Friday, September 20, 2019

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Drama Series

I've already gone through and looked at the six episodes submitted by each of the nominees for Best Drama Series, and for a full survey at their chances, check out my complete rundown of the category for The Film Experience.

Emmy Episode Analysis: Best Drama Series

This year, I’m splitting my top two category predictions into two posts each. I went through the statistics and chances for each show for The Film Experience, and in this post, I’ll be looking at the submitted episodes for each show, with titles are in parentheses. Beware of major spoilers for listed episodes.

Smoke,” “Breathe,” “Something Stupid,” “Coushatta,” “Wiedersehen,” “Winner

For its fourth nomination in this category, its first bid since its third season was nominated in 2017, this show chose the first two and last four episodes of the ten-episode season. They’re all winning submissions which chronicle protagonist Jimmy’s attempts to stay relevant without his law license, featuring magnetic scenes with him spinning masterful lies, often with his far more ethical partner Kim by his side. These choices are as good as they’ve ever been, though there’s nothing particularly showy about the storyline as compared with the three equally strong previous years.

Episode 1,” “Episode 2,” “Episode 3,” “Episode 4,” “Episode 5,” “Episode 6

While this show merited only two nominations, I’d say it easily has the best showcase when it comes to episodes. It’s one of two shows which has its entire season represented given that it was comprised of only six episodes, and each one of them is more enticing and action-packed than the next. There’s plenty of suspense, but where this show – and each of its episodes – truly excels is when it catches viewers off-guard, including a major development halfway through that represents its sincere commitment to viewer satisfaction. If episodes were all that mattered, I’d put my money on this show having a chance to upset.

Winterfell,” “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” “The Long Night,” “The Last of the Starks,” “The Bells,” “The Iron Throne

Like the previous show, this one has all six of its episodes submitted, though none of them are only an hour, giving it yet another advantage over its competition. Its episodes feature a lot of greetings, talking, action, talking, action, and moderate resolution – in that order. The final season was highly divisive but Emmy voters have embraced it wholeheartedly, and it’s actually likely that the few voters unfamiliar with the show will be more impressed than devoted fans with what these episodes have to offer. Writing-wise, episodes two and four are strong, while episodes three and five feature staggering production values that make for one hell of an engaging viewing experience. It will be hard to beat these.

Do You Know How to Dispose of a Body?,” “Nice and Neat,” “The Hungry Caterpillar,” “Desperate Times,” “Wide Awake,” “You’re Mine

This show’s first nomination, for its sophomore season, comprises six of its eight episodes. Interestingly, one of the two omitted is actually star Jodie Comer’s submission. I wasn’t overly fond of the first four episodes of the season, which track the fallout from the season finale, and appreciated the last two much more when unexpected partnerships and relationships had started to build. This show is definitely weird and not for anyone, and I’m not sure that any of these episodes, taken two at a time, would be able to win over voters.

Reparations,” “The Precious Blood of Jesus,” “Outer Darkness,” “One Way Out,” “The Badger,” “The Gold Coast

This show’s first nomination, for its second season, includes the first two hours, the sixth and seventh, and the ninth and tenth (the finale). I’d weight them all equally, featuring some decent performances and a whole lot of moodiness. Regular viewers are certainly invested in the storyline, but it’s hard to access that by checking in to these episodes. To me, what’s most disappointing is that there are always more miserable obstacles rather than any true progress achieved. I’m not sure that’s different than season one, but this desolate series doesn’t feel like a winner to me.

Pose,” “Access,” “Giving and Receiving,” “The Fever,” “Love is the Message,” “Mother of the Year

This freshman FX series submitted six of its eight episodes, opting for the first four, the sixth, and the eighth. As someone who wasn’t enthralled by the pilot because the subject matter isn’t of particular interest to me, I found myself much more engaged upon returning to the show to sample the remaining five installments. In addition to the fantastical nature of the ball scene, this show does human drama very well, and these episodes make a great case for spotlighting this particular underrepresented portion of the world. There’s an emotional case for this show to upset, but I don’t think it’s quite universal enough for all viewers, sadly.

