Monday, September 30, 2013

Frozen Trailer

Speaking of Animated Feature, here is the trailer for Frozen, which I apparently missed. It looks like a lot of fun, but I do wonder if it will hold up in terms of quality. See for yourself below:

The Oscar Narrative: Post Telluride/Venice/Toronto Predictions - Best Animated Feature

Post Telluride/Venice/Toronto Predictions
Despicable Me 2
Ernest and Celestine
Monster's University
The Wind Rises

Other Contenders - Epic, The Croods, Free Birds, Turbo, A Letter to Momo, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, The Snow Queen, Leo the Lion, The Legend of Sarila, and Khumba
Commentary - At the same time that the domestic animated market is having a weak year, the Academy has changes some of the rules within the branch in terms of voting for this award, where they have to see the films, and the percentage of the contenders they have to see. This will probably increase the nominations for popular films, many of whom have been snubbed over the years. So watch out for Frozen (If it is decent enough), and Monsters University to easily make the cut, especially with Disney and Pixar behind them. I also think that one other (or maybe more) big film that may make the cut. The Croods, Epic, and maybe Free Birds are all possibilities, but the summer's biggest box office surprise was Despicable Me 2. While the first one did not make the cut, in this weak animated year, the sequel could overcome the handicap. But even in the expanded voting era we are now in, I think that some of the foreign options will still manage to sway the Animation branch. The first one is from the extremely popular director Hayao Miyazaki, and it is claimed to be his last film. In that case, I don't see how the branch can ignore The Wind Rises. Finally, Ernest and Celestine is apparently just wonderful, and if they are looking for something more subtle, and something of a higher quality than what is being produced by the studios this year, then this would be a safe place to land.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Oscar Narrative: Post Telluride/Toronto/Venice Predictions - Techincal Categories

Best Cinematography
Sean Bobbit "12 Years a Slave"
Barry Ackroyd "Captain Phillips"
Emmanuel Lubezki "Gravity"
Roger Deakins "Prisoners"
Anthony Don Mantle "Rush"

Other Contenders - American Hustle, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Monuments Men, The Wolf of Wall Street, Inside Llewyn Davis, All is Lost, Saving Mr. Banks, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Nebraska, The Great Gatsby, Frances Ha, Lee Daniel's The Butler, August: Osage County, Pacific Rim, Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Philomena, To the Wonder

Best Costume Design
American Hustle
12 Years a Slave
The Great Gatsby
Lee Daniel's The Butler
The Monuments Men

Other Contenders - The Invisible Woman, Saving Mr. Banks, Oz the Great and Powerful, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Book Thief, Inside Llewyn Davis, August: Osage County, Philomena, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Thor: The Dark World.

Best Film Editing
American Hustle
12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips

Other Contenders - The Monuments Men, The Wolf of Wall Street, Saving Mr. Banks, Nebraska, Prisoners, Lee Daniel's The Butler, Blue Jasmine, Inside Llewyn Davis, Prisoners, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, August: Osage County, Before Midnight, All is Lost, Fruitvale Station, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Labor Day, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Makeup and Hair
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lee Daniel's The Butler
Star Trek Into Darkness

Other Contenders - 12 Years a Slave, Rush, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Oz the Great and Powerful, Pacific Rim, The Lone Ranger, American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, August: Osage County, Warm Bodies, Saving Mr. Banks, Philomena, Thor: The Dark World, The Monuments Men

Best Original Score
Hans Zimmer "12 Years a Slave"
John Williams "The Book Thief"
Steven Price "Gravity"
Alexandre Desplat "The Monuments Men"
Thomas Newman "Saving Mr. Banks"

Other Contenders - Hans Zimmer "Rush", Henry Jackman "Rush", Randy Newman "Monsters University", Alexandre Desplat "Philomena", Howard Shore "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug", Mark Orton "Nebraska", Carter Burwell "August: Osage County", Hans Zimmer "Man of Steel", Danny Elfman "Oz The Great and Powerful", Johan Johansson "Prisoners", Rachel Portman "Diana"

Best Production Design
12 Years a Slave
The Great Gatsby
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Monuments Men
Oz The Great and Powerful

Other Contenders - Saving Mr. Banks, Gravity, Captain Phillips, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Inside Llewyn Davis, August: Osage County, Lee Daniel's The Butler, The Invisible Woman, Labor Day, Philomena, Pacific Rim, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Diana.

Best Sound Mixing
12 Years a Slave
All is Lost
Captain Phillips

Other Contenders -  Pacific Rim, Inside Llewyn Davis, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Lone Survivor, Monsters University, Elysium, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Thor: The Dark World, The Monuments Men, American Hustle, The Great Gatsby

Best Sound Editing
All is Lost
Captain Phillips
Pacific Rim

Other Contenders - Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness, 12 Years a Slave, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Lone Survivor, Monsters University, Elysium, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Thor: The Dark World, The Monuments Men, American Hustle, The Great Gatsby

Best Visual Effects
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Pacific Rim
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Star Trek Into Darkness

Other Contenders - Rush, Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, The Great Gatsby, Elysium, Oz the Great and Powerful, Captain Phillips, Thor: The Dark World, The Wolverine, World War Z, Oblivion

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Oscar Narrative: Post Toronto/Telluride/Venice Predictions - Best Adapted Screenplay

Post Telluride/Venice/Toronto Predictions
John Ridley "12 Years a Slave"
Billy Ray "Captain Phillips"
George Clooney and Grant Heslov "The Monuments Men"
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope "Philomena"
Terence Winter "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Other Contenders - Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke "Before Midnight", Tracey Letts "August: Osage County", Jason Reitman "Labor Day", Steve Conrad "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", Michael Petroni "The Book Thief", Peter Berg "Lone Survivor", Phillippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Guillermo del Toro "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"
Commentary - Who would have thought that the Adapted Screenplay race would be weaker than the Original one? But this year, I truly think that this is the case. Which probably means that the two frontrunners at this point, will cakewalk to nominations, and to frontrunner status. The first is 12 Years a Slave, which has shot to the top of the heap in terms of Best Picture buzz. Unlike some other overeager Oscar pundits, I am not stupid enough to call the race in September. But I do think that it will be a major contender, and this will be an easy pick for the Writing branch. Another easy pick will probably be Captain Phillips, which is getting pretty good reviews leading up to the NYFF, and in an apparent weak year for this category, this will once again be an easy pick. The last three slots are a bit tricky. Films like Labor Day and August: Osage County kind of hit with a bit of a thud at Toronto, but if they get decent enough reviews, they could easily be in play here. Before Midnight was this year's earliest Oscar contender, and the last script was nominated, so it is one to watch for, especially if some of the bigger projects either bomb or get moved (see below). And then there is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which intrigues me, and could be a surprise this year. But I am playing it safe for now. Philomena as already won a screenplay award this year, and the film is generally well-liked. Once again, in a weak year, it is a big contender. The last two slots I am saving for two big question marks The Monuments Men and The Wolf of Wall Street. Clooney insists Monuments Men is not an Oscar movie, and Wolf may not even be finished in time, bumping it to 2014. But I do not discount Oscar royalty, and at this point, until I hear differently, I am sticking with the favorites, sight unseen.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Oscar Narrative: Post Telluride/Toronto/Venice Predictions - Best Original Screenplay

Well, the crazy part of the festival circuit is over, although there are still a few key pieces including NYFF and AFI Fest, but right now, I think we have finally started to fit some of the pieces together for the upcoming Oscar season. First, we take a look at Best Original Screenplay.

