The long wait between seasons two and three of The Crown is finally over, and Oscar winner Colman looks great. At first glance, her voice is a jarring contrast from Claire Foy’s deeper one, but actually the real Queen’s voice was higher, closer to Colman’s here. The new season comes out on Sunday, November 17th. I can’t wait.
Finally, here we are now with the top series categories. There’s one lock, one two way race and one with I think three of four distinct possibilities.
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
This is Us
The least suspenseful award of the night goes to Game of Thrones in a walk, given its record nomination haul and the recognition of the series long achievement as a whole. I don’t think anything else stands a chance actually, so I’m not sure what else to even make a case for. It will be a more interesting race next year, when Succession’s buzz will have grown even higher, in my opinion, and perhaps with The Handmaid’s Tale back in contention as well.
Winner: Game of Thrones
The Good Place
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
This one is more difficult, because I think the winner could be any one of either Veep, Maisel, Barry or Fleabag. But, I will adhere to my own Emmy rule- when in doubt go to last year’s winner. So as much I really would like Barry to win and was excited at first about its chances when it got so many nominations, I think it’s in competition with Veep as the other HBO series (and that one being a multiple past winner that just had its final season), and that leaves space for the voters to just go with Mrs. Maisel again, which got a bunch of creative arts Emmys last weekend and seems to still be on a high with the industry in general. The other choice here is Fleabag, which has no other chance to ever win, but I still think that’s a major dark horse, despite the huge buzz surrounding Phoebe Waller-Bridge. My guess is that show wins a writing award for its creator/star, while the top ones go to something else.
Winner: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Dark Horse: Barry
Escape at Dannemora
When They See Us
I believe this one will go to HBO’s Chernobyl, but it’s in a head to head fight with Netflix’s When They See Us, and it’s probably closer than people think. Both series are incredibly powerful and got showered with nominations this year, and the passion for them is high. But I think When They See Us will take an acting award and possibly directing for Ava Duvernay, leaving Chernobyl, as the prestige HBO series (the network still triumphs over streaming) to come out on top in series. As for the other shows, probably Ben Stiller’s Escape at Dannemora is in third, with Fosse/Verdon fourth and Sharp Objects having come out too long ago now to sustain its initial buzz, as HBO’s other entry.
Alternate: When They See Us
Dark Horse: Escape at Dannemora
So now we’re on to drama. These are sort of all over the place and I don’t quite feel good about my picks for any of them besides supporting actor.
DRAMA ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This is Us
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Billy Porter, Pose
Milo Ventimiglia, This is Us
Ummm. There’s no real heavy hitter in this category this year, which means it really should be Bob Odenkirk’s turn for Better Call Saul, but I just question the show’s momentum. It’s so quiet at the moment- will voters flock to him? I don’t know this Ozark show, but Jason Bateman is pretty beloved in the industry, so he may win in lieu of another favorite. I don’t think Harington will win lead actor, despite the enormous amount of love for Game of Thrones’s final season (from the Emmys, not the public). Ehh..I’m unsure.
Winner: Bob Odenkirk (really hoping his time has come)
Alternate: Jason Bateman
Dark Horse: Billy Porter (this would be great, and a big surprise and boost for Pose)
DRAMA ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Laura Linney, Ozark
Mandy Moore, This is Us
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Robin Wright, House of Cards
I’m taking this category for my one wild dart and predicting who I desperately want to win, and that’s Jodie Comer. Most people think Sandra Oh will take it this time, as an overdue vet in the industry, but if you actually watch Killing Eve, you will see that Comer is the biggest revelation on it and the true factor in making you want to continue watching. I’m just going to go for it with her. Sometimes surprises occur, especially if people actually view the submission tapes, and hers is a killer.
Winner: Jodie Comer
Alternate: Sandra Oh
Dark Horse: Laura Linney
DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alfie Allen, Game of Thrones
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Chris Sullivan, This is Us
Now, for this one I feel pretty good about predicting Peter Dinklage as Game of Throne’s acting trophy for the final season, and his fourth one for the role of Tyrian Lannister. He’s always been the face of the show and unless one of the other people pulls it off this year, will remain the only actor to win an Emmy for their performance on the series. I’m fine with that choice too, as he’s great and I don’t think the other guys in the category are particularly better than him.