Celebration,” “Which Side Are You On?,” “Austerlitz,” “Prague,” “Pre-Nuptial,” “Nobody Is Ever Missing

I watched the pilot of this show and wasn’t into it, and when I came back to watch the rest of the submissions, I was surprised to find myself skipping all the way to episode six. The decision to select episodes six through ten along with the pilot is an intriguing one, though I did find the plot extremely intriguing if still considerably over-the-top. Evidently, this is a case where a show might take longer for viewers to get into, and smart submissions showcase the best of what it has to offer, which is a large and talented ensemble portraying chaos as well as they can. This show is definitely watchable, but these episodes do still feel a bit off-the-rails.

Vietnam,” “Sometimes,” “Songbird Road: Part One,” “Our Little Island Girl,” “Waiting Room,” “R and B

This show, back here for the third time in a row, had the most episodes to choose from, with eighteen at its disposal. I’m actually not impressed with those selected, with only the last one, the penultimate hour of the season, as a smart choice. “Vietnam” was too flashback-heavy in a way I found pointless, and both “Sometimes” and “Songbird Road: Part One” continued the melancholy focus on Jack’s brother without much success. The last three were a marked improvement, dealing instead with strong characters like Beth and Kate, but this show isn’t going to win with this slate.

What should win (based on entire season):Bodyguard” or “Better Call Saul
What should win (based on individual episodes):Bodyguard” or “Pose
What will win: Check out my next post with statistical data and my rundown of each show’s overall chances!

Next up: Best Comedy Series

What I’m Watching: Our Boys

Our Boys: Season 1, Episode 7 “Chapter 7: Judging by Its End” (B+)

This was a very tough episode to watch, though it was done very well. I mentioned when I first started watching that this was a personal subject for me since it’s something I remember playing out a few years ago and which I watched closely because I was coordinating youth trips to Israel that left on the day that the three Israeli boys were found. This show’s focus has been much more on the aftermath of those murders, and seeing the devout faith that has been twisted into notions of harming other people in God’s name is deeply unnerving. I know the melody that Yosef Haim was singing to his child after buying the gasoline, and my wife and I cringed when Yinon told Avishai that he should take off his yarmulke because it was for the sake of “pikuach nefesh,” or saving a life, when they were about to go out and abduct someone. The commission of the crime was almost casual, and Yosef Haim saw it as clear-cut revenge, invoking the names of Israeli killed as he beat Mohammed to death. I wasn’t sure what the purpose of the reenactment was, but it turned out to be a vivid way to understand Avishai’s worldview and how he believed that there was a distinction between what he did and the act of murder. This was a hypnotic, self-contained episode, one whose implications are sure to be felt as Avishai’s cooperation becomes official testimony and leads to severe consequences for all involved.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Writing for a Comedy Series

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

Alec Berg and Bill Hader, Barry (ronny/lily)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag (Episode 2.1)
Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, The Good Place (Janet(s))
Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle and Stacy Osei-Kuffour, Pen15 (Anna Ishii-Peters)
Leslye Headland, Natasha Lyonne and Amy Poehler, Russian Doll (Nothing in this World is Easy)
Allison Silverman, Russian Doll (A Warm Body)
David Mandel, Veep (Veep)

This is the sixth year in a row that Berg is nominated thanks mostly to previous bids for “Silicon Valley”, and Hader returns from last year. Both are also nominated for writing. Hader, Waller-Bridge, and Lyonne are all nominated for acting. Mandel has two previous writing bids for his show. This episode of “Fleabag” is also up for directing. Poehler has plenty of previous nominations, with one bid in this category from 2012 for “Parks and Recreation and three for writing for the Golden Globes. Only “Pen15” isn’t nominated for Best Comedy Series. “Veep is the only previous winner in this category nominated this year with a trophy from 2015. A show with two nominations hasn’t won since 2013.

What should win:Fleabag” or “The Good Place
What will win: It’s far from a sure thing, but this is where Fleabag may just be able to pull off a victory.