Post Telluride/Toronto/Venice Predictions
David O. Russell and Eric Singer "American Hustle"
Woody Allen "Blue Jasmine"
Alfonso Cuaron and Jonas Cuaron "Gravity"
Bob Nelson "Nebraska"
Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith "Saving Mr. Banks"

Other Contenders - Peter Morgan "Rush", Ryan Coogler "Fruitvale Station", Danny Strong "Lee Daniel's The Butler", Craig Borten and Melisa Warmack "Dallas Buyers Club", Joel and Ethan Coen "Inside Llewyn Davis", Nicole Holofcener "Enough Said", Spike Jonze "Her", Jeff Nichols "Mud", Cormac McCarthy "The Counselor", Asghar Farhadi "The Past", Aaron Guzikowski "Prisoners"
Other Contenders - Normally, this category has to fight just to find five decent nominees, but this year, literally ever film mentioned above could legitimately pull into this Oscar race, making this a category to really watch. So first, who is on the outside looking in? First is Rush, which I am officially moving into Best Picture (spoiler alert?). It looks like a slick, well-made thriller that is getting rave reviews for Oscar winning-director Ron Howard, and the entire crew. The technical branches will probably eat it up, and Peter Morgan, another well-known name, could easily make the cut. Because it is more populist, I am holding it off for now. I am also holding off Fruitvale Station, because as so many films have been released, the buzz for the project has died. It needs a revival soon, or it could be out of the race completely. Also peeking in is The Butler, which has used it's "inspired by" montra to sneak into Original. In a normal year, it would make the cut in this category, which usually is not as deep as its Adapted counterpart. But the script had a lot of critics, and this year, there are a lot of big films that the writing branch has to consider, and I don't see The Butler being able to beat some of the stronger scripts. Also looking in at the moment: Inside Llewyn Davis, Dallas Buyers Club, Enough Said, Her, Mud, Prisoners, and The Counselor. So who is in at the moment? So far we know that Woody Allen is back to form with Blue Jasmine, and the writing branch idolizes his work. Nebraska was a bit shaky at Cannes, but after its North American debut on this festival circuit, the buzz is getting louder. While Alexander Payne did not write this particular script, his films have always benefitted the written material, and the apparent personal and heartfelt nature of Nelson's work will be hard to ignore, according to early notices. Gravity may not be a traditional screenplay nominee, but early reviews suggest that it has enough emotion and prestige, as well as incredible deep and human story hidden beneath its special effects to sway Academy writers. With the other two slots, I am taking a risk and picking films that have not been seen yet. The first is Saving Mr. Banks. The trailer was a bit to Disney for me, but apparently, the original script was fantastic on paper. If the film suceeds in capturing enough of the spirit of the original work, it will definitely be a contender. Finally, I am going with David O. Russell. I think he was close to that Adapted Screenplay award last year, and his last two films have been popular with the Academy. I also just think that American Hustle is going to end up being a really excellent film, and a screenplay nod seens inevitable in that case.

Monday, September 23, 2013

2013 Emmys: A Crazy Night

I had the morning off, and I set down to write this post recapping my thoughts on the Emmy Awards, and I simply couldn't. I needed the day to think about last night, the winners, the ceremony, the excitements, and the disappointment. When they started off with Merritt Wever upsetting, the whole dynamic of the night changed. Sure old favorites like Claire Danes, Jim Parsons, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, all three of whom were the frontrunners in their respective categories, crossed the finished line first. But much of the night was spent trying to wrap my mind around some of these huge upset winners. Jeff Daniels was not as much of an upset as people would like to think, if you watched the episodes, you knew he could do it. I just wasn't sure he could out-last the power of Bryan Cranston or Kevin Spacey, or the episode of Damian Lewis. I was thrilled when Anna Gunn won, because it meant that they actually sat down and watched the episodes instead of just checking off Maggie Smith's name for a third year in a row. But there were some real head-scratchers in this race. I love Tony Hale on Veep and Merritt Wever on Nurse Jackie, but those are two characters that are best served over the course of a season, not in an individual episode. I was just surprised that they were able to overcome some of the better submitted episodes of the likes of Jane Krakowski, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, or Ed O'Neill. That being said, it was nice to see some of the panels thinking outside of the box. They really stretched when they went for Bobby Cannavale. Once again, if you watched this whole season of Boardwalk Empire, he certaintly was a much needed spark, and his previous wins and nominations show that he is a favorite among the Academy. But once again, I find it hard to believe that panel members thought his episode was better than Dinklage's, Paul's, or Banks, and more importantly Patinkin's. On the TV Movie/Miniseries side, some were surprised by Ellen Burstyn and Laura Linney. Once again, if you had sat down and seen what they submitted, it should not surprise, especially considering how much of Emmy darlings they really are. That being said, when Sarah Paulson lost, I was devastated. It was the one big upset that really upset me, as she was simply astounding on this season of American Horror Story.

The series awards this year went 4 for 5 for me. I was so thrilled to see two new winners in the Variety and Reality categories, especially The Colbert Report. It has been such an amazing show, and it has always been outshined by its predecessor The Daily Show. Last night it won two major awards, while The Daily Show (which I love by the way), went home empty, and all felt right with the world. Behind the Candelabra was a great production, and I'm absolutely sure that no other program was even close to beating it, and the win was deserved. Then came the Comedy and Drama Series. For Drama Series, there are only one thing that pops into my mind: Hell Yes! Breaking Bad is simply brilliant and if finally got the reward it deserved. In terms of Modern Family, let me say this. I like Modern Family, and it is still one of the best comedies on television. But the win felt like a lazy afterthought on the part of the Academy (Kind of like when Mad Men won its fourth). They weren't willing to reward 30 Rock one last time, or daring enough to pick one of the other big nominees like Veep, Big Bang, or Louie. I guess they felt like there was not a clear second choice. I do hope that next year, especially after MF only won two awards this year, that they look in a different direction. Louie and Big Bang are great choices, but I think it may be Veep that could be their next big comedy series. In those we really will have to wait and see.

After all of these upsets, one thing comes to mind. We, as pundits, have no idea what the hell we are doing when it comes to the Emmys. We can get 20 out of 24 at the Oscars, even getting some of the shorts, but when it comes to the Emmys, they are so unpredictable, and for every case where episodes matter, there is a case where they don't. This is because we have no idea who makes up these panels, or what they are thinking. The two panels for the Supporting Comedy categories could have had a lot of Nurse Jackie and Veep fans (and maybe some Arrested Development and New Girl fans as well), tipping the balance to Wever and Hale. Either way, the Emmys have once again sent us into a tailspin, and continue to be unpredictable. And that is why we love them. I do apologize for making such bad predictions (some of them like Fincher or Danes, I should have stuck with), but then again, we all should apologize to each other, because everyone got everything wrong as well.

The ceremony was a mixed bag for me. The bit about hosts in the beginning had its moments, especially Kevin Spacey and Tina/Amy. But overall, by the time they got to the song and dance number in the middle of the show, it fell flat. Neil Patrick Harris is great, and he was flawless at this year's Tonys. But, despite doing a decent job of moving the show along, there seemed to be a lack of spark and enthusiasm that we are used to. Most of the time, it seemed like he really didn't want to be there. Maybe that was just me, but so far this is probably his worst gig at any award's show, despite being better than most. Some of the diversions from the awards, namely the two musical performances and the choreography stuff was just a waste, despite the obvious talent involved. And while it was declared the "saddest Emmys ever", I thought that the tributes (which should have also been extended to Jack Klugman and Larry Hagman, maybe cutting out one of the music numbers to make room), were nice honoring legends (like Jean Stapleton), and those gone to soon (Gandolfini and Monteith). However, the acutal In Memoriam segment was wierd, and they still have yet to find a way to stop or cut out the clapping which is tackless. That being said, the show moved along at such a nice pace, that even the small diversions were not enough to upset the balance. And at least the multitude of awards prevented even more useless filler like we see at the Oscars and the Grammys.

Thank you to all who followed along this summer as The Awards Psychic covered the Emmy awards. I truly appreciate your support and comments, and next year will be another exciting Emmy season. For now we turn our sights to the Big Kahuna, the Oscar race. I will start doing post-Toronto/Venice/Telluride predictions, and this thing will soon kick into high gear. I will also finish out the Top 100 Television Shows Since 2000, and start looking at this year's Grammys. For now though, I think I may go back and rewatch the Emmys one more time, just to take it all in before the afterglow wears off.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Award Winners

So happy for Breaking Bad, and I will have a full recap of the entire Emmy season tomorrow. Good Night!

Best Drama Series - Breaking Bad
Best Comedy Series - Modern Family
Best TV Movie/Miniseries - Behind the Candelabra
Best Variety Series - The Colbert Report
Best Actress in a Drama Series - Claire Danes "Homeland"
Best Actor in a Drama Series - Jeff Daniels "The Newsroom"
Best Actor in a Comedy Series - Jim Parsons "The Big Bang Theory"
Best Actress in a Comedy Series - Julia Louis-Dreyfus "Veep"
Best Actor in a TV Movie/Miniseries - Michael Douglas "Behind the Candelabra"
Best Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries - Laura Linney "The Big C: Hereafter"
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Bobby Cannavale "Boardwalk Empire"
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Anna Gunn "Breaking Bad"
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series - Tony Hale "Veep"
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series - Merritt Wever "Nurse Jackie"
Best Supporting Actor in a TV Movie/Mini - James Cromwell "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie/Mini - Ellen Burstyn "Political Animals"
Best Writing in a Drama Series - Henry Bromell "Homeland - Q&A"
Best Direcing in a Drama Series - David Fincher "House of Cards - Chapter 1"
Best Writing in a Comedy Series - Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield "30 Rock - Last Lunch"
Best Direcing in a Comedy Series - Gail Mancuso "Modern Family - Arrested"
Best Writing in a TV Movie/Mini - Abi Morgan "The Hour"
Best Directing in a TV Movie/Mini - Steven Soderbergh "Behind the Candelabra"
Best Writing in a Variety Series - The Colbert Report
Best Directing in a Variety Series - Don Roy King "Saturday Night Live - Justin Timberlake"
Best Reality-Competition Program - The Voice
Best Choreography - Derek Hough "Dancing With the Stars"

Saturday, September 21, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions: Final List

So this is it, the final rundown. There is no going back. I know that this year, like every year, I will get a lot of these wrong. But before I feel bad, I need to remember that most people get these wrong, and that is why the Emmys can be so much fun. I have switched back to Lange instead of Moss, and I have made my predictions for Variety Writing and Directings, two categories I missed for some reason along the way. Other than that I am sticking with my initial analysis for each category, because it is not smart to overthink it this late in the game. Tomorrow night join The Awards Psychic for live update winners of the ceremony, and enjoy the show!

