This Year’s Critics Choice Nominations, Part 1
For those of you who have followed my blog over the last few years, they will know that I’m a sucker for TV award shows. And one of my favorites over the last few years have been the Broadcast Critics Awards. Mainly devoted to movies, in 2011 they began covering TV series and have slowly but surely been making a dent into the awards bracket. For those who thought the Emmys were too exclusive, they have been a home to recognizing such underutilized performers as You’re The Worst, Rectify, and Justified. They’ve also been remarkable prescient when it comes to recognizing performers such as Orange is the New Black, The Americans, Mr. Robot, and Homeland.
As perhaps fitting any awards show, this year the Broadcast Critics have been rocked by controversy, though it seems a particularly weird one. When it was learned that the nominations would be announced on networks connected to EW, a brace of critics, including ones from TV Guide and TV Insider resigned from the organization. It is unclear how many have left, but the reported number is 15% of the membership. I’m really not sure what to make of this decision. There are many good reasons to quit an organization, but where they choose to announce strikes me as a rather odd one.
A more interesting reason may deal with the one that might be more concerning. While there still are many esoteric choices this year, many of the nominations were close to this years Emmys. However, this may actually be a good size, as it would seem to emphasize that the Emmys are now coming around to the point of what series are worthy of awards. Considering that last year’s Critics Choice recognized both The Americans and Mr. Robot both prominent nominees a few months ago, it may show that they’re headed in the right direction at last.
So, even though this is nearly a month before awards season traditionally begins, here are my reactions to this years nominees for the Critics Choice 2016. As always, I’ll start with the dramas.
Better Call Saul and Mr. Robot were among the best series of this year. This is Us is one of the most promising new dramas to come anywhere, let alone from network TV. I’m not wild about the mass praise over Game of Thrones, but considering that it swamped the Emmys in September, I’ll let it slide. The Crown is one of the more intriguing series this season, and these awards prove that I’ve got to at least take a glimpse at Westworld. I’m a little baffled as to why Stranger Things was nominated, and not House of Cards. And where the heck are The Americans? Oh, right…
BEST ACTOR, DRAMA
Ah yes, another nomination for Matthew Rhys. Rami Malek and Bob Odenkirk were among last seasons preeminent performers, and are probably likely to face off for the trophy. Always good to see Kevin Spacey back, maybe they’ll recognize him this year.
The fascination with Liev Schreiber’s work on Ray Donovan always strikes me as bizarre. Damian Lewis and Michael Sheen were far better this year. Sam Heughan is an interesting choice, and while I might have preferred seeing one of the leads from This is Us here, I can’t protest that much
BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA
Tatiana Maslany is always a good choice, and frankly I don’t know why the Critics Choice ignored her last year. Keri Russell and Robin Wright are two of the strongest female leads on two of TV better series; they deserve to be here. I’m a little surprise Viola Davis made it, and Taraj P. Henson didn’t, but Empire’s fall was greater.
Caitriona Balfe has been a fine performer on Outlander and well deserved some Emmy recognition. I’m a little less sure of Evan Rachel Wood for Westworld, but I’ve admired her work since Once and Again, and I’m glad to see her contending for something.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
This is where things get more difficult to pick apart. Christian Slater more than earned his place at the table. John Lithgow’s work as the aging Winston Churchill on The Crown was fine. I have my druthers about Peter Dinklage and Kit Harington, but their work on Game of Thrones was Emmy nominated, and was likely to be named here.
Jon Voight’s work for Ray Donovan continues to seem bizarre, its as odd to see it here as at the Emmys. And as much as I love Mandy Patinkin on Homeland, I’m not a hundred percent sure it even aired in the requisite time to be nominated. Where the hell are Jonathan Banks, Tobias Menzies, or Ben Mendelsohn?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRES DRAMA
Christine Baranski more than deserved to be nominated for her swan song on The Good Wife. Maura Tierney is always good, though technically her series won’t have begun airing until after the nomination. Constance Zimmer is a diamond who deserves everything she gets
My problems with Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey are the same with Dinklage and Harington. I’ll have to wait and see about Thandie Newton, though I have always admired her work.
BEST GUEST PERFORMER DRAMA
Very interesting mix. Where else could you se Michael J. Fox and Lisa Bonet nominated in the same category? Fox is my personal choice, though I wouldn’t mind Mahershala Ali winning for House of Cards.