Monday, August 31, 2015

2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Directing and Writing in a Comedy Series

Best Directing in a Comedy Series
Will Win - Armando Iannucci "Veep - Testimony"

Could Win - Phil Lord and Christopher Miller "The Last Man on Earth - Pilot" or Jill Soloway "Transparent - Best New Girl"

Should Win - Armando Iannucci "Veep - Testimony"

Commentary - It is interesting that the pilot of The Last Man on Earth got so much love, but the series as a whole was ignored. My guess is that they actually watched the rest of the series, and realized that while the pilot was brilliant, and could easily win here, especially with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller at the helm, that the rest of the first season did not hold up as well as its initial offering. That is the wild card, but this category, like the top one seems to be between Veep and Transparent. Both are fantastic shows, and both are locked in a fierce battle in many categories. Transparent's episode is beautiful, but I think that Veep is in the lead here. Testimony is a classic director's episode with so many moving parts, and shifts back and forth. Like many of the Modern Family episodes that have won in recent years, this one moves its whole cast in a way that works, which is a sign of a skilled director. Plus, this is an honor for the show's creator Armando Iannucci, who has yet to win an Emmy for Veep.

Best Writing in a Comedy Series
Will Win - Jill Soloway "Transparent - Pilot"

Could Win - Simon Blackwell, Armando Innanucci, and Tony Roche "Veep - Election Night", or Louis C.K. "Louie - Bobby's House"

Should Win - Alec Berg "Silicon Valley - Two Days of the Condor"

Commentary - Election Night is hilarious, well-written, and teaches a cool Constitutional lesson in the process. And while this was far from Louie's best season, the writers love Louis C.K., and like all of his nominations and wins in the category, it is a stand out for its writing. On a personal note, the season finale of Silicon Valley, like the end of  the first season, as fast-paced, intelligent, and wildly funny. But I think that the balance of humor and drama, the beautiful and honest discussion that occurs in the pilot of Transparent feels like the perfect winner for the writers here, and the perfect place to honor the series, especially if it loses to Veep in the top category.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

2015 MTV Video Music Award (VMA) Winners

I will update the winners live!:

Video of the Year - Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar "Bad Blood"
Best Female Video - Taylor Swift "Blank Space"
Best Male Video - Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars "Uptown Funk"
Best Pop Video - Taylor Swift "Blank Space"
Best Hip-Hop Video - Nicki Minaj "Anaconda"
Best Rock Video - Fall Out Boy "Uma Thurman"
Best Collaboration - Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar "Bad Blood"
Best Video With a Social Message - Big Sean Feat. John Legend and Kanye West "One Man Can Change the World"
Best Direction - Colin Tilley & The Little Homies "Alright" (Kendrick Lamar)
Best Art Direction - Jason Fijal "So Many Pros" (Snoop Dogg)
Best Choreography - OK Go, air:man, and Mori Harano "I Won't Let You Down" (OK Go)
Best Cinematography - Larkin Sieple "Never Catch Me" (Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar)
Best Editing - Beyonce, Ed Burke, and Jonathan Wing "7/11" (Beyonce)
Best Visual Effects - Brewer "Where Are You Now" (Skrillex & Diplo feat. Justin Bieber)
Song of the Summer - 5 Seconds of Summer "She's Kinda Hot"
MTV Artist to Watch - Fetty Wap
Video Vanguard - Kanye West

2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Television Movie

Will Win - Bessie

Could Win - Nightingale or Agatha Christie's Poirot: Curtain, Poirot's Last Case 

Should Win - Bessie

Commentary - HBO is so dominant in these short-form categories, and in fact, I predict that HBO will win 7 out of the 8 top categories. This year, one of their slam-dunks is probably their newest film Bessie. It exploded across the categories in terms of nominations, seven in total. It stars folks like Queen Latifah, Mo'Nique, Khandi Alexander, and Michael Kenneth Williams, well-liked veteran actors. Finally, it is just simply the best of the bunch by a mile. It is a great film, with great performances, and compared to the other nominees, well there is no comparison. If it doesn't win here I will be shocked, and disappointed. Nightingale is only even mentioned because it too is HBO, but I think even the HBO folks know their money should be on Bessie here. The only other one that is worth mentioning is Poirot. It is his last case, a beloved long-running British mystery. Remember when Downton Abbey was not predicted to win? Yes, Emmy voters love British stuff, so Poirot cannot be discounted. But when Downton Abbey won that miniseries Emmy it had eleven nominations, including acting, writing, and directing, as well as the tech support, and Poirot has only one nomination, this one, and has never had another Emmy nomination in its entire run. Emmy voters may love the British, but I think, this year at least, they love Bessie a lot more. 

New Emmy Poll in Sidebar - Best Actor in a Drama Series

Will Jon Hamm finally win an Emmy? Everybody seems to be rooting for him, but then again no Mad Men actor has ever won. Will Spacey win, or Odenkirk fill in for his pal Cranston's absence? Will Kyle Chandler or Jeff Daniels pull another upset? It's your time to decide! For the next week pick your favorites in the sidebar as we continue our Emmy countdown, and start Emmy coverage as the film festivals kick into gear over the next week and a half or so. It is a crazy and wonderful time here at The Awards Psychic, so stay tuned!

2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Actor in a TV Movie/Limited Series

Will Win - David Oyelowo "Nightingale"

Could Win - Richard Jenkins "Olive Kitteridge" or Mark Rylance "Wolf Hall"

Should Win - Richard Jenkins "Olive Kitteridge"

Commentary - When Olive Kitteridge appeared, I thought to myself: "McDormand and Jenkins are winning Emmys". Richard Jenkins has been a hardworking actor in Hollywood for decades, and his Oscar nomination a few years ago for The Visitor is still one of my favorite nods in recent history. He didn't have a shot in hell at winning, but it was a nice honor for a guy who has gone a long time without any. Olive Kitteridge seems like the Frances McDormand show, and in many ways it is. But Richard Jenkins is remarkable to watch as well, is a perfect balance for Olive's thorniness, and without him, the tone and the story simply not have worked. But there are two guys in this race that I think can beat him, and one is in the lead. But first let's start with my third place guy Mark Rylance. In the theater community, Mark Rylance is one of our finest actors, and this year between Wolf Hall and the upcoming Bridge of Spies, he is getting his first breakthrough roles on television and film. He was commanding in Wolf Hall, and I think a lot of voters are going to throw their support behind him and the project. Alas though, my pick is David Oyelowo. Nightingale gives Oyelowo 80 minutes alone in a hotel room to do his thing. He is fantastic in the role, commands the screen, and doesn't have to share screen time with the plethora of co-stars that Jenkins and Rylance do. He has two other things going for him as well. He was the star of Selma, and his Oscar snub is still riling people up, and he has several big projects on the horizon and is set to become a genuine star. Plus, this is a role meant for the Emmys. Rylance is commanding as well, which helps, but Jenkins is too subtle. The actors like acting, they like big and bold, and nobody was bolder than Oyelowo this year. I think he wins an Emmy and proves it.