Best Drama Series - Breaking Bad
Best Comedy Series - Modern Family
Best TV Movie/Miniseries - Behind the Candelabra
Best Reality-Competition Program - The Amazing Race
Best Variety Series - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Best Actor in a Drama Series - Damian Lewis "Homeland"
Best Actress in a Drama Series - Vera Farmiga "Bate's Motel"
Best Actor in a Comedy Series - Jim Parsons "The Big Bang Theory"
Best Actress in a Comedy Series - Julia Louis-Dreyfus "Veep"
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Mandy Patinkin "Homeland"
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Maggie Smith "Downton Abbey"
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series - Ed O'Neill "Modern Family"
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series - Julie Bowen "Modern Family"
Best Actor in a TV Movie/Miniseries - Michael Douglas "Behind the Candelabra"
Best Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries - Jessica Lange "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Best Supporting Actor in a TV Movie/Miniseries - Peter Mullan "Top of the Lake"
Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries - Sarah Paulson "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Best Directing in a Drama Series - Michelle MacLaren "Breaking Bad - Gliding All Over"
Best Writing in a Drama Series - Henry Bromell "Homeland - Q&A"
Best Directing in a Comedy Series - Gail Mancuso "Modern Family - Arrested"
Best Writing in a Comedy Series - Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield "30 Rock - Last Lunch"
Best Direcing in a TV Movie/Miniseries - Steven Soderbergh "Behind the Candelabra"
Best Writing in a TV Movie/Miniseries - Richard LaGravenese "Behind the Candelabra"
Best Directing in a Variety Series - Don Roy King "Saturday Night Live - Justin Timberlake"
Best Writing in a Variety Series - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Friday, September 20, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions: Best Drama Series

Will Win/Should Win - Breaking Bad

Could Win - Homeland or House of Cards

Commentary - I have been sticking with Homeland for so long, because I think it has a really good shot at winning a buttload of awards come Sunday, and it, unlike its closest competition, is a proven winner. Plus, I had underestimated it last year, and it bit me in the ass. But sometimes, especially in the unpredictable Emmy race, it is okay to take risks. Breaking Bad has never been the Emmy's favorite show, and all of the reasons why it couldn't win in the past, it's characters are trashy or bad, it's dark, and it fits into a niche that doesn't really overlap with many of the older Academy voters. But there is so much buzz, so much popularity, and the second half of its final season is blowing away its viewers and ratings, that I think this is the year that Breaking Bad can finally pull it off. There is this sense of zeitgeist surrounding it, and while the current episodes will be eligible for next year's Emmys, many feel this is its real final shot at the top prize. Of course the problem with this is that Emmy voters, while sometimes extremely sentimental or aware of the zeitgeist, they more often are not. Furthemore, Homeland has six excellent episodes, cherry-picking the best of an otherwise okay season, and Breaking Bad's best episodes are either in the previous season, or maybe, just maybe airing right now. This does play in Homeland's favor, but what the hell, go big or go home. The other big contender that is the dark horse here is House of Cards. It was Game of Thrones, but when the creative branches snubbed it Saturday, I moved it down a bit. House of Cards may be a Netflix show, but it features two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, Oscar nominee David Fincher, and has the political vibe that is popular among Emmy voters. If they just can't get Breaking Bad, and they don't want to go with Homeland, then House of Cards, which has six great episodes, could be the alternative.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions: Best Comedy Series

Will Win - Modern Family

Could Win - Louie, 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, and Veep

Should Win - 30 Rock

Commentary - So I think that we should all be honest with one another as much as possible, and let's be honest, nobody knows what the hell is going to happen on Sunday night in this category. Drama Series, I'm pretty sure, comes down to two choices, but here there are honestly five shows that could take the prize (sorry, but I don't think Girls has a shot in hell). In 5th, I have Veep. While it does not have the writing or directing, it did really improve its nomination total, and it is right up the Academy's alley with its political themes. In a very close fourth is The Big Bang Theory, and I really think that it could be the dark horse here. Like Veep, it missed writing and directing, but it won its first technical award showing its broader support, and Bob Newhart won becoming the first acting winner outside of Jim Parsons (sure that was more about him than the show, but it could bring in some previously hestitant supporters). Also, it did incredible well on the critics circuit, and most importantly, it is the biggest show in the world right now, and it is hard to ignore. Don't be surprised if they walk away with the top prize. Louie is topping a lot of people's list, and while I would love it to win, I just honestly don't see it. It is a brilliant show, but it is also incredibly subtle (something they really don't go for), and it seems to be all about Louis C.K., not just the show. But Melissa Leo's win proved they do look at the show as a whole, and it did manage to get almost all of the key nominations. Plus it just happens to be the coolest pick of the bunch, and sometimes, not often, Hollywood does like it show off its cool factor. I think that in the end though this comes down to two. 30 Rock was my pick forever, and after winning the casting award at the Creative Arts, its first win in years, I do think that it is a possibility. They clearly love the show, and there definitely is some Modern Family fatigue. Sometimes sentimentality does win the day. But not always, and while we may be tired of Modern Family winning everything, the Television Academy clearly still loves the show. I also think that there are too many possibilities of alternatives, and that in the end the panel will simply go for the old favorite. It is a very close race and hard to determine, but in the end, it is always safe to pick the incumbent.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions: Best TV Movie/Miniseries

Will Win - Behind the Candelabara

Could Win - Top of the Lake

Should Win - American Horror Story: Asylum

Commentary - Going into Sunday's Creative Arts Emmys, I was pretty sure that Behind the Candelabara was unbeatable in this top category. But when it enjoyed enough widespread support across the tech categories, winning 8 of its 9 Creative nominations, I knew for certain that the Television Academy was head over heels in love with Steven Soderbergh's Liberace biopic. Top of the Lake is still a possibility, and I personally would love to see an American Horror Story upset. But BTC was so well-reviewed, placed on a pedestal at the Cannes Film Festival, has now dominated the Creative Arts Emmys, and let's face it, its a hell of a movie. I honestly don't see anything beating it on Sunday, and if something does I will probably die of shock.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions: Best Actor in a Drama SeriesFinall

Will Win - Damian Lewis "Homeland"

Could Win - Kevin Spacey "House of Cards", Jeff Daniels "The Newsroom", or Bryan Cranston "Breaking Bad"

Should Win - Bryan Cranston "Breaking Bad"

Commentary - When I sat down to watch the episodes of these six nominees, I expected it to be a close race. Six great actors in six really good shows should add up to a tough race. There are definitely four out of the six that have a legitimate shot at winning, but I think that one person's episode is so far ahead of the other three that this one turned out to be a relatively easy pick. First, there is Kevin Spacey. He wanted to submit a Washinton-based episode, and it doesn't hurt that David Fincher directed it, but I don't think it was his best submission, and while the Emmys clearly like political shows if Martin Sheen couldn't win for some of his incredible submissions, I don't think Spacey will win for his good, but not best of the season. So why is he still in this race? Because he is Kevin-freakin-Spacey. He is a two-time Academy Award winning actor on the hot new political drama, that did extremely well with Emmy voters in terms of nominations. Of course he is a possibility. The second is Jeff Daniels. The Newsroom fell flat with Emmy voters, but in this episode he does have one of those stirring Aaron Sorkin, David E. Kelly esque, speeches that have served previous Emmy winners well in the past. However, the rest of the episode leaves much to be desired in terms of his performance, and like I said, the show just seemed to fall flat with the voters. Finally there is Bryan Cranston. He has won this award for Breaking Bad many times in the past, and the show is in its best position to win the top prize. But I think, while he is the clear second place, and could easily win, that he lacks something that he had in his first wins. That factor is empathy. In the first couple of wins, while his character was doing bad things, he was also doing them out of desparation, there was an underlying understanding with the audience. Well, in this last season he has gone to full-on bad-ass, and while Oscar voters will pick a Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds or a Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men, Emmy voters usually require a bit more. So that leaves Damian Lewis. He surprised us all last year with a win, and this year, he has an even better episode, the popular Q&A. He absoultely blew me away, totally out did his amazing co-star Claire Danes, and I honestly don't think there is a better episode in the bunch. As we have seen many times before, other factors can really sway a panel, which is why we cannot count out Cranston, Spacey, and Daniels. But if they actually sit down and watch the episodes, I don't see how Lewis can lose.

