Saturday, July 10, 2010

The 2010 Emmy Award Nominations

Ah, the Emmy nominations. A high point in what has so far been pretty much a downer of a summer. While many places have been suffering a killer heat wave, around here (Saskatoon) we've been enduring the rainy season. Over the past couple of weeks at least it has been rare to get a stretch of three days when it hasn't rained. Mostly it had rained – at least a little bit – every day, and some of those have been downright torrential downpours. Basements have flooded despite several million dollars spent to build large containment tanks for the storm sewer system – the tanks filled as fast as the rain fell – and I've seen sewer grates in low lying areas blown out by water. The city's main ballpark – which was relocated to the wrong place about 50 years ago because there an existing concrete grandstand and who cares that the place is low lying and has ridiculous drainage that no company is daring enough to try to correct – has repeatedly flooded, and no sooner do they get it pumped out than the rain floods the place again. My garden is overrun with weeds because the soil is too clay– like and when it's wet I can't get the hoe to penetrate it let alone cut out the weeds. And remember, this is Saskatchewan where things are supposed to be DRY!

But enough of general whining. Let's turn to the Emmy nominations where we can hone down our whining to specific people and shows that do and do not deserve to be nominated. Because inevitably the people who nominate shows for the Emmys get it wrong in at least one show or person who should have been nominated and wasn't and/or was nominated and should have been. I mean I don't mean to criticize – wait, yes I do that's the whole purpose of this Blog after all – but let's face it there are some obvious people and shows that are nominated and shouldn't and others that are obvious snubs. But let's get into specifics.

Outstanding Drama Series

Breaking Bad – AMC

Dexter – Showtime

The Good Wife – CBS

Lost – ABC

Mad Men – AMC

True Blood – HBO

I figure we might as well start off with the big categories, right? Overall not too bad; mostly cable shows, but according to Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner all of these shows were offered to broadcast networks first (I'm not sure I believe that but even – maybe especially if that's true, it's a discussion for another time). I don't believe I can come up with another network series that is particularly deserving of the nomination – Parenthood maybe (I haven't seen it); Friday Night Lights perhaps (or is that just a cable show that appears on Broadcast TV in the summer). However, even though I don't get to see the show, I have been told that Sons Of Anarchy is deserving of an Emmy nod. In terms of the shows that are nominated, I'm going to call it a three way race between last year's winner Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Lost. Lost might get the nod because it was the show's last but the Academy tends to stick with winners – as in last year's winners – so maybe give it to Mad Men.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Curb Your Enthusiasm – HBO

Glee – FOX

Modern Family – ABC

Nurse Jackie – Showtime

The Office – NBC

30 Rock – NBC

Okay, I'm going to state what I think should be the obvious in terms of nominations – where is The Big Bang Theory? Does the Academy regard the show as a one trick pony, that trick being Jim Parsons's character of Dr. Sheldon Cooper? And even though I don't get to see the show, from what I've heard putting Nurse Jackie in the comedy category is stretching the definition of "comedy" to the breaking point. In terms of which show I think will win, despite the recent dominance of The Office and 30 Rock in the past few years I would suggest that the Academy is likely to go with the current critical flavour of the month. In other words Glee.

Reality Competition Series:

The Amazing Race – CBS

American Idol – FOX

Dancing With the Stars – ABC

Project Runway – Lifetime

Top Chef – Bravo

Obvious snub – Survivor, probably Heroes vs Villains. I mean seriously, how could the Academy ignore all of the moments that the show brought us in that season; Boston Rob starting a fire by literally rubbing two sticks together (first time that ever worked on the show), the battle of wits between Boston Rob and Russell (which Rob eventually lost because most of the people he was trying to use to get rid of Russell were terminally stupid and listened to Russell), and the eventual triumph of (relative) good – that would be Sandra, the only person ever to win two seasons of Survivor – over evil – demented Hobbit Russell, who never did get that there was a social side to the game. I've never really been a fan of the Project Runway – Top Chef style competitions (too much of a cookie cutter concept) so one or both of them wouldn't be missed by me. Given the competition I'd say Amazing Race wins again, even with a lacklustre season.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory – CBS – Jim Parsons

Curb Your Enthusiasm – HBO – Larry David

Glee – FOX – Matthew Morrison

Monk – USA – Tony Shalhoub

The Office – NBC – Steve Carell

30 Rock – NBC – Alec Baldwin

I have this disturbing image that next year Tony Shaloub will be nominated in this category for Monk despite the fact that he's sitting at home in the La-z-Boy and not actually do any acting at all. Shaloub is a talented guy and all but creatively this show has been over for years and the academy refuses to acknowledge the fact, Meanwhile Ed O'Neill hasn't been nominated for Modern Family – the only adult cast member from that show not to get an Emmy nod. Now I'm not saying that O'Neill should get the nomination in this category – the show is very much an ensemble cast with no real "star" – but O'Neill really does deserve a nomination and why not here. As for the winner, I think Jim Parsons has the funniest character but the Academy will give it to Alec Baldwin again – or maybe Steve Carell because he says he's leaving after the coming season.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

GleeFOX Lea Michele

The New Adventures Of Old Christine CBS Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Nurse JackieShowtime Edie Falco

