Monday, September 19, 2011

2011 Emmy Post-Game Analysis

So the 2011 Emmys are over, and what a rollercoaster ride, with tons of surprises, shocking upsets, and then a familiar end. Literally, after a while you had to hold your breath before each winner was announced because you just never knew what was going to happen. Below, separated by categories, is a more thorough analysis of the all the action from last night.

No pun intended, oh hell, pun intended, there was a lot of drama in the Drama categories, and when Mad Men finally won the top award, I think we all breathed a sigh of relief that our nerves and excitement could finally take a break. I wasn't exactly disappointed that Mad Men won, as it really was its best season, but after all the shocking wins in this category, and the fact that the only award it had won up until that point was Hairstyling, I thought that maybe the Emmys were going for an upset. Now Mad Men has won as many awards in a row as LA Law and The West Wing, but after its low turnout this year, I think it will not go for the record-breaking five peat next year. There were a few expected, and well-deserved, wins, as both Martin Scorses and Julianna Margulies took the stage in their respective categories. But beyond those three awards, these categories were filled with upsets and incredible wins that finally made me respect the Emmys for recognizing greatness where it was deserved. Margo Martindale was predicted to win, but in the back of my mind, I just felt that the Emmys would snub her. But alas, the panels actually looked at her tape, recognized her brilliance and gave her the award. Her acceptance speech made it all worth while, as she was genuinely happy and overwhelmed,. It is moments like these that keep me intrigued with Awards shows, because once every ceremony, there is one winner (or in this case a bunch), that is actually genuinely happy and surprised, and it sometimes makes it all worth it. That was truly the case of Kyle Chandler. His final episode was not the best in the world, but that kind of technicality did not matter for Emmy voters. In many ways, this win, combined with its shocking win in the Writing category, were nice little tips of the hat to the outgoing series, and maybe also apologetic wins from the Academy which has snubbed FNL for way too many years. But more importantly, this was a trimphant win for Chandler, who is a humble, hard working guy who finally got his due. Peter Dinklage also pulled off a win, although it wasn't neccessarily an upset, as a lot of people had predicted him. I am bummed that my out of the box pick Josh Charles didn't get in, but I am thrilled for Dinklage, who definitely deserved it, and his thanking of his dog walker made it completely worthwhile.

Modern Family did a sweep of these awards, and it wasn't really that shocking. Ty Burrell was predicted to win, and he should have won considering he has the best and funniest episode. The Julie Bowen win was surprising, but I had mentioned that she had a decent dark horse shot, and if you think about it, it was probably less surprising than we thought. Since Jane Lynch was hosting, voters may not have wanted to given her too much exposure. And although Betty White is a legend, they clearly did not like Hot In Cleveland and even White couldn't bring it Emmy gold. So Bowen was clearly the benefactor of this split, and I am thrilled that she won her first, and hopefully not last, Emmy Award. While the Supporting categories were not shockers, they Lead ones definitely provided some excitement, as well as disappointed. In the Actor race, I wasn't made that Jim Parsons won, as he is always excellent on The Big Bang Theory, but I am sad that Steve Carell did not win. He will go down as one of the biggest snubbed performances of all time (in the likes of Martin Sheen for The West Wing), and the Emmys should be ashamed that he did not win for his incredible goodbye episode, especially considering Parsons had already won the year before. The Actress category however was one of the best moments of the night, starting with the pagentry of all nominees coming up on the stage and embracing, another brilliant idea from the incredible Amy Poehler, all of them receiving a well-deserved standing ovation. Then the shocker came when the underdog Melissa McCarthy was announced as the winner and had a tiara placed on her head and a bouquet on her arm. Some people had extremely negative reactions to her win, and I agree that Linney or Poehler had much better performances. But I have been a huge fan of McCarthy's since Gilmore Girls and since she will probably be ignored this Oscar season for her Bridesmaids role, this is a nice toast to a rising new star. On a technical level, aka episode submission, this was not a great choice, but on a personal note, it was a wonderful moment, and a well deserved accolade for an awesome person.

TV Movie/Miniseries
Wow, did I get this one wrong. Now I did get 3/4 Acting awards correctly, as Pearce, Smith, and a very excited Winslet all won very deserving honors. But although I forsaw a potential for a Downton Abbey upset, I did not see it taking Writing, Directing, as well as the big prize. While some may scoff that it is having a second season (when it submitted its Emmy consideration it did not have plans to do so), and the fact that it is a stuffy British PBS series, it actually was a well made series, with tons of great performances, particularly Smith. Plus, while Mildred Pierce got a lot of nominations, it did not sweep the Creative Arts, and it turns out that while the Academy loved the acting in Mildred Pierce, they did not love everything about it. But that wasn't as shocking to me as the Barry Pepper win. Seriously? I mean Pepper is a talented guy, but the only actor from The Kennedy's that deserved a nod was Tom Wilkinson, and he didn't even get close to deserving a win. Pepper's impression of Bobby Kennedy was less than stellar, and The Kennedy's was not good at all. Plus with William Hurt, Edgar Ramirez, Idris Elba, Laurence Fishburne, hell even Greg Kinnear, ahead of him it is a travesty that he won. This one will surely go down as one of the worse, and confounding, wins in Emmy History.

Jon Stewart + Amazing Race = boring. uneventful, completely predictable, whatever.

The Ceremony
I didn't particularly like Jane Lynch's opening video as much as Jimmy Fallon's, but I think that some of the "awful" and "worst host ever" remarks I have read are completely unfounded. She had some really funny moments throughout the show, never overstayed her welcome, and brought a lot of energy to the role as hostess. There were of course some great presenters (Seriously Julianna Margulies deserved the Emmy for her deadpan presenting job), and some terrible ones (Seriously Katie Holmes go away!), as always. And with all the shockers and surprises, at least it never got boring, because even when the snubs were egregious (Carrell for example), at least they kept your interest. Overall, this was actually not that bad of a ceremony, compared to the Oscars earlier this year, but it was definitely not as good as the Tony's. Overall, I was pleased, althoguh I'm sure I will get some vile reactions from others.

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