Monday, September 16, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions: Best Actress in a Drama Series

Will Win - Vera Farmiga "Bate's Motel"

Could Win - Claire Danes "Homeland" or Kerry Washington "Scandal"

Should Win - Washington, Farmiga or Connie Britton "Nashville"

Commentary - I think everyone assumed that Claire Danes would be the frontrunner with Julianna Margulies as a potential spoiler. Well then Margulies was snubbed and there were the surprise inclusions of Vera Farmiga and Connie Britton, and the race got a new shift in the landscape. I honestly thought that that meant that Danes would be the clear winner, with Kerry Washington, who has a lot of great stuff in Scandal and is incredibly popular in Hollywood right now, as the dark horse. And then I set down and actually watched the episodes. I was thrilled at Farmiga's inclusion, but definitely surprised. I was even more surprised when I realized how awesome her episode was in comparison with the rest of her fellow nominees. Danes' episode Q&A is clearly one of the most popular episodes of the year, but I really feel like it is Lewis' show with Danes being out-shined a bit, although she still is stellar. But the pilot of Bate's Motel is the Vera Farmiga show and she knocks it out of the park. If they watch the episodes, which they usually do, then I think it will be hard to pass up Farmiga, who also happens to be an Oscar-nominated movie star which Television Academy members eat up like candy, and I think she is going to pull off the upset of the night.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

2013 Creative Arts Emmy Award Winners

Well, that is the show! I am so happy that I predicted Preston, Bucatinsky, and especially Bob Newhart who has finally won an Emmy award after so many years! Undercover Boss wins again and Klum and Gunn upset in Reality Host, which was really nice. Boardwalk Empire and Behind the Candelabra dominated the technical awards, and Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones took home a few. The Olypmics lost directing to Louis J. Horvitz, which is sort of surprising considering it usually wins, but not that surprising considering who did, although Danny Boyle did win an Emmy, putting him halfway to EGOT along with Mychael Danna and Newhart as well. Alan Menken unfortunately lost his race, otherwise he would have been the 12th person to EGOT. Overall, an interesting set of winners, and I cannot wait to see the replay on FXX next Saturday, particularly for Preston, and most importantly for Newhart. Keep tuning in for the Emmy predictions as they continue into the final week, and vote in the polls in the sidebar! Good Night!

Best Reality Program - Undercover Boss
Best Reality Host - Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn "Project Runway"
Best Variety Special - The Kennedy Center Honors
Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series - Bob Newhart "The Big Bang Theory"
Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series - Carrie Preston "The Good Wife"
Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series - Dan Bucatinsky "Scandal"
Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series - Melissa Leo "Louie"
Best Voiceover Performance - Lily Tomlin "An Apology for Elephants"
Best Directing for a Variety Special - Louis J. Horvitz "Kennedy Center Honors"
Best Writing for a Variety Special - Louis C.K. "Louis C.K.: Oh My God"
Best Animated Program - South Park
Best Animated Program Short Form - Disney Mickey Mouse Croissant de Triomphe
Best Special Class Program - The 66th Annual Tony Awards
Best Special Class Short Form Live Action Entertaiment - Children's Hospital
Best Special Class Short Form Nonfiction - Remembering 9/11
Best Informational Series/Special - (TIE) Inside the Actor's Studio and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Best Documentary/Nonfiction Special - Manhunt: The Hunt for Osama bin Laden
Best Documentary/Nonfiction Series - American Masters
Best Interactive Program - Night of Too Many Stars
Best Childrens Program - Nick News with Linda Ellerbee
Best Directing for a Nonfiction Program - Alex Gibney "Mea Maxima Culpa"
Best Directing for a Nonfiction Program - Robert Tractenberg "American Masters"
Best Casting in a Drama Series - House of Cards
Best Casting in a TV Movie/Miniseries - Behind the Candelabra
Best Casting in a Comedy Series - 30 Rock
Best Art Direction Multi-Camera Series - Masterchef
Best Art Direction for Variety or Nonfiction - The London Olympic Opening Ceremony and Saturday Night Live
Best Art Direction for a TV Movie/Miniseries - Behind the Candelabra
Best Art Direction for a Single Camera Series - Boardwalk Empire
Best Stunt Coordination for a Comedy or Variety - Supah Ninjas
Best Stunt Coordination for Drama/TV/Mini - Revolution
Best Picture Editing for a Reality Series - Deadliest Catch
Best Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program - Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
Best Picture Editing for Single Camera Drama Series - Breaking Bad - Gliding Over All
Best Picture Editing for Single Camera Comedy Series - The Office - Finale
Best Picture Editing for Multi Camera Comedy Series - How I Met Your Mother
Best Picture Editing for a Single Camera TV Movie/Mini - Behind the Candelabra
Best Picture Editing for Short Segments/Variety Special - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Best Hairstyling for a TV Movie/Mini - Behind the Candelabra
Best Hairstyling for Single Camera Series - Boardwalk Empire
Best Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series - Saturday Night Live
Best Sound Mixing for a Variety Series - The 55th Annual Grammy Awards
Best Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction Program - The History of the Eagles
Best Sound Mixing for an Hour-Long Series - Boardwalk Empire
Best Sound Mixing for a Movie/Mini - Behind the Candelabra
Best Sound Mixing for a Half Hour Series - Nurse Jackie
Best Prosethetic Makeup - Behind the Candelabra
Best Makeup Non-Prosthetic TV Movie/Mini - Behind the Candelabra
Best Makeup Non-Prosthetic for Multi-Camera  - Saturday Night Live
Best Makeup Non Prosthetic for Single Camera - Game of Thrones
Best Sound Editing TV Movie/Mini - American Horror Story: Asylum
Best Sound Editing for a Series - Boardwalk Empire
Best Sound Editing Nonfiction/Reality - The Men Who Built America
Best Special Visual Effects - Game of Thrones
Best Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role - Banshee
Best Costume Design for a TV Movie/Mini - Behind the Candelabra
Best Costume Design for a Series - The Borgias
Best Music Direction - The 66th Annual Tony Awards
Best Music Composition for a Series - Downton Abbey
Best Music Composition for a Miniseries or a Special - World Without End
Best Original Music and Lyrics - If I Had Time from The 66th Annual Tony Awards
Best Original Main Theme Music - Da Vinci's Demons
Best Main Title Design - Da Vinci's Demons
Best Commercial - Canon - Inspired
Best Cinematography in a Multi-Camera - How I Met Your Mother
Best Cinematography in a Single Camera - House of Cards
Best Cinematography in a TV Movie/Mini - Top of the Lake
Best Cinematography in a Nonfiction - Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Best Cinematography in a Reality - Deadliest Catch
Best Technical Direction for a Series - The Big Bang Theory
Best Technical Direction for a Special - The 66th Annual Tony Awards
Best Lighting Direction for a Variety Series - The Voice
Best Lighting Direction for a Variety Special - Super Bowl Halftime Show
Creative Achievement in Interactive Media: Original Interactive Program - Lizzie Bennet Diaries

2013 Emmy Predictions: Best Actor in a Comedy Series

Will Win - Jim Parsons "The Big Bang Theory"

Could Win - Louis C.K. "Louie", Alec Baldwin "30 Rock", Don Cheadle "House of Lies"

Should Win - Louis C.K. "Louie"

Commentary - Louis C.K.'s final speech of his episode with Parker Posey is the single best moment of any of the six episodes. And it could be the moment that wins him his first acting Emmy. But the rest of the episode leading up to it is his normal style of comedy, which while funny, is also incredibly subtle. That has hurt C.K. in this race in the past, and it could hurt him again this year, despite the fact that Louie has risen in popularty among Television Academy voters with its inclusion in the Comedy Series race. But let's not forget last year's surprise winner Jon Cryer. He won because his episode had him going through a range of emotions in a loud performance, probably the most attempts at comedy of any of the contenders. In most cases, particularly with Emmy panels, the most acting has a better shot at winning. But before I get to my final pick, there are two other guys to watch out for. No one is talking about House of Lies, but Cheadle is a well-respected actor, won the Golden Globe earlier this year, and has an episode that does show some nice range and surprised me in how good Cheadle was, even if the show as a whole is not by favorite. In contrast, Alec Baldwin submitted a terrible episode, but he has won this award several times, and if voters are feeling sentimental enough about 30 Rock, then his episode won't matter than much. But I think that, in terms of Emmy voting, that Parsons has the winning episode. It is certaintly not his best, submission, as the two he won with before were excellent. This one is good, but definitely not his top pick of his Emmy career. That being said he gets to go through a range of emotions, and gets a drunk scene, factors that were prevalent in his first two Emmy-winning submissions. Plus, Jim Parsons is a great guy, an excellent actor, and they clearly like him. All of this will probably add up to another Emmy win for Sheldon.