Winner: Peter Dinklage
Alternate: Jonathan Banks
DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones
Julia Garner, Ozark
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve
Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
With a record four actresses from Game of Thrones vying for the award here, it’s a pretty good bet none of them takes it, but if anyone could, I guess it might be Maisie Williams? Of the four, she’s the only one who had much to do in these last episodes. I always wanted Lena Headey to win an Emmy for Cersei, but she couldn’t possibly win it for hanging around on a balcony drinking wine all season, right? Or can she? I don’t know, I think this may go to Julia Garner or even Fiona Shaw, just for standing apart in the category.
Winner: Julia Garner
Alternate: Maisie Williams
Dark Horse: Fiona Shaw
Today we’re back with the comedy acting races, which I think have frontrunners for the leads, while it’s anyone’s game in supporting. Let’s have at it, shall we?
COMEDY ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
I think this will got to Julia Louis-Dreyfus pretty easily, and she will make history as the first actress to win the Emmy for every single season her show was on the air. In second place is probably last year’s winner Rachel Brosnahan, but Phoebe Waller-Bridge has a lot of hype for Fleabag, and this would be her only chance to ever win, since the show is over now.
Winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Alternate: Rachel Brosnahan
Dark Horse: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
COMEDY ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Don Cheadle, Black Monday
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Bill Hader, Barry
Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
Bill Hader won last year, and I really think he’s winning again. The second season of Barry was even better and the show’s buzz has only grown, so I’m betting he repeats, as Emmy loves to do. Other possibilities are Michael Douglas, or perhaps Eugene Levy, who’s pretty beloved in the comedy world, but I think Hader is pretty far ahead of the pack.
Winner: Bill Hader
Alternate: Michael Douglas
Dark Horse: Ted Danson (also a beloved veteran actor, and for another show that’s ending, so he’s a possibility as well)
COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Sian Clifford, Fleabag
Olivia Colman, Fleabag
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Sarah Goldberg, Barry
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Don’t ask me why they have so many names on this list, but I really am flying blind on this one. It could be any of them. I’m sort of leaning towards Olivia Colman of all people, just because she recently won the Oscar and perhaps she’s more at the front of people’s minds here? Then again, Anna Chlumsky’s never won for Veep, so that’s possible. The old Emmy rule says when in doubt go to a repeater, but that could be either Borstein or McKinnon. Man, this one’s hard. I have no clue.
Winner: Olivia Colman (this is pure instinct on my part)
Alternate: Alex Borstein
Dark Horse: Anna Chlumsky
COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
Anthony Carrigan, Barry
Tony Hale, Veep
Stephen Root, Barry
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Henry Winkler, Barry
I honestly think the three Barry actors who got in here will probably cancel each other out, which sucks because Stephen Root SO deserves to win, not just for this (even though he’s great), but for being so good on so many shows in guest and bit appearances in recent years. But because of the three guys fighting it out, I think the Academy falls back on old Emmy favorite Tony Shalhoub, unfortunately.
Winner: Tony Shalhoub
Alternate: Tony Hale (another previous winner)
Dark Horse: Stephen Root (still pulling for him)
Yes, Game of Thrones won 10 Creative Arts Emmys over the last two nights, but you know what? There are way too many Emmy categories for me to be listing all the winners, so because GoT’s wins were all in very technical awards (costumes, sound, visual effects, etc.), I did not list them here, as I restrained my post to the bigger trophies handed out tonight. As such, RuPaul took the best host award again, Leaving Neverland won Best Documentary special, and Hannah Gadsby took home a writing win for Nanette (yay!). On a side note, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel also cleaned up in technical awards as well as the guest acting wins, so that show could very well be on its way to a second comedy series award next week (annoying, since I’d prefer Barry).
2019 CREATIVE ARTS EMMY WINNERS
Host for a Reality/Competition Program: RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race
Animated Program: The Simpsons
Children’s Program: When You Wish Upon a Pickle: A Sesame Street Special
Documentary Series: Our Planet
Documentary/Non-Fiction Special: Leaving Neverland
Informational Series/Special: Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown
Interactive Program: NASA and SpaceX: The Interactive Demo-1 Launch
Original Interactive Program: NASA’s InSIght Mars Landing
Structured Reality Program: Queer Eye
Unstructured Reality Program: United Shades of America With W. Kamau Bell
Variety Special (Live): Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Normal Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons
Variety Special (Pre-Recorded): Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool
Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Jane Lynch, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Luke Kirby, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Cherry Jones, The Handmaid’s Tale
Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale
Writing for a Variety Special: Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
Narrator: David Attenborough, Our Planet
Today we’re on to acting in a limited series/TV movie, and this limited series category really is the best of the nominations this year. So many great shows were nominated here, it completely dwarfs the top comedy/drama races for a change.
ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE
Mahershala Ali, True Detective
Benicio del Toro, Escape at Dannemora
Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal
Jared Harris, Chernobyl
Jharell Jerome, When They See Us
Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon
Oh boy, right off the bat this is a tough one. I think this has to go to Jharell Jerome, based on the devastating impact of his episode of When They See Us, and we know a lot of voters did watch it, because it was showered with nominations, including many supporting actors. I think he deserves it and will get it, because I’m not totally sure that the show will prevail in the top series award. It’s in tight competition with Chernobyl, which is the big HBO prestige drama. But previous Mad Men nominee Jared Harris certainly has a shot for this, and I think Hugh Grant does too, for a very good performance in A Very English Scandal. I’m going with Jerome though.
Winner: Jharell Jerome
Alternate: Jared Harris
Dark Horse: Hugh Grant
ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE
Amy Adams, Sharp Objects
Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora
Aunjanue Ellis, When They See Us
Joey King, The Act
Niece Nash, When They See Us
Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon
So, for this one, Patricia Arquette already won the Golden Globe and the SAG over Amy Adams (whose show was basically eclipsed by HBO’s other series Chernobyl), but Michelle Williams was SO amazing in Fosse/Verdon, and she came on strong in the spring, which was after those other awards shows. The TV academy did like Fosse/Verdon too, which got a lot of nominations in acting and for series. I think this could be the big thing it wins, but it’s a real close one, like coin-toss close (and I haven’t seen Escape at Dannemora, I admit). It’s definitely between those two, though.
Winner: Michelle Williams
Alternate: Patricia Arquette
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE
Asante Black, When They See Us
Paul Dano, Escape at Dannemora
John Leguizamo, When They See Us
Stellan Skarsgard, Chernobyl
Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal
Michael K. Williams, When They See Us
Okay, here, I think Ben Whishsaw, who won the Golden Globe, will take it, simply because the three When They See Us actors may cancel each other out, and Skarsgard’s role in Chernobyl may not have been big enough. Especially compared to Whishaw, who was really a co-lead.
Winner: Ben Whishaw
Alternate: Stellan Skarsgard
Dark Horse: Michael K. Williams (if it’s anyone from When They See Us, it may be him, as he has a history of being unrewarded for other shows like Boardwalk Empire and The Wire and is familiar to voters in the industry).
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE
Patricia Arquette, The Act
Marsha Stephanie Blake, When They See Us
Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects
Vera Farmiga, When They See Us
Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon
Emily Watson, Chernobyl
There’s quite a few options here. Arquette could well win it if she’s not going to win in lead, and Emily Watson might end up being the winning acting performance for Chernobyl. Even Margaret Qualley (daughter of Andie MacDowell) was terrific on Fosse/Verdon. But I think Patricia Clarkson has the edge, for a similar reason as Ben Whishaw. Her role is bigger, meatier, and the villain of this group, which makes her stand out. Plus, Sharp Objects will likely not win anything else, I think this is its best chance to win something.
Winner: Patricia Clarkson
Alternate: Patricia Arquette
Dark Horse: Emily Watson
It’s Emmy predictions time! As always, these are probably the biggest crapshoot winners, since I don’t think there’s any kind of precursor award that influences anything the TV academy does (certainly not TV critics). Which means I’m flying blind except for what I’ve actually seen and loved, heard some measure of hype around, and possibly factoring in beloved/overdue status if there’s no clear frontrunner, or even simply repeating previous winners (a longtime Emmy trend). So without further ado, let’s get started. The Emmys themselves are on Sunday, Sep 22nd, so today we’re getting our feet wet with variety and talk show categories, before moving on to acting in a limited series on Thursday.
EMMY PREDICTIONS 2019
VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
At Home With Amy Sedaris
I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman
Saturday Night Live
Who is America?
I assume that SNL will be winning this again. I don’t think there’s much hype for any other nominee here, and from what I remember, Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who is America? series was considered disappointing, so they may have had trouble filling the roster. When in doubt, go with the repeater.
