My Hopes For This Year’s Critics’ Choice Conclusion
Best Limited Series/TV Movie et al
I don’t normally comment on the awards for Best TV Movie because most of the time I don’t care. This time I do. So I’ll be blunt. If Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas doesn’t take the Best TV Movie prize, I will be mad as…cutting to opening credits.
And now, on to my predictions for Limited Series and the Acting awards.
BEST LIMITED SERIES
This is tougher than it usually is. While much of the times the Critics Choice does mirror the Emmys in this category, there have been more than a few deviations. When They See Us ended up upsetting Chernobyl in 2020 after all, and considering that the miniseries that swept last years awards — The Queen’s Gambit — isn’t here, and that there are no FX limited series eligible (they’re currently the all-time leader with four wins, two apiece for the first two incarnations of Fargo and American Crime Story) this is fairly wide open.
I’d like to see Wandavision prevail but the Critics generally don’t like comic book series. Dopesick or Maid might have something of an edge for later awards, and given the momentum I think the former has a good chance of contending. Ultimately thought I think it will come down to a choice between Mare of Easttown and The Underground Railroad. Under other circumstances, Mare might be the easy winner, but considering that it triumphed at the Golden Globes and the Image awards, I’m giving the edge to Underground Railroad. This kind of correction is the ones the critics tend to favor — I have a feeling that’s why When They See Us won too.
Should Win: Wandavision.
Will Win: The Underground Railroad.
BEST ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES.
This was tough to predict when the nominations were given in December; now I think it’s a foregone conclusion who’s going to win. Michael Keaton has this wrapped up for his work Dopesick. Everything points to it — the Golden Globe and SAG awards he’s already won; the fact that he’s an industry veteran and the profoundly moving speech he gave at the SAGs two weeks. The only question, will he leave the presenter hanging for awhile before he walks up to the stage to accept it?
Should Win/Will Win: Keaton.
BEST ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
I will admit there’s room for an upset here. Margaret Qualley is gaining momentum for her work in Maid and she might triumph her. Thuso Mbedu managed to prevail at the Independent Spirit Awards and the Image awards for her work in The Underground Railroad and I imagine a lot of people were pissed when she wasn’t even nominated for an Emmy.
But honestly, I think the winner is nearly as easy to pick as it was for Best Actor. Kate Winslet is likely to complete her sweep of the four major awards Sunday night for her extraordinary work in the title role of Mare of Easttown. Critics said it was one of the most towering achievements of 2021 so it makes sense she would prevail her.
Should Win: Qualley/Elisabeth Olsen.
Will Win: Winslet.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE/LIMITED SERIES
This is where things get tougher and where there is usually room for some kind of upset. So let’s realistically consider the most likely possibilities.
Evan Peters has the Supporting Actor Emmy. Courtney B. Vance took the prize from the Image Awards earlier this year. William Jackson Harper is well overdue an award. And anyone who saw Murray Bartlett’s work on The White Lotus knows that it was a star making role.
It comes down to whether the Critics choose to recognize the year past (as they did in 2020 with Stellan Skarsgard for Chernobyl and his son in Big Little Lies in 2018 ) or the year ahead (as they did in 2019 with Ben Whishaw for A Very English Scandal or Donald Sutherland for The Undoing). This is a very, very tough call but at the end of the day I’m going to assume HBO has more momentum. Bartlett is my personal preference, and I think he’ll prevail, but it could just as easily go to Peters.
Should Win: Bartlett.
Will Win: Peters/Bartlett.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MOVIE/LIMITED SERIES
This by far is the toughest category of the group as all six candidates are more than deserving. Julianne Nicholson won the Emmy for Mare of Easttown. Kathryn Hahn seemed to take every prize in the book (from the MTV Movie and TV awards to the HCA) for her incredible work on Wandavision. Jennifer Coolidge was incredible on The White Lotus and is likely to be one of the major contenders for this year’s Emmys. Kaitlyn Dever is a brilliant talent, whose shut out in 2020 was…, well, Unbelievable. Melissa McCarthy was pretty close to perfect in Nine Perfect Strangers. And only Jean Smart’s certain win in the comedy category takes her out of contention here.
I would really like to see an award in this category go to a brilliant comic performance like the ones given by Coolidge or Hahn, both remarkable actresses who are more than deserving and certainly owed. My preference is for Hahn because she lost at last year’s Emmys and won’t get another chance this year. Still I think there’s a momentum for Coolidge building so I’ll give her a minor edge. It’s going to be tough for the Emmys to choose this fall (and that’s before talents like Andie MacDowell get in the game).
Should Win: Hahn/Coolidge.
Will Win: Coolidge (but there are no bad choices in this category.)
The only other category here I give a tinker’s cuss about is Best Talk Show. I think John Oliver will prevail, but I would really like to see Desus and Mero or Amber Ruffin end up pulling an upset. And these are the Critics Choice, so don’t rule it out.
I will be back on Monday with my reactions to the winners and the overall award show. If it’s anything like we’re used too, it’s going to be fun for everybody. So find time, watch it, and see what you’ve been missing.