Next up: Best Drama Series and Best Comedy Series!

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

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series

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

Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde, Ozark (Reparations)
This is Bateman’s second consecutive nomination, both in this category and for directing his submitted episode. He was nominated previously in 2005 and 2013 for “Arrested Development.” Last year, I didn’t think he could win because his show wasn’t represented elsewhere, but this time around, his two costars are up, as is his show in the top category. He won the SAG Award this past year, but the winner of that award loses the Emmy much more often than he wins it. The season two premiere finds Marty dealing with many crises all around him, displaying Bateman’s ability to handle drama with the right amount of snark. Without a definitive frontrunner, this could well be Bateman’s opportunity to win.

Sterling K. Brown as Randall Pearson, This Is Us (R and B)
This is Brown’s third consecutive nomination for this role. Brown won this award two years ago and another Emmy the year before that for “American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson.” In its third year, his show performed pretty much as strongly in the nominations as is in the past. I predicted Brown to repeat last year, which he didn’t, and now he’s submitted a powerhouse installment that shows a younger version of him and then him struggling to keep his marriage together. In a year with no clear frontrunner here, Brown could easily be the default winner.

Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Game of Thrones (The Iron Throne)
This is the second nomination for Harington, who last contended in the supporting race for his show’s sixth season and failed to be nominated for its seventh when he switched to the lead category. As one of the most likeable and most prominent faces in the blockbuster final season of HBO’s epic fantasy series, Harington certainly has buzz going for him. Given how Emmy voters showered his show with nominations, he will definitely have fans, but ardent supporters of the show may be reluctant to reward his choice of the series finale, which many didn’t love. It’s still a formidable showcase of Harington’s work, and his name being called wouldn’t be a surprise.

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, Better Call Saul (Winner)
This is the fourth nomination for Odenkirk, who was nominated for the first three seasons of his show, which took last season off. He was previously nominated and won for writing work on sketch shows. His show still has a solid number of nominations, and many think that this is the year Odenkirk can finally win. His selection of the season finale, which shows him perpetrating schemes and putting on a forceful performance to save his law degree, is indeed a great one, and the only thing stopping him from being the frontrunner is that his show just isn’t all that buzzy.

Billy Porter as Pray Tell, Pose (Love is the Message)
This is Porter’s first Emmy nomination. His show contends for Best Drama Series and a few technical trophies. Being the only member of his cast nominated doesn’t necessarily help him, especially since every other nominee here is joined by at least two costars in other categories, but that didn’t stop Jeff Daniels from winning for “The Newsroom.” Porter’s submission is a knockout, showing an intimate side of him in addition to his announcer gig and giving him a formidable chance to sing. His show has an ardent fan base and might just be able to win.

Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson, This Is Us (Sometimes)
This is the third consecutive nomination for Ventimiglia, who lost to costar Brown two years ago. He’s had better episodes to submit in the past, some of which he’s chosen and others that he hasn’t, and the one he picked this time probably won’t win viewers over since it requires more knowledge of his character and some work to determine which time period is being featured since it jumps around considerably. His show isn’t hot this year, and there’s nothing about this episode that will propel him to the top of anyone but a devoted fan’s ballot.

Who should win (based on entire season): Porter or Odenkirk
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Porter
Who will win: There isn’t really a frontrunner here since Richard Madden was snubbed. I’m going to pick Porter over Odenkirk and Bateman, though Brown could also be a default choice if no one else has enough support. I don’t think Harington will win even if his show sweeps.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Friday, September 13, 2019

What I’m Watching: Why Women Kill

Why Women Kill: Season 1, Episode 5 “There’s No Crying in Murder” (B+)