12 Years a Slave Wins TIFF People's Choice Award

Slumdog Millionaire, The King's Speech, and Silver Linings Playbook are all recent winners of the Toronto International Film Festival's Audience Award, all went on to Best Picture nominees (two winning), and general love from the Academy. This year's clear critical favorite (so far) has been 12 Years a Slave, which has emerged from the pack after the Toronto/Venice/Telluride trifecta as the Oscar frontrunner, has also gotten a thumbs up from the audience. I think this is a crucial breakthrough for the film. According to early reviews, it is brilliant, but also hard to watch at times, with a definite stark and grit that has been characteristic of McQueen's earlier efforts Hunger and Shame. But this award may indicate that audiences are willing to endure the painful aspects of the film to see what is considered already a great film. Two other major Oscar players Philomena and Prisoners were second and third respectively, which is also a nice boost for two films that played well on the festival circuit, but will need a boost going into the long Oscar season. Some of the other big winners of this year's festival are listed below:

People's Choice Midnight Madness Award - Why Don't You Play in Hell?

People's Choice Documentary Award - The Square

NETPAC Award World or International Asian Film Premeire - Qissa

FIPRESCI Jury Prize - Ida

FIPRESCI Discovery Award - The Amazing Catfish

Best Canadian Feature Film - When Jews Were Funny

Best Canadian Short Film - Noah

Best Canadian First Film - Asphalt Watches

Discovery Award (Previously Announced) - All the Wrong Reasons

Final Emmy Poll in Sidebar

It is kind of sad to say this, but this week will be the final poll of the 2013 Emmy season. This week, make your picks for the top three program awards: TV Movie/Miniseries, Comedy and Drama Series. Also tune in this evening as I live blog the winners of the Creative Arts Emmys, which could be be indicators of next week's winners. Also be on the look out for the last couple parts of the Top 100 Television Shows Since 2000, as well as the upcoming Oscar season. As soon as the Emmys are over, Oscar season kicks into full gear, with a brand new slate of predictions in the aftermath of Toronto/Telluride/Venice, and what to look for in the season ahead!

2013 Emmy Predictions: Best Actress in a Comedy Series

Will Win - Julia Louis-Dreyfus "Veep"

Could Win - Laura Dern "Enlightened", Tina Fey "30 Rock", or Amy Poehler "Parks & Recreation"

Should Win - Amy Poehler "Parks & Recreation"

Commentary - No character has won more than once in this category since Patricia Heaton at the beginning of the last decade. Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her second last year, but for a different show than her first win in this category. This streak says something about the panels, and that is that in this particular category, they have preferred fresh winners each year. That is why my pick of Julia Louis-Dreyfuss is tenative at best. She is the incumbent, Veep got a lot more support from the actor's branch this year, and her episode is definitely one of the best, as she is absolutely hilarious. Plus, she is Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, and, at this point, is television royalty. But she definitely has some stiff competition. Even though Lena Dunham and Edie Falco are in my fifth and sixth slots, they both have great episodes and both are clearly liked by the Television Academy. So a win from them would not be shocking at all. But I think there are three other ladies that have the best shot at taking down Louis-Dreyfuss. Parks & Rec may have fallen out of Emmy favor, but Amy Poehler is hilarious, has a great episode submission, and has gone so long without a win for both Parks and for SNL in the supporting category. Tina Fey submitted the series finale, and she has some really nice moments throughout the episode. She also won the SAG this year, and there is a lot of love and sentiment surrounding 30 Rock. Laura Dern was a surprise nominee, but she is a serious threat for the win. She gets to have a kind of overly dramatic, and slightly comedic role in her tape, and as we know theatrics do extremely well in this category over more subtle performances. But in the end, I think we are going to have our first repeat winner in twelve years, as Julia Louis-Dreyfus certaintly feels like the frontrunner.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Will Win - Mandy Patinkin "Homeland"

Could Win - Jonathan Banks "Breaking Bad", Peter Dinklage "Game of Thrones", or Aaron Paul "Breaking Bad"

Should Win - Jonathan Banks "Breaking Bad"

Commentary - This race is really a toss up between four contenders. As much as I love Jim Carter, I just don't see that happening. And while Bobby Cannavale is an Emmy favorite with two nominations this year, I don't think he has enough to do in his episode of Boardwalk. Peter Dinklage and Aaron Paul are previous winners, and both have decent episodes. Depending on the panel, since these characters are already popular, another win is not out of the realm of possibility. But I think this may come down to two. Jonathan Banks has been on Breaking Bad for a while, but this season he really broke through as a huge character and a huge performance. He was my pick for a long time, but I think that while his episode is good, it is not quite as powerful as one of his competitors. Mandy Patinkin is a television legend, and he knocks it out of the park in this particular episode of Homeland. It is a close race, and really any of these four guys could take this category, a category that has afforded us some surprises over the years. But if voters vote with their hearts, which they often do, Patinkin is the choice.

Woody Allen to Receive the Cecille B. DeMille Award

I was so thrilled when I heard that Woody Allen was going to receive the Cecille B. DeMille at this year's Golden Globes. He has won a bunch of Oscars and Golden Globes, and is a legend in the buisness, and one of the greatest directors of all time, period. But I was also kind of surprised that he was picked. He has become infamous for not showing up at awards ceremonies. He only showed up at the Oscars in 2002 to honor his beloved New York in the aftermath of 9/11. So I really hope he does show up to accept this because otherwise, while it is deserving, it is going to be a wash. The rumor is that HFPA has confirmed his presence, but it is a long time between now and January, so I would'nt put money on it yet. Congrats Woody, and even if you don't show up, at least we get to honor you will a well-deserved recognition.

Friday, September 13, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions: Creative Arts Awards

I have already done some of the bigger awards that will be announced this weekend including the Guest Acting categories, but here are my predictions for the rest of the technical categories, which could end up being indicators of next weekend's awards. The Variety Directing/writing categories may be presented at next week's ceremony, and I'm not sure which ones will be so all of them are here. Also