Friday, August 28, 2015

2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Actress in a TV Movie/Limited Series

Will Win - Frances McDormand "Olive Kitteridge"

Could Win - Queen Latifah "Bessie", Jessica Lange "American Horror Story: Freak Show", or Maggie Gyllenhaal "The Honorable Woman"

Should Win - Frances McDormand "Olive Kitteridge" 

Commentary - This race is freaking brutal. These six women, between them have 4 Oscars out of 17 nominations, and 4 Emmys out of 21 Nominations. They are six of the best actresses working today, and each of their performances is just jaw-dropping good. I do not envy Emmy voters having to make a choice here. And yet, I feel like Frances McDormand is easily the front runner here. She is not a grand-slam lock, although she should be. But her work in Olive Kitteridge was just so damn good, and the series as a whole is an Emmy favorite in so many top categories,  I feel like she is going to pull it off. But Queen Latifah is fantastic in Bessie, the front runner in the TV Movie category (where she is a nominee, so even if she loses here, she will probably still win an Emmy, which is awesome). Jessica Lange managed to beat Cicely Tyson last year, has won two Emmys for AHS, and this is her final season. As I type this, I wonder if I have yet again managed to miss the fact that she is probably going to win. And don't forget Golden Globe winner Maggie Gyllenhaal is exquisite in The Honorable Woman, Felicity Huffman a revelation in American Crime, and Emma Thompson is Emma-freakin-Thompson. Good luck Emmy voters!

2015 MTV VMA Award Predictions: Video of the Year, Best Male Video, and Best Female Video

Video of the Year
Will Win - Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar "Bad Blood"
Could Win - Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars "Uptown Funk"
Should Win -  Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar "Bad Blood"
Commentary - Uptown Funk was a smash, but can anybody beat the combination of Swift and Lamar. The video is great, the song is everywhere and is catchy as hell, and Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar are the two biggest artists in popular music right now. I don't see anything beating them, and honestly, nothing should.

Best Male Video
Will Win - Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars "Uptown Funk"
Could Win - Ed Sheeran "Thinking Out Loud", Kendrick Lamar "Alright", or Nick Jonas "Chains"
Should Win - Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars "Uptown Funk"
Commentary - So Uptown Funk probably can't beat Bad Blood for Video of the Year, but I think it will win a nice consolation prize here. Of course, Lamar on his own should not be discounted, and this might be the only place to reward successful years and good videos from Ed Sheeran and Nick Jonas, so be prepared for a potential upset.

Best Female Video
Will Win - Beyonce "7/11"
Could Win - Taylor Swift "Blank Space" or Nicki Minaj "Anaconda"
Should Win - Sia "Elastic Heart"
Commentary - I would love to see Sia win here for her creative, weird, but creative, work this year (she is still owed a Grammy for Chandelier). But I think this is really between Taylor Swift and Beyonce. Swift is the obvious choice here, but I am going out on a limb for Beyonce. She is popular, beloved, and right up there with Swift in terms of impact on current pop music. This might be the only big award she can win, and I think she is going away with at least one big trophy.

Academy Honors Debbie Reynolds, Spike Lee, and Gena Rowlands with Governor Awards

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its Governor Awards recipients, all of whom are definitely worthy of honor.

The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award this year goes to the legendary Debbie Reynolds. A recent SAG Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Reynolds is an Oscar nominee for her role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She is a legend of stage, screen, and film, with roles in projects such as Singin in the Rain, The Rat Race, How the West Was Won, The Debbie Reynolds Show, Three Little Words, Bundle of Joy, Mother, Will & Grace, Behind the Candelabra, Irene, and Woman of The Year (on Broadway). But her career is only part of her honor this year, as she is honored for her work with Thalians, a group dedicated to promoting awareness of mental health, an issue that is near and dear to her heart. She also works with the UCLA Operation Mend helping veterans.

Gena Rowlands receives an Honorary Award. She is a two-time Oscar nominee for Gloria and A Woman Under the Influence. She also was featured in film and television classics such as: Opening Night, Thursday's Child, An Early Frost, Hysterical Blindness, The Notebook, Crazy in Love, The Betty Ford Story, Face of a Stranger, What if God Were the Sun?, Minnie and Moskowitz, The Weekend, Another Woman, Night on Earth, and countless others. She is also a three-time Emmy winner and a two time Golden Globe winner.

Finally, Spike Lee receives an Honorary Award. He won a Student Academy award for his first short film Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads. He went on to be nominated for two Oscars, for the screenplay of Do the Right Thing, and for the Documentary 4 Little Girls. Other projects with his signature touch on them include: When the Levees Broke, School Daze, Mo' Better Blues, Malcolm X, Jungle Fever, Clockers, He Got Game, 25th Hour, and Inside Man.

For more information on these honorees check out:

The Governor Awards are on November 14th.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

2015 MTV VMA Predictions: Best Pop Video, Best Hip-Hop Video, and Artist to Watch

Best Pop Video
Will Win - Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars "Uptown Funk"
Could Win - Taylor Swift "Blank Space" or Ed Sheeran "Thinking Out Loud"
Should Win - Taylor Swift "Blank Space"
Commentary - Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars have a smash hit on their hands, which is clever, catchy, and has a fun and funny music video that will probably win a lot of awards come Sunday night. But let's not rule out Taylor Swift. I know that Bad Blood is getting all the attention, and so this would seem a bit much to give her some love for Blank Space. But that video is freaking awesome. She is brilliant, and the concept is perfect. The way she just loses her stuff and goes crazy is so much fun to watch. In terms of a complete narrative, and a concept Blank Space is the best of the bunch, and is a real dark horse.

Best Hip-Hop Video
Will Win - Nicki Minaj "Anaconda"
Could Win - Kendrick Lamar "Alright" or Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth "See You Again"
Should Win - Kendrick Lamar "Alright"
Commentary -  This one should be easy. Kendrick Lamar is the hottest name in rap music right now, Alright is great, and Nicki Minaj probably shot herself in the foot with her anti-MTV comments. But voters vote for what they like and while Lamar could easily win, I honestly think that Minaj's Anaconda is the novelty song of the last year, the video is interesting to say the least, and honestly, she is a big as Lamar right now. Also watch out for Khalifa and Puth. Of the bunch, this feels like the younger, MTV crowd kind of song.

Artist to Watch
Will Win - George Ezra "Budapest"
Could Win - Vance Joy "Riptide", FKA Twigs "Pendulum", or Fetty Wap "Trap Queen"
Should Win - George Ezra "Budapest"
Commentary - Vance Joy is an interesting up and comer, FKA Twigs latest is a critical favorite, and Fetty Wap is doing great things on the hip-pop and regular Billboard charts. But I think that the quirky and soulful George Ezra is going to win here. His song exploded earlier this year on the radio, and he is also a unique and quite spectacular artist. It is always hard to guess with untested contenders, and really, the popularity could benefit Fetty Wap. But I think Ezra has both the popularity and the prestige to make it work.