Alternate: I Love You America (maybe Sarah Silverman has some clout here?)
Dark Horse: Drunk History (this is a perennial nominee but can it ever win?)
VARIETY TALK SERIES
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
The Late Late Show with James Corden
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Again, I’m gonna have to go with the perennial winner now, John Oliver. His show’s great and Emmy tends to stick with one winner here until that show is literally off the air. But he’s hardly the only person who deserves it, as certainly Colbert does, and Jimmy Kimmel has only grown more beloved in recent years. But I can’t predict anything else to win in this category until it does. So Last Week Tonight it is.
Winner: Last Week Tonight
Alternate: The Late Show (I always think there’s a chance Colbert, who won this twice with The Colbert Report, can come in for this, but I won’t go with it until it happens. I know he’d be winning if not for Oliver, let’s put it that way)
REALITY COMPETITION SERIES
The Amazing Race
American Ninja Warrior
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Now, this award does tend to alternate and we’ve got several past winners here. The Amazing Race used to always win it, Top Chef has taken it, The Voice was a recent favorite and just last year Drag Race took the award for the first time. It could always swing back to The Voice, but I’m thinking maybe RuPaul is now the hip choice for this and will probably start to repeat until he falls out of fashion.
Winner: RuPaul’s Drag Race
Alternate: The Voice
Black Mirror: Bqndersnatch
Deadwood: The Movie
My Dinner With Herve
I’m putting this category here in my first predictions, because for the last couple of years they haven’t even given this out on the televised ceremony, reserving it for the technical awards that happen the week before. So this may be handed out already before I even get to predicting the top series awards. It may just be time to combine it with limited series again, to be honest. I’m not sure what the frontrunner is here- Black Mirror has fraudulently won this twice, with good episodes that were decidedly not TV movies, but the interactive Bandersnatch wasn’t even that. Deadwood got great reviews, but it’s difficult to know if people are nostalgic enough for a show that was always a cult thing in its original run. Brexit is probably the other option. I really don’t know.
Winner: Deadwood (going to guess that appreciation for creator David Milch himself on his last project will carry this through to a win?)
Dark Horse: Brexit
Ooooh, this looks awesome. Helen Mirren strutting her stuff as the Russian monarch, Jason Clarke as the her put upon lover? I’m so in.
The second season of Mindhunter is every bit as good as the best parts and better than the first season as a whole. Netflix’s cerebral, dialogue driven series about the process of finding and tracking serial killers is as absorbing and engaging as ever, and this time delves into the racial components of law enforcement and neglect of minority communities as the show explores the 1980 investigation into the Atlanta child murders, which ended in the arrest of Wayne Williams.
The show doesn’t exactly repeat itself this season, as there are still some interviews with convicted killers (Charles Manson makes a memorable appearance, and Ed Kemper returns for a scene), but Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) is a bit more sidelined as a character this time around, and frankly it’s for the better. After his panic attack in last season’s finale resulted in his being briefly hospitalized, the show focuses more on the personal lives of Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) and Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), who both prove to be far more interesting than Agent Ford (or perhaps better capable of holding the screen, no offense to Groff).
Especially McCallany. As Agent Tench, Bill is a throwback to a certain type of post-WWII man, one who resembles a grunt you’d see in supporting roles in 1950’s movies like On the Waterfront, yet his gruff exterior masks an intellectual curiosity and a willingness to embrace the new styles of their first stage methods in tracking killers, and new style agents like Holden. He’s exactly the kind of guy you’d picture as an old school FBI agent from decades ago, yet his ability to make you sympathize with him as a lead and always reveal new shades to his personality while staying true to himself make him by far the most compelling character on the show. As he steps into the spotlight this season I hope creator Joe Penhall realizes that he should stay there.
Anna Torv is also intriguing as Wendy, who stays closeted to the men she works with, yet embarks on a new relationship with a bartender while experiencing the ever present, structural sexism that keep her from being taken seriously at the top levels of the agency, even as she was brought in due to her expertise and academic credentials in the field. Michael Cerveris is a new addition as Ted Gunn, the new department head who embraces the Behavioral Science unit and wants to make their methods protocol, but the politics of the FBI, the White House and local law enforcement itself is a theme this season as it can never stop from intervening in the process of investigation, wherever it occurs.