Best Writing in a Variety Series - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Best Writing for a Variety Special - Louis C.K. "Louis C.K.: Oh My God"
Best Directing for a Variety Series - Don Roy King "Saturday Night Live: Justin Timberlake"
Best Directing for a Variety Special - London 2012 Olympic Games
Best Special Class Program - London 2012 Olympic Games
Best Special Class Program Short Form - Children's Hospital
Best Special Class Program Short Form Nonfiction - 30 Rock: The Final Season
Best Interactive Program - Game of Thrones Season 3 Enhanced Digital Experience
Best Children's Program - Nick News with Linda Ellerbee
Best Documentary or Nonfiction Program - Ethel
Best Documentary or Nonfiction Series - American Masters
Best Informational Series or Special - Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Best Writing for a Nonfiction Program - Alex Gibney "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God"
Best Directing for a Nonfiction Program - Alex Gibney "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God"
Best Animated Program - South Park
Best Animated Program Short Form - Robot Chicken - ATM Christmas Special
Best Voiceover Performance - Lily Tomlin "An Apology for Elephants"
Best Art Direction for a Multi-Camera Series - 2 Broke Girls
Best Art Direction for a Single Camera Series - Game of Thrones
Best Art Direction for a TV Movie/Miniseries - American Horror Story: Asylum - Welcome to Briarcliff
Best Art Direction for Variety or Nonfiction - London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony
Best Casting for a Comedy Series - Veep
Best Casting for a Drama Series - Homeland
Best Casting for a TV Movie/Miniseries - Behind the Candelabra
Best Choreography - So You Think You Can Dance?
Best Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series - How I Met Your Mother
Best Cinematography for a Single Camera Series - Boardwalk Empire
Best Cinematography for a TV Movie/Miniseries - Top of the Lake
Best Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program - Manhunt: Inside the Story of the Hunt for Osama Bin Laden
Best Cinematography for a Reality Program - Deadliest Catch
Best Commercial - Grey Poupon - The Chase
Best Costumes for a Series - Game of Thrones
Best Costumes for a TV Movie/Miniseries - Parade's End
Best Single Camera Picture Editing Drama - Breaking Bad - Dead Freight
Best Single Camera Picture Editing Comedy - 30 Rock
Best Multi Camera Picture Editing Comedy - How I Met Your Mother
Best Single Camera Picture Editing TV Movie/Miniseries - Behind the Candelabra
Best Picture Editing Variety/Short Segments - London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony
Best Picture Editing for Nonfiction - Ethel
Best Picture Editing for a Reality Series - Deadliest Catch
Best Hairstyling for a Single Camera Series - Downton Abbey
Best Hairstyling for a Multi Camera Series or Special - Saturday Night Live
Best Hairstyling for a TV Movie/Miniseries - Behind the Candelabra
Best Lighting Direction for a Variety Series - So You Think You Can Dance?
Best Lighting Direction for a Variety Special - London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony
Best Main Title Design - Vikings
Best Makeup Single Camera (Non-Prosthetic) - Game of Thrones
Best Makeup Multi Camera (Non-Prosthetic) - Dancing With the Stars
Best Makeup TV Movie/Miniseries - Behind the Candelabra
Best Prosthetic Makeup - The Walking Dead
Best Music Composition For a Series - Downton Abbey
Best Music Composition for a Special/Movie/Miniseries - World Without End: Medieval Life or Death
Best Music Direction - The Kennedy Center Honors
Best Original Music and Lyrics - 30 Rock - Rural Juror
Best Original Main Title Music Theme House of Cards
Best Sound Editing for a Series - Game of Thrones
Best Sound Editing for a TV Movie/Miniseries - Battlestar Gallactica: Blood and Chrome
Best Sound Editing for a Nonfiction Programming - The Dust Bowl
Best Sound Mixing for One Hour Comedy/Drama - Game of Thrones
Best Sound Mixing for a TV Movie/Miniseries - American Horror Story: Asylum
Best Sound Mixing for a Half Hour Series - Modern Family
Best Sound Mixing for a Variety Series or Special - The 55th Annual Grammy Awards
Best Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction Programming - History of the Eagles
Best Special Visual Effects - Game of Thrones
Best Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role - Vikings
Best Stunt Coordination for Comedy/Variety - Modern Family
Best Stunt Coordination for a Drama/Movie/Miniseries - Southland
Best Technical Direction for a Series - Saturday Night Live
Best Technical Direction for a Movie/Mini/Special - The Oscars

Thursday, September 12, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Will Win - Maggie Smith "Downton Abbey"

Could Win - Anna Gunn "Breaking Bad" or Morena Baccarin "Homeland"

Should Win  - Monica Potter "Parenthood" (oh wait!)

Commentary - When you watch this year's set of nominees there is a clear frontrunner among the bunch, and that is Anna Gunn. She chews through scenery with gusto, and literally blows the competition away. The only other tape that really comes close is Morena Baccarin, who has an empathetic tape that some voters really go for. So you must be asking the question, why am I not picking Gunn to win. Of the bunch, I hope she does win, since the best performance of the year, Monica Potter, was snubbed. But there is an Emmy giant on the ballot and her name is Maggie Smith. Yes, she is fantastic in Downton, even though her tapes (as well as her co-stars) are not really tailored to her. Plus she has won twice in a row for this role, and they clearly still like Downton Abbey. If the panel goes with episodes, then Gunn is the winner. If they go with their heart, its Dame Maggie all the way.

2013 Kennedy Center Honorees

The Kennedy Center has announced its annual honorees, representing the best in the entertainment industry. This year's honorees are:

Martina Arroyo
Herbie Hancock
Billy Joel
Shirley MacLaine
Carlos Santana

I am particularly thrilled about Hancock, MacLaine, and Joel, all of whom I thoroughly enjoy. This year's ceremony is sure to be another classic.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Will Win/Should Win - Ed O'Neill "Modern Family"

Could Win - Ty Burrell "Modern Family", Bill Hader "SNL"

Commentary - I thought that, in terms of Emmy gold, the writers really messed up with Ed O'Neill and Sofia Vergara, as the baby storyline could have been a gold mine. That being said, when I sat down and watched the episodes, I think that over the course of the three at Ed O'Neill was in, that it might have paid off for him. Clearly Ty Burrell is the showiest performance, and probably the frontrunner, but I don't think he has a slam dunk like he did two years ago. Ed O'Neill has some great funny moments, and most importantly, he has that scene at the end of his episode where he gets emotional about his new son Joe. I think that the total of his episodes, and his arc (at least that seen on these three episodes), will be affecting enough for the panel to give him his first Emmy win, an award that is way overdue.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Will Win - Julie Bowen "Modern Family"

Could Win - Jane Krakowski "30 Rock", Mayim Bialik "The Big Bang Theory" or Jane Lynch "Glee"

Should Win - Jane Krakowski "30 Rock"

Commentary - Since 30 Rock's inception, Jane Krakowski has always been a scene stealer, and the last couple seasons, she has been pulling more than her own weight in the acting department. I was really hoping that after missing the cut last year, that she would finally win an Emmy for the show's final season. And yes, it is definitely a possibility. She has great scenes in her episode, and there is clearly a lot of sentimentality behind the show's ending. But I think she is currently in second place. In third and fourth are Bialik and Lynch. Bialik is basically a female Sheldon, which has earned Jim Parson's two Emmys, and her episode is literally laugh out loud funny. Many people (including myself) were shocked when Lynch got back into this category after Glee fell so hard in terms of quality and Emmy love in Season 3. Season 4 was a lot better, and clearly she is a popular person within the Academy. She also has a over-the-top episode that includes good old fashioned Sue Sylvester hate, and a colorful and showy song number (Nicki Minaj's Super Bass). I don't think she will win, but I think that she can. In the end though, it is hard to argue against Julie Bowen. She is always great on Modern Family, has a great episode, and has won twice in a row, which is actually a low number streak in this particular category. Plus, where Jenna is almost a caricature, Clair is a full-fledged character that has attracted voters before. It's a close race, but I expect the incumbent to prevail.

TIFF 2013: August: Osage County Earns Mixed Initial Reviews

Apparently, the translation from stage to screen was a bit rough for John Well's and Tracy Letts' August: Osage County. Apprently most of the cast hits their marks, but the reduction in length of the movie from the play's original run time has left some of the emotional impact on the cutting room floor. Can it still be an Oscar contender? Of course it can. It maybe not be the biggest contender of the year, but Meryl, Julia, Margo, and other cast members are sure to be in play, and who knows, a broader critical consensus could play to different results. Most importantly, it has the big Christmas release where its star power could turn into decent buisness, and it has the Weinstein Co. behind it. Never forget The Reader. Anything is possible. Here are two reviews below, one more negative, and one more positive.

Eric Kohn from Indiewire appreciated the actors, but felt that the translation to film fell a bit flat:

"There's enough palpable acting technique battling for screen time that a lot of it gets lost in the shuffle. Upham's Native American maid barely receives more than a few perfunctory lines, while a restrained Cumberbatch only appears long enough to play a sweet love song to his cousin-lover before devolving into a contrivance. His ultimate fate stems from one of many revelations used to make "August: Osage County" tremble with histrionic density. Wells deserves credit for juggling countless subplots without deflating the vitality of the material. The movie's so busy with squabbling that it's best appreciated as a collage of flawed intentions rather than their collective outcome. "You people amaze me," Barbara exclaims at one point, and she speaks for all of us."

David Rooney from The Hollywood Reporter, was a bit more excited for the final product, but still had a hint of hesitation:

"Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play about the unique capacity for cruelty of the modern American family, August: Osage County, is a fat juicy steak of a drama marinated in corrosive comedy. Arriving on the screen with mixed dividends from an all-star cast, the film doesn’t shed its inherent theatricality, stringing together speeches and showdowns peppered with nuggets of stagey dialogue that resists being played in naturalistic close-up. But it’s nonetheless an entertaining adaptation, delivering flavorful rewards in some sharp supporting turns that flank the central mother-daughter adversaries."

Overall, I am still excited by this film. I can handle a flawed script if the actors chew the scenery the way they apparently do. Plus anytime you can get Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Margo Martindale, Juliette Lewis, and Benedict Cumberbatch on one screen, you had me at hello.

