Tag Archives: awards

Breaking down the Emmy nominations

Even though the ceremony is two months away, the Emmy nominations present an opportunity to look back at television’s last season. Here is a breakdown of the top-line awards, minus a few categories I’m woefully ignorant about. Also, I’ll leave off writing and directing awards and use the series awards as a proxy.

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
  • Dexter (Showtime)
  • Friday Night Lights (The 101 Network/NBC)
  • Game of Thrones (HBO)
  • The Good Wife (CBS)
  • Mad Men (AMC)

While Sons of Anarchy‘s Kurt Sutter ranted on Twitter about his show’s lack of nominations, the real missing piece is his network neighbor Justified, which went from guilty pleasure to required viewing in its second season. Otherwise, these are all deserving shows, with the exception of Dexter, which seems to be skating by on reputation after a disappointing season. The Good Wife and Friday Night Lights have the right balance of critical and fan appeal, but neither CBS’ slowburner or The Little Show That Could are serious contenders.

HBO spent big on Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones; as for capturing the public’s imagination like The Sopranos or The Wire, the latter outpaced the former. Game of Thrones was consistently compelling, the perfect blend of low-brow and high-brow. However, it would be an upset if Mad Men didn’t take home a fourth consecutive trophy.

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • 30 Rock (NBC)
  • The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
  • Glee (Fox)
  • Modern Family (ABC)
  • The Office (NBC)
  • Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Two comedies that challenge the sitcom-as-disposable entertainment formula didn’t make the cut, nearly rendering this category meaningless. Louis CK’s Louie is certainly too surreal (in the strictest sense, not how 30 Rock‘s cartoonish universe is surreal) for the Emmys. And while three quarters of NBC’s Thursday comedy bloc is nominated, the best show is left out. Community‘s second season was a groundbreaking meta examination of the medium; Dan Harmon is starting to look like the next Mitch Hurwitz.

Glee‘s inclusion here is surprising, since it’s more of a dramedy and the second season was a step back. Big Bang Theory will have to settle with being TV’s highest rated comedy. Parks and Recreation has clearly surpassed The Office and 30 Rock, and it has the best chance of preventing Modern Family from receiving the award – something I doubt it will do. Modern Family continues to leverage its hilarious ensemble cast, with enough heart to make up for a few unbalanced episodes.

Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series

  • The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
  • Conan (TBS)
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
  • Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)
  • Saturday Night Live (NBC)

SNL in 2011? Really? The Daily Show has won every time since 2003, and if The Colbert Report hasn’t done it by now, I can’t imagine it will this year.

Outstanding Animated Program

  • The Cleveland Show – “Murray Christmas” (Fox)
  • Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III (Cartoon Network)
  • Futurama – “The Late Philip J. Fry” (Comedy Central)
  • The Simpsons – “Angry Dad: The Movie” (Fox)
  • South Park – “Crack Baby Athletic Association” (Comedy Central)

Archer is arguably the funniest comedy, animated or otherwise, on television, and its absence is inexcusable. To a lesser degree, American Dad earned a spot as well. This is a snub that won’t make headlines but should. Anyway, South Park and The Simpsons usually trade off this award; I bet The Simpsons wins for an episode about awards ceremonies (seriously).

Outstanding Lead Actor, Drama

  • Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson on Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
  • Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights (The 101 Network/NBC)
  • Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan on Dexter (Showtime)
  • Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (AMC)
  • Hugh Laurie as Gregory House on House
  • Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens on Justified (FX)

Here are six men that are extremely happy about Breaking Bad‘s hiatus, which forced the show out of consideration and gives someone else a chance at Bryan Cranston’s award. The easy pick is Jon Hamm, for a season that saw him push Don Draper farther than ever before. It’s a category full of very qualified actors, but this is Hamm’s year.

Outstanding Lead Actress, Drama

  • Kathy Bates as Harriet “Harry” Korn on Harry’s Law (NBC)
  • Connie Britton as Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights (The 101 Network/NBC)
  • Mireille Enos as Sarah Linden on The Killing (AMC)
  • Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC)
  • Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife (CBS)
  • Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson on Mad Men for the episode “The Suitcase” (AMC)

Did you know that Mariska Hargitay has only won this award once? I always assumed it was more than that. Other than fun facts, I have nothing to offer here; of these, I only watch Mad Men, embarrassingly enough. Something tells me Julianna Margulies will finally win as the titular Good Wife.

Outstanding Lead Actor, Comedy

  • Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock (NBC)
  • Steve Carell as Michael Scott on The Office (NBC)
  • Louis C.K. as Louie on Louie (FX)
  • Johnny Galecki as Leonard Hofstadter on The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
  • Matt LeBlanc as himself on Episodes (Showtime)
  • Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

If the Emmys don’t have the balls to nominate Louis CK’s show, will they actually hand him the statuette? Why isn’t there a “comedy auteur” category for this situation? I could see Carell finally winning, to cap his final year on The Office. Anything but a Big Bang cast member would suffice.

