Monday, September 21, 2015

2015 Emmys: The End

Awards shows, by their nature, are long and clunky, and usually are an overall let down. Even those of us who dedicate so much time and energy to tracking the awards season understand this. We love celebrating our favorite movies, television shows, music, etc. each year, and we're in it for the actors, directors, cinematographers, and makeup folks whose work we admire. So usually, we are able to overlook the fact that the ceremony it self is usually a hot mess. But this year, I was so happy to see that not only were there a ton of great winners, and some nice surprises along the way, but this was actually one of the best ceremonies in recent Emmy history. Andy Samberg, like most hosts, had a few jokes that fell flat, and a few moments that felt overwrought. But overall, he was goofy and light and funny, and not too much of anything, which can sometimes be a problem for Samberg. He had a great Lonely Island song to start the show, and some of his jokes, like Paula Deen, landed really well. The show got done exactly at 11 like it was supposed to. There were a few interruptions, like the In Memoriam and the spoiler-alert nightmare that was the final season montage (although despite the spoilers, it was a nice idea, and a nice moment for a lot of shows, especially those that weren't nominated for Emmys this year). But overall, the show was smooth, fast-paced, and had some great winners. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now let's go to the winners. First, let's take a second to talk about how the process this year affected the outcome. A few years from now, we are going to be bemoaning the repeat winners, and the populist lean of the voters, and the under-appreciated performances that get overlooked. Because without episodes mattering as much, the bigger names will win over the performances. But let's face it, for every great winner that came out of that old system, there were more probably that were huge shocks, and not always good shocks. Remember Jon Cryer winning actor that year after Charlie Sheen left? Remember how some of those overdone David E. Kelley winners won year after year because they had big speeches? There are going to be flaws in who wins every single year. No matter how they change the rules, or move around shows, there are going to be folks who are not happy. But for its first year, the new rules knocked it out of the park. We got to see veterans like Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, and Regina King (I was so rooting for Paulson, but if someone was going to beat her, I'm glad it was the awesome Regina King) finally win Emmys after decades of being ignored. Jon Hamm finally won an Emmy for Mad Men, breaking the show's streak, and delivering an Emmy to one of television's most iconic characters. Viola Davis, my personal favorite of the night, finally made history by becoming the first black actress to win that category, a barrier which had stood for way too long. Game of Thrones was finally able to win, so geeks around the world are celebrating, and smaller panels weren't able to rubber-stamp another Modern Family victory, with Veep finally winning in its fourth season. Sure, while the Emmys used to spread the love more, popular shows were able to basically sweep in their categories (Veep, Game of Thrones, and Olive Kitteridge), but wins for Davis, Hamm, Transparent and Jeffrey Tambor, King, and others broke up some of that, and proved that voters are not so lazy that they can't pick some different offering. Speaking of Tambor, after 22 years and 7 Emmy nominations along the way, one of our best wins an historic and well-deserved Emmy.

There are plenty of things to be mad about. I love Peter Dinklage, but even he knew that it should have gone to Jonathan Banks (who would have won under the old tape system, I told you it wasn't perfect), and while Don Draper and Jon Hamm finally got their due, Leslie Knope and Amy Poehler are still Emmy-less, and will remain so. This was the one that really got me. I love Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but the fact that Poehler has made it through SNL, 3 Golden Globes, and Parks & Recreation without an Emmy is simply ridiculous. But the fact that there were really only two categories I thought were off, shows that while there will be plenty of issues with the new voting system, their first time at bat, they knocked it out of the park.

Thank you for a wonderful Emmy season. As always, I loved the whole process, and while the Oscars will be my first love always, the Emmys are a good time, and a great way to spend a long, hot summer. Congratulations to all the winners, and the nominees, and to the Emmys this year for a great show. The Oscar season has already started, and yes, I am a bit behind with my Toronto coverage, and promise to do some updated predictions soon to try to start to sort out this year's race. For now, I bid the Emmys farewell, and I thank all of my wonderful followers who have continued to stick with me all this years. And, to quote this year's Best Drama Series, winter is coming, and I can't wait.

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