This show is clever because it follows predictable plotlines to a degree but takes them in an interesting direction that links the three time periods together to support this show’s main themes. I was actually most involved, for once, in Beth Ann’s drama this episode, as she realized that she felt bad for the woman sleeping with her husband because he was treating April even more poorly than he was treating her. Pretending to be sick so that she could go to April’s big debut without Rob being there was smart, and of course she was going to end up having to hide when he inevitably showed up. He reacted so poorly to April’s profession of love, and I’m curious what Beth Ann will do next to punish her husband. Karl seemed so delighted to confirm that Simone was having an affair with Simone, and his acceptance of her infidelity makes her angrier than anything. I caught the fun casting of Christine Estabrook, who played nosy neighbor Martha Huber on “Desperate Housewives,” as Joyce. In the present day, Eli and Jade unsurprisingly got to bond in Taylor’s absence while she got an amused warning from her sisters about the likelihood of the two of them falling for each other without her there, especially after she saved his writing career and then got him into drugs again. Jade doesn’t seem to have any culpability in this whole thing, but I suppose that’s because she was brought into this relationship instead of starting in it with expectations.

What I’m Watching: Our Boys

Our Boys: Season 1, Episode 6 “Chapter 6: Acceptance of Silence” (B+)

This episode pulled back from the intensity of the investigation to the slow procedure of double-checking and making sure that everything was covered before information was leaked in a way that would truly compromise the case. I was wondering whether there would be a moment when the two storylines intersected again, and Uri going to talk to Hussein was just that. He evidently wants to help do damage control to a degree, but he’s also serious about making sure that those responsible are held accountable for what they did in a legal way rather than something far less controllable. Naturally, Hussein is encouraged to doubt him by those around him, and just as he doesn’t want his son’s death to be used for causes that he doesn’t believe in, he doesn’t want it dismissed or buried either. Going to court to make sure that lawyers can’t be brought in was an interesting process, and tensions were high in the courtroom between the two lawyers on opposite sides. Simon bringing in Devorah to speak with Avishai and get him to stop his acceptance of silence was a bold move, and it’s nice to see some sort of honor with Simon actually turning the cameras off when she was in there talking to him. This show continues to do a superb job of bringing in many different perspectives, with Devorah’s husband demonstrating his own prejudices in how he thinks about the religious community and their tendencies. That final shot of Avishai being taken outside was appropriately haunting.

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

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

Jane Lynch as Sophie Lennon, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Vote for Kennedy, Vote for Kennedy!)
This is the twelth overall nomination for Lynch, who was been recognized with at least one bid almost consistently since 2010, winning once for “Glee,” twice for hosting “Hollywood Game Night,” and two years ago for the short form series “Dropping the Soap.” She was nominated for this role last year and contends again for a memorable return that brings her famous comedienne character back in a vengeful capacity. It’s not as showy as her first season appearance, but Lynch has proven to be too popular to be counted out in any given race.

Sandra Oh as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Sandra Oh)
Oh has five previous nominations for “Grey’s Anatomy” and is nominated this year for the second time for starring in “Killing Eve.” Oh, who co-hosted the Golden Globes, demonstrates as a “Saturday Night Live” host that she’s having fun and that she’s up for anything, qualities that have previously led to victories in this category. She’s far from a sure thing, but she’s very hot and beloved right now. Especially if she doesn’t win for drama, she could certainly win here.

Maya Rudolph as Judge Gen, The Good Place (Chidi Sees the Time-Knife)
Rudolph was previously nominated in this category for this role last year and for hosting SNL in 2012. Last year, I was so happy that Rudolph made the cut, and this year, she’s joined by her show in the Best Comedy Series category for the first time. Playing a powerful celestial judge who isn’t a burrito allows for new comedy this time around, particularly when her character went down to Earth to see just how terrible humans are. It’s possible she could win this award, which would be a fun way to reward a show that Emmy voters are just starting to like.

Kristin Scott Thomas as Belinda, Fleabag (Episode 2.3)
This is the first nomination for Thomas, who earned an Oscar nomination back in 1996 for “The English Patient.” She really just appears in one extended scene in her episode, but she makes a big impact and bonds with the title character in a mesmerizing way. She would certainly be the sophisticated choice, representing a veteran actress who can just show up on a show and make an immediate impression in a few minutes. Don’t count her out.

