emmy to a show children actually WATCH!) But, yes, that Margo Martindale win grinded my gears. I know awards are subjective. But this isn’t a case of “Oh! I like this performance more than the other.” I truly believe Martindale’s Emmy win (and, really, nomination) is a fluke. Everyone who cares (which is an admittedly small group) thinks it is. Usually, these Guest categories are kind of sketchy…but this one instance is especially bad.
Dear Academy, do you want people to take the Emmys seriously? Do you want celebrities like Maggie Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch to actually attend the ceremony so they can accept their awards? Do you want to stop being overshadowed by the Oscars (which aren’t perfect but still)? Then something needs to be done so a blind win like Margo Martindale’s can’t happen again. Because if the voters actually did their job and took this seriously, then Martindale wouldn’t have won.You cannot tell me Margo Martindale’s non-performance was stronger than Cicely Tyson, probably the most buzzed about guest performance of the season. Voters clearly did not watch the episode; and if the Emmys want to be taken seriously again, there needs to be more transparency in the process.
Let’s just get through these final predictions. I will not be offering any significant commentary because…well…if voters aren’t going to respect this award…
Comedy Series: Modern Family (…until it loses…)
Drama Series: Game of Thrones (it had a very good night last night)
Limited Series: Olive Kitteridge (TV Movie was already announced at the Creative Arts ceremony…Yes, Bessie won,)
Variety Talk: Late Show with Dave Letterman
Variety Sketch: Saturday Night Live
Reality Competition: The Voice
Comedy Actress: Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation (Yes, JLD will probably win but, I gotta take a few risks here, while I still have my sanity.)
Drama Actress: Viola Davis – How To Get Away with Murder (of course, Margo Martindale could win here again…)
Movie Actress: Frances McDormand – Olive Kitteridge
Comedy Actor: Will Forte – The Last Man on Earth
Drama Actor: Jon Hamm – Mad Men
Movie Actor: Mark Rylance – Olive Kitteridge (Rylance has already won 3 Tonys. He’s a respected British actor…an Emmy voter’s favorite combination)
Comedy Supp. Actress: Jane Krakowski – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Drama Supp. Actress: Christina Hendricks – Mad Men (If Mad Men doesn’t win an acting award this year, they will never one again)
Movie Supp. Actress: Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story (I think any of the AHS actresses have a chance here)
Comedy Supp. Actor: Tituss Burgess – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Last night, I thought UKS would win both guest acting awards. I was wrong…and I’m probably wrong about this as well.)
Movie Supp. Actor: Damian Lewis – Wolf Hall (if voters want to blindly name check, which they probably will, then Bill Murray will win for his nothing performance)
Drama Supp. Actor: Jonathan Banks – Better Call Saul
Comedy Directing: The Last Man on Earth – “Alive in Tuscon”
Drama Directing: Boardwalk Empire – “Eldorado” (BE usually does well here, right?)
Movie Directing: Olive Kitteridge
Comedy Writing: Louie – “Bobby’s House”
Drama Writing: Mad Men – “Person to Person”
Movie Writing: Olive Kitteridge