My Usually Joyous Reactions to the 2023 Critics Choice Nominations For TV, Part 1
Reintroduction and My Reactions To The Drama Nominations
If you have been a long time follower of this column you know just how highly I hold in esteem the Critics Choice nominations when it comes to television. Since their inception in 2010, they have been the gold standard for what all other awards shows should do when it comes to TV. If the HCA has surpassed them in recent years, it is merely because they have broadened their scope to a degree the Critics Choice have never fully done when it comes to television.
For the last decade with the rise of streaming the TCA has been one of the north stars I have had when it comes to finding TV shows that I would not have the time or energy to find on my own. In the first two years of this decade alone, they helped guide me to Andor, Squid Game and Yellowjackets in drama, Only Murders in the Building and The Bear in comedy, and such brilliant limited series as The Patient and The Queen’s Gambit in Limited Series. They have also more often then nodded redressed wrongs that the Emmys failed on multiple occasions by nominating such gems as The Good Fight, Reservation Dogs and Gaslit in just the past year. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy in the past two years giving critics a lot of grief, so I’m glad to know that in shows like this they gets things right.
As you are most likely unaware unless you are a real awards junkie, the Critic’s Choice awards gave their nominations for the best television in 2023 this morning. And in a year that was plagued by labor stoppage as well, so many great series having ended and a general sense the era of prestige TV is over (though I’m not someone who thins so) I was curious to see how they’d react. And the answer turned out to be…very well, under the circumstances.
Their awards will puzzle some and delight others, some surprisingly so. As always the Critics Choice awards never have the finger on the pulse of what is popular, that is in part why I love them so much. Some of their nominations are in recognition of the Emmys that will air the day after this year’s Critics Choice (bizarre timing on their part); others will recognize the year that is to come. But all of them give recognition to some of the very best that television has to offer. The Emmys has been doing a better job trying to adhere to them over the last few years; they’d do well to do so this time.
I will start with Drama which has some interesting choices.
BEST DRAMA SERIES
Succession and The Last of Us were going to be here. It was likely The Crown would be for its final season and The Morning Show has been a favorite of the Critics for a while. I’ve heard good things about The Diplomat for some time and I’m going to be covering it for my blog later on.
The other three choices are puzzling given the rest of the nominations. Winning Time being chosen is odd, but it has been a favorite of the HCA last year. The odder choices in my book are Loki and Stranger New Worlds. Perhaps my bigger problem (by far) is that Yellowjackets was basically ignored (though not entirely) and I’d prefer The Gilded Age or Will Trent among them. Oh well.
BEST DRAMA ACTOR
I’m actually overjoyed with this group. I don’t know which nomination pleases me more: Timothy Olyphant for his reprisal of Raylan Givens in the most recent season of Justified or Ramon Rodriguez being recognized for his superb work as Will Trent.
They nominated the right two leads from Succession (Culkin and Strong) and they gave Pedro Pascal the nomination he was going to get for The Last of Us. Tom Hiddleston is an odd choice, but he’s not a bad one.
BEST DRAMA ACTRESS
No one from Yellowjackets? Seriously? You guys are shamed by the HCA. That said..
Bella Ramsey, Sarah Snook and Keri Russell did all get nominated by the Emmys. Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon are likely to return to the forefront in the season to come. And I will admit I’m thrilled to see Aunjanue Ellis in the hunt for her superb work on Justified. Still, nothing for Melanie Lynskey?
BEST DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR
Okay I will give you credit for only one nominee from Succession and it’s the guy who deserves it Matthew MacFayden. Billy Crudup has been here before. Many thought Rufus Sewell deserved to be nominated by the Emmys.
The others are, in keeping with the Critics’ Choice, an eclectic bunch. Khalid Abdalla, who plays Dody on The Crown, was a good choice. I’m not sure why Ke Huy Quan was nominated for Loki. I think Ron Cephas Jones presence has more to do with his passing than the actual quality of his work in Truth Be Told. I’d honestly have preferred Alan Ruck or Dominic West here.
BEST DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Here the Critics are one up on the Emmys; they acknowledged Christina Ricci for Yellowjackets something the Emmys refused to do when they fell in love with literally every performer from The White Lotus. Elizabeth Debicki is likely to repeat for The Crown. Nicole Beharie and Karen Pittman might follow through for The Morning Show… but I’m not thrilled that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Loki got nominated and so many of the outstanding women from both Yellowjackets and The Gilded Age were ignored. Oh well.
I’ll admit its an odd mix for drama but it’s also a very interesting group given the circumstances. Tomorrow I will tackle the comedies. Spoiler alert: I’m much happier with the choices here than many of the Emmys of the past and I hope the Emmys next year takes them seriously.