Fiona Shaw as Counsellor, Fleabag (Episode 2.2)
Shaw is nominated for the first time this year, also contending for her series regular role on series star and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s other show, “Killing Eve.” Like Thomas, Shaw only appears in her episode for one big scene. It’s a dry turn that works best because of how she plays off her scene partner – Waller-Bridge – and while it is great, it probably won’t appeal as much to those who aren’t already fans of the show. It would also be hard to imagine her beating Thomas in this race.

Emma Thompson as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Emma Thompson)
This is Thompson’s sixth acting nomination. She won on her first try in 1998 in this category for “Ellen,” and all of her other nominations have come for miniseries or TV movie work. Hosting the Mother’s Day episode of “Saturday Night Live” gives her a good opportunity to demonstrate her gravitas, and it comes in a year where she’s been seen a lot, both on TV in “Years and Years” and in film in “Late Night.” She’s not nearly as present in sketches as Oh is, and a win for her would be more based on her general industry contributions than this particular hosting gig.

Who should win (based on entire season): N/A
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Thomas or Rudolph
Who will win: I’m going to pick Oh with Thomas as a serious possible spoiler.

Next up: Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

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

Matt Damon as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Matt Damon)
This is the Damon’s third acting nomination following a bid in 2013 for “Behind the Candelabra” and in this category in 2011 for “30 Rock.” In his hosting gig, he demonstrates a truly affable and likeable attitude in the episode he hosts, opening up with a warm monologue and gamely playing along in each of the sketches. The most agreeable turn isn’t always the one that wins, but Damon would be a fantastic and worthy victor.

Robert De Niro as Robert Mueller, Saturday Night Live (Host: Sandra Oh)
This is the second nomination for De Niro, who was previously up for “The Wizard of Lies” in 2017. He also contends this year as a producer for limited series “When They See Us.” De Niro is the only performer recognized for his show who either isn’t a host or a series regular, and his inclusion is somewhat puzzling. In his first appearance as Robert Mueller, there were decent jokes and he seemed into it, but there’s so little effort in his dry reading of the report that this mimicry hardly seems deserving of any sort of award.

Luke Kirby as Lenny Bruce, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (All Alone)
This is the first nomination for Kirby, who plays legendary comic Lenny Bruce on the popular Amazon series. Kirby’s role was more prominent in his multiple season two appearances than in his also memorable contributions to season one. In the season finale, Kirby gets to play Bruce as a sympathetic ear and mentor for Midge and also to do some performing of his own. He fits in very well with the show around him, and could very well ride a wave of support for his highly-respected series.

Peter MacNicol as Jeff Kane, Veep (Oslo)
This is the fourth career nomination for MacNicol, who won in 2001 on this third bid for “Ally McBeal.” He was technically nominated in this category in 2016 before it was rescinded due to his having appeared in too many episodes that season. Now, MacNicol is back for a typically scathing performance as the unkind political operator whose first instinct was to laugh maniacally at a funeral. It’s a memorable performance that, despite the shortness of its length, could result in a win for the veteran comic actor.

John Mulaney as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: John Mulaney)
This is actually Mulaney’s first acting bid, though he’s been nominated and won before, mostly for writing. This year, he’s up for three other Emmys, for writing “Saturday Night Live” and for writing and music and lyrics for “Documentary Now.” In his second shot as host of NBC’s long-running variety series, Mulaney seems completely at home, using a microphone to perform a stand-up routine rather than do some sort of bit or sketch for the opening monologue. He seems totally into all of the sketches throughout the episode, and despite having a less prominent acting profile than the other nominees in this category, he may still be able to earn some votes.

Adam Sandler as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Adam Sandler)
This is the first acting nomination for Sandler, who was previously nominated three times as part of the “Saturday Night Live” writing team and also contends this year for penning his own variety special. His hosting appearance makes a nostalgic return to the variety series from which, as he sings about during the opening monologue, he was once fired. Familiarity is what works best for Sandler, and his Opera Man news recap during Weekend Update is a particular highlight.

