Friday, July 15, 2016

2016 Emmy Nominations: Analysis

I love the Emmys. By the time the Oscars come around, there are few surprises. But The Emmys are always full of jaw-droppers, and this year was no exception.

There are so many places to start, so let's just work our way through the categories. Orange is the New Black basically got screwed when it got moved to Drama, and this year it finally met its match and missed out. But who would have thought that The Americans would take its place? The Television Academy has been going through similar process like AMPAS to add newer, younger, and more diverse members to their ranks in recent years. It hasn't made as many headlines because they clearly do not have the diversity problems that the Oscars are having. But I think that we are starting to really see the influx having an affect. After three years of essentially ignoring The Americans, it is suddenly nominated for the top three Drama awards. Of course they still made room for some old favorites like Downton and Homeland, but that addition along with Mr. Robot proves that there are some interesting sections of the voting bloc that are pushing the Emmys forward. The biggest snub was Orange is the New Black. The switch to Drama was rough, but the fact that it missed out on this prize and others is proof that voters simply liked it better as a dark comedy. Best Actor on had one real surprise, as did Best Actress, and both were of course Rhys and Russell from The Americans. Julianna Margulies and Michelle Dockery could not get back in, and a lot of folks were predicting the Billions or Horace & Pete duo to maybe make a splash. The Supporting categories are really where they mixed things up. No Jim Carter or Joanne Froggatt, No Christine Baranski or Alan Cumming, and the two real shockers:  No Uzo Aduba and No Christian Slater. Game of Thrones was the real winner in these categories, swooping up extra slots along with the Dinklage, Heady, and Clarke trio. Kit Harington had the big storyline this season, and was rewarded, and fan favorite Maisie Williams finally gets recognition she deserves. The other big surprises were Maura Tierney (I know she won The Globe, but The Affair was ignored in other categories), and Constance Zimmer, who won the Critics over, but was on a Lifetime show (which also got into writing this year). At the same