Tuesday 20 September 2011

Award shows are upsetting; irrelevant

But when do I ever pass on a chance to talk about my favourite shows? (also, I haven't actually seen the whole thing so maybe I'll comment on Jane Lynch's performance etc. when I have)

Should've been, could've been

Outstanding Drama Series:

Boardwalk Empire
The Good Wife
Mad Men
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones

I'm not upset about Mad Men winning, and it's already cool (and, given the horrible track-record for genre shows the Emmys have, unlikely) that Game of Thrones was nominated at all, but it would have been nice to see FNL recognized in this category as well (even though the writing and acting award it FINALLY got were brilliant too). FNL ended this year, with one of the most perfect finales for a long-running and well-loved show I've seen in a while; a finale that fit in well with the tone of the show, that sent off the characters in a really beautiful way. 
The Good Wife was really good this season as well, but (to me, etc.) Game of Thrones is the most complex, best-realized show amongst them. 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series:

Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)
Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU)
Mireille Enos (The Killing)
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)
Kathy Bates (Harry's Law)

Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler were the heart of FNL. They should have been recognized for their achievement. Elisabeth Moss was incredible in this season of Mad Men ("The Suitcase"!)- and it's interesting to see how the dynamic between Peggy and Don is slowly becoming the central point of the show. Julianna Margulies is well-deserving of the award but something tells me that she'll get nominated again for this role and probably win.
Also, a note for next year: if Mariska Hargitay gets a nomination over Anna Gunn (for Breaking Bad)... will write at least one angry paragraph. 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series:

Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Timothy Olyphant (Justified)

I wish more people watched Justified. I see it as the 21st century twin of Deadwood, with Timothy Olyphant essentially playing the same role again, but oh so well. Magnificent acting. But again, Kyle Chandler, FINALLY. Best surprise-win. Laurie should have won years ago. I like Boardwalk Empire (and Steve Buscemi), but not as much as FNL and Justified.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:

Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Michelle Forbes (The Killing)
Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife)
Margo Martindale (Justified)
Christine Baranski (The Good Wife)

Can't choose, won't choose. Kelly Macdonald is my favourite thing about Boardwalk Empire. Joan was in the background this season but Hendricks is such a scene-stealer (and I recently re-watched Life and she was there, too). I never made it through the first episode of The Killing because Forbrydelsen is one of my favourite crime shows ever (somehow, the remake didn't pull me in immediately, which the Danish original achieved within the first two minutes, and then I read some of the reactions to the final few episodes so I'm not exactly enthusiastic to ever catch up) but probably I'll give it a shot to see Michelle Forbes not play a terrifying character for a change (I've been a fan of her since Ro Laren). Archie Panjabi made me cry on The Good Wife. Margo Martindale's performance in the second season of Justified is the definition of a haunting recurring character (and wouldn't have been out of place in Winter's Bone). And Christine Baranski is, like the entire cast of The Good Wife, perfect. I'd just thrown (carefully, so as not to hurt anyone!) a bag of awards at this category. 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series:

John Slattery (Mad Men)
Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age)
Walton Goggins (Justified)
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
Josh Charles (The Good Wife)
Alan Cumming (The Good Wife)

Game of Thrones would have deserved more nominations in the acting category (Michelle Fairley! The children! Lena Headey! Emilia Clarke!) but YAY, Peter Dinklage. 

Outstanding Comedy Series:

Parks & Recreation
The Office
Modern Family
30 Rock
The Big Bang Theory

WHY WHY WHY. Apart from the fact that certain nominations should have gone to other shows (where's Raising Hope, by the best comedy on FOX?), Parks & Recreation had a perfect season (and is JUST ONE OF THE BEST SHOWS CURRENTLY ON TELEVISION, regardless of genre). After three seasons, Parks isn't repetitive, seems to have an idea where it is going (towards a small-town version of The West Wing, apparently, but with better writing!), the characters are evolving instead of static and the relationships are constantly changing. 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:

Laura Linney (The Big C)
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
Amy Poehler (Parks & Recreation)
Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly)
Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope)

