I Finish Trying to Predict The HCA TV Awards, and I Still Don’t Care If I’m Wrong
Conclusion: Limited Series or Movie awards and a few ephemera
I will wrap this up by trying to make predictions in the Limited Series awards. I will preface this with the acknowledgement of the TV Movie categories. For Broadcast and Cable, I would like to see Ray Donovan: The Movie prevail, but think it far more likely it will be The Survivor — and honestly, considering it was virtually ignored by the Emmys, I don’t have a real objection. I’d also really like to see Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas prevail — and it might — but I’m inclined to think that Fresh will end up doing so.
Anyway here we go.
BEST LIMITED SERIES, BROADCAST OR CABLE
No lie, I’m torn. I would really like to see most of the nominees win. Impeachment should have gotten the same recognition it did that the previous two installments of American Crime Story from everybody. Gaslit was one of the best series of 2021 so far. Scenes from a Marriage was deserving of a lot more love than it got, and David Simon’s work has been shafted by awards circles for going on thirty years.
But it’s fairly clear that The White Lotus will win in a walk, and it’s hard to argue the selection even a year after the debut. There are almost no writers willing to go so far to make comedy limited series and Mike White assembled one of the most brilliant casts and showcased them all behaving at their absolute worst for pure comic effect. There was no doubt a larger message her about the evils of the rich, but it was so much more subtle than it is on Succession and far more entertaining. I don’t deny the possibility of an upset here — I would like to see Gaslit win — but I’m basically fine with The White Lotus.
Should Win: Gaslit.
Will Win: The White Lotus
BEST STREAMING LIMITED SERIES
A big part of me wants to see Maid win here. It was one of the great accomplishments of 2021, and it was mostly ignored by the Emmys and other awards groups. But I’m a realist and it’s pretty clear that it will go to one of the major Hulu series. I’m hoping they won’t choose Pam and Tommy (though given the ridiculous amount of love focused on it by the Emmys I can’t rule it out) and will choose one of the far superior limited series are more serious subjects: Dopesick or The Dropout.
Having seen most of the former and all of the latter, it is a very close call between them. The Dropout looks at how one women in tech became a monster and a fraud; Dopesick shows how Richard Sackler almost singlehandedly created the opoid crisis to seem to earn the love of his family which he’d never get. Both had superb writing, directing and performances from their entire casts. Right now, I have a slight preference for The Dropout, but I think Dopesick more likely to prevail and I really don’t have a problem with that.
Should Win: Maid/The Dropout
Will Win: Dopesick.
BEST ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES, BROADCAST OR CABLE
I’m not going to lie: the sentimentalist in me really wants Bill Pullman to win for his measured work in The Sinner, a series I quietly consider one of basic cables masterpieces. His work was brilliant, and he’s gone his entire career being one of Hollywood’s greatest actors and never getting credit for it. But I don’t think he has a realistic chance.
I think it will come down to one of two men: Sean Penn for his work as John Mitchell in Gaslit or Oscar Isaac for his stunning performance in Scenes from a Marriage. Penn’s work was that of a chameleon — you didn’t recognize him underneath the padding — and it was a superb work of a man who has loyalty to a man who has disposed of him. Isaac’s work was just as good, and like Pullman, he’s one of the most undervalued actors working today. (He’s actually nominated for his work in Moon Knight in streaming.) It’s a tough call, but I’m giving the edge to Isaac. His performance was so raw you could see it through the screen. He was the only nominee for this incredible series, and is likely to lose. He deserves recognition here.
Should Win: Pullman.
Will Win: Isaac
BEST ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES, STREAMING
Let’s not kid ourselves; this is the easiest pick of the lot. Michael Keaton has won every single award leading up to the Emmys for his work in Dopesick. He is the unquestioned favorite for the Emmy next month. He is one of the greatest actors of our time who is enjoying a late-career renaissance. His speeches in all the awards have shown the right amount of self-deprecation and inner pain. And having seen his work in the series, it’s one of the most riveting performances in this entire season. No one else in this category has a chance.
Should Win/Will Win: Keaton.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES, BROADCAST OR CABLE
I won’t lie; at least four of the actresses in this category deserve to be in the Emmy nominations infinitely more than at least two of the actresses who got it. There are no bad choices here. So let’s break it down.
Michelle Pfeiffer’s work as Betty Ford was one of the great performances of 2022. Jessica Chastain’s work in Scenes from a Marriage is one of those performances that you will never forget. Julia Roberts’ work as Martha Mitchell demonstrates that she is one of the greatest actresses in history. Renee Zellweger was one of my private hopes for the Emmys this year. The only reason I didn’t go for Sarah Paulson in my Emmy list was because I felt Linda Tripp was a supporting role.
So where do I come down? The two I think were the most deserving of the lot are Pfeiffer and Roberts for their work as two very different political wives. There isn’t much to choose between them, but I’ll give the edge to Roberts because I think she was unjustly shut out by the awards circles for her work in Homecoming four years ago and I think she’s slightly more due than Pfeiffer. Also Roberts’ series got more nominations; I’ll give it a slight edge.
Should Win: Pfeiffer.
Will Win: Roberts (but no bad choices)
BEST ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES, STREAMING
This is easier by comparison for me because there are only two worthy choices in my mind: Margaret Qualley for Maid or Amanda Seyfried for The Dropout. Sorry fans of Toni Collette or Lily James, neither of them would have made the list of my choices for the Emmys.
