My Reactions To This Year’s Emmy Nominations
Part 2: The Drama About The Dramas
Well, I’ve taken a day to try and get my head around the nominations in the Drama Series, and it still doesn’t compute. You expected the Emmys to share the wealth now that the behemoth of Game of Thrones is gone forever, but there just seems to be so little real logic to it, particularly in the acting nominations.
In my opinion, the biggest victim is Better Call Saul. For years, they’ve been nominated in the acting categories and ignoring it in writing and directing. This year, they went the other way. How can you nominate the series without nominating Bob Odenkirk –it’s like nominating Breaking Bad and ignoring Bryan Cranston. And everyone was certain this would be the year that Jonathan Banks would finally win — and he isn’t even nominated. Seriously, eight nominees in each of the supporting categories and you can’t find room for either Banks or Rhea Seehorn.
And I’ll be honest. I expected Ozark to get nominated — it is a good show. But eighteen nominations? Couldn’t they give some of the writing nominations to This is Us or Big Little Lies? Indeed, there seems to be an overcorrection toward the technical rather than the others.
Now I’ll go into detail.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul, The Crown, Succession and Stranger Things all deserve to be here. I can see the logic for Ozark and Killing Eve. But what is with the obsession with The Handmaid’s Tale, which even it’s most devoted fans thought had faltered badly in Season 3?
And where the hell do the Emmys get off nominating The Mandalorian? I didn’t even bother to watch it (I’ll watch some episodes to try and catch up) but are the Emmys really just trying to get Star Wars viewers here. There were no acting nods and no writing nods. If you’re going to nominate a sci-fi show, you could at least nominate Westworld. The Emmys are supposed to be nominating great dramas, like This is Us or Pose or Big Little Lies. This seems like a plea of some kind that I don’t get… at least not yet.
OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Brian Cox, Sterling Brown and Billy Porter more than deserve to be here. I can more than see the logic for Jeremy Strong. And Jason Bateman’s work in Ozark is so different from every other character he plays that he deserves to be here.
But Steve Carell for The Morning Show? Leaving aside that it’s hard to justify that role as a lead, I can think of at least three other deserving nominees BEFORE we get to Bob Odenkirk. Nothing for Milo Ventimiglia or Tobias Menzies? Nothing for Paul Giamatti or Damien Lewis? This is one of the Best Actors in a Drama. There’s no logic here. None at all.
OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Olivia Colman, Jennifer Anniston and Laura Linney more than deserve to be here, and I can see the logic of re-nominating Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh from Killing Eve.
But Zendaya for Euphoria? A series that was barely watchable, much less viewable? Forget Nicole Kidman or Reese Witherspoon; Mandy Moore or Viola Davis would’ve been far better choices. Claire Danes has more depths. Evan Rachel Wood and Elisabeth Moss would make more sense No one can honestly consider Zendaya a viable actress, much less a character in this show. I’d say the Emmys have gone rock bottom, but…
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Now I’ll admit I wasn’t thinking rationally when I didn’t include any nominees in this category for Succession. Kieran Culkin and Matthew MacFayden are extremely good in their work (I was going to include Culkin initially). I’m not as sure about Nicholas Braun (hell, I’m not even sure what character he plays). And I had no problem with Giancarlo Esposito and Billy Crudup being picked.
But why on earth would you give another nomination to The Morning Show? Now I love Mark Duplass as a writer, director and actor, but if you’re going to nominate a Supporting Actor from this show, why not put Steve Carell here? And as big a fan as I am of Bradley Whitford and Jeffrey Wright, they paled not only in comparison to Jonathan Banks, but to David Harbour in Stranger Things and Mandy Patinkin in Homeland. There is just a general laziness here. Whitford’s gotten enough love from the Emmys, and Wright seems lower on the list of performers on his own series. If you’re nominate someone in Supporting, why not Ed Harris? (Hell, Wright was nominated as Best Actor last time out, so the logic makes no sense here either). Eight nominations and they still couldn’t get it right.
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter, Julia Garner and Sarah Snook. So far so good. I’m willing to give a little leeway for Thandie Newton for Westworld because she is by far the best thing about this often confused show.
But again, there’s so much of a mess with the final two. I didn’t see the logic is nominating Fiona Shaw for Killing Eve last year, and it still doesn’t make any sense. And I don’t care how good the actresses in The Handmaid’s Tale are; they don’t hold a candle to either Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul or Millie Bobby Brown in Stranger Things. Hell, I could’ve lived with Susan Kalechi Watson, shorted again for her fine work on This is Us. Eight should’ve been enough. You done messed it up again.
As for Guest Actors, I’m glad to see Andrew Scott nominated, and I hope he wins to make up for being ignored for Fleabag. Ron Cephas Jones and James Cromwell more than deserve to be here, as does Jason Bateman (Outsider is a limited series, but let’s let that go. They couldn’t have found room for Dean Norris?
Guest Actress: Laverne Cox and Cicely Tyson have earned their place here? I’m glad Cherry Jones was nominated for Succession and not The Handmaid’s Tale. I hope Phylicia Rashad wins this year, and I’m glad to see Alexis Bledel back.
Tomorrow, I deal with Watchmen, and all the other, ahem, contenders for Best Limited Series.