Parks And RecreationNBC Amy Poehler

30 Rock NBC Tina Fey

United States Of Tara
Showtime Toni Collette

Why is Julia Louis-Dreyfus nominated for a show that was cancelled. I mean I know that she's a talented comedian and all but still it just doesn't seem right. And as I've said, people whose opinions I frequently resect don't see how Nurse Jackie is a comedy. Of course they regard it as a snub that Courtney Cox-Arquette wasn't nominated for her role in Cougar Town. I'm not sure about that. Her character is funny but I wish they'd have stuck with the idea of an older woman involved in a relationship with a younger man that they started out with. Maybe it's too conventional or too controversial a concept and they were worried about lobby groups like the PTC but it was an avenue to explore. Doesn't matter really; he Emmy will go to Tina Fey.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

Breaking Bad AMC Bryan Cranston

Dexter Showtime Michael C. Hall

Friday Night Lights DirecTV Kyle Chandler

House FOX Hugh Laurie

Lost ABC Matthew Fox

Mad Men AMC Jon Hamm

Nothing I say about who got snubbed and who shouldn't be in this category is going to matter because Bryan Cranston is going to win for Breaking Bad but it is god to see Kyle Chandler finally nominated for Friday Night Lights. I would like to say that the Academy made a big mistake by not nominating John Noble for his role as Walter Bishop on Fringe. They say that playing someone who is in some way insane is one of the toughest things an actor can do, but look at what Noble has done on Fringe this season. Not only has he played our lovably looney Walter from "our" side of the universe, but in flashbacks he's played the sane and desperate Walter who crossed over to save a version of his sone, and the megalomaniacal "Walternate" from the other side. Surely that says something about his abilities as an actor. As for Hugh Laurie, I've seen people suggest that the Academy must have voted not on his whole season of work but on just the series premiere. This betrays a failure to understand how the Emmys work. An actor nominee is judged not on a full season of work but submits specific episodes. So essentially they are selected based on what they or their agent or director or whoever else advises them regards as their best work of the season. Does Hugh Laurie deserve to be there? I don't know; I haven't seen the whole season yet. All I know is that based on his season of work, John Noble deserves to be nominated.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series

The Closer TNT Kyra Sedgwick

Damages – FX Networks Glenn Close

Friday Night Lights – DirecTV Connie Britton

The Good Wife CBS Julianna Margulies

Law & Order: SVU NBC Mariska Hargitay

Mad Men AMC January Jones

Another case where the Academy has finally decided to recognise one of the stars of Friday Night Lights, Connie Britton. Three of last year's nominees are back – Kyra Sedgwick, Glenn Close and perennial nominee Mariska Hargitay. In terms of snubs, I am told – because I don't see the show – that Katey Sagal should have received a nomination for her part in Sons of Anarchy. I am inclined to believe that Glenn Close will win again for Damages, particularly since the series – which has been on FX – might not be picked up for a fourth season without help from DirecTV.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

Glee FOX Chris Colfer

How I Met Your Mother CBS Neil Patrick Harris

Modern Family ABC Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Modern Family ABC Eric Stonestreet

Modern Family ABC Ty Burrell

Two And A Half Men CBS Jon Cryer

Most of the performers in this category are new, which is unusual. Only Neil Patrick Harris and last year's winner Jon Cryer are holdovers from last year. Even more unusual is that three of the actors are from Modern Family. As I think I've said repeatedly in the past, Comedies are not my preferred form. I think the likeliest winner will be Chris Colfer, particularly if, as I expect, the three nominees from Modern Family split the vote.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

Glee FOX Jane Lynch

Modern Family ABC Julie Bowen

Modern Family ABC Sofia Vergara

Saturday Night Live NBC Kristen Wiig

30 Rock NBC Jane Krakowski

Two And A Half Men CBS Holland Taylor

The other two adult cast members from Modern Family are in this category but this time around I'm convinced that there is only one likely winner and that is Jane Lynch for her breakout performance as Sue Sylvester in Glee.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

Breaking Bad AMC Aaron Paul

Damages FX Networks Martin Short

Lost ABC Terry O'Quinn

Lost ABC Michael Emerson

Mad Men AMC John Slattery

Men Of A Certain Age TNT Andre Braugher

This is one of those categories that could go just about any way. Aaron Paul, Michael Emerson and John Slattery are holdovers from last season's race when Emerson won. I think Emerson is one of the front-runners this season but given Terry O'Quinn's performance in the final season of Lost ( a show that I haven't watched since its third season – I got tired of the long wait between the first six episodes and the rest of that season, and didn't go back) I would expect him to be the other front runner. Who'll win? I'm almost convinced that it's 50/50 you pick'em between the two.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

Burn Notice USA Sharon Gless

Damages FX Networks Rose Byrne

The Good Wife CBS Archie Panjabi

The Good Wife CBS Christine Baranski

Mad Men AMC Christina Hendricks

Mad Men AMC Elisabeth Moss

This may be the hardest category of all to pick. Christine Baranski is great in just about anything she does, but the pair from Mad Men, Elizabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks both turned in stand-out performances from the ensemble supporting cast from Mad Men. And then there's perennial emmy nominee (and two-time winner) Sharon Gless. And there's Rose Byrne from Damages, the only nominee in this category from last season to be nominated this year.

Later today I'll post my first Emmy Poll. They will each run for seven days (which I discovered last year is the optimal length of time for a Poll Question). The Primetime Emmys will be awarded in Los Angeles on Sunday August 27, 2010.

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