Outstanding Lead Actress, Comedy

  • Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton on Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
  • Tina Fey as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock (NBC)
  • Laura Linney as Catherine “Cathy” Jamison on The Big C (Showtime)
  • Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn on Mike & Molly (CBS)
  • Martha Plimpton as Virginia Chance on Raising Hope (Fox)
  • Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation (NBC)

Automatically categorizing “dramedy” as “comedy” leads to a game of apple and oranges. Edie Falco and Laura Linney are doing something different than Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (with Melissa McCarthy and Martha Plimpton in another box entirely). The meteoric rise of Parks and Rec is all about Leslie Knope; “should” and “will” might converge in this category.

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Drama

  • Andre Braugher as Owen Thoreau Jr. on Men of a Certain Age
  • Josh Charles as Will Gardner on The Good Wife
  • Alan Cumming as Eli Golding on The Good Wife
  • Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones
  • Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder on Justified
  • John Slattery as Roger Sterling on Mad Men

Two strong performances highlight another lesson about the Emmys. Peter Dinklage and Walton Goggins are both captivating, stealing scenes all season long on Game of Thrones and Justified, respectively. But this category tends to be won by “big” performances, and Goggins’ might be too subtle for the nod: Tyrion Lannister is anything but subtle and could walk away with this one.

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Drama

  • Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart on The Good Wife
  • Michelle Forbes as Mitch Larsen on The Killing
  • Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris on Mad Men
  • Kelly MacDonald as Margaret Schroeder on Boardwalk Empire
  • Margo Martindale as Mags Bennett on Justified
  • Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma on The Good Wife

Like the lead actress category, I’m not sure about this one. Margo Martindale easily outpaced the eye candy on Justified, but she’d be a dark horse to win. Joan Harris didn’t loom as large in the last season of Mad Men, so my money is on Archie Panjabi repeating last year’s win.

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Comedy

  • Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy on Modern Family
  • Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel on Glee
  • Jon Cryer as Alan Harper on Two and a Half Men
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett on Modern Family
  • Ed O’Neill as Jay Pritchett on Modern Family
  • Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker on Modern Family

Modern Family is a fantastic show, but dominating this category like this is a waste. Where are Neil Patrick Harris or Jason Segel, or more importantly, where is Parks and Rec‘s Nick Offerman? As Amy Poehler put it, “it’s a hot load of bullshit” that Offerman wasn’t nominated for his performance as meme-machine Ron Swanson. The Emmys needs to create an ensemble category and prevent this from happening again.

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Comedy

  • Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy on Modern Family
  • Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney on 30 Rock
  • Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester on Glee
  • Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on Modern Family
  • Betty White as Elka Ostrovsky on Hot in Cleveland
  • Kristen Wiig as various characters on Saturday Night Live

Random thoughts: Sofia Vergara may get more eyeballs, but Julie Bowen’s Claire is more essential to Modern Family‘s success. Someone playing various characters hasn’t won in over fifty years, but Kristen Wiig could capitalize on the Bridesmaids buzz for an upset. Also, how does Jane Krakowski keep getting nominated? And does anyone watch Hot in Cleveland?

These questions and many more will be answered on September 18. The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will air on FOX; the hilarious and talented Jane Lynch will host.

My Golden Globes Picks

I wanted My First Post to be about something important. Unfortunately, I’ve opted instead for breadth over depth.

The ongoing WGA strike leaves the Golden Globes reduced to a press conference on Jan. 13. I think most people can agree that the Globes are a pretty superfluous awards show, allowing studios and networks to squeeze a little more free advertising (“press”) out of their prestige pieces. I don’t remember ever watching the awards ceremony on purpose, and I can’t recall specific winners. With that in mind, a press conference is a bit disrespectful for the winners who actually deserve awards for their craft. But I’m sure true artists don’t need the validation of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (yes, I did look that up). And anything that keeps Bruce Vilanch out of work is good in my book.

So, here are my picks for most of the categories, omitting those for which I can’t make a well-informed choice; apparently I didn’t see many leading women films last year. These are personal favorites, and not my guesses at the winners. I’m curious how much overlap there will be in 3 days.