The last half of the season takes a new direction as it is almost entirely consumed by the Atlanta murders, where Bill and Holden are sent to catch their suspect. Wayne Williams himself is phenomenally played by Christopher Livingston, and one of Mindhunter’s best qualities is its ability to conjure up an atmosphere of dread in each and every episode, no matter what’s happening onscreen, be it an interview, an investigation or the goings on in the agent’s personal lives. This is not a horror show, it’s one about procedure and exploration and yet if you watch it alone and in the dark, you will be startled and wary by your surroundings. The show doesn’t settle for tidy endings either. As fascinating as the Atlanta case is, you’re not satisfied by its resolution, because in real life the story didn’t track that way, There were too many mitigating factors, from the racial politics in the state and in the country, to the ways in which these investigations are mired by interference at every turn, and the tragic factors at play in minority communities that don’t receive help from either the police or the feds. Mindhunter refuses to make things simple- it presents the complications as they are and dives headfirst into the sordid realities of both the mundane and the grotesque. It may not be a show for everyone but it is certainly for me. I can’t get enough of it.
GLOW is back! One of my favorite shows returns as the women move to Vegas for a successful transition of the wrestling show within a show, and the focus steers away from the show itself and more on the characters, with material widening for the big ensemble that makes up the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
As the whole squad sets up in Las Vegas, the show goes off without a hitch apparently, aside from Ruth’s unfortunate in character mocking of the USS Challenger on a local news show the day of the launch. That explosive opening aside, we don’t see that much of the actual wrestling this year, as everyone’s characters are firmly set and we get more into the ladies’ personal struggles and interactions. Ruth fights her feelings for Sam for example, as Marc Maron is kind of sidelined this time around- Bash tells him he’s unnecessary and he agrees, packing up to go back to Los Angeles and help his daughter Justine make a movie based on a screenplay she wrote.
The lack of Maron this season makes me wonder if the writers suddenly felt that his somewhat sleazy character was a little problematic in the current climate, as Sam is definitely toned down and now playing the good father role, which is a definite switch from his earlier antics, even if it’s to make himself worthy of Ruth. Maron is still funny as ever, but a watered down Sam may not wear as well, unless the show (which is apparently on the brink of cancellation according to Netflix’s ratings measurements) will be ending sooner than I’d hoped. Alison Brie’s Ruth still doesn’t quite know what she wants, as the show sets up in Vegas for a full year after becoming successful, and Betty Gilpin steps into a co-lead role, as Debbie fights to juggle single motherhood with a career as a burgeoning producer in the face of skeptical and dismissive men at every turn. Gilpin really shines this season with multiple storylines, showing the conflicting emotions ambitious women who want to be mothers and lovers and careerists face, an evergreen theme.
The other major subplot this season is Chris Lowell as Bash, who is deeply closeted and now trying to make a marriage work with Kate Nash’s Rhonda, but this is one of the show’s missteps. Lowell is great as the innocent and entitled Bash, but he’s been shown to have connections with characters like Debbie, Carmen, even Sam, and pairing him up with Rhonda, the show’s most uninteresting and irrelevant character is a mistake. It’s obviously supposed to be a marriage that doesn’t work, but Kate Nash has a terribly wooden screen presence and is incapable of being funny and/or engaging in any scene you put her in. Making her a key part of this prominent storyline dooms it to failure, and the conclusion to it feels like Bash is going around in circles, even after tearfully confessing his sexuality to Debbie (a scene that does work, because Gilpin can actually act).
Despite some clunky attempts to address racism in a campout episode (which feels like something modern being forced into this 1980’s set series- despite the show’s terrifically diverse cast, however that may have been addressed back then, I can almost promise you it wouldn’t have been in the kind of language used here), the show is better at dealing with homophobia. Not just the Bash storyline, but a drag queen character named Billy is an effective addition, and the new couple, Arthy and Yolanda, make for a believable arc as well. Unfortunately I can’t say the same about Geena Davis, who despite joining the show as hotel owner Sandy St. Clair, is given practically nothing to do here- why hire Oscar winner Davis and not you know, use her??
In spire of everything, GLOW remains in its third season a joyful, fun, open-hearted comedy, even if there are some hiccups in some storylines this year that don’t quite work. I still want it to come back, I’m invested in the characters and I’ll be very sad if it doesn’t.