That said, choosing between Qualley and Seyfried is agonizing as both women gave extraordinary performances. Qualley’s was a master class in trying to maintain dignity in an utterly hostile world; Seyfried’s was the opposite: an incredible work showing how the path to success can make you completely inhuman. Both play women at the opposite ends of the financial level of success, both women play characters who in their own ways are victims of it. (I know; I’m calling Elizabeth Holmes a victim, but it’s a tribute to Seyfried’s work that I see her that way.) Both are exceptional child actresses with impressive resumes (Seyfried’s is more so because she’s been acting longer.). I personally want Qualley want to win; I find it more likely Seyfried will. Honestly, I have no problem with either, so for now I’ll consider Seyfried the likely winner and hope for Qualley.
Should Win: Qualley.
Will Win: Seyfried.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES, BROADCAST OR CABLE
Oh, I’m torn here. Part of me really wants Dan Stevens to prevail here. His work as John Dean was effective the centerpiece of Gaslit. As we watched the performance of a man who defined an image that goes against everything we know about the real John Dean, it was a work of art. And as someone who’s had no use for Stevens in two critically acclaimed series, I think he demonstrated what an incredible actor he was. I want him to win…but I know he won’t.
No, the winner in this category has be preordained since July of 2021, since we first met Armond, the increasingly put upon concierge at The White Lotus. By far his behavior was the worst of everybody at the resort, but when I learned he was the victim of the murder, my heart aches. And that’s because Murray Bartlett somehow made him seem lovable, even when he was snorting the drugs of his guests and doing unthinkable things to their luggage. He’s practically a shoo-in for the Emmy this year, and anyone who saw his work knows he earned it.
Should Win: Stevens.
Will Win: Bartlett.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES, STREAMING
I won’t rule out the possibility that Seth Rogen will prevail here for Pam and Tommy, but I think it more likely that it will go to one of the supporting cast of Dopesick. I know that Peter Sarsgaard is gaining momentum in the Emmy race for his work as the dogged prosecutor who eventually brings Purdue to justice, but I won’t lie: my preference is for the unquestioned monster of the piece.
The more I watch Michael Stuhlbarg’s work as Richard Sackler, the more I’m mesmerized by it. Which is impressive because it’s a performance where Stuhlbarg doesn’t so much as raise his voice, rant or over perform. Stuhlbarg’s work is completely and utterly devoid of humanity, even with his own family (at one point he tells his wife at the peak of his success: “Perhaps I’m not good at expressing emotion.) It’s even more terrifying because he seems to be willing to create an epidemic just so he can be more prominent in his own family, already in the top one percent. It’s absolutely frightening how cold he is, which makes it all the more likely the Emmys will ignore it. I think Stuhlbarg is one of the greatest character actors in history and he is the right man for this role. I want him to win.
Should Win: Stuhlbarg.
Will Win: Rogen (?)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A BROADCAST OR CABLE LIMITED SERIES
This is even tougher. I’ve always admired Betty Gilpin and she was the conscience of Gaslit. I’ve loved Judy Greer for longer and her work in The Thing about Pam was a quiet masterpiece. But as we know, this will come down to one of the women from The White Lotus.
Connie Britton has been moving up in the odds for her work as the executive wife and mother who has the face of a liberal but is a quiet conservative. Britton has been laboring in the field for decades and has never gotten her due. But I think the odds are with Jennifer Coolidge who, like Bartlett, has been dominated much of the awards talk for the show since the series premiered. Her work was a comic delight from beginning to end as she was a complete and utter mess who uttered almost all the best lines. This is by far her best work on TV (I fully get why she’s coming back for Season 2) and I expect her to win in a walk.
Should Win/Will Win: Coolidge.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A STREAMING LIMITED SERIES
Not going to lie, lots of good choices. Rosario Dawson should have been nominated for an Emmy for her work on Dopesick. Laurie Metcalf gave one of the best supporting performances in The Dropout and that series had a group of them. Kaitlyn Dever is an incredible talent and if Coolidge doesn’t win the Emmy, I want her to prevail for her soulful work as a lost woman in West Virginia who falls completely apart because of Oxy.
But the performer in this category I want to win is the most deserving of all. Andie MacDowell’s work as the bipolar artist mother in Maid was one of the great triumphs of 2021. From beginning to end, it was a master class in acting, utterly mesmerizing as you saw a woman so utterly oblivious to how the world work — and how she had ruined her daughter’s life — that you couldn’t tear your eyes from her whenever she was on the screen. I’ve been watching MacDowell for thirty years; I didn’t think she was capable of it. There were many, many thoughtless exclusions by the Emmys in the Limited series category — the fact that MacDowell was ignored is one I can not get my head around.
In my head I know it is likely Dever will prevail. In my heart, MacDowell is the only one deserving. She’ll be who I’m pulling for.
Should Win: MacDowell.
Will Win: Dever.
Directing and Writing:
For Broadcast/Cable: I think it likely The White Lotus will take both prizes, though I’d honestly be happier if Impeachment won for writing and Scenes from a Marriage for directing.
For Streaming: Dopesick will probably win for writing — Danny Strong is an awards favorite. Direction will probably go to Station Eleven which is more technically involved. I’d prefer Dopesick or The Dropout but I can live with it.
Random picks: I want John Oliver to win Best Broadcast or Cable Variety, Sketch or Talk Streaming. I want Amber Ruffin or Jon Stewart to prevail. And as for game show… well, viewers of my blog know which one in closest to my heart. As for the rest, I’m unqualified or don’t care enough.
On Monday, I’ll be back with my thoughts on the winners. I’ll also start my annual predictions of how I want the Emmys to go and how I think the Emmys will go. Will what happens this weekend affect the latter? I can only hope, but I’m a realist.