  • Best Motion Picture – Drama : There Will Be Blood, American Gangster, Atonement, Eastern Promises, The Great Debaters, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men.
    • I actually saw 6 of 7 in this category, and while they were all very well done, none had the gravitas of the epic PT Anderson flick (expect a review after a second viewing). I’d be happy with any of these winning, except for Atonement and The Great Debaters.
  • Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy : Sweeney Todd / Juno, Across the Universe, Charlie Wilson’s War, Hairspray.
    • And it only takes 2 awards before I’m equivocating. I’m reserving judgment until I see Juno, because of my anticipation and the buzz. I did enjoy Sweeney Todd, but I think Juno will be more up my alley. Only in the GG does an Aaron Sorkin picture end up with this company. It’s moot – CWW was disappointing on all fronts.
  • Best Actor – Drama : Daniel Day-Lewis, George Clooney, James McAvoy, Viggo Mortensen, Denzel Washington.
    • Once again, Daniel Day-Lewis dwarfs the competition in a role more intense, determined, and sadistic than Bill the Butcher.
  • Best Actor – Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy : Johnny Depp, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hanks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly.
    • Johnny Depp nailed the title role, but this ridiculous category doesn’t put up much of a fight.
  • Best Actress – Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy : Ellen Page, Amy Adams, Nikki Blonsky, Helena Bonham Carter, Marion Cotillard.
    • Placeholder vote – I need to see Juno!
  • Best Supporting Actor : Tom Wilkinson, Casey Affleck, Javier Bardem, PSH, John Travolta
    • This is a toss-up between him and Bardem, and while Bardem hulked and killed his way through No Country, Wilkinson’s role actually surprised me and punctuated a rather methodical film.
  • Best Supporting Actress : Amy Ryan, Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, Saoirse Ronan, Tilda Swinton.
    • Helene McCready is the “white trash Southie broad” for the ages – compare that to the sedate Beadie Russell and you can’t even tell it’s the same actress. By the way, does Horse Teeth get everytime she wanders on screen?
  • Best Director : The Coen Brothers, Tim Burton, Julian Schnabel, Ridley Scott, Joe Wright.
    • Where is PT Anderson? Not very often does a film get mentioned in the same breath as Citizen Kane and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, even if only for scope and subject matter, not significance. The Coens get it by default for putting sweltering West Texas on film and ending up with molasses and whiskey.
  • Best Screenplay : Aaron Sorkin, Diablo Cody, The Coen Brothers, Christopher Hampton, Ronald Harwood.
    • This is a homer pick, straight-up. The dialog was sharp enough but the film fell flat for whatever reason. This might end up being Diablo Cody if I actually like Juno as much as I anticipate.


  • Best Drama : Big Love, Damages, Grey’s Anatomy, House MD, Mad Men, The Tudors.
    • I’m abstaining here but thought it was worth mentioning. I’ve heard good things about Mad Men, but can’t pick it by process of elimination. No Dexter, Sopranos, Shield, Rescue Me, The Riches, or Brotherhood is just unacceptable. TV drama is in a new Golden Age and this is the best they can do? Good job guys!
  • Best Musical or Comedy : 30 Rock, Californication, Entourage, Extras, Pushing Daisies.
    • This is definitely more acceptable. Pushing Daisies is charming, as if Tim Burton decided to do a crime procedural, and it’s a close second. But 30 Rock is the funniest thing since Arrested Development, and it might actually have network support.
  • Best Actor – Musical or Comedy : Alec Baldwin, Steve Carell, David Duchovny, Ricky Gervais, Lee Pace.
    • Alec Baldwin takes his role in Glengary Glen Ross and turns it into a deadpanning straight man. Jack is one of the best roles on television while illuminating its worst aspects. The fact that your typical Hollywood Liberal plays a market-testing, soulless corporate shill like Jack is just another layer on the meta cake that is 30 Rock.
  • Best Actress – Musical or Comedy : Tina Fey, Christina Applegate, America Ferrera, Anna Friel, Mary-Louise Parker.
    • And it’s 30 Rock for the trifecta. Weeds has fallen into a funk and Mary-Louise suffers for it. For a comedic role, Liz Lemon is just sad, but she is best leading lady in a comedy since Mary Tyler Moore (That’s an example of a reference that I pull directly out of my ass, because it sounds right).
  • Best Actor – Drama : Michael C. Hall, Jon Hamm, Hugh Laurie, Bill Paxton, Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
    • Dexter is the role of a lifetime, and Hall brings the cynical detachment of David Fisher. Instead of being a homophobic gay man, he’s a charming serial killer – with a heart of gold. Sadly, I don’t know which one most Americans find scarier.
  • Best Actress – Drama : Minnie Driver, Patricia Arquette, Glenn Close, Edie Falco, Sally Field, Holly Hunter, Kyra Sedgwick.
    • File this with Amy Ryan. Seeing an actress capture a character that we don’t often
      see on screen, yet making it feel vivid and real is always award worthy. Plus, its The Riches only nod.
  • Best Supporting Actor : Kevin Dillon, Ted Danson, Jeremy Piven, Andy Serkis, William Shatner, Donald Sutherland.
    • This is a surprisingly weak category, and while Johnny Drama will probably split votes with Ari, only one of the characters is still entertaining. They should end Entourage and spin-off a show for Johnny Drama, but instead he’ll have to carry a show from a supporting role.

For the most part, the voters did pretty well. There are only a few glaring omissions from the entire list (Zodiac?), and clear winners in each category. Ironically, I’ve now contemplated the Golden Globes more than ever, and the presentation is a mere formality. Hopefully, I’ll be able to see Juno soon and vindicate picking it three times on spec.