BEST DRAMATIC SERIES
I knew that this year, if only because several series were going to be absent by default, the Emmy Nominations were going to be of a better quality than they have been in the past. They made vast improvements last year, but with Game of Thrones gone, and Downton Abbey gone, it looked like things were beginning to look up.
And, lo and behold, things continue to improve with the nominations this year. We have the first nominated Best Drama from a broadcast network in six years, and its the right one. HBO, while still leading by a margin in total nominations, was vastly undercut by Netflix, and having seen the majority of the series on that service, I can’t really argue with most of the choices. And right now, it seems that there is a major shift in power among the streaming: Amazon is (mostly) out, and Hulu is in. (I haven’t seen Handmaid’s Tale yet, but believe me, I’ll catch up on it in future weeks.) And though FX didn’t have as nearly as good a year as last year, they are still a considerable force.
Now, I’m still really irked in the comedy category. Most of the series I picked were shut out. And though I can’t deny that Saturday Night Live had its biggest season in years, 22 nominations: that still seems a little excessive. (Even my mom agrees.) Maybe this will cause some reevaluations with this series that are, frankly, a decade overdue.
And seriously, it now seems like the Emmys will honor any thing other than the CW. I know, technically Rachel Bloom was nominated, but they’re really reaching with some of their other picks.
But, mostly, I am very pleased with how the Emmys is handling things. They continue to demonstrate that they are far more relevant than they were even five years ago. This is clearly a good sign. To the specifics.
The Crown and Stranger Things more than deserved their nominations, I said as much. Better Call Saul continues to improve with each season. This is Us — whee . I’m a little irked that Westworld made it instead of Leftovers, but not really surprised. I didn’t see Handmaid’s Tale, but the noise about it was pretty high.
I’m a little surprised and disappointed that House of Cards nudged out The Americans. Frankly, I’m a little shocked that enough people saw it under the deadline. But I’m not that disappointed — as the leads categories are encouraging enough.
BEST ACTOR, DRAMA
I didn’t think the Emmys would regulate the characters in This is Us to leads. So really, I’m glad that Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling Brown were nominated for this year, even if I’m a little surprised. Matthew Rhys — yes, yes, yes!. Bob Odenkirk more than deserved to repeated. Kevin Spacey — not really that shocking. Anthony Hopkins — Westworld sweep, but considering all of the secrets his character kept during the series, he earned it.
What is with the Emmy obsession with Liev Schreiber? I’m a little less pissed than I was in the past, because Ray Donavan was basically shut out. Still, in a category that found room for seven nominees, they couldn’t have nominated Billy Bob Thornton?
BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA
Claire Foy — perfect choice. Evan Rachel Wood — fan of her for fifteen years. Keri Russell — deserving. Even without seeing Handmaid’s Tale, I’ll celebrate Elisabeth Moss, because she’s one of TV’s great actresses Viola Davis — I can live with her.
I’m more than a little irked that Robin Wright pushed out Winona Ryder, but considering everything Claire Underwood had to go through to get there, I’ll let it go. Besides, there’s always next year.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Admittedly, I was seriously thrown off when two of my supporting nominees were nominated as leads. So let’s reassess.
Jonathan Banks — superb choice, even though Esposito and McKean were at least as good. John Lithgow — great. Ron Cephas Jones — well, he was superb, and he would’ve been my third choice in that category. David Harbour for Stranger Things — honestly didn’t consider him as a factor, but his performance was at least as good as Ryder’s. Jeffrey Wright — admired him as an actor for awhile, and I have to admit, his performance in Westworld was arguably the best. Michael Kelly — always admired his work on this series.
Now, I admit Mandy Patinkin is always one of the best things about Homeland. And he’s been ignobly ignored the last two seasons. But even though he was good, Rupert Friend was outstanding. It’s sad that his last chance fell under Patinkin’s.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
This was more of a mixed bag. Granted, there were bound to be a lot of new nominees considering Game of Thrones was ineligible, but I didn’t expect every nominee to be a new one. Well… almost.
Chrissy Metz, great choice. Millie Bobby Brown — I will very surprised if she isn’t the favorite in this category. Uzo Aduba — well, she gives a great performance, though Orange is the New Black was not as powerful. Thandie Newton, arguably a clear favorite.
I’m not as sure about the two nominations for Handmaid’s Tale — I’ll have to see the series first. But Ann Dowd is a great actress. Still, they could’ve found room for Mandy Moore or Maura Tierney.
And now, a brief word on a category I ignored before Guest Actors. It’s always a mixed bag here, but it did my soul good to see BD Wong deserved nomination as White Rose, and Gerald McRaney getting his first (how is this possible!) nomination for his superb work on This is Us as well as Denis O’Hare. And the Guest Actress choices we even better. They finally nominated Alexis Beidel for something! And she might even win. And Alison Wright was deservedly recognized for her work as the duped secretary turned Russian exile on The Americans. And there was justice for Barb! Or at least an Emmy nomination for Barb which is nearly as good. Leftovers was nominated for Ann Dowd (though she had to die for it). All and all, a good group.
Tune in Tomorrow for the comedies.