Monday, September 9, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions: Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Will Win - Dan Bucatinsky "Scandal"

Should Win - Michael J. Fox "The Good Wife"

Could Win - Michael J. Fox "The Good Wife" or Rupert Friend "Homeland"

Commentary - I think that this is a three way race with no clear frontrunner. None of these episodes submitted were really that great, which could help a television legend like Michael J. Fox, who has never managed to win for The Good Wife take the prize. But if I were picking based on tapes it would be between Dan Bucatinsky and Rupert Friend. Friend is probably the better performance, but he doesn't have a lot of screen time to work with. I think that Jeff Perry is the better of the pair, but Bucatinsky is the nominee, and while his tape is a bit over the top, it is these theatrics that we know that Emmy voters like. I think that this race could go either way, but I think that Bucatinsky will surprise.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

2013 Emmy Predictions: Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series

Will Win/Should Win - Carrie Preston "The Good Wife"

Could Win - Jane Fonda "The Newsroom", Joan Cusack "Shameless", Margo Martindale "The Americans"

Commentary - This whole Emmy season, I assumed that this would come down to a battle between Shirley MacLaine and Jane Fonda. When MacLaine was surprisingly snubbed, I assumed that Jane Fonda would be the presumed frontrunner. I was right, and most of the pundits and experts out there are picking her to win, and rightfully so. But when I saw Carrie Preston's name on the ballot, I couldn't help but smile. This race has always thrown some curveballs, and the last two winners, Martha Plimpton and Loretta Devine are proof that veteran character actors can pull off a victory over bigger names if their episodes hit the rights notes. It is probably futile to bet against the great Jane Fonda, who I love in The Newsroom, but with the exception of a few short, yet brilliant scenes, most of this episode she is in the background. Carrie Preston gets a lot more screentime, and certaintly makes the most of it. This may seem like a crazy pick, and maybe I have lost my mind because I just love her and her performance on The Good Wife so much, but I kind of think that this one is going to happen. Also look out for Joan Cusack and Margo Martindale, who both have excellent submissions.

Top 100 Television Shows Since 2000: Part VIII

30. The Office (US/UK) (2001-2003; 2005-2013) - For the last twelve years, the world has been living in the world of The Office. The original UK version starred Ricky Gervais was a pioneering sitcom, ushering in the documentary-style sitcom which has become incredibly popular in the years since it debuted across the pond. Not only a fresh style, but a fresh sense of humor led a
huge following to The Office, because at the time, it was truly something they had never really seen before. After the initial show only lasted two years, an American version was born, and the concept of The Office exploded, as the long running series finished its ninth and final season as a huge comedy staple on primetime television. The casting of Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Leslie David Baker, Brian Bumgartner, Phyllis Smith, Mindy Kaling, Ed Helms, Craig Robinson, Ellie Kemper, B.J. Novak, Oscar Nunez, and countless others (I know I am forgetting some!) was literally perfect as these characters were so evolved, so well played out over nine incredible seasons. Furthermore, they all had incredibly pitch perfect comedic timing, nailing the subtle funny moments with ease, and bouncing off of each other with great chemistry. Like the original UK version, The Office really set the stage, along with other shows around this time such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development, for a boom in this new documentary-style comedy that has become the new norm in television programming. It was also clever and fresh in terms of its humor, and helped launch further careers of so many of its talented stars. While the last two seasons without Steve Carell clearly struggled, The Office was still one of the best comedies to hit television (on several continents) since 2000.

29. The Gathering Storm (2002) - HBO has  a knack for producing original movies, as so many of them have gone on to critical success, a ton of Emmys, and many comparisons to the films
being released in theaters. And none were better in the last decade than The Gathering Storm, a brilliantly constructed, and beautifully acted film that would have won a lot of Oscars, instead of the three Emmys and two television Golden Globes that it added to its mantel. The Gathering Storm is an intimate look into the lives of Winston and Clemmie Churchill, and the struggles that their marriage faced, mirroring the political battles that he was fighting in Parliament in the years leading up to the eve of WWII. It is a handsomely constructed period piece, with solid direction from Richard Loncraine, a wonderfully emotional, witty, and entertaining script by Larry Ramin and Hugh Whitemore, and impeccable technical aspects that had cinematic qualities. But the real heart and soul, and the real reason for the film's success was the incredible cast. The supporting players add depth to the storyline, and most of them hit their marks with ease including Jim Broadbent, Lena Headey, Tom Wilkinson, Hugh Bonneville, Derek Jacobi, Ronnie Barker, Tom Hiddleston, and countless other talented British actors. But the real triumph here was the onscreen relationship between Winston and Clemmie brought to life by two of the greatest actors of all time: Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave. Their portrayals, particularly Finney who to date is the most convincing Churchill I have ever witnessed on screen, were perfect, and their chemistry is the glue that holds the whole film together. Their portrayals, their talent, and their energy were nothing short of amazing, and so was this incredible production.

28. Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) - No show in last two decades has gained quite the cult status as Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the last several years we have been inundated with crappy vampire stories aimed at young adults, that are poorly written, poorly constructed, and really worthless in terms of actual art, and in terms of adding to the classic vampire storytelling canon. And yes I am talking about the dreadful book/film Twilight series, as well as countless others that are not quite as popular. But of all those worthless projects there was one incredibly bright spot,
and that was Buffy. The original movie was terrible, but when it was revived as a television show, with the new casting of Sarah Michelle Gellar, as well as the rest of her talented cast including Alyson Hannigan, David Boreanaz, and a ton of others, and a fresher approach the storyline, the results were dramatically improved. What I always loved about Buffy was its approach to the drama, an approach that reminded me a lot of why I liked the first two, and then fourth, Scream movies. It certainly tackled the horror and fantasy elements head on, but it did so with an incredible self-awareness of the sometimes ridiculous premises. So it tackled these elements with a heavy does of quirky humor that really connected with its legion of devoted fans. But unlike Scream, Buffy also went a lot deeper. For every moment of fantasy, horror, or humor, there was a moment of genuine emotion. And unlike the Twilight franchise, these connections that formed never felt forced or ridiculous, nor were they badly acted. Instead, these talented actors and writers created real characters with real emotions that set Buffy ahead of its genre trappings, and created a memorable and successful drama that deftly combined its varying elements into an entertaining and lasting enterprise that is truly a legendary cult classic.

27. Grey's Anatomy (2005-2013) - This one might surprise some people, but then again, every time I praise Grey's Anatomy, I say that because many of you have long moved on from the show. It is not hard to understand why. The first three seasons were absolutely brilliant, and then the writer's strike,
on-set politics, cry-baby stars, and some questionable story lines almost ruined the once great show in seasons 4-6. But then something miraculous happened. A savage, tense, shocking, and unbelievably sad shooting at Seattle Grace served as the spark that the show needed to regain its footing. And luckily, for those of us that stuck with our characters through the rough times, the reward was worth the wait because, as Entertainment Weekly put it, Grey's got its groove back. They introduced new characters to replace our old favorites, and surprise!, they actually have worked, and have integrated themselves into the storyline with ease, re-creating the once thriving ensemble aspect of this popular primetime soap. Now entering its tenth season, Grey's is still going strong, remaining one of the most popular shows on television, and since its revival, it has maintained its spot as one of the best on any primetime network, at least in my opinion. Throughout its dark days and its triumphant hours, Grey's Anatomy has always be buoyed by the characters that have lived, loved, suffered, and triumphed inside the walls of Seattle Grace hospital. Their stories have become ingrained in the hearts and minds of its fans, and make their mark on television history. This is because Shonda Rhimes and her fellow writers have written countless scripts that are emotional, funny, and timeless. But most importantly, this incredible cast including Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, Chandra Wilson, Patrick Dempsey, James Pickens Jr., Katherine Heigl, Justin Chambers, Sara Ramirez, Eric Dane, Chyler Leigh, T.R. Knight, Jessica Capshaw, and countless top-notch guest stars, particularly recurring actors Loretta Devine and Kate Burton, all inhabited their characters with gusto, and created these memorable and beloved characters whose stories we have followed for now a decade. I may be the only one out there that still loves this show, and I'm proud of it.

26. The Big Bang Theory (2007-2013) - If I had watched the first season of The Big Bang Theory as it played on CBS, I might not have stuck with it all of these seasons. But this is a show, a lot like Friends which it gets compared to a lot these days, that has simply gotten better with age. In particular the additions of Bernadette and Amy have rounded out the ensemble and provided fertile new ground for lots of great comedy, as well as growth for our beloved characters. The last couple of seasons in particular have built on the initial premise and have seen all of our characters tackle new frontiers in their careers, and more importantly their personal lives. The Big Bang Theory has been
criticized by more high-minded individuals for being a traditional laugh-track sitcom, and not as cool as some of the other current, more modern television comedies. But week in and week out, no show on television makes me laugh as much as The Big Bang Theory. It is the biggest show on television at the moment, and is a huge pop culture phenomenon. But more importantly, it is one of the funniest shows on television, one of the most entertaining, and is chocked full of talented actors who have created some of the wackiest, lovable, and most endearing characters. At the top of the pile are Sheldon and Amy, whose ridiculous antics are just absolutely classic. But I think that the character that has always held the group together is Kaley Cuoco's Penny. Her relationship with the boys, and now with the two girls, has always been the highlight of the show, and the glue that held the entire success of the show together. What really sells The Big Bang Theory for me though is that just when you think it is getting a bit silly, it has moments of genuine heart, a lot like the aforementioned Friends. That moment when Howard is launching into space, and they cling to each other, holding on for their friend, a member of their family, is one of the most emotionally affective moments of any television comedy in a long time. The Big Bang Theory may be the most popular show on television, but it also happens to be one of the best.

