Thursday, September 19, 2019

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Directing for a Comedy Series

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order by show. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.
Alec Berg, Barry (The Audition)
Bill Hader, Barry (ronny/lily)
Mark Cendrowski, The Big Bang Theory (The Stockholm Syndrome)
Harry Bradbeer, Fleabag (Episode 2.1)
Amy Sherman-Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (All Alone)
Daniel Palladino, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (We’re Going to the Catskills!)

Sherman-Palladino won this award last year for her show’s pilot. Cendrowski was nominated last year, and now contends for the series finale of his show. Hader was nominated last year and contends again for acting on his show. Berg has a previous directing bid and five previous writing nominations for “Silicon Valley.” Hader and Berg are also nominated for writing “ronny/lily” and the same installment of “Fleabag” is also up for writing. Only “The Big Bang Theory” isn’t nominated for Best Comedy Series.

What should win: These are all fine choices, save for Hader’s episode, which I really didn’t like. I’d probably pick “Fleabag” or either of the “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” hours.
What will win: I’m picking Sherman-Palladino to repeat for “All Alone.”

Next up: Best Writing for a Comedy Series

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Writing for a Drama Series

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order by show. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Peter Gould and Thomas Schnauz, Better Call Saul (Winner)
Jed Mercurio, Bodyguard (Episode 1)
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones (The Iron Throne)
Bruce Miller and Kira Snyder, The Handmaid’s Tale (Holly)
Emerald Fennell, Killing Eve (Nice and Neat)
Jesse Armstrong, Succession (Nobody Is Ever Missing)

This is the seventh time that Benioff and Weiss, who also contend for directing the series finale of their series, have been nominated. They won twice, in 2015 and 2016. Schnauz was nominated in 2013 for “Breaking Bad.” This is the third consecutive bid for Miller, who won in 2015 for the pilot of his show and who now contends for a “hanging episode” from the second season. “Killing Eve” was nominated last year in this race. Pilots and series finales do tend to win this award often, which bodes well for “Bodyguard” and “Game of Thrones,” respectively.

What should win: I’d love for it to be “Bodyguard,” but I don’t see that happening, sadly.
What will win: I’m not sure any of these are strong enough to topple the juggernaut that is The Iron Throne.

Next up: Best Directing for a Comedy Series

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Directing for a Drama Series

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order by show. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones (The Iron Throne)
David Nutter, Game of Thrones (The Last of the Starks)
Miguel Sapochink, Game of Thrones (The Long Night)
Daina Reid, The Handmaid’s Tale (Holly)
Lisa Brühlmann, Killing Eve (Desperate Times)
Jason Bateman, Ozark (Reparations)
Adam McKay, Succession (Celebration)

The only returning nominated director from last year is Bateman, who, once again, is also contending for his performance on the show. Sapochnik won this award in 2016 for “The Battle of the Basterds,” and Nutter, who was also nominated for “The Sopranos” in 2006, won in 2015 for “Mother’s Mercy.” Benioff and Weiss won for writing those two “Game of Thrones” episodes, and are also nominated for penning the series finale this year. This marks the fourth season in a row that “Game of Thrones” has at least two bids, and it contends this year for half of its final season. “The Handmaid’s Tale” earns a nomination for the third year in a row despite only being eligible for the last three “hanging” episodes of its second season. It won this award two years ago.

What should win: I think I’d give it to “The Long Night” over the rest of these.
What will win: It’s really just a question of which “Game of Thrones” episode wins. I’m picking The Long Night to triumph over the series finale. It could also be the “Succession” pilot, but I doubt it.

Next up: Best Writing for a Drama Series

What I’m Watching: The Righteous Gemstones

The Righteous Gemstones: Season 1, Episode 5 “Interlude” (B)

I wasn’t prepared for this flashback episode, one that took place almost entirely in the past and wasn’t particularly necessitated by anything that happened in the previous hour. I will say that it was worthwhile to see the fantastic performance from country singer Jennifer Nettles, who embodies Aimee-Leigh with a truly kind energy, something that has been lost in the way that even Eli interacts with the people around him, both his family and his flock. We also got to understand how Baby Billy ended up in the place he did, sidelined by Eli after doing the same to him on purpose because he thought that Eli was trying to encourage his sister not to tour with him after she found out about her surprise pregnancy. The scene where they performed the song and dance was spectacular, and represents a much more wholesome vibe than the Gemstones now emanate. Baby Billy casually mentioning that he had already sold some of the land without talking to her was a crucial turning point, and that was also likely the loss of innocence on Eli’s part since he had to go to bat for his wife, whose eventual death turned him into a much less friendly and happy man. Both Jesse and Judy were recognizably horrible, with Jesse openly complaining about how much he hated the idea of getting a younger sibling and Judy shouting down anyone, including her parents, who dared to give her a birthday present that didn’t satisfy her. I’m eager to return to the present in the next outing to see where everyone is now after this moderately helpful and informative trip to the past.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