When the nominations were read out, all the actresses, led by Amy Poehler (whose idea this was, apparently) rushed to the stage to stand their, holding hands, and wait for the declaration of who won (one of my favourite things about the video is Kate Winslet' enthusiastic reaction to the whole thing... I don't like Award shows but they bring together all the awesome people I like). This was more than just a parody of how candidates in a beauty pageant are expected to behave, I think (judging from interviews and Amy Poehler's reactions to "can women be funny?" questions), but a demonstration of friendship in the face of a (fairly ridiculous) award show. In the end, it wasn't that important who won (Melissa McCarthy, for a show I have never heard of), even though Amy Poehler was totally robbed. ROBBED! (and I say this as a fan of Edie Falco and Martha Plimpton, and I guess I'd find Laura Linney really good too if I actually watched The Big C)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:

Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Steve Carell (The Office)
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory)
Louis C.K. (Louie)
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)

Here's a short and in no way complete list of people who could have been nominated in this category: Nick Offerman. Nope, that's it. (also, it IS sort of ridiculous that Carell's work on The Office was never recognized, and his goodbye episode was by far the best the show has had in a couple of years, also because Amy Ryan as Holly is a delight and plays off Carell so incredibly well). Jim Parsons' character is the only good thing about that terrible show that was okay for about a year, but most of the nominations here are A BLOODY JOKE. 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series:

Jane Lynch (Glee)
Betty White (Hot in Cleveland)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live)
Jane Krakowski (30 Rock)
Sofia Vergara (Modern Family)

Short and in no way complete list: Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza, Ksenia Solo (I know, not technically a comedy series, but if Wiig gets a nod for being in Bridesmaids, she can get one for Black Swan, right?), Gina Bellman, Beth Riesgraf, Allison Scagliotti  (again not a comedy show but...) I suppose my favourite would have been Jane Krakowski, since Glee shouldn't win anything, ever. I like Kristen Wiig but her characters in SNL are not the best thing about SNL (also I feel like the only person who didn't love Bridesmaids. I liked that it was mostly about friendships, the way the romantic relationship was portrayed, the cast - but the humour really wasn't my thing. Oh well.). 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:

Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Chris Colfer (Glee)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
Ed O'Neill (Modern Family)
Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
Ty Burell (Modern Family)

Short and in no way complete list: Adam Scott, Aziz Anzari, Jim O'Heir, Chris Pratt, Garret Dillahunt, Aldis Hodge. Arguably Damages is more fun than Two and a Half Men, and that is one bleak show. WTF, Modern Family. WTF. I used to feel fairly neutral about the show (it's just really not my kind of show, and the only time I find Ed O'Neill bearable is when he gets beaten to a pulp, politically, by President Martin Sheen), but the Emmys sort of make me hate Modern Family the same way I hate the other shows that were nominated in this category (I like Chris Colfer. Jon Cryer seems like a nice guy. I have no opinion about the others. BUT THEIR SHOWS. ARE HORRIBLE. WHY WHY WHY). 

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series:

Pamela Fryman for How I Met Your Mother episode "Subway Wars"
Michael Alan Spiller for Modern Family episode "Halloween"
Gail Mancuso for Modern Family episode "Slow Down Your Neighbors"
Steven Levitan for Modern Family episode "See You Next Fall"
Beth McCarthy for 30 Rock episode "Live Show"

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series:

David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik for Episodes episode "Episode 107"
Greg Daniels for The Office episode "Goodbye, Michael"
Steven Levitan and Jeffrey Richman for Modern Family episode "Caught in the Act"
Louis C.K. for Louie episode "Poker/Divorce"
Matt Hubbard for 30 Rock episode "Reaganin"

I'm speechless (both of these categories). I could pick a random episode (not even the best - like "The Fight", or "Li'l Sebastian") of Parks and Recreation and the writing and directing would surpass each of these episodes easily. I'd have been okay with "Goodbye, Michael". 

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series:

Matthew Weiner for Mad Men episode "The Suitcase"
Maria Jacquemetton and Andre Jacquemetton for Mad Men episode "Blowing Smoke"
Jason Katims for Friday Night Lights episode "Always"
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for Game of Thrones episode "Baelor"
Veena Sud for The Killing episode "Pilot"

Well-deserved. If FNL hadn't been nominated, "The Suitcase" would have been an obvious choice (it was probably one of my favourite single episode of dramatic television last year). I find it hard to consider individual episodes of Game of Thrones, since they basically form a very, very long movie, but I think Jane Espenson would have deserved a nod for "A Golden Crown" (not for Torchwood: Miracle Day though... that was a terrible mess, apart from the Gwen Cooper awesomeness and the Welsh bits). 

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series:

Martin Scorsese for Boardwalk Empire episode "Boardwalk Empire (Pilot)"
Jeremy Podeswa for Boardwalk Empire episode "Anastasia"
Neil Jordan for The Borgias episode "The Poisoned Chalice/The Assassin"
Tim Van Patten for Game of Thrones episode "Winter Is Coming"
Patty Jenkins for The Killing episode "Pilot"

Outstanding Miniseries or TV Movie:

Cinema Verite
Downton Abbey (Masterpiece)
The Kennedys 
Mildred Pierce
The Pillars of the Earth
Too Big to Fail 

This is one of the first time that I've seen movies from this category: I've seen Downton Abbey and Mildred Pierce, I want to see Too Big to Fail. The former were both very good, and it's hard to compare them (also it's strange to see Downton Abbey nominated in this category, I'd count it as a regular television show, even though it has the usual short seasons for a British TV shows. The second season started yesterday). 

Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic special:

Todd Haynes and Jon Raymond for Mildred Pierce
Julian Fellowes for Downton Abbey (Masterpiece)
Steven Moffat for Sherlock: A Study in Pink
Peter Gould for Too Big to Fail
Heidi Thomas for Upstairs/Downstairs

Steven Moffat should never win anything for what he did to Amy Pond. NEVER. EVER. Doctor Who was my happy place and now it's gone and I hate everything. 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie:

Taraji P. Henson for playing Tiffany Rubin in Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story
Diane Lane for playing Pat Loud in Cinema Verite
Elizabeth McGovern for playing Cora Crawley in Downton Abbey (Masterpiece)
Jean Marsh for playing Rose Buck in Upstairs, Downstairs
Kate Winslet for playing Mildred Pierce in Mildred Pierce

Kate Winslet was spectacular in Mildred Pierce. Well-deserved, and very expected. 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie:

Idris Elba for playing John Luther in Luther
Laurence Fishburne for playing Thurgood Marshall in Thurgood
William Hurt for playing Henry Paulson in Too Big to Fail
Greg Kinnear for playing John F. Kennedy in The Kennedys
Barry Pepper for playing Robert F. Kennedy in The Kennedys
Edgar Ramirez for playing Carlos the Jackal in Carlos

How awesome and suprising to see Idris Elba nominated at all (obviously I was rooting for him but that was pretty unlikely). Edgar Ramirez gave an incredible performance in Carlos though.  

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie:

Eileen Atkins for playing Lady Maud Holland in Upstairs Downstairs
Melissa Leo for playing Lucy Gessler in Mildred Pierce
Maggie Smith for playing Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey
Mare Winningham for playing Ida Corwin in Mildred Pierce
Evan Rachel Wood for playing Veda Pierce in Mildred Pierce

Honestly, seeing Maggie Smith take home the award is anything but upsetting, but if Kate Winslet gets an award for Mildred Pierce, so should Evan Rachel Wood, because that was one of the most upsetting, irritating and horrifying performances I've seen in a while. Veda Pierce is an abominable character and Evan Rachel Wood plays her with utter perfection. It would have been really awesome if Ruth Wilson had been nominated though. 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie:

Paul Giamatti for playing Ben Bernanke in Too Big to Fail
Brian F. O'Byrne for playing Bert Pierce in Mildred Pierce
Guy Pearce for playing Monty Beragon in Mildred Pierce
Tom Wilkinson for playing Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. in The Kennedys
James Woods for playing Dick Fuld in Too Big to Fail

I haven't seen Too Big to Fail yet, but I really do like Paul Giamatti. Guy Pierce was good in Mildred Pierce but his performance wasn't exactly memorable.

Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic special:

Olivier Assayas for Carlos
Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini for Cinema Verite
Brian Percival for Downton Abbey (Masterpiece)
Todd Haynes for Mildred Pierce
Curtis Hanson for Too Big to Fail

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