25. 24 (2001-2014) - Very few shows in recent history have had the life that 24 has had, and those that have are animated (Family Guy and Futurama probably being the best examples). But it appears that bad-ass extraordinaire Jack Bauer is returning to our television sets relatively soon. It takes a lot for a show to have this kind of life and wind beneath its sails. First it takes an incredibly active and passionate fan base, something that 24 clearly has. It did well in the ratings throughout its initial eight season run, and I can only imagine the numbers for this upcoming season, as the show has developed
an even larger following with great DVD sales. Second, the show must have a great premise that is timely, and or sustainable over the long run (something that way too many shows find out down the line when their initial premise wears off). This groundbreaking idea of having each episode represent one hour in a day was absolutely brilliant on the part of creators Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow, and it ensures that each season has a fully satisfying arch. Finally, the show must actually be good. Now 24 had its moments, and some of the later seasons were not quite on par. But overall, especially in its first couple of seasons, no show on television could match the powerful performances, tension, and perfect execution of 24. The plot lines were engaging, intricate, and always entertaining. The stories were ripped from the headlines, making their emotional and dramatic impact felt even more so on the viewers. And its cast of characters and stars and guest stars over the seasons were always on point. Supporting performances from Cherry Jones, Jean Smart, Carlos Bernard, Gregory Itzin, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Kim Raver, DB Woodside, Penny Johnson, Peter MacNicol, Reiko Aylesworth, Dennis Haysbert, Elisha Cuthbert, and many others were Emmy worthy (some earning nominations and wins along the way as proof of that). But the heart and soul of 24 was always Jack Bauer, and the most credit goes to the uberly talented Kiefer Sutherland who inhabited this role with a ferocity, and it earned him plenty of praise and awards attention over the years. 24 was one of the best shows of the last thirteen years because it never let up with the intensity, had a commerical appeal but an intricacy that rivaled its cable counterparts, and created one of the best television characters in decades, the inescapble Jack Bauer. I can't wait to see what happens next.

24. The Ellen Degeneres Show (2003-2013) - Before 2003, Ellen Degeneres was a mildly popular, and well-liked stand-up comedian and former sitcom star, known mostly for that famous line: "I'm Ellen and I'm gay!" But in 2003, she would explode into a pop culture phenomenon, and a gay rights hero, with her successes in two adventures. The first was her role as Dory in Finding Nemo, still considered one of the greatest voice performances of all time, and in this blogger's humble opinion, one of the biggest Oscar snubs of the last decade. The second, and the one that really made her a star was the launching of her popular daytime television talk show, which has now been on the air for ten years, has won a stunning 40 Daytime Emmy Awards, and has made Ellen a household name. Normally, a talk show, particularly a daytime one, would not be a standout among television's best.
But she, along with Oprah, both took the concept of a daytime talk show, to whole new levels, and setting the bar so high for future endeavors, that they may never be reached by any other. The energy, humor, and authenticity that Ellen brings to her set every day is such a refreshing sight to see. She is never fake, always being herself, no matter the criticism. By doing so, she has attracted fans from across the spectrum, and has consistently broken stale stereotypes of gay and lesbian individuals. Furthermore, her performance, her guests, and her writers are always on their game, and have managed to always keep the material fresh, something that is hard to do after a decade on the air. Most importantly, Ellen's confidence has helped inspire and entire generation to be proud of who they are, no matter their race, creed, or sexuality. Furthermore, her high-quality program has brought back an integrity and gravitas to the talk-show format, and her success matches anything else on television, daytime or primetime. And after all of that, I hope we have ten more years, and maybe ten more after that.

23. 30 Rock (2006-2013) - This year, 30 Rock ended its run on NBC that was propelled by low ratings at the network. Unfortunately, in today's broadcast world a show like 30 Rock doesn't have much of a chance at succeeding, unless it moves to a cable network that is willing to let it grow. There are many reasons for this, but the most obvious one is this: 30 Rock is entirely too intelligent, too quirky, and too outside the mainstream of most of the popular comedies on television today. And
yet, it is those qualities that made 30 Rock such an instant classic, such a hit with critics and Television Academy members, and easily one of the best comedies to hit the airwaves within the last decade. It succeeded where the vastly underrated Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip couldn't. It was the perfect television show about television shows, a behind the scenes look at a struggling sketch-comedy show. It's insider humor may have been another reason it could not connect with a broader audience, but it also gave it a niche in the market, an incredible insight into the entertainment industry, as well as an incredible self-awareness that provided it with smart and razor-sharp humor. Plus it didn't hurt that it was populated with one of a kind characters, all incredibly well-played by the talented cast. Tina Fey's quirky and emotionally vulnerable Liz, Alec Baldwin's cocky, yet somehow lovable Jack, Jane Krakowski's diva Jenna, Tracy Morgan's ridiculous, yet always endearing Tracy, and Jack McBrayer's wonderfully ignorant Kenneth, will all go down, along with the rest of the wonderfully funny writing staff as some of the most endearing, funny, and legendary television characters of the last couple of decades. Of course at the heart of 30 Rock was the incredible Tina Fey. Her talents as a writer, actor, and producer on the show is what gave it its spark, and I do hope that we don't have to wait too long for her return to television, because these last eight months without her have felt a bit empty to say the least.

22. Downton Abbey (2010-2013) - Not since Upstairs, Downstairs was a hit in the 1970's has a British television show made such an impact on the American populous. The closest we have gotten is a remake (see The Office above). After the initial miniseries surprisingly rocked the awards circuit several years ago, Americans began to finally catch on to what the British had already figured out, that Downton Abbey was an instant and unforgettable classic. A luscious, countryside manor filled with Lords and Ladies, and of course their loving, and sometimes devious servants, faces the crises that tormented Europe during the early part of the 20th Century, including World War I. Downton Abbey may be seen by some as stately, overly British, and boring. But if you take the time to dive into the intricacies of Downton Abbey, I think you will find that it is worth the journey. Not one
character is one-dimensional, as all have been given major storylines throughout the first three seasons, fully fleshed out storylines that challenged their actors' emotional range, and challenged the proper conventions of early 20th century England. More importantly, we see, just like in post-war South between African American servants and maids and their white employers, there is so much day to day interaction between the upstairs and the downstairs, that it is those relationships that move the story forward, and we see how much they care about each other and how close they are despite the social restraints that ultimately keep them apart. Downton Abbey is chocked full of talented actors, all giving A+ performances particularly Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Joanna Frogatt, and the always incredible Maggie Smith who steals every scene she is in with a quick wit and sharp tongue. Downton Abbey is a classy, soapy, engaging drama that brings a social history of the UK to the rest of the world. It has definitely become a hugely successful phenomenon around the world, and if you sit down and take a trip to Downton, it is not hard to see why.

21. Louie (2010-2013) - When I heard Louie announced as one of the six nominees for Best Comedy Series this year, all I could say was: Finally! While it is only three seasons in to what I'm sure will be a long run on FX, Louie has already cemented its status as one of the funniest and best television shows currently on the air. And I'm sure that if it continues its run in the same manner as its first three seasons that it will one day be remembered as one of the best comedies of all time. Louis C.K., who I will get to in a moment, plays a divorced father of two girls, who must deal with the separation of his family, his everyday struggles of being a single father, and his usually failed attempts at finding new
love at middle age. Like Curb Your Enthusiasm before it, Louie has a realism behind its take of middle age crisis, but, in my personal opinion, Louie has exceeded its theme predecessor, thanks almost completely to the talents of the comedian Louis C.K. This year, C.K. earned nine individual Emmy nominations for both his show and his HBO stand-up special, a stunning number for one person. But it is proof that there is no one working in television today that commands the respect, the honor, and the gravitas of Louis C.K. He is literally everywhere and is definitely the best and one of the most popular comedians working today (Tina Fey and Amy Poehler can also be added to that prestigious list), and as writer, director, lead actor, editor, and producer of Louie, the show's successes rest on his shoulders. And boy has this show suceeded. It now has a legion of devoted fans who appreciate C.K's comedy, and who reach out for high-quality that exudes from this show every week. Louie isn't exactly groundbreaking, but it is an incredibly authentic comedic experience, as C.K. reaches to his own life, his own struggles, and his own limitations to find the humor in everyday situations. It is this authenticity that is missing from so many of today's television comedies, and it is what sets Louie apart from the rest.