What I’m Watching: The Affair

The Affair: Season 5, Episode 4 (C+)

This show is beginning to go off the rails again, and I’m not seeing any semblance of coherence anytime soon. The different perspectives were valuable because they portrayed the same events from conflicting viewpoints, but now it seems that they’re just designed to showcase separate storylines. I’m not sure we’ll ever hear from Janelle, and now we get to see the world’s brattiest character, Whitney, who inherited only the worst characteristics from her father, as she has the chance to offer her take on the world because, you guessed it, she’s having an affair. Little about her world is interesting, and the fact that Jonathan Cake’s Furkat is obsessed with her and her horrible boss, played by Perrey Reeves from “Entourage,” only notices her when she sees how that connection should be useful, were far from saving graces. Furkat begging for forgiveness was cringe-worthy, and somehow Whitney is still going to marry her future husband who can’t share his artwork with her. I’d much rather be learning more about Joanie, who again only got five minutes at the end of the hour, which merely confirmed something that is hardly a shock: Noah is dead in the future. He’s not doing too well in the present, furious at his representatives because they’re foregoing protecting his interests in favor of Sasha’s, and the worst possible thing he could do is partner with Margaret to help her execute the absurd plan of planting sex toys in Sasha’s bedroom to cause a rift between him and Helen.

Pilot Review: Undone

I'm trying something new with my pilot reviews, so from now on, check out video takes on each new series, which I'll embed below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Pilot Review: Unbelievable

I'm trying something new with my pilot reviews, so from now on, check out video takes on each new series, which I'll embed below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Pilot Review: The I-Land

I'm trying something new with my pilot reviews, so from now on, check out video takes on each new series, which I'll embed below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Alex Borstein as Susie Myerson, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Vote for Kennedy, Vote for Kennedy)
Borstein won this award last year. She is also nominated for voicing “Family Guy” characters for the third time, another award she won last year. I thought Borstein was funniest when she was nearly killed by hapless thugs in the season premiere (costar Marin Hinkle’s submission), but she chose the penultimate hour which found her experiencing some difficulty with her number one client. Trying to get everyone she knew – and even those she didn’t – to vouch for her star act is undeniably appealing, and might be just what Borstein needs for a repeat win.

Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer, Veep (Pledge)
This is the sixth nomination for Chlumsky, whose show took the season off last year. She’s contended for all but one of her show’s seasons, and now she has her final shot for a funny episode in which she, rarely one to keep her emotions in check, gets truly angry and shouts down abortion clinic protesters in a way that could only occur on this show. She’s still far from the central part of her show, something that could hurt in a very crowded field this year.

Sian Clifford as Claire, Fleabag (Episode 2.3)
This is Clifford’s first Emmy nomination. Her portrayal of the title character’s sister is definitely fantastic in each episode, though I found the season premiere to be the stronger showcase of her work. Having Fleabag help her in a professional setting was a wonderful way, however, to draw out some of her angst in the best possible way, and anyone watching the show and the episodes closely might be compelled to choose her over her showier and much more well-known costar.

Olivia Colman as Godmother, Fleabag (Episode 2.4)
Colman, who surprised to win the Oscar for Best Actress for “The Favourite” this past year, was nominated for an Emmy in 2016 for “The Night Manager.” Colman is indeed superb in this show, but she doesn’t play a huge part in season two, and certainly not in her submitted episode. This will ultimately be a test of if voters care about the episodes, since Colman, who’s likely to win the drama actress award next year for “The Crown,” doesn’t deserve to beat the other nominees in this category for her selected episode.

