My Predictions (And Hopes) For This Year’s Emmy Nominations
Conclusion: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV Movie/Limited Series
Unlike the previous category, I’m actually good with the lion’s share of the favorites. Most of them are ones I’d probably have considered anyway over the past year or just in general. I have one minor exception (which won’t surprise most of those who’ve read this week’s entries) but I think they’re a deserving bunch
Jessie Buckley, Fargo
This season, there were gangster from every possible country, ruthless assassins, and a pair of lesbian robbers. But the most frightening character of all worked in the civilized world. From the moment we met Oretta Mayflower, we could tell that there was just something wrong with this woman and we knew the moment she got mixed up with Josto there would be no happy ending for anybody. What made Oretta the most horrifying character wasn’t the fact that she was clearly deranged, a racist and a serial killer. It was the fact that the world would rather accept her over so many of the criminals because of what she did and the color of her skin — she was a Karen decades before the term was coined. And even up until her death, she never seemed repentant or even cared about her crimes. This was one of the scariest performances in Fargo’s entire run. Consider that. And then try to figure out why we should deny her a nomination before she comes to visit the Academy with a homemade pie.
Kathryn Hahn, Wandavision
Those of you who read my column know that Kathryn Hahn is one of my favorite actresses working today. She’s beautiful but not drop dead gorgeous, funny but not expressive enough to be funny, always getting passed over in good projects for more visible faces (Transparent being the exception) For all her talents, she might well be the last person I would ever expect to fit into a Marvel franchise, much less play the villain in one. But Hahn has always been good for playing deeply layered characters. She’s also the last person I’d ever expect to win an award from the MTV Movie or TV awards. Witness her taking the best villain prize earlier this year. If this how the world gets to finally appreciate what I have for years, well, she deserves Marvel money. And if this what it takes for her to finally win an Emmy, I honestly don’t have a problem with that either.
Marielle Heller, The Queen’s Gambit
In a way, Alma Wheatley was the perfect mother for Elizabeth, though she may never have realized it — a woman’s whose life’s ambitions — as an artist, a wife and even a mother had all failed her. Elizabeth helped draw the very best out of her for awhile, and its clear she’s one of the few people who truly loved her — even though that love wasn’t enough to save her. We already knew Heller was one of the most astonishing writers and directors who have been working the past decade, so to see her give one of the most astonishing performances over the past year is another feather in her cap. Heller has been ignored by the Oscars; it’s unlikely the Emmys will do the same.
Julianne Nicholson, Mare of Easttown
Ever since she became one of the few truly good things about the final wretched season of Ally McBeal, Nicholson has been one of the most talented and undervalued actresses in TV. Most people know her for her work on Law & Order: CI; I’ve known for playing some of the most unique women in some of the most remarkable period pieces — an honest U.S. Attorney trying to fight 20s corruption in Boardwalk Empire, the wife of an accused murderer fighting to restore his good name in The Outsider and in what was her greatest achievement in my mind, a pioneering gynecological surgeon who become a partner to Virginia Johnson and someone she turns to as she dies of cancer in Masters of Sex. By comparison, her work as Lori, Mare’s best friend could have been conventional. But as her family’s involvement in the murders and how the horrible twist utterly destroyed her life, it was a master class. In a way, the series would have perfect had it ended on the scene of her weeping in Mare’s arms. There are better choices for this award in this category. But I’d really like to see Nicholson up there. She’s earned it
Weruchie Opia, I May Destroy You
I’m pretty sure no one in America knew who Opia was before I May Destroy You. That’s certainly wasn’t the case after this year. Playing Arabella’s closest friend who supports after her night of horror, who sticks with her through some increasingly perilous financial times and who manages, like her friend, to come out the other side, Opia provided a fair amount of lightness when it was needed and support as well. Every so often the Emmys will recognize a previously unknown talent and shine the light on them. Opia is the best example of that in this category
Jean Smart, Mare of Easttown
Overkill, right? She’s already one of the favorites to win Best Actress in a Comedy. Set aside the fact she should’ve won last year in this category for her work in Watchmen. (Or a few years ago for her work in Fargo. Or a few years before that as Martha Logan in 24…all right, I think you get the point.) Smart’s work as Mare’s constantly annoying mother who has the job of holding the family together that Mare vacated years ago was another one of those master classes that could’ve gone wrong in any other actress’ hands. Smart is by far one the most versatile actresses in television (hell, just this year proves that) and this role is probably the fourth or fifth career renaissance she’s had this century. There’s no way she hasn’t earned a nomination.
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
Hope Davis, Your Honor
Remember earlier when I say almost no one in this cast managed to rise above this material? Davis may have been the most notable exception, even more than Cranston. Jimmy Baxter may have been the most few gangster in New Orleans but his wife was the most terrifying person in that family. A wife who would never forget her husband’s blunders; a mother who forgave all her son’s indiscretions and who was more determined that Jimmy that sure that vengeance was paid out. Davis has been one of the great actress in film and television for a very long time, usually appearing in movies and series that the world either doesn’t watched or where a brighter sun is recognized. In a series that was more often than not an ungodly mess, Davis was the one perfect gem in it. For that, as well as everything else she’s done, she’s earned a nomination.
One last comment: When it comes to Late Night Comedy, I think it is more than time to let Seth Meyers and Desus & Mero into the party. In a year where every show was filmed at home, they adapted the best and made their mark in every way.
See you in a couple of weeks to see how my predictions turn out.