Rufus Sewell as Declan Howell, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Look, She Made a Hat)
This is the first nomination for Sewell, who likely came close to a bid a few years ago for the first season of “The Man in the High Castle.” Here, he keeps his accent and gets to play a drunken painter who has a surprising chemistry with the marvelous title character. It’s a great performance and one that serves a true purpose in his episode. He would be a fine and respectable choice that may just be what Emmy voters want, even if it’s a less traditional comedy turn.

Who should win (based on entire season): N/A
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Damon or Sewell
Who will win: It’s possible that it could be Kirby or Sewell or even Mulaney, but I’m betting on Sandler.

Next up: Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series

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

Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset, Orange is the New Black (Well This Took a Dark Turn)
This is the third nomination for Cox, who was previously nominated in this category in 2017 and in the comedy guest actress race for the same show and role in 2014. Sophia hasn’t been a big part of the show in a while, hence her classification here, and her return in an impactful episode that finds her making a tough choice is a positive showcase of her talents. A win in this category with zero other bids for the show has plenty of precedent, but it’s worth noting that both of costar Uzo Aduba’s victories came in years when her show was contending for the top prize.

Cherry Jones as Holly Maddox, The Handmaid’s Tale (Holly)
Jones was nominated last year for this role, and this is technically her second nomination for the second season of her show, which is a real feat. Her previous nomination, for “24” in 2009, resulted in a win. Jones made an impression as the main character’s mother in flashbacks, but she’s far from the most memorable part of her episode, which finds a new life named in her honor. A win wouldn’t be a shock, but this isn’t the best indication of her work and wouldn’t be an instance of voters actually paying attention the material in the episode submitted.

Jessica Lange as Constance Langdon, American Horror Story (Return to Murder House)
Lange was previously nominated and won for this role for season one of “American Horror Story,” earning another win for season three and additional bids for seasons two and four. Aside from that, she was nominated four times and won in 2009 for “Grey Gardens.” In her submitted episode this year, she returns to the show to reprise her original role, making an incredible impression when she first appears and then continues to dominate the entire hour. It’s a crowded category but Lange stands out, and not having anyone else from her show nominated may not actually be a demerit considering her historical awards reputation.

Phylicia Rashad as Carol Clarke, This Is Us (Our Little Island Girl)
This is Rashad’s third career Emmy nomination after previous bids for “A Raisin in the Sun” and “The Cosby Show.” She is the first female guest acting nominee for her show, portraying Beth’s mother. Her submitted episode shows a mother with a strong influence on her daughter, who herself is a resilient woman crucial to the show’s storyline. I, and many others, wish that Susan Kelechi Watson, who plays Beth, was nominated, and a victory for Rashad would be one symbolic way to reward her. Rashad is indeed impressive in her own right, and the fact that she hasn’t won an Emmy may surprise voters.

Cicely Tyson as Ophelia Hartness, How to Get Away with Murder (Where Are Your Parents?)
This is the fourth overall and third consecutive nomination for ninety-four-year-old actress Tyson for this role, and she has eleven additional nominations prior to that, dating back to 1974 and including three wins, most recently in 1994. I actually think this may be the strongest submission yet for Tyson, who is truly present in her scenes and makes her aging and ailing mother to star Viola Davis’ character very memorable and important. Absent a clear frontrunner, Tyson could prevail, but that hasn’t helped other similarly respected older actresses in past years.

Carice van Houten as Melisandre, Game of Thrones (The Long Night)
This is the first nomination for van Houten. Diana Rigg was nominated previously for HBO’s hugely popular show in this race, and now van Houten has the chance to win for her memorable turn as a powerful sorceress in one of the more impactful and memorable episodes of its final season. If voters want to reward the show as a whole, she would be a great way to do it, and she could also benefit from the show sweeping all its categories. Being a less-known quantity won’t help her, but anyone who watches her episode won’t soon forget her and her role in it.

Who should win (based on entire season): N/A
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Lange or Tyson
Who will win: It’s possible it might be Jones or Lange, but I’m betting on Rashad.

Next up: Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series