The One Awards Show Where It Is An Honor Just to Be Nominated
My Humble Attempts to Predict The Critic’s Choice Awards: Part 1
Every year, I mention how much pleasure I get from watching the Critic’s Choice Awards. Ever since they began giving awards for TV a decade ago, they have always been at the forefront of recognizing not just the best shows on TV, but so many of the series that don’t get recognized at all. They gave nominations to Rectify, Masters of Sex and The Leftovers, some of the best series of the 2010s and were ahead of the Emmys when it came to acknowledging Better Call Saul, Schitt’s Creek and especially The Americans (twice!)
It can always be extremely difficult to try and guess what series they will acknowledge, and they’re not without their flaws. (Last year, they nominated Watchmen as an original series.) And with so many of last year’s choices for the Emmys ineligible, we don’t have much guidance there. (They also don’t usually pay heed to the Golden Globes either; at least as far as television goes.) So it’s going to be hard to try and predict what they’ll do. But I’ll try.
Let’s start with Drama.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
The Mandalorian just isn’t the kind of series the Critics honor. The Good Fight and This is Us have been here before and keep coming empty. Perry Mason is a dark horse.
It comes down to a fight between Ozark, Lovecraft Country, Better Call Saul and The Crown. Given how the Golden Globes went crazy for it last week, you’d think it would have the advantage, but it’s never done particularly well here. Better Call Saul is my personal choice — it’s definitely due and the Critics have liked it a lot. Ozark and Lovecraft County tied for the most nominations.
I would like to think that Better Call Saul might be able to get through this year, but I have an inkling it will come down a choice between Lovecraft Country and The Crown. And this is an awards show that has had ties in the past, even in this category. I’m giving the barest of edges to The Crown.
Should Win: Better Call Saul.
Will Win: The Crown (but no losers here).
OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Having won the Golden Globe Sunday, you’d think O’Connor would be the favorite, but it’s a tougher field. Brown, Rhys and Odenkirk have all won here before, bur that’s never stopped the critics. Bateman is due. Jonathan Majors would seem to be the odd man out, but you can’t be sure.
I’m going to give the edge to Odenkirk here. The Critics have liked honoring actors from the Breaking Bad verse and Odenkirk keeps awing with each season. They’re running out of chances to honor him.
Should Win/Will Win: Odenkirk (but again no losers).
OUTSTANDING ACTRSS IN A DRAMA
Oh, this keeps getting tougher. The only one who I think is completely out of the running is Claire Danes. Emma Corrin could win, but the Critics have not exactly been kind to actresses in any of these categories. Linney is overdue, and Baranski is way overdue.
I’m going to go out on a limb and go for the one rookie in the category: Jurnee Smollett’s work in Lovecraft Country could stand against any of these actresses. She’s a veteran going back as far as Friday Night Lights. And her performance was the best in a great cast.
Should Win: Smollett.
Will Win: Linney (see above)
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Always a category for veteran actors, this is going to be harder to filter. Banks and Lithgow have already won in this category. Menzies dropped from Lead to Supporting, but that doesn’t make him any less great. Michael K. Williams needs to win for something. Justin Hartley has been robbed by the Emmys for four years straight. The only one I don’t think has a real chance is Tom Pelphrey for Ozark.
My heart says Williams. My head says Banks.
Should Win: Williams.
Will win: Banks (ibid).
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
This is the only category I have an out and out favorite in. Rhea Seehorn has given one of the greatest performances in TV history as Kim Wexler, Jimmy’s reluctant soulmate on Better Call Saul. She gave some of the greatest performances of her career in Season 5 — when she confronted Jimmy for double-crossing her, when she stared down Lalo Salamanca in a scene you were absolutely certainly someone would die in, and the finale when we saw just how far she’s fallen. She was robbed by the Emmys and this is the kind of venue where she’d be likely to triumph, even over a strong field.
Julia Garner could prevail for her work on Ozark that’s already earned her two Emmys. Cynthia Erivo probably should get something for her superb performance on The Outsider. And the overwhelming favorite is almost certainly Gillian Anderson for her magnificent performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown. Still, don’t rule out Seehorn here.
Should Win: Seehorn.
Will Win: Anderson.
It’s not going to be much easier when I try to pick the winners for Best Comedy. Stay tuned to watch me squirm.