2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a TV Movie/Limited Series

Will Win- Bill Murray "Olive Kitteridge"

Could Win - Finn Wittrock "American Horror Story: Freak Show", Richard Cabral "American Crime", Damien Lewis "Wolf Hall"

Should Win - Finn Wittrock "American Horror Story: Freak Show"

Commentary - If voters took the time to really examine the work of these six men, then Finn Wittrock would easily come out on top for his role as Dandy in Freak Show this year. He was remarkable, and is a rising star with a lot of potential. They would also consider Richard Cabral, a surprise nominee, for his stunning work in American Crime. Alas though, I think that popularity and legacy will rule the day. Emmy winner Damien Lewis is a real potential for Wolf Hall, a popular British period piece that did quite well across the nominations. But in the end, this is Bill Murray's to lose. His work in Olive Kitteridge was okay, but he was barely in it, and compared to some of the other supporting actors like John Gallagher Jr. and Corey Michael Smith, he really didn't make too much of an impact. But he is Bill Murray, the legend, and as the voting process becomes more populist, more populist winners will begin to win over those episode-based upsets. Plus, while they love them some American Horror Story, this year being no exception, Olive Kitteridge is set to be a major Emmy winner in several big categories, and that only helps Murray's chances.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie/Limited Series

Will Win - Sarah Paulson "American Horror Story: Freak Show"

Could Win - Mo'Nique "Bessie", Kathy Bates "American Horror Story: Freak Show", or Regina King "American Crime"

Should Win - Sarah Paulson "American Horror Story: Freak Show"

Commentary - The fact that Sarah Paulson has yet to win an Emmy for American Horror Story is simply a crime, especially since she keeps getting nominated. This year, she has a knockout role playing conjoined twins, a role that was built to finally get her that elusive Emmy. And this year, I think she can pull it off. She has built enough of a reputation, and is now essentially overdue, and honestly, it is the most complex of the bunch, and she nails it. But she is still not a lock, although to be fair, there are so few in these Emmy races. Monique has been rather quiet since her Oscar win for Precious. There has been a lot of speculation that because she refused to play the Hollywood game, it has kept her from roles. I hope that isn't true (although it probably is unfortunately), and I hope that she keeps getting great roles, because her role in Bessie was fantastic, and she knocked it out of the park. She was magnetic on screen, and reminded us what an incredible artist and actor she really is. She is a real potential here, and the Oscar on her mantle does not hurt her in her cause. Kathy Bates, after years of being ignored, has won two quick Emmys in recent years, and it makes me wonder if I am once again underestimating her. She had nowhere near the same impact as Paulson, but she is a the reigning champ here, and a beloved veteran .Finally, while I don't think she can really pull it off, I think we would all be wise to watch out for Regina King. She has been a hard-working veteran on television and in film for years. She was remarkable in Southland, and yet was criminally ignored. But she finally gets a well-deserved nod for her work in American Crime. The role was fantastic, she was fantastic, she is certainly overdue for some recognition, and the show did better than expected in terms of nominations. I think she is in a solid fourth place, but we have seen much less deserving, and more shocking winners in recent years, so she should not be discounted.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Directing and Writing in a TV Movie/Limited Series

Best Directing in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Will Win - Lisa Cholodenko "Olive Kitteridge"
Could Win - Dee Rees "Bessie", Hugo Blick "The Honorable Woman", or Ryan Murphy "American Horror Story: Freak Show - Monsters Among Us"
Should Win - Lisa Cholodenko "Olive Kitteridge"
Commentary - There are a lot of quality projects here. Ryan Murphy brings the scares with Freak Show, Dee Rees illuminates jaw-dropping performances, and Hugo Blick brings tension and mystique to The Honorable Woman. And we have seen in recent years, both the writers and the directors are not afraid to go their own way, so don't discount an upset from one of those three talents. But I think this is going to be an Olive Kitteridge kind of year. It will probably win the top prize, McDormand (although that is a tough category), and both writing and directing. It is just beloved by critics, did really well with nominations, and is just a beloved miniseries, with HBO on its side, and a Critics Choice Award under its belt. Plus, it was not easy to adapt, with its varying characters and time periods. It takes a lot of skill to make all of those parts cohere into a wonderful whole. And Oscar-nominee Lisa Cholodenko did so beautifully. I think she wins an Emmy as a reward.

Best Writing in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Will Win - Jane Anderson "Olive Kitteridge"
Could Win - John Ridley "American Crime - Episode One", Peter Straughan "Wolf Hall", Hugo Blick "The Honorable Woman", Dee Rees, Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois, and Horton Foote "Bessie"
Should Win - Jane Anderson "Olive Kitteridge"
Commentary - Remember how I told you that Olive Kitteridge was a hard novel to adapt? Jane Anderson's beautiful balance of comedy, drama, and romance in Olive Kitteridge was masterful, and, in my humble opinion, none of these other scripts come even close. That being said, do not discount a surprise from the group that gave The Hour a writing Emmy without much support anywhere else. The two British entries are worth a look, Wolf Hall, especially with Oscar-nominee Peter Straughn behind the pen, and The Honorable Woman. Bessie is probably going to win Best TV Movie, and so it is in play for both of these categories. And then there is the real spoiler, recent Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley brought the masterful American Crime to life. The film might not be able to win the big award, but this could be a well-deserved consolation prize.

Monday, August 24, 2015

2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Variety Sketch Series

Will Win - Inside Amy Schumer

Could Win - Saturday Night Live

Should Win - Inside Amy Schumer

Commentary - So for years now, the only sketch show to crack the combined Variety Series category was Saturday Night Live. It is an American treasure, a classic and beloved television show, and the most honored in Emmy history. It has also not won the program prize in a long time, so it is due. But SNL had a rough transition season. I see a lot of potential, but it failed to make either the directing or writing categories, and had less guest spots than normal (although their failure to submit any of their female co-stars may have had something to do with it. Sarah Silverman would have easily gotten in). So I think it is a weak year for the king of sketch comedies, but I would not discount it. This is the first year in its new category, and the fact is that it probably could have still gotten nominated in a combined category. But there is an upstart here that I think will eclipse it this year. Of course I am speaking of Inside Amy Schumer. She is the hottest television star right now, her show got a butt-load of nominations, after being ignored before, and she is also a burgeoning film star. Don't be surprised if voters go for the old favorite, but I think they will choose their new favorite star.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Variety Talk Series

Will Win - The Colbert Report

Could Win - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or The Late Show with David Letterman, or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Should Win - Late Show with David Letterman

Commentary - The Colbert Report has won this two years in a row, and history as of late in this category favors the old favorite. But there are three shows that could make a splash here. The first is, of course, The Daily Show. As this show is ending, there is a lot of love out there for the type of commentary that really Stewart pioneered, and they did reward it like 46 years in a row up until the last two years. There is Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the upstart program that feels like the natural Emmy successor to the likes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Then there is the legend himself David Letterman. I wasn't even sure he could get back into this race, as he had been absent for so long. But now that he is back in, I hope that voters give him one last shot at Emmy glory, one last chance to take the stage. I know the same could technically be said of Jon Stewart, but he has plenty of Emmys. Dave hasn't won an Emmy in 21 years. It is time they get him back on that stage. And honestly, while I'm not predicting it, I could definitely see it happening.

New Emmy Poll in Sidebar

Most pundits are leaning toward Viola Davis at this point, which thrills me to death. But what about the critics choice Taraji P. Henson? Or the various roles of Tatiana Maslany? Or the continuing popularity of Claire Danes? Well it is your time to decide in the sidebar, with this week's Emmy poll: Best Actress in a Drama Series! So check it out, make your picks, and stay tuned as the Emmy predictions roll in!

2015 Emmy Predictions: Directing and Writing for Variety Series/Special

Best Directing in a Variety Series
Will Win - Jerry Foley "The Late Show with David Letterman - Show 4214"
Could Win - Amy Schumer and Ryan McFaul "Inside Amy Schumer - 12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer", or Chuck O'Neil "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - Show 20103"
Should Win - Amy Schumer and Ryan McFaul "Inside Amy Schumer - 12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer"
Commentary -  So this is an interesting one. The perennial winner the last several years, Don Roy King for Saturday Night Live, was surprisingly snubbed here, and has been replaced by another sketch show, the new favorite, Inside Amy Schumer. It, like Saturday Night Live, has many moving parts, and it is a great episode, not just for Schumer, but for the technical team. So in normal years, I think that would be our winner. It is just the type of episode that appeals to these directors. But I think that there is a sentimental favorite here. I don't know if Dave Letterman can go all the way in the series category, but I don't think he goes home empty handed. The DGA and the Emmys have liked Late Show in the directing category in the past. It is a close race, and we would all be dumb to discount Amy Schumer, as she is on fire as of late, but I think they give Dave and his team one last shot at glory.

