Yes, They’re Familiar, But That Doesn’t Mean They’re Wrong.
I know I should be dismayed that the Emmys keep making many of the same choices year after year. They are, after all, driven by complacency more than anything else. But part of the reason that I’ve been increasingly impressed with the Emmys record the last few years is that my general satisfaction level with their choices has gone up to around 70%. It’s not perfect, I know, but considering that for many years they would be lucky to crack the 50% mark, does seem to indicate a certain level of improvement.
And, to be perfectly honest, many of my choices were recognized. Yes, Game of Thrones again led all comers with 22 nominations, but for the first time in nearly twenty years, the network didn’t lead in total nods. That honor went to Netflix, which frankly, has a greater variety and more interesting choices on its menu. And whereas the last two seasons, its had a near lock on best drama, it will most likely be at war with Westworld and Handmaids Tale, leaving room for a couple of dark horses.
The comedy choices were equally impressive, considering that they had to bring this category to eight nominees. And in the age of the reboot, none of the major comedies that were eligible are in the hunt. ((Mostly.) Which means that for the first time in nearly a decade, the Emmys will have to crown a new show.
I’m still a little irked that SNL got so many nominations. (I’ll go to specifics later.) And I’m more than a little frustrated that so many of my choices in the limited series were basically shutout. But like last year, the Emmys continue to demonstrate that they are becoming more and more attuned to the level of the Golden Age that we are currently in. Now I shall go to the specifics.
The Crown, The Americans, This is Us, and Stranger Things were four of the series I was hoping would get nominated. Westworld remains one of the most visually fascinating series on the air. And really, if you didn’t expect Game of Thrones or Handmaid’s Tale to be nominated, you haven’t been paying attention to the Emmys this year.
Would I have liked to see The Deuce nominated? Yes, but I’m not shocked it wasn’t. I’m a little more surprised that Homeland and The Good Fight were basically shut out. My really disappointments come with the number of nominations — but I’ll get to that below.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia, no complaints. Ditto Matthew Rhys. I’m very glad to see that Ed Harris was nominated, even if it was as a lead and not supporting, and I’m also glad to see Jeffrey Wright listed — though I didn’t include him, he more than deserved his spot.
Jason Bateman’s spot isn’t a huge shock, considering he was listed by the Golden Globes and the SAG awards. I guess this is the one category I’m actually pleased by who was omitted — no one from Game of Thrones, no Liev Schreiber, no Donald Sutherland. Would I have liked to see Paul Giamatti or James Franco listed? Sure. But overall, no real complaints.
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Elisabeth Moss — given that she won every award between here and last year. No shock. Keri Russell and Claire Foy get one last deserved chance at gold. Evan Rachel Wood was remarkable in Westworld. And I’m glad to see the voters had a long enough memory to remember Tatiana Maslany.
Sandra Oh was expected to be nominated for Killing Eve, and while I appreciate both the nomination and the significance, I can’t help but wonder what the hell Mandy Moore has to do to get a nomination? There’ll be more opportunities of course, and the category’s going to have more openings next year. Still, I’m a little stunned.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
This is where I start to have problems. Mandy Patinkin and David Harbour, I’m overjoyed they were nominated. I’m glad Matt Smith was nominated as well — he was superb as Prince Philip and frankly should have been considered by other groups.
It’s the other nominees I have a real issue with. Peter Dinklage, I expect to be nominated by this point in Game of Thrones run. But do we have to have anyone else? And while I’ve always been a huge admirer of Joseph Fiennes, his work wasn’t anywhere near the level of, say, Noah Emmerich or Justin Hartley. I’m starting to really get the feeling the Emmys have problems in this category.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Okay, I’m glad they decided to nominate seven actresses. I do, however, have real problems with the seven.
Millie Bobby Brown, she has earned it. Thandie Newton, exceptional work. And I’m very glad the Emmys took Vanessa Kirby’s work as Princess Margaret in for consideration.
I’m not even that irked about all of The Handmaid’s Tale’s nominations. I love Alexis Bledel, I’ve made that clear, and I’ve been an admirer of Ann Dowd for several years. But couldn’t that have been enough? I love Yvonne Strahovski, and she should’ve been considered for an Emmy at least since Chuck, but couldn’t they have considered her some other year. And what is with the obsession with Lena Hradey?
My real aggravation is with two of the nominees they locked out. Margo Martindale has been the greatest assets of The Americans since it started. How could the Emmys justifiably ignore her final season? (Then again, she did win two Emmys for it already, so she may be less upset than I am.) And how in the name of all that is holy could they ignore Chrissy Metz for This is Us? I know, the same way they could ignore Justin Hartley and Mandy Moore, but still is the biggest robbery of the year.
I need to calm down. I’ll be back tomorrow to deal with the comedy awards, which actually made me happier than the dramas for a change.