Betty Gilpin as Debbie Eagan, GLOW (Mother of All Matches)
Gilpin was the only acting nominee from her show last year when it was nominated for Best Comedy Series, and now she’s the only major nominee from the show as a whole. In its second season, this show has gotten away from the wrestling matches as the inspiration for each episode and shifted them, at least in this case, to the climax, and so this installment provides a great opportunity for Gilpin to shine as Debbie tries to rid herself of all remnants of her ex-husband. She won’t win without her show being nominated, but she does deserve to be here.

Sarah Goldberg as Sally Reed, Barry (The Audition)
This is Goldberg’s first nomination. She’s definitely here in part because of the popularity of her show, but she absolutely deserves her place. Though it wasn’t always relevant to the main storyline, Sally’s arc expanded in season two, and she could have picked from a number of excellent samples of her work. Her choice of an episode that finds her about to make it big and still ready to deliver a nonstop rant is very good, and, if enthusiasm for her show is really strong enough, she could emerge victorious from this field.

Marin Hinkle as Rose Weissman, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Simone)
This is the first nomination for Hinkle, the only member of her show’s cast to be newly recognized for its second season. While often a background character in season one and even in a good part of season two, Rose is front and center after making a huge life change without much of her family noticing. To me, it’s one of the best submissions in this category, but she’ll have a hard time besting costar and defending champion Alex Borstein, who is also heavily featured in this hour in a great way that Hinkle just isn’t in hers.

Kate McKinnon as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Liev Schreiber)
This is the sixth consecutive nomination for McKinnon, who won twice, in 2016 and 2017. Last year, I wrote that not playing Hillary Clinton was a disadvantage, but she opens her submitted episode this year so strongly as Jeff Sessions that it’s easy to see how voters could choose her again this year. Her episode is one of the strongest of all the selections in this category, and could catapult her to a third win.

Who should win (based on entire season): Borstein, Clifford, or Goldberg
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Hinkle, McKinnon, or Goldberg
Who will win: It could be Colman, but I’m betting on two in a row for Borstein.

Next up: Best Directing for a Drama Series

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Alan Arkin as Norman Newlander, The Kominsky Method (Chapter 2: An Agent Grieves)
Arkin has four previous Emmy nominations, earned between 1967 and 2003. He earned Golden Globe and SAG bids for his portrayal of a loyal agent who turns to his best friend after the death of his wife, which occupies the majority of his submitted episode. Arkin is a hugely respected veteran of the industry, and he’s not phoning anything in here. His show missed the cut in the top race after winning the corresponding Golden Globe, which doesn’t bode well for the show’s overall chances, but Arkin might still manage to prevail.

Anthony Carrigan as Noho Hank, Barry (Past = Present x Future Over Yesterday)
I chose Carrigan as my winner in this category last year, but this is his first Emmy nomination. In the show’s second season, friendly mobster Noho Hank has to contend with taking the reins of his people and trying to maintain his relationship with the increasingly distant Barry. In his submitted episode, he has to deal with a new threat and approaches it with his typical sunny optimism. Unfortunately, even if he deserves it, Carrigan won’t be able to beat out his two more well-known costars.

Tony Hale as Gary Walsh, Veep (Veep)
This is Hale’s sixth nomination, returning to this race after his show took last year off. He won for the second and fourth season of the now-concluded comedy. Though I would have picked other members of the cast to be honored this season, Hale continues to be excellent, particularly in the series finale that finds his loyalty to the woman who constantly demeans him tested. His show isn’t represented too well compared to previous years, but that never stopped him in the past. He’s a good bet to win again.

Stephen Root as Monroe Fuches, Barry (berkman > block)
Astonishingly, this is Root’s first Emmy nomination. He was on my list in the past for both “True Blood” and “The West Wing,” and seems to be most famous for his portrayal of Milton with the missing stapler in “Office Space.” In the second season of the HBO hitman comedy, Root took on a more prominent role as Fuches tried to stay relevant. The season finale has both comedy and drama for Root to display, though he’s not likely to beat his showier costar Henry Winkler.

Tony Shalhoub as Abe Weissman, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (We’re Going to the Catskills!)
Shalhoub was nominated for this role last year, and previously won three out of his eight consecutive bids for starring as an obsessive-compulsive detective on “Monk.” He recently won the SAG Award, beating out two of his fellow nominees here and two leading contenders. There’s no argument that his show is wildly popular, and there isn’t a much better showcase for the perfection of his performance than watching Abe try to relax in his familiar Catskills confines. I predicted him to win last year, and he might actually do it this time.

Henry Winkler as Gene Cousineau, Barry (What?!)
Winkler won this award last year after five previous acting nominations for “Happy Days” and guest acting. Winkler was celebrated by the audience when he took the stage last year, indicating that there is great reverence for the seasoned actor, who is a great fit for the role of a self-involved acting teacher on HBO’s well-liked comedy. In a season that frequently featured Gene dealing with a devastating loss, his submission focuses more on his fractured relationship with his son, which isn’t as compelling. He could repeat, but I think his fellow nominees have stronger showcases.

Who should win (based on entire season): Shalhoub or Arkin
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Shalhoub or Arkin
Who will win: It could be Winkler again or Shalhoub, but I’m picking Hale for a third career victory.

Next up: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, Game of Thrones (A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms)
This is the first nomination for Christie, who submitted her own name for consideration when HBO didn’t include her in its campaign. She’s a fan favorite who’s done reliable work throughout the years, but nothing matches her emotional turn in a dialogue-heavy episode close to the show’s end that sees her achieving an unexpected rank as mortal danger looms. It’s a formidable submission, and may just be what she needs to defeat her three costars with bigger roles.

Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore, Ozark (The Gold Coast)
This is the first nomination for Garner, who also contended for an individual SAG Award this past year. She’s definitely a very memorable part of her show, demonstrating a real inner rage that manifests itself externally multiple times an episode. I was actually more impressed with her work in earlier episodes, while the season finale emphasizes a dramatic arc relevant to her character that might have seemed like good awards bait. With four actresses from one show likely to split the vote, she’s got a good shot, but she’s far from a sure thing.

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones (The Bells)
This is Headey’s fifth consecutive nomination, with a staggering three costars nominated alongside her after she was her show’s sole female nominee last time. I thought she was definitely going to win for the show’s fifth season finale, but now she has the chance to be rewarded for all of her work for the swan song. Many seem to think she can win, but I don’t think that her final showcase is all that strong since she plays such a minimal, inactive role in her submitted episode, which I believe features stronger performances from her nominated costars Emilia Clarke and Maisie Williams.

Fiona Shaw as Carolyn Martens, Killing Eve (Nice and Neat)
This is the first time Shaw has been nominated for an Emmy, and she also contends for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for “Fleabag.” Though she’s not one of the two lead characters on her show, Shaw still stands out as the savvy, sarcastic boss who knows much more than she’s letting on. Shaw smartly submitted an episode that demonstrates her deadpan skill, especially in sharing scenes with Sandra Oh. A nomination for Shaw makes sense, but a win seems like a bit of a stretch in this crowd.

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Game of Thrones (Winterfell)
This is the first nomination for Turner, who has been a series regular on her show since the beginning. Turner, facing competition from three of her costars, picked a smart episode to showcase Sansa, the season premiere in which she puts on a steely front to the arriving queen who wants to take over her kingdom. She’s definitely not the strongest of the actresses of her show, and it would be pretty shocking if she managed to eclipse any of them to take this award home despite a solid episode choice.

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, Game of Thrones (The Long Night)
This is the second nomination for Williams, who was previously nominated in 2016 for the sixth season of her show. I personally think she was the most valuable player next to Peter Dinklage, and she could have chosen a few different episodes to showcase her superb work. Her selection of the intense extended third hour was very smart since she plays a key role in its final scene. For some reason, she doesn’t seem to have the buzz she needs to win, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if she won for a deserving and impressive final effort.

Who should win (based on entire season):
Williams or Garner Who should win (based on individual episodes): Williams
Who will win: I’ve been wanting to say Williams, or maybe even Garner, but I think that Christie is going to pull it off.

Next up: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, Game of Thrones (The Long Night)
Allen earns his first nomination for the final season of his show. After appearing as a supporting player who wasn’t often tied in to the main plotlines, he got a chance to shine in a key scene at the end of his submitted episode. Theon is definitely a fan favorite, but it would be a stretch to argue that Allen’s performance is stronger than those of his nominated costars. He doesn’t have the same gravitas as Gwendoline Christie, the underdog in the supporting actress race, and therefore I’d give him a very low chance of winning here.

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut, Better Call Saul (Winner)
This is the fifth nomination for Banks for this role, after three previous bids for this show and one for “Breaking Bad.” He was also nominated in 1989 for “Wiseguy.” Banks has become a default nominee whenever his show is eligible. His episode smartly shows him trying as hard as he can to stop someone set on breaking the rules from sealing his own fate, typically maintaining a stoic front while demonstrating an inner humanity. There’s no reason Banks would win this year, but this is a good submission.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Game of Thrones (The Bells)
This is the second nomination for Coster-Waldau, who earned his first bid last year for the seventh season of his show. He’s definitely good in his submitted episode, the penultimate hour of the show that finds him making an important choice about his allegiances, but it’s unlikely that people will vote for him over his onscreen brother, played by three-time winner Peter Dinklage. Jaime’s role as a whole is much more minimal than Tyrion’s, and he doesn’t have the same kind of emphatic scene that Theon does, which I think makes him least likely out of the three costars to win.

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones (The Iron Throne)
This is Dinklage’s eighth straight nomination, officially the only performer from his show to be honored each season. He’s also won three times, for seasons one, five, and seven. A consecutive win to go with last year’s seems very likely, and Dinklage honestly could have submitted any of the episodes of this season and been a frontrunner. The finale is controversial, but obviously Emmy voters don’t mind, and Dinklage is so good as the moral center of the series finale that he shouldn’t have too much trouble taking home this award unless voters really want to reward someone else.

Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo Fring, Better Call Saul (Pinata)
Seven years ago, Esposito was nominated for his final season on “Breaking Bad.” He was eligible for his return to that universe in the previous season of this show two years ago, and now he’s earned another bid for portraying the buttoned-up drug kingpin. His role in the fourth season of the AMC prequel isn’t all that prominent, but he does play a major part in his submitted episode, which shows how powerful he is and also includes a reference to a fan-favorite part of the original show for which he’s well-known. A win for him now would be a makeup for his loss seven years ago, but there’s no reason to suspect he has any support at this moment in time.

Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper, House of Cards (Chapter 73)
This is Kelly’s fourth nomination, following the three consecutive bids he received for the most recent seasons of his now-ended show. Kelly’s inclusion feels like a real afterthought for a show well past its prime that flopped in its final outing, though not much of his performance is any different than it’s ever been. His submission of the series finale is the logical choice, but it’s hard to imagine anyone would want to reward this miserable, uninviting turn even if it does show the talent and focus Kelly brings to the character who is unendingly loyal to a dead man.

Chris Sullivan as Toby Damon, This Is Us (Toby)
This is the first nomination for Sullivan, who joins costars Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia, both on their third consecutive bids, and fellow first-timer Mandy Moore, to represent his show. Sullivan, who was the comic relief most of the time earlier on in his show’s run, is featured extensively in an episode that has his name as the title, providing a superb showcase for the affable actor. It does make him sympathetic and tells a contained story that could impress irregular viewers, but its serious tone doesn’t quite capture the lightness of his performance that might otherwise enable him to stand out from the pack.

Who should win (based on entire season): Dinklage
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Dinklage
Who will win: Just like last year, I don’t see anyone besides Dinklage winning.

Next up: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Christina Applegate as Jen, Dead to Me (I’ve Gotta Get Away)
Applegate was nominated twice before in this category for “Samantha Who” and twice in the guest actress race for “Friends,” winning the latter in 2003. Now she’s back as the lone representative of her show, playing a mother whose husband was killed in a hit-and-run. It’s a fierce, formidable performance, and her submission of a middle episode in which she gets to be angry and also explore her feelings in a more mellow environment could encourage some voters to pick her in a very crowded category that she’s highly unlikely to win.

Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam Maisel, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Midnight at the Concord)
Brosnahan won the Emmy for this role last year after a previous nomination for guest-starring on “House of Cards.” She’s won two consecutive Golden Globes as well as the SAG Award. Submitting an episode from halfway through the season might have seemed like a risk, but this is a big, superb hour that has her flirting, performing, and getting shocked by something she definitely didn’t expect to happen. She’d be a solid bet to repeat, but for a returning six-time winner who wasn’t in the running last year…

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, Veep (Veep)
Louis-Dreyfus is back in this race after her show took a year off following six consecutive wins for playing the eternally angry vice-president. Additionally, she was nominated four times for “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and seven times for “Seinfeld,” winning once for each show. Submitting the series finale was the obvious choice since it wraps up her storyline, and ranks about on par with most of her submissions from previous years. Her show didn’t perform spectacularly overall, but she should never be counted out, especially since she has yet to lose this award for this role.

Natasha Lyonne as Nadia Vulvokov, Russian Doll (Nothing in This World Is Easy)
Lyonne was previously nominated for guest acting on “Orange is the New Black” and contends both as a producer and writer for her show this year. Playing a thirty-year-old woman who keeps dying over and over on her birthday feels like a natural fit for the sarcastic actress, and she excels at it. Submitting the pilot was the smartest idea since it’s the introduction to her character and this Groundhog Day experience. She’s a fun choice, to be sure, but a win would be highly surprising.

Catherine O’Hara as Moira Rose, Schitt’s Creek (The Crowening)
O’Hara was previously nominated for her performance “Temple Grandin” and received five nominations as part of the writing team for “SCTV Network,” winning once in 1982. Her show earned its first Emmy nominations for its fifth season, and O’Hara submitted the season premiere, which finds her filming a horrible movie and trying hard to get into character in a project that she wants to believe is better than it is. O’Hara and the show have an enormous fan base, but pulling off a win for this wild character seems tough to near impossible.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag, Fleabag (Episode 2.1)
This is Waller-Bridge’s first acting nomination. She was up for writing “Killing Eve” last year and contends now as a producer on both shows and for writing her submitted episode of this show. Her submission of the season premiere, which I thought was the best episode and is also nominated for directing and writing, was brilliant, and it’s a wonderful way for first-time voters to see how incredible she is. If Brosnahan and Louis-Dreyfus cancel each other out, she’ll be the winner, but it’s a stretch.

Who should win (based on entire season): Waller-Bridge, Brosnahan, or Applegate
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Waller-Bridge, Brosnahan, or Applegate
Who will win: I really want to be bold and pick Waller-Bridge to upset (and may still change my mind before next week), but for now, I’m staying safe with Louis-Dreyfus for a seventh time.

Next up: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Anthony Anderson as Andre Johnson, Black-ish (Purple Rain)
This is the fifth consecutive nomination for Anderson, but he’s alone without any costar or his show nominated in the top race for the first time in three years. Two years ago, I thought he had a real shot to upset, but since then, his show has clearly just declined in popularity. Educating his kids about the power of Prince, however amusing to some, is hardly the kind of breakthrough performance that might have earned the attention of voters.

Don Cheadle as Maurice Monroe, Black Monday (365)
This is Cheadle’s ninth career Emmy nomination and in his fifth in this category. He earned four consecutive bids for “House of Lies,” a guest acting nomination for “ER,” and three nominations for television movies before that. Cheadle now contends for playing a wild moneyman in the 1980s, who completely dominates his show’s pilot. Cheadle is here with no other support for his show, which suggests he isn’t likely to win, but he’ll probably garner some votes if those casting ballots can stand his egotistical, horrible character.

Ted Danson as Michael, The Good Place (The Worst Possible Use of Free Will)
This is the second consecutive nomination for Danson, whose show broke through and joined the Best Comedy Series race this year. Additionally, Danson has fifteen previous nominations and two wins, both for “Cheers” in this category. Danson is undeniably fantastic, though he’s not the only one in the cast, and his submission isn’t a great choice. He’s just guiding another character through her own journey in it rather than doing entertaining things like harnessing human emotion, and I think he needs something stronger to be able to win. Maybe next year for his show’s final season!

Michael Douglas as Sandy Kominsky, The Kominsky Method (Chapter 1: An Actor Avoids)
Douglas won an Emmy in 2013 for “Behind the Candelabra” and was previously nominated once for guesting on “Will and Grace” and three times for starring in “The Streets of San Francisco” in the 1970s. Douglas won the Golden Globe, and his show also won the top prize there. Now, he’s up without his series for the pilot episode that introduces audience to his aging actor with a big sense of himself. Douglas is respected, likeable, and funny, but his show getting snubbed may hurt his chances.

Bill Hader as Barry Berkman, Barry (The Truth Has a Ring to It)
Hader won this award last year after four previous SNL nominations. For the second year in a row, he also contends for writing and directing his show. His submission of an episode that finds him performing sensationally on stage while dealing with more annoying side distractions is pretty solid, and he could very easily win again.

Eugene Levy as Johnny Rose, Schitt’s Creek (Rock On!)
Levy has nine previous nominations and two wins for writing “SCTV Network.” This is his first Emmy nomination in thirty-six years and his first acting bid (he also contends for producing his show, up for the first time). Levy plays the owner of a motel who, in his submitted episode, accidentally walks in on an employee in a compromised position. Levy is funny and beloved, but a vote for him would mean decades of industry respect rather than actually watching his work here.

Who should win (based on entire season): Hader, Danson, Douglas, or Cheadle
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Hader, Douglas, or Cheadle
Who will win: Though I think that Hader might repeat, I’m going to give Douglas the edge.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones (The Last of the Starks)
This is Clarke’s fourth nomination after bids in 2013, 2015, and 2016 in the supporting race. She wasn’t successful when she was first promoted to this category last year, but now she contends for the final season of her show, in which she played a huge part. She could have chosen any of the six eligible hours, and she opted for one in which she has to fight for her right to rule with words rather than with actions, which I think might have been a stronger bet. Her performance isn’t quite on the same level as most of the other nominees in this category, but enthusiasm for her show shouldn’t be counted out since it could most definitely lead to a win.

Jodie Comer as Villanelle, Killing Eve (I Hope You Like Missionary)
I’m thrilled that Comer finally managed to score her first major awards bid after her costar Sandra Oh had previously taken all of the acclaim. She also submitted a formidable hour that shows the range of her talents, creating a character to get close to a suspect and having fun with it in typical style. Oh isn’t featured extensively in this hour, while Comer does still play a substantial role in Oh’s. She’s a long shot at best, but anyone who watches her show should realize that she’s such a crucial part of it who absolutely deserves to win.

Viola Davis as Annalise Keating, How to Get Away with Murder (He Betrayed Us Both)
This is Davis’ fourth nomination in this category but her fifth overall. After winning for the freshman year of her show, she earned two more bids and then, last year, missed out in this race in favor of a guest bid for playing the same character on a “Scandal” crossover. It doesn’t feel like she should be in this race anymore, and even if Davis is good, her character is so poorly written and the show so terrible in comparison to everything else here. Spiraling out of control in her episode is far from compelling, and I’d be both shocked and disappointed if she won this year.

Laura Linney as Wendy Byrde, Ozark (One Way Out)
Linney has won four times out of five nominations, taking home trophies for TV movie “Wild Iris,” miniseries “John Adams” and “The Big C: Hereafter,” and comedy guest acting for “Frasier.” She’s nominated for the second season of her show, and in her submitted episode gets to show just how in control of a situation where she’s not objectively in charge she manages to be. It’s a good showcase that allows her to standout from costars Jason Bateman and Julia Garner, but I don’t think it’s enough to help her win.

Mandy Moore as Rebecca Pearson, This Is Us (The Graduates)
After turning in an incredible performance in her show’s second season that I thought would earn her a place on this last year, Moore is now nominated for the first time, joining returning nominees Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia, and fellow newcomer Chris Sullivan. Moore manages to be very sympathetic in her submitted episode, which finds her having a tough time going through monumental life cycle moments without her husband. This is a competitive category, and I think she would have had an easier time pulling off a win last year.

Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri, Killing Eve (You’re Mine)
Oh, who has five previous nominations in the supporting category for “Grey’s Anatomy,” made history last year as the first Asian actress to be nominated in this field. She is also nominated for hosting SNL this year. She took home both the Golden Globe and the SAG Award this past year, and seems primed to win this prize too. Her submission of the season finale, in which she makes a crucial decision that proves to be very transformative is smart. Her biggest competition, honestly, comes from costar Jodie Comer, nominated now after being snubbed last year.

Robin Wright as Claire Underwood, House of Cards (Chapter 70)
This is the sixth nomination for Wright, who has now been nominated for every season of her show, returning to this lineup after her show took last season off. Being promoted to the only lead after Kevin Spacey was written out gives her a major showcase in a season that I personally hated, and her submitted episode epitomizes what I didn’t like about it. There’s supposed something clever about Claire playing into the role of the unstable, weak woman president, but I found this performance unbelievably irritating and I can’t imagine enough voters actually liked it to propel her to a win.

Who should win (based on entire season): Comer
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Comer
Who will win: Julia Roberts wasn’t nominated, and previous winners Claire Foy, Elisabeth Moss, and Tatiana Maslany aren’t in contention. This feels like Oh’s year, though costar Comer could snatch it away from her or Clarke could be rewarded if voters go nuts for her show.

Next up: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series