Best Writing in a Variety Series
Will Win - The Colbert Report
Could Win - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and Inside Amy Schumer
Should Win - Inside Amy Schumer
Commentary - These variety races are starting to get some heat under them. For years it was the same folks over and over, and while The Daily Show will probably win one last time, we are starting to see some rumblings in the below-the-line races, and have started to see then for a few years now. The inclusions of Key and Peele and Inside Amy Schumer, show the rise of great sketch comedy, and both Colbert and Stewart better watch out for John Oliver, who I think could easily become an Emmy favorite, and soon. But, there is also a lot of continuity in these categories, and The Colbert Report has won this category the last two years. So I am picking it to win a third. But watch out for some sneaky new guys who are gunning for Emmy gold.

Best Directing in a Variety Special
Will Win - Don Roy King "The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special"
Could Win - Glenn Weiss "The 68th Annual Tony Awards" or Louis J. Horvitz "The Kennedy Center Honors"
Should Win - Don Roy King "The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special"
Commentary - So you know how I was saying it was odd that Don Roy King was snubbed for SNL? Well he wasn't completely, as he did their 40th Anniversary Special, which was one of the best couple of hours on television in the last six months, and he is a juggernaut with these directors. But he is going up against two other juggernauts: Glenn Weiss and Louis J. Horvitz. So it is tough three-way race, and it will definitely be hard for the directors to pick. I think that the spectacle, and the one-time only nature of SNL's 40th Anniversary will break the tie.

Best Writing in a Variety Special
Will Win - The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special
Could Win - Mel Brooks "Mel Brooks Life at the Geffen" or Louis C.K. "Louis C.K.: Live at the Comedy Store"
Should Win - The 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards
Commentary - Here is yet another opportunity Emmy voters to give Amy Poehler an Emmy. You probably want but I hope that at least a few of you recognize this fact. That being said, it is easy in this category to think it is a race between Brooks and C.K. The writers love these types of stand-up specials, and both these guys are Emmy favorites. But I think that the litany of awesome people attached to the spectacle that was the SNL 40th Anniversary Special, will have enough sway to win this one as well. Of course unless you want to give Amy Poehler an Emmy. Seriously, give her an Emmy. It is beyond ridiculous at this point.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

2015 MTV VMA Predictions: Best Video With a Social Message, Best Rock Video, and Best Collaboration

Best Rock Video
Will Win - Hozier "Take Me to Church"
Should Win - Florence and the Machine "Ship to Wreck"
Could Win - Florence and the Machine "Ship to Wreck"  or Fall Out Boy "Uma Thurman"
Commentary - I love what Florence and the Machine have done this year, their music, and their videos continue to be at the top of their game, and they are certainly in this tight and interesting three-way race. Fall Out Boy returned this year with a well-received album, and a pretty catchy video with Uma Thurman. But I think both may have to take a backseat to a young upstart in Hozier. He snagged a huge Song of the Year nomination at the Grammys last year, and his album is in play this year, and could continue the streak. Take Me To Church was everywhere this year, he is a creative and well-liked new artist, and I think he is going to win the VMA this year.

Best Collaboration
Will Win - Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar "Bad Blood"
Should Win - Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars "Uptown Funk"
Could Win - Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars "Uptown Funk"
Commentary - This particular race could go one of two ways. These two videos are probably the top two for Video of the Year. Either they use this race as a precursor to the big one or as a consolation prize. I personally think it is going to be the former, because I think Uptown Funk still has several categories where it can win (Male Video and Pop Video look like good options). I think that Swift and Lamar, two of the biggest names in music this summer, will easily win this award, and probably the big one as well.

Best Video with a Social Message
Will Win - Rihanna "American Oxygen"
Should Win - Jennifer Hudson "I Still Love You"
Could Win - Jennifer Hudson "I Still Love You" or Big Sean feat. Kanye West and John Legend "One Man Can Change the World"
Commentary - I feel like Rihanna is not going to go away empty handed, and I am kind of surprised that FourFiveSeconds was nominated (I know its a minimalist video, but it has mega star power). But Jennifer Hudson's is the most powerful, and speaking of star power, Big Sean, Kanye, and John Legend all teaming up is a tempting combination. But I think Rihanna's personal popularity, and the message of the song itself, will carry her through.

Friday, August 21, 2015

2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Variety Special

Will Win - The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special

Should Win - The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special

Could Win - Mel Brooks Life at Geffen or The Kennedy Center Honors

Commentary - Mel Brooks is an Emmy magnet, having won 4 total out of 12 nominations, including two new nods this year. His special this year was funny, but no where near the top of his game. That being said he is a legend, clearly still has plenty of fans within the Television Academy, and could easily make it number five. Then there is The Kennedy Center Honors which is a staple in this category year in and year out. Both could easily prevail here, but I think that there is one contender ahead of both. I know SNL had a rough season overall, and it could cost then the Variety Series - Sketch Emmy (although let's remind ourselves that Emmy voters have continually honored it in good years and in bad). But its 40th Anniversary Special was one of the best things on TV this season. It was funny, packed full of former SNL cast members, and made a big splash with critics and the ratings. Finally, it proved that even in its weakest moments, Saturday Night Live is immortal.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Reality Host and Best Special Class Program

Best Reality Host
Will Win - Jane Lynch "Hollywood Game Night"

Could Win - Cat Deeley "So You Think You Can Dance" or Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn "Project Runway"

Should Win - Cat Deeley "So You Think You Can Dance"

Commentary - Cat Deeley's CCTA win this year might have had more to do with the fact that she was hosting, but nonetheless it was highly deserved, and maybe boosted her Emmy chances along the way. And Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn won a few years ago, because when combined, their screen time is almost the entire episode, and their good cop/bad cop vibe plays well for the competition. But I think that Jane Lynch is going to strike again here. She is great on Hollywood Game Night, populates her show with celebrities (many of whom are voters), and has even earned a great Kate McKinnon parody. She is a beloved television veteran, with several Emmys already under her belt, and she is the star and center of her show, which means her tape is going to be hard to miss. I think it equals two in a row.

Best Special Class Program
Will Win - The 68th Annual Tony Awards

Could Win - The 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards or Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Live From Lincoln Center)

Should Win - The 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards

Commentary - Since apparently they are never going to give Amy Poehler an Emmy for Parks & Recreation, they need to give her something, and the fact that she and Tina have made the Golden Globes so much fun the last couple of years is worthy of recognition. But alas, they will probably once again for The Tony Awards. There is nothing wrong with that. In terms of a full awards show experience, the Tonys are the best year in and year out. But damn I would love to see Amy finally win an Emmy. So is there anyone else? Yes, the Lincoln Center Sweeney Todd, with its cast (including a surprise nominee Emma Thompson), and grandeur could be a hit with voters.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Structured and Unstructured Reality Show

Best Structured Reality Program
Will Win - Shark Tank
Could Win - Undercover Boss
Should Win - Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
Commentary - Triple D on the Food Network is just one of my favorite shows, it is entertaining, it showcases cool local joints, and is a staple that is desperately trying to be repeated across both the Food Network, and their newer channel, The Cooking Channel. But it has no shot here. This is probably between the two most recent winners. Undercover Boss won for a couple of years in the combined category, but last year Shark Tank, the new hot critical favorite swooped in and took it away. It is still a hot show, with tons of support. I think it prevails again.

Best Unstructured Reality Program
Will Win - Deadliest Catch
Could Win - Intervention, Wahlburgers, Naked and Afraid
Should Win - Eh
Commentary - Not really a fan of any of these, this is a category that just doesn't do it for me. Intervention won this way back, has been and off and on nominee for several years, but manages to get back in, putting in contention. Wahlburgers has the celebrity behind it, and Naked and Afraid has the notoriety. But Deadliest Catch has been an Emmy favorite across the board, especially in the tech categories, for years, it won last year, and once again is facing a tragedy. I think Emmy voters are continuing to follow both the physical and personal struggles of a show that they simply love.

2015 MTV VMA Award Predictions: Professional Categories

Best Direction
Joseph Kahn "Bad Blood (Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar)

Best Art Direction
Charles Infante "Bad Blood (Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar)

Best Choreography
Beyonce, Chris Grant, and Gabriel Valenciano "7/11" (Beyonce)

Best Cinematography
Christopher Probst "Bad Blood" (Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar)

Best Editing
Chancler Haynes at Cosmo Street "Bad Blood" (Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar)

Best Visual Effects
Brewer, Gloria FX, and Max Chyzhevskyy "Where Are U Now" (Skrillex and Diplo feat. Justin Bieber) 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

2015 Emmy Predictions - Best Reality-Competition Program

Will Win - The Amazing Race

Could Win - The Voice or So You Think You Can Dance

Should Win - RuPaul's Drag Race (oh wait!) of the bunch, Project Runway

Commentary - So The Voice got in there one year, and broke The Amazing Race's streak. And then it went right back to the way its always been. The Voice could pull off a win, and So You Think You Can Dance, with host Cat Deeley in the lead is gaining some surprising heat, although mostly for Deeley. Let's face it, while any of these other shows could pull a win out here, and it would be a welcomed change. But the Emmy voters have to change first, and, especially in these categories, they don't do that very often.

Monday, August 17, 2015

New Emmy Poll in Sidebar

Another week, another poll. I am a bit behind on this one, so you only have until Saturday night (five days! sorry) to vote for this one, so get to it! This week's poll is for Best Actor in a Comedy Series? Is Jeffrey Tambor unstoppable? Probably, but you Anthony Anderson, Will Forte, and William H. Macy fans have a chance to stand up for your upsets. Take a look at the poll, and tomorrow, I will start my Emmy predictions. The countdown begins!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Bradley Cooper in Burnt: Trailer

This is a passion project for Cooper, who has been a hot commodity as of late. Combine with his upcoming supporting role in Joy, and he could have another busy awards season. Let's just say though that this first trailer is jarring to say the least. It is a violent thriller about opening a restaurant? It has a great cast, and if Cooper is passionate about it, we should be too. But after seeing this trailer, I am a bit baffled at what to expect from it. I guess, as always, we'll just have to wait and see...

2015 New York Film Festival Lineup

There are two other major film festivals that have impact on the Oscar race, outside of the Toronto/Venice/Telluride trifecta. There is AFI Fest, which usually has at least one late breaking contender emerge, and then there is the New York Film Festival, which has attracted some high quality projects in recent years. This year is no exception. A great slate of foreign and indie contenders join big Oscar potentials like Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs, Robert Zemeckis' The Walk, Don Cheadle's directorial debut Miles Ahead, and the big kahuna of the bunch, Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies, which is definitely aiming for Oscars with this debut. Plus, Carol and Brooklyn, as well as Michael Moore's latest continue their festival train on the way to potential Oscar glory.

Opening Night
The Walk, dir. by Robert Zemeckis

Steve Jobs, dir. by Danny Boyle

Closing Night
Miles Ahead, dir. by: Don Cheadle

2015 Lineup
Arabian Nights: Volume 1, The Restless One, Arabian Nights: Volume 2, The Desolate One, and Arabian Nights: Volume 3, The Enchanted One, dir. by Miguel Gomes

The Assassin, dir. by Hou Hsiao-hsien

Bridge of Spies, dir. by Steven Spielberg

Brooklyn, dir. by John Crowley

Carol, dir. by Todd Haynes

Cemetery of Splendour, dir. by Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Les Cowboys, dir. by Thomas Bidegain

Don’t Blink: Robert Frank, dir. by Laura Israel

Experimenter, dir. byMichael Almereyda

The Forbidden Room, dir. by Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson

In the Shadow of Women / L’Ombre des femmes, dir. by Philippe Garrel

Journey to the Shore / Kishibe no tabi, dir. by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

The Lobster, dir. by Yorgos Lanthimos

Maggie’s Plan, dir. by Rebecca Miller

The Measure of a Man / La Loi du marché, dir. by Stéphane Brizé

Mia Madre, dir. by Nanni Moretti

Microbe & Gasoline / Microbe et Gasoil, dir. by Michel Gondry

Mountains May Depart, dir. by Jia Zhangke

My Golden Days / Trois Souvenirs de ma jeunesse, dir. by Arnaud Desplechin

No Home Movie, dir. by Chantal Akerman

Right Now, Wrong Then, dir. by Hong Sangsoo

The Treasure / Comoara, dir. by Corneliu Porumboiu

Where To Invade Next, dir. by Michael Moore

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Hateful Eight Teaser Trailer

What can be said about the new trailer for The Hateful Eight? It looks like pure Tarantino. Its catchy, campy, a sprawling cast of veterans chewing through scenery, and its Samuel L. Jackson. It looks like another Tarantino classic, and of the bunch, the two I am most interested in seeing are Jackson (they owe him and DiCaprio a nod for Django Unchained), and Jennifer Jason Leigh who looks to be have a hell of a good time. It hits theaters Christmas. But after Weinstein kind of bungled the initial release to Django (it rebounded nicely by the way), they are going to get this one out ahead of the curve, and make sure it is seen in time for Globes and SAG. Can't wait. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: Ricki and the Flash

It seems like once a year, in August, my mom and I pick a movie to go and see. It usually is because there is at least one late summer blockbuster each year which appeals to both of us. This year's selection was the latest Meryl Streep flick Ricki and the Flash. I had high hopes for the film. It's trailer left much to be desired, but with that cast, Jonathan Demme at its helm, and Diablo Cody behind the script, I had hope that Ricki and the Flash would rise above its conventional look and reach something deeper. I was both pleasantly surprised, and a terribly disappointed in the overall product.

Ricki and the Flash is the story of an aging rocker (Meryl Streep), whose once big dreams of fame dwindle in a dive bar every night with her also aging band. She is a checkout girl at what is basically Whole Foods in a yuppie part of Los Angeles, and is struggling to pay the bills. She is sort of dating her lead guitarist (Rick Springfield), but other than that there is little human connection in her life. That is because Ricki, also known as Linda, left her husband Pete (Kevin Kline) and three children Julie (Mamie Gummer), Josh (Sebastian Stan), and Adam (Nick Westrate) behind to follow her dreams. Pete has since remarried to Maureen (Audra McDonald), and her family has slowly migrated away from her. Out of the blue, Pete calls Ricki to tell her that Julie's husband has left her, and that it is time for her to step up to the plate, especially as Maureen has been rushed away to her own family emergency. So Ricki travels back in time to find her ex-husband is incredibly successful and wealthy, her kids are managing just fine without her, and are personally resentful of their mother, and that Julie has actually attempted suicide in the aftermath of her failed marriage. There begins a journey of reconnecting, of family, of missed opportunities, and of the second, and sometimes third chances life gives you to try to make it all work.

Ricki and the Flash, to me, presented itself as an almost Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It has a lot of issues. First and foremost, it is slow. There are great moments (I'll get to that in a minute), but there are far too many that drag, and if you saw the trailer and were hoping for a great mother/daughter flick, that lasts about 20 minutes, and then we move on. In fact, despite incredible performances, the whole story of Julie seems cut short. After all this build up, there is only one scene at the end that even hints at what has come before. Mamie Gummer has earned the right to act opposite her mother, and she nails it. It's just a shame her story, the second most interesting of the bunch, seems to falter. In fact, I think that is the real problem with the film, that other than Ricki's story, every other character's piece seems to be lacking in whole. Sebastian Stan, Kevin Kline and Audra McDonald each make their role count, but all three are criminally underused (seriously, a musical film and a six-time Tony winner with the voice of an angel doesn't sing the entire film?!). And finally, overall, the films sees to lack cohesiveness, and despite some great moments, there is neither enough of Cody's wit, nor enough of Demme's visionary take on film.

But then again, I liked it. For every moment that didn't work, there were plenty that did. I loved Gummer's rage. I loved the musical moments. Demme has trekked down this road before, and it shows, as they are the film's most entertaining, and most sincere scenes. Streep's vocals are rough and yet perfect for her character. I loved the scene where Maureen finally gets to give it to Ricki. Ricki is our hero, make no mistake, but she is deeply flawed character. A scene that could have come off as shrill and bitchy, was played from a place of authentic, and deserved anger and frustration. Let's face it, as much as we love Streep, McDonald can really hold her own. Yet, Ricki's point about how women who follow their dreams are bad mothers that abandon their families, and men who do the same the thing are forgiven, because society deems dads as not as pertinent, is spot on. Abandonment no matter which parent you are is a problem. I'm glad that Cody and Demme make that point, because it is one that is often overlooked. And I genuinely love the authentic moments of pain and heartbreak. This is a comedy, but it is one that knows that most of life's humor comes from a dark place.

And then there is Meryl Streep. With ticket prices the way that they are, most of us have to pick and choose where we spend our hard-earned time and money. And if you are wondering if this is the right film for you, I pose the question: do you love Meryl Streep? Unless you are a communist, or an idiot, that answer should be yes. She is America's greatest living acress today, and no matter what the total product of the film is, she is always worth watching. Ricki is yet another one of her singular creations. She lights up the screen, is funny, is magnetic, and creates for us a complicated anti-hero that is both lovable and despicable. And even when the film does drag, she is the light that pulls it through. She probably won't get another Oscar nod for this role, although I wouldn't bet against her at this point (and a Golden Globe nod is a sure thing), but like always, she deserves to be at least a part of the conversation. She is that good.

Ricki and the Flash had the potential to be a great film. Instead, probably due to studio pressures, we get a film that rides on the backs of its performances, and that, despite many scenes that fall flat and its lack of cohesiveness, manages to find true moments of authenticity. If you are someone who, like me, is tired of summer, and is ready for a film that doesn't have robots, dinosaurs, or is the fifth in a 10-part film series, then check out Ricki and the Flash. Despite its issues, it is worth a view, and more importantly, a listen.

Grade: B-

Sunday, August 9, 2015

New Emmy Poll in Sidebar

I have not done a poll in a long time, but with six weeks till the Emmys, I thought it was the perfect time for all of the readers out there to pick their favorites for some of the top categories. This week's poll is a tough one for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. Will Julia win again? Can Amy get a nostalgia vote and finally win? Can critical favorite Lisa Kudrow make a comeback of her own? Or is it Amy Schumer's year? You decide, it will close early next Sunday morning!

Television Critics Association (TCA) Award Winners

The biggest surprise is that Inside Amy Schumer took both comedy awards, denying the critical favorite Transparent any wins. Also kind of surprised by Better Call Saul's win. I guess that as the series picked up steam in the second half of its season, critics, who has previously not been as high on it as its predecessor, responded in kind. Empire's win vindicates its Emmy snubs, and while I'm happy for Jon Hamm (who has won before, I was hoping for either Viola Davis or Taraji P. Henson to boost their Emmy chances with a win. Check out the full list below: 

Program of the Year

Outstanding Achievement in Drama
The Americans

Outstanding Achievement in Comedy
Inside Amy Schumer

Outstanding New Program
Better Call Saul

Individual Achievement in Drama
Jon Hamm "Mad Men"

Individual Achievement in Comedy
Amy Schumer "Inside Amy Schumer"

Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries, and Specials
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

Outstanding Achievement in News and Information
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming
The Chair

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming
The Fosters

Heritage Award
Late Show/Late Night with David Letterman

Career Achievement
James L. Brooks

Friday, August 7, 2015

By the Sea Trailer

I know I have been posting a lot of trailers lately, and doing a lot less commentary. But right now we sit in the lull of late summer. The Emmy nods are out, but we're not quite ready to start making bold winner predictions (and starting August 18th, winner predictions will start here at The Awards Psychic). The summer blockbuster season is winding down, but the Oscar and fall season doesn't really start till the end of August/early September with the onslaught of the film festivals. So right now there is not much news to go around, although I hope to see Ricki and the Flash soon so at least there will be something to talk about. So for now, enjoy another trailer, and I promise, things will pick up soon! This one is By the Sea. It is basically an extended teaser. I'm not sure what to think of it, other than to say that we know there is a lot of chemistry between Pitt and Jolie (I would hope so), and that this is intriguing to say the least. Will it be an Oscar player? As always, we'll have to wait and see...

Television Critics Association (TCA) Award Predictions

Tomorrow are the TCA Awards, and they are always a surprise. But here is my stab at predictions, check back tomorrow night/Sunday morning for the full list of winners:

Program of the Year - Empire

Outstanding Achievement in Comedy - Transparent

Outstanding Achievement in Drama - The Americans

Individual Achievement in Comedy - Amy Schumer "Inside Amy Schumer"

Individual Achievement in Drama - Viola Davis "How to Get Away With Murder"

Outstanding New Program - Empire

Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries, and Specials - Olive Kitteridge

Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming - The Chair

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming - Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

Outstanding Achievement in News and Information - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Heritage Award - Late Show/Late Night with David Letterman

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Everest Trailer

I think I might be underestimating this one. It could really sneak in under the wire and be a real player. Its case is absolutely fantastic, and stacked to the say the least and it is opening the Venice Film Festival. But the director's action track record has not been awards material, so I am still up in the air over this one. The trailer though is trilling to say the least, and if done right, could be a Gravity type hit.

Stonewall Trailer

Roland Emmerich has never made a great movie, but apparently this is his passion project. There has been some negative buzz about the fact that many of the characters are not based on real people, and there are apparently some racial implications in the casting. I will hold judgment till I see the film, but from my view, it looks like Emmerich has finally at least attempted to make a film of real substance, and I am definitely interested to see how the final product turns out, because if done right, this could be a well-received film with awards potential. As always, we'll have to wait and see...

Monday, August 3, 2015

Nancy Meyers' The Intern Trailer

It looks like a fun film, with two good performances from Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro. Looks too light for Oscars (although you never know), but my guess is that this is more up the Golden Globes alley:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The 5th Annual Awards Psychic Television Award Winners

Best Drama Series
Winner - Mad Men
Runners Up - The Americans, Game of Thrones, Parenthood, Masters of Sex and Empire
Commentary - So the seventh season of Mad Men was not its best. I admit this fully, and as many of you know, for every honor that is about a particular season or episode, I am fully guilty of honoring career achievement, history, etc. But I really don't feel bad about it, because if I don't do it now, I will never get another chance. Mad Men will go down as one of the best television series of all time. Period. It was a groundbreaking series that brought quality dramas and Emmys beyond the early dichotomy of Broadcast shows and paid-for cable networks. It was one of the most essential pieces to the Golden Age of Television that started with the birth of The West Wing and The Sopranos in 1999. It will be sorely missed, and there will be a gap in our culture in its absence. Yes, it was that good.

Best Comedy Series
Winner - Please Like Me
Runners Up - black-ish, Silicon Valley, Parks & Recreation, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Commentary - Please Like Me didn't submit for any Emmys. It is not a super popular show. Instead it is a quirky millennial dramedy from Australia that airs on a little seen network called Pivot. But for this 25 year old, this is one of the few shows on television that spoke to me. It is a brilliantly written and acted show from the mind of the talented Josh Thomas. It is half a coming of age tale for the millennial age, and half a family psychological drama. And while so many shows try to balance these types of distinct poles unsuccessfully. Please Like Me does it with an ease, and a shrug, that is admirable, and remarkable to watch. Don't get me wrong, I am not just picking this to look different or pretentious. Transparent was remarkable, black-ish and Brooklyn Nine-Nine make me laugh every week, and Parks and Recreation (which has won this award twice) went out with a bang.  But this is my personal choice, and no comedy series in the last year had quite the same impact. Most of you have not watched it yet. Do it now, before the new season starts in October. It is definitely worth your time.

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Winner  - Jon Hamm "Mad Men"
Runners Up - James Spader "The Blacklist", Michael Sheen "Masters of Sex", Bob Odenkirk "Better Call Saul"
Commentary - It is a well-known fact at this point that Jon Hamm has never won an Emmy. It is ridiculous, and hopefully, with three chances this year, the streak will be over. I don't want to go down like the Emmys, and say I never gave him an honor. I'm really not that in tune with what people think, but I agree that he is worthy of any honor he gets. He has been phenomenal the last seven years on Mad Men, and has created a new iconic character in the television canon, Don Draper, and it would be ridiculous not to reward one of our finest actors working on television, and in film, today.

Best Actress in a Drama Series
Winner - (TIE) Viola Davis "How to Get Away With Murder" and Taraji P. Henson "Empire"
Runners Up - Lizzy Caplan "Masters of Sex", Keri Russell "The Americans", Vera Farmiga "Bate's Motel"
Commentary - This year, two of our finest actresses, both of whom have never been given as much credit as they deserve, blazed onto our television sets. Of course I am speaking of Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson. They were firing on all cylinders this year, gave remarkable, game-changing performances, and elevated what could have been mediocre primetime soaps into wildly entertaining, high quality dramas that were two of the highest rated shows on television. If either of them win, it will be an historical moment, one that is way overdue. But this is not just about historical firsts, or the changing demographics of television and its audience. This is about rewarding the best, and if Emmy voters want to do that, then pick one of these incredible women.

Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Winner - (TIE) Jeffrey Tambor "Transparent" and Anthony Anderson "black-ish"
Runners Up -  Josh Thomas "Please Like Me" and Thomas Middleditch "Silicon Valley"
Commentary - Sometimes ties are about copping out of actually having to make a decision. Sometimes they are rewarding two different ends of the spectrum. Jeffrey Tambor was phenomenal, and groundbreaking in his work in Transparent, and gave us all more to think about the way we see the world and ourselves. He has always been a great actor, but Transparent proves he is one of the best. But this is a comedy category, and while Tambor is great, he is not that funny. So I had to split here to honor probably my favorite Emmy nominee this year. Anthony Anderson, and the entire cast of black-ish, are fantastic and have a great energy and chemistry. But it is his charisma and humor as Andre that lead that show and that cast, and his magnetism on screen is endearing. And finally, after years of playing the joke sidekick, Anderson has finally found the perfect project to match his eminent comedic talent.

Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Winner - Lisa Kudrow "The Comeback"
Runners Up - Mindy Kaling "The Mindy Project" and Amy Poehler "Parks & Recreation"
Commentary - Poehler is fantastic as always in Parks & Recreation, and Mindy Kaling was very close to winning this award for a stellar season of The Mindy Project. But the single best performance in any comedy series this year was the fantastic Lisa Kudrow. The Comeback had a rough comeback, pun intended, but it soon found its way, mostly because of the magnetism of Kudrow. Her Valerie Cherish is a singular creation, a sensational unique character that is not only our hero (and sometimes our anti-hero), but is always worth watching. And that is because Kudrow is one of our finest comedic actors working today, something she has proved time and time again for now over two decades on television and in film. I'm glad we got to see The Comeback come back, and I hope that we don't have to wait another ten years to see Valerie Cherish on our small screens yet again.

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Winner - Craig T. Nelson "Parenthood"
Runners Up - Jonathan Banks "Better Call Saul" and Michael Kelly "House of Cards"
Commentary - Parenthood remains one of the most criminally under-rewarded dramas on television in the last decade. Its cast was simply fantastic, its stories beautiful, painful, and authentic, and the fact that Emmy voters never embraced it should be a black mark on their otherwise pretty good track record the last couple of years. In its final season, Parenthood was better than ever, and at its center was an incredible and painful performance from the great Craig T. Nelson. He has been on television and in film for years, and I have always enjoyed his work. But I think that his role as Zeek Braverman is his crowning achievement, and his final story line was the series' most heartbreaking, and most exceptional to watch. And that is saying a lot.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Winner - Lorraine Touissant "Orange is the New Black"
Runners Up - Lena Heady "Game of Thrones" and Christine Baranski "The Good Wife"
Commentary - This was a great year, overall, for Emmy nominations, but I am devastated that Lorraine Touissant did not get in for Orange is the New Black. I love me some Uzo Aduba, but if only one of those cast members could get in it should have been Touissant. She has been an incredible veteran character actress for years (I loved her role in Selma this year), but his year she simply explodes in Orange is the New Black, and takes command of every scene she was in. The Emmys might have made the mistake of ignoring her, but I will not. She is simply too damn good to not win a well-deserved honor.

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Winner - Nick Offerman "Parks & Recreation"
Runners Up - T.J. Miller "Silicon Valley" and Tituss Burgess "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"
Commentary - T.J. Miller continues to be the best part of Silicon Valley and Tituss Burgess is going to win one of these awards someday if he keeps us his fabulous-ness on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. But in its final season, I was reminded of how awesome Nick Offerman has been on seven seasons of one of my favorite shows. He had so many great moments throughout all the seasons, and the Ron and Leslie episode was simply perfect. I hate that I now have to live in a world where Parks and Recreation is not on the air anymore. But I love that I got one last opportunity to give Nick Offerman a final farewell.

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Winner - Anna Chlumsky "Veep"
Runners Up - Allison Janney "Mom" and Chelsea Peretti "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
Commentary - Allison Janney was once again brilliant on Mom (although she as already won an Awards Psychic Television Award), and if she wins another Emmy, you will here no complaints from me. And I personally love the antics of Chelsea Peretti on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. But was everyone has jaw-dropped as I was at how good Anna Chlumsky was this year on Veep? It wasn't just that incredible scene where she finally lets Selina Meyer have it. It was an entire season where we finally got to see a depth of character to Amy. We got to see her break down, rise again, go back to the dream she always had, and break through as an actress. The season as a whole was not its best, but it was definitely Chlumsky's best, and she nailed it.

Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Winner - Walton Goggins "Sons of Anarchy"
Runners Up - Courtney B. Vance "Scandal" and Sam Shepard "Bloodline"
Commentary - Sons of Anarchy ended its run this year with a bang, and while Emmy voters never really saw its greatness, plenty of fans will keep it living on for years to come as a classic. Throughout its run there were multitudes of memorable performances. But none so memorable as Walton Goggins playing Venus Van Dam, the transgender prostitute with a horrifying past. This is a role that could have been a way to over-the-top caricature, but in the hands of Walton Goggins it was transformed into a memorable and important character that proves he is one of the best actors working today.

Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Winner - Lois Smith "The Americans"
Runners Up - Allison Janney "Masters of Sex" and CCH Pounder "Sons of Anarchy"
Commentary - I love Margo Martindale, and I love her character on The Americans, but if there was only going to be one of the guest stars nominated in this category it should have been Lois Smith. Smith is a veteran character actress that most of you would recognize as soon as you saw her, even if you didn't know how you knew her. She has been working in film and on television for 64 years, and she has stolen many scenes in her time. But this year on The Americans, she was probably the best I have ever seen her. She simply lit up the screen, and had probably some of the season's most memorable moments, which is saying a lot considering how great this season was. The Emmys may have ignored her, but I will not let her go away without out at least a little recognition.

Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Winner - Bradley Whitford "Transparent"
Runner Up - Bill Hader "Saturday Night Live"
Commentary - Bradley Whitford is one of my favorite actors, and not just because he was Josh on the West Wing (although that is a big part of it). I thought he was great on the criminally under-appreciated Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and last year's Trophy Wife was a laugh-out-loud gem that unfortunately never got an audience behind it. His role on HAPPYish was great, it is just a shame the rest of the show didn't match its actor's talents. But this year he had another triumphant role that earned him yet another Emmy nomination for his role as a fellow transgender opposite Jeffrey Tambor in the new hit Transparent. He is a perfect on-screen companion for Tambor, and the two form a special bond on screen that is magnificent to watch. He has some stiff competition in his Emmy category from the likes of Bill Hader and Jon Hamm. But don't be surprised if he walks away with another Emmy. He is that good.

Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Winner - Gaby Hoffman "Girls"
Runners Up - Pamela Adlon "Louie" and Susie Essman "Broad City"
Commentary - After watching this so-so season of Girls, the one episode that stood out to me was the finale when Gaby Hoffman, playing Adam's sister in the show, makes a recurring appearance as a soon-to-be mother trying to give birth her to newborn child in a bathtub. It is a ridiculous, surprisingly funny, and yet ultimately sweet episode, and it all hinges on Hoffman's performance. It really was a lackluster season, but Hoffman's work in the finale almost made the whole experience worth it. She was that good, and combined with her work in Transparent, she is having a banner year on television, and is knocking it out of the park. And her double Emmy nominations this year were a complete, yet awesome, surprise.

Best Miniseries
Winner - Olive Kitteridge
Runner Up - American Horror Story: Freak Show
Commentary - Adapting Elizabeth Strout's sprawling Pulitzer-Prize winning novel was no easy task. It spreads itself over decades, has plenty of one-time and intertwining characters that weave their way in and out of the title character's life, and is more thematically cohesive, than it is on a plot-based level. But Lisa Cholodenko and her top-notch cast and crew rose to the challenge to create what was easily, the best, most profound, and most emotionally resonant miniseries of the past television season.

Best TV Movie
Winner - Bessie
Runner Up - A Poet in New York
Commentary - In a weak year for Television movies, one stood out so much, that honestly, it was a waste of time even coming up with other nominees. Of course I am speaking of HBO's triumphant Bessie. An important and untold story that lights up the screen thanks to a stellar lead performance from Queen Latifah, and a widly talented supporting cast. Bessie was entertaining, well-made, and big-screen quality. An easy, and deserving winner.

Best Actor in a TV Movie/Minseries
Winner - Richard Jenkins "Olive Kitteridge"
Runner Up - Evan Peters "American Horror Story: Freak Show"
Commentary - Frances McDormand has gotten a lot of the credit for her lead role in Olive Kitteridge (see below), but I don't know how you can reward her without also rewarding the spectacular Richard Jenkins. He has a quiet, yet powerful presence throughout, and provides the warm counterpart to McDormand's prickliness. But there is a darkness, a sensitivity, and a presence that only a talented actor like Jenkins can pull off. He is remarkable, and at the end, it is his story, as much as Olive's that ends up being powerful. Jenkins has been working hard for years in Hollywood and has never won a major award. I would love to see him accept an Emmy award next month. It would be a long-awaited, and well-deserved honor.

Best Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Winner - Frances McDormand "Olive Kitteridge"
Runners Up - Queen Latifah "Bessie" and Jessica Lange "American Horror Story: Freak Show"
Commentary - So like I was saying, most of the hype of Olive Kitteridge belongs to its central performance by Frances McDormand, and there is a very good reason for this. She is a towering presence, creates an emotional, and yet simultaneously emotionally-hollow character that is tough, beloved, and yet disliked by many who encounter her, and whose strength and wisdom are both a force of good, and a detriment to her life, family, and friendships. Making such a complicated character successful takes good writing, which Olive Kitteridge certainly has, but more importantly, a seasoned and talented actor to make it pop and cohere on screen. McDormand does that and more. She is one of our finest actresses, and this is yet another singular and fantastic performance.

Best Supporting Actor in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Winner - Finn Wittrock "American Horror Story: Freak Show"
Runners Up - Brian Cox "The Game" and Michael Kenneth Williams "Bessie"
Commentary - A stacked category filled with plenty of talented veteran actors, and yet for me, the standout among the group was a relative newcomer. Finn Wittrock is fantastic as Dandy on this chapter of American Horror Story. His balance of the childishness, the sinister, the pain, and the desperation, made for a character that easily stole the show from much more popular and well-known co-stars, and created yet another remarkable character that will go down in history along with some of the others that Murphy and his team have concocted in the first four years of AHS's run, as wild, scary, and simply unforgettable.

Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie/Miniseries
Winner - Sarah Paulson "American Horror Story: Freak Show"
Runners Up - Monique "Bessie" and Zoe Kazan "Olive Kitteridge"
Commentary - Unlike the Television Academy, I have already given Sarah Paulson an award for her work on American Horror Story. But, even with someone like Monique as a possibility, I could not pass up yet another chance to reward one of my favorite actresses. This year she plays conjoined twins, and like all of her recent work, it is astounding at just how good she really is. And most importantly, she always seems up for the challenge, and Murphy keeps giving her more and more complicated and deep work. And every single time she rises to the challenge.

Best Animated Series
Winner - Bob's Burgers
Runner Up - Archer
Commentary - Archer Vice was better than I thought it was going to be, and has left us with a lot of potential next season. But like last year, I was just in love with Bob's Burgers, it is so much fun, with such a kooky and fun cast of characters that it is simply infectious. Definitely the best animated series on broadcast television today.