Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mixed Results for The Rules

Well that was an “interesting” Emmy Awards. There were enough surprises to make the alteration of the voting rules to a single round plurality rather than a ranked ballot majority seem like a “good thing” and yet it is hard not to say that things haven’t changed that much.

Unlike a lot of people I was not in love with Jimmy Kimmel’s comedy stylings. There was some good stuff and then there was something like the intro of Bill Cosby that fell flat on it’s collective ass. The business with the peanut butter sandwiches seemed like it was recycled from the pizza delivery from a previous Oscar telecast. Like all of these things it was pretty hit and miss as far as I’m concerned. I think you have to ask why the comedy went on to the point where they had to eliminate the clips for the nominees in the Outstanding Actress in a Drama category.

But of course what I really want to talk about is how well I did or didn’t do using my rules to predict the results. And the answer is that I was right 50% of the time. Which means I was wrong 50% of the time. That’s glass half empty/half full territory. Watching the show I was in the “glass half empty” camp, disappointed and wondering about the validity of my predictive model. Then I moved to the glass half full side with the realization that 50% is probably better than most people did in their pools. And besides in some cases it was a matter of interpretation.

Let’s break things down.

Outstanding Supporting Actor Comedy
Predicted – Tony Hale, Veep
Winner – Louie Anderson, Baskets

Okay, this is a big surprise. Hale was a two time winner on an HBO show and Anderson was on a show that was unknown to me which I probably wouldn’t watch even if I knew about it. I was at a point where I wasn’t aware that Louie Anderson was playing a woman in the show. Apparently the show, or at least his performance qualifies as a hot new thing though.

Outstanding Supporting Actress Comedy
Predicted – Allison Janney, Mom
Winner – Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Another surprise, maybe bigger for me than the Tony Hale loss if ‘m being honest. I wasn`t aware of McKinnon because I don’t watch SNL, and I have a bit of a bias on this since she’s on a show that doesn’t compete in the Outstanding Comedy Series but rather in the Variety Sketch Series category where it lost to Key & Peele. But there’s no category for performers in Variety Sketch series so there you go. I have a suspicion that this is a caegory where the change in the voting system came into play a bit.

Outstanding Supporting Actor Drama
Predicted – Peter Dinklage, Game Of Thrones
Winner – Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
I`m not sure but this may have surprised everyone. Bloodline isn`t one of the Netflix shows I watch, and given that they cancelled it after its upcoming third season apparently other people don`t watch it either (but who can tell with Netflix). Given that a lot of the talk around these Emmys was about how Game Of Thrones was going to dominate every category it was in, and that Peter Dinklage had won the category twice in the past, not to mention that Mendelsohn’s character was killed at the end of the first season and that much of his participation in the second season was through the medium of flashbacks I’m not sure it was outright predictable.
Outstanding Supporting Actress Drama
Predicted – Lena Headey, Game Of Thrones
Winner – Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
I said at the beginning that I considered this one of the most wide open categories of the night and I was proven right. I went with Headey in the anticipation of a Game Of Thrones sweep given that the previous season’s winner Uzo Aduba not receiving a nomination. I also said however that the Academy could very well go with Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey on the grounds that it was the show’s last season. I think that having three women from Game of Thrones in the category probably resulted in vote splitting and that using the plurality versus the majority system may have killed any chance that a Game of Thrones actress could have won. And Kimmel’s bit about Smith not showing up and thus not being getting the Emmy? Not really funny.
Outstanding Lead Actor Comedy
Predicted – Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Winner – Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Got it right. And while Anthony Anderson might have done one of the best episodes of the season on Black-ish I don’t think there was much chance he was going to win.
Outstanding Lead Actress Comedy
Predicted – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Winner – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Was there really any doubt?

Outstanding Lead Actor Drama
Predicted – Rami Malek, Mr Robot
Winner – Rami Malek, Mr Robot

Maybe my best pick of the lot. No past winner (for the same part) in the category and no one from an HBO show. Mr Robot was the recipient of a lot of critical buzz and Malek is a young guy. Wasn’t surprised to see him win, won’t be surprised to see him repeat unless something big shows up next year.

Outstanding Lead Actress Drama
Predicted – Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder
Winner – Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black

Every so often yo go to the track and the longshot comes in and you cheer even though you had your money on one of the favourites because it is just such a great story. So happy to see Tatiana win (and not just because she’s from Saskatchewan) inspite of all the obstacles in her way: going up against a previous winner, being on a science fiction-y show like Orphan Black, being on a show on a small network. The fact that she plays multiple characters (the clones) each very different in speech, character and even appearance is a bravura performance that thankfully wasn’t overlooked.

Outstanding Lead Actress Drama
Predicted – Veep
Winner – Veep
I know that some people complained afterwards that Black-ish was the best comedy on network TV and was robbed of the award, but is anyone really shocked or that unhappy that Veep won? I mean anyone who doesn’t work on the show…or for ABC?

Outstanding Drama Series
Predicted – Game Of Thrones
Winner – Game of Thrones

Anyone really surprised with this result? Spectacle with good writing wins every time.

Extra categories: I didn’t predicted these “officially” but I did nail them. In the Outstanding Variety Talk Show category I mentioned that there’s a big gap left by the departure of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s migration to CBS to host The Late Show in terms of doing political hunour. Of the nominees in the category only Last Week Tonight with John Oliver really filled that niche, so an easy pick. As was Limited Series categories. I predicted “Based on everything I’ve heard, expect a lot of awards for the cast writers and directors of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story before its eventual coronation.” The People v. O.J. Simpson won for Writing, Supporting Actor, Lead Actor and Lead Actress before winning Outstanding Limited Series. The only Limited Series categories it didn’t win were Supporting Actress (where no one from the series was nominated) and Directing.

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