My Mostly Favorable Reactions To The Critics Choice TV Nominations
Conclusion: Limited Series et al
As we deal with Limited Series, I’ll admit that historically this category has always given the most puzzlement over the past decade and this year is no exception. We have a balance between last year’s Emmy contenders and this year’s likely ones and while I’m grateful for the balance, well I think we’ll see very quickly the problems. So let’s get started.
BEST LIMITED SERIES
I’ll admit I am glad that the Broadcast Critics have allowed for eight nominees in this category where the Emmys are still stuck at five. That being said…
No one would dare argue with Mare of Easttown and Wandavision and those people who thought Amazon’s The Underground Railroad was underrepresented will be more than satisfied. Of the other five, it is likely that Maid and Dopesick given the collective praise will be recognized and Midnight Mass is a cult phenomenon. That said I can’t figure for the life of me what Doctor Death and It’s a Sin are doing here, especially considering what was omitted. Nothing for Scenes from a Marriage or American Crime Story? Almost nothing for Nine Perfect Strangers? And how can the critics in good conscience not nominated The White Lotus for Best Limited Series? Hell, even the most recent version of Genius would be a better choice than some of these.
I don’t normally give consideration to TV Movie, but I am glad to see Oslo and Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas here.
BEST ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
I’m not quite as disappointed as I was for last year’s Emmys in this category, but it’s a near thing.
Paul Bettany deserves to be here, no question. Michael Keaton is a more than likely contender. Regardless of what I think of Dt. Death, Joshua Jackson is one of the most criminally under-recognized actors by awards groups so I’m glad to see him here. Hamish Linklater is slightly questionable, but than I haven’t seen Midnight Mass.
I love William Jackson Harper, I truly do, but his being nominated for HBO Max’s Love Life is a mistake. Compared to the work of Oscar Isaac in Scenes from a Marriage, there is no contest as to who is superior. (And it’s not like he was going to lack for representation from the Critics as we’ll see below) Olly Alexander for It’s A Sin…that’s a judgment call, but at least they didn’t nominate Ewan McGregor for Halston.
BEST ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
Admitting up front that so many Limited Series are dominated by strong female portrayals, I acknowledge that there were inevitably going to be some critical omissions. So let’s take a look and then judge.
Kate Winslet and Elisabeth Olsen gave two of the strongest female performances last year. No problem with their presence. Cynthia Erivo was nominated for an Emmy for her work in Genius: Aretha; I can’t really argue that she shouldn’t be here. A lot of people were upset when Thuso Mbedu wasn’t nominated for Best Actress for her work in The Underground Railroad, so this is a good balance. Margaret Qualley is by far the most likely of the nominees in this category to be in contention in next year’s Emmys for her work in Maid. I won’t argue it.
Danielle Brooks for Mahalia? You’re kidding. Setting aside all of the great female performances in Impeachment, you left out Jessica Chastain for her stunning work in Scenes from a Marriage. And is there now some law saying that no matter how great a performance Nicole Kidman gives in a Limited Series, she can never be nominated? I know she’s got a lot of awards already, but still…”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR LIMITED SERIES
We’re doing a bit better here. Evan Peters would have to be included in this group. I’m overjoyed to see Murray Bartlett in the hunt for his brilliant work in The White Lotus. A lot of people thought Courtney B. Vance deserved a nomination for his work in Aretha and I’m honestly all for him getting all the award recognition he can, so no problem. This is what I meant about William Jackson Harper getting his due for The Underground Railroad. I’ll withhold judgment of Zach Gilford until after I see Midnight Mass.
I love Christian Slater’s work in general, and I thought he got a raw deal for never being nominated for an Emmy for his superb work on Mr. Robot. Nominating him for Doctor Death, that is gilding the lily. My preference would have been for Michael Shannon for his work on Nine Perfect Strangers or Clive Owen on Impeachment.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Okay. A category I can’t argue with. Julianne Nicholson and Jean Smart deserved to be nominated for Mare of Easttown, as does Kathryn Hahn for Wandavision. Glad to see Melissa McCarthy recognized for Nine Perfect Strangers and joyful to see Jennifer Coolidge for her performance in The White Lotus. I’m less sure about Kaitlyn Dever for Dopesick, but she was shafted by the Emmys for both Unbelievable and Costal Elites, so I’m glad to see her here. Would I have liked to see Sarah Paulson? Sure. But you can’t have everything.
The one category left I care about is Best Talk Show. And while I’m not thrilled about Kelly Clarkson’s presence or Andy Cohen’s, the rest of the nominees more than deserve it. Hurray for John Oliver, for Amber Ruffin I say what, and I’m thrilled beyond measure to see Desus & Mero and Seth Meyers here. (Emmys get the hint already!)
Glaring omissions (besides the ones for Limited Series) The Kominsky Method, Big Sky, In Treatment (mostly) The Wonder Years, Lucifer. Omissions I’m glad happened: The Handmaid’s Tale, Servant.
Otherwise, it’s a pretty solid group as the Critics usually are. I’ll be back in the first week of January to try and predict who will win (which is always fun, because there are no bad choices and they often have ties.) Will deal with other awards as they come out.