Monday, September 18, 2017

Emmy Awards: The Morning After

It’s come and gone – the big night that represents the best of TV as honored by the members of its academy. I had a blast making some themed food with my wife, my parents, and some friends, which helped add to the general celebratory feel of the night. Enjoy a few pictures below!

I remember previous Emmy ceremonies where the awards were split up into different sections based on genres, which to me makes at least some sense since there’s no real logic to the way things go. That said, there are some stretches with just reality shows that don’t appeal at all, and so maybe mixing it up is the smarter move. The only thing you can count on is that supporting actor will be the first category to be announced. There weren’t a lot of montages, which was a shame, but overall the ceremony was pretty entertaining, starting with a jovial number featuring host Stephen Colbert and nominees Anthony Anderson and Allison Janney.

In a way, this wasn’t a very exciting show since there were few surprises. I made the wrong call on Best Drama Series, betting that “Stranger Things,” which went unrewarded in this primetime ceremony, would eclipse “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which picked up a very impressive five trophies. I hedged my bets on Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow while my second-place picks, which most people went with, Donald Glover and Ron Cephas Jones, ended up winning. “Veep” scored its third straight win for Best Comedy Series, and star Julia Louis-Dreyfus picked up her sixth consecutive award. And no one was surprised to see Kate McKinnon pick up a second award, joined by costar Alec Baldwin for his skewering of Donald Trump. I got 100% on my limited series and TV movie predictions, but that’s because only three programs – “Big Little Lies,” “The Night Of,” and “Black Mirror: San Junipero” – won anything. I watched the first two shows and really need to check out the last one. Overall, I got 21/27, also missing Best Reality-Competition Program, which ranks least on the list of anything on this show that interests me.

And then we have the one win that counts as a substantial surprise. Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series was an extremely competitive category, with Thandie Newton, Chrissy Metz, and Millie Bobby Brown all contending for a win for three very hot new shows. Yet when the category was announced, it was actress Ann Dowd who scored the win. I was really rooting for Newton since I thought her performance was exceptional, but Dowd is a fantastic actress who was really terrific – and terrifying – in her show. She was superb in “The Leftovers” in its first season (my runner-up for the AFT Award) and should have been Oscar-nominated for her performance in the film “Compliance” a few years ago (she won the AFT Award), so it’s great to see her rewarded, especially considering the humble nature of her speech.

I’m sad that “Westworld,” which was one of the best new shows of the season, second only to “The Handmaid’s Tale” in terms of those series heaped with Emmy love this year, earned the most nominations but not a single major award. There wasn’t anyone aside from Newton I was really rooting for this year who had any shot at winning, and I do think that, of the choices, “The Handmaid’s Tale” was the best one. Though I would have preferred “Silicon Valley” to be honored for Best Comedy Series, I’m fine with a win for “Veep” since this was a good season and I don’t think it’s reached a point where it’s way beyond any initial concept of quality, especially with the announcement of one more season to wrap it up.

As for the show itself, I think what most people are talking about is the entirely unexpected appearance of Sean Spicer. You certainly can’t say that it wasn’t completely shocking, and the look on Anna Chlumsky’s face said it all. It’s true that bringing him in there after his appalling term in Trump’s administration simply because he’s no longer a part of it feels odd, and, unlike past subjects of mockery like Sarah Palin and Bernie Sanders, the members of his White House attack those involved with the variety series rather than join in on the fun. It was undeniably entertainment, and I’m not sure how I feel beyond that. The in memoriam montage with the picture frames was effective, and sad, and I’d say overall this show ran pretty well and featured some fun presenters, including Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Jane Fonda together, the cast of “Big Little Lies,” and last year’s winner Tatiana Maslany.

What’s next? The AFT Awards continue and should wrap up within the next week and a half, representing my choices for the best in TV from the 2016-2017 season. And check out reviews aplenty coming soon for all the new pilots from the 2017-2018 season as well as a number of returning shows. Over at Movies with Abe, I’ll be covering the New York Film Festival soon and then moving on to Oscar season. Stick around – it’s a great time!