Even Virtually, Critics Make Good Choices
Why The Broadcast Critics Make Me Proud of My Job
In case you missed my enthusiastic articles last week, I’m generally a huge fan of the Critics Choice Awards. Ever since they began giving out awards for television ten years ago, they have occasionally shined as a forerunner of what the Emmys will do in September, and more often, shown a bright light on shows that don’t normally get the recognition from the Emmys that they deserve. They gave far more attention to Justified, The Good Place and my personal favorite, The Americans than the Emmys ever did. The Critics Choice makes me proud to be a critic.
I was disappointed (but not surprised) that this year the awards were given virtually. I was surprised (but not disappointed) that this year, rather than focus so much on the movie side of things, they chose to give the lion’s share of their attention to the TV awards. In the past, this usually affects the winners of Supporting awards who are usually regulated to off-screen acceptance.
And I was generally pleased with most of the awards that were given. Was I a little sad that the Broadcast Critics gave all the awards that the Golden Globes did to The Crown last Sunday? Maybe. But considering how good Josh O’Connor, Emma Corrin and especially Gillian Anderson are in their work on the series, it’s really hard to argue they didn’t deserve it. Would I have liked to see Better Call Saul or This is Us take a trophy or two? Like I said, there are no losers in this category.
The award in Drama, however, that gave me the most pleasure was Michael K. Williams winning for Lovecraft Country. Aside from the fact that it was a brilliant performance on a great show, Williams has been due an award ever since his turn as Omar on The Wire. He’s been getting his fair share of recognition from the Emmys the last few years, but I hope that this award puts him at the forefront for a trophy he’s deserved for a very long time.
Comedies were equally pleasing. Essentially it came down to a division between Schiit’s Creek and Ted Lasso. Jason Sudeikis (who was more prepared this week) and Catherine O’Hara (who was just as funny) duplicated their Globe wins. Daniel Levy’s prize made me happy and I was absolutely elated by Hannah Waddingham’s minor upset for her fine work on Ted Lasso. After her win, it was a fifty-fifty shot that Ted Lasso would take the grand prize, and I was over the moon that it did. Not just because its one of the funniest and most optimistic series on any service, but because Bill Lawrence has been overdue a win in this category almost as long as Williams has been. Ted Lasso probably moves to the head of the pack for this year’s Emmys. No question.
The greatest generosity of this year’s Critics awards game in the Limited Series category. They were willing to let four of the more impressive series each take a prize: Anya Taylor-Joy and John Boyega’s wins for The Queen’s Gambit and Small Axe, respectively were not unexpected. (I do, however, wonder whether Boyega will have his name submitted in Lead or Supporting, given he’s now won in both.) Uzo Aduba’s win for Mrs. America was not unexpected by me, but I was glad to see Donald Sutherland triumph for his exceptional turn in The Undoing. (His speech was also the most dignified of the night.) The Queen’s Gambit still has a slight lead for the Best Limited Series category (though there’s a lot of time between now and September) but this is a crowded field, and a lot can change. (I would like to see Fargo get recognized more, and I’m half hoping for the Emmys institutional memory to work in its favor.)
I was slightly disappointed (but not that much really) to see Seth Meyers triumph for Best Talk Show. Would I have liked to hear Samantha Bee or Desus and Mero laugh it up? Sure. But Meyers has been criminally underrecognized by the Emmys over the years, and having relied him for entertainment more and more over the last few years, he’s one of the funniest men working and he more than deserves a trophy or two. Hell, I was even glad to see the filmed version of Hamilton winner for Best TV Movie or Special. This is the category it should have been competing in the Golden Globes, not Best Musical or Comedy. And when you give an award in a category that recognized the live production of Jesus Christ Superstar, you know what you’re doing.
Will the Emmys this year acknowledge the wisdom of the Critics instead of the other way around (as is sometimes the case?) It’s hard to say. A lot of the shows up for awards won’t be eligible and there’s still a few months to go. I do know that I can’t wait until next year when hopefully everybody will be at tables and getting very drunk, and maybe they’ll be a couple of more ties. Still, when you hear recipients actually thanking the critics for their prizes, someone like me can’t help but me proud of his profession. And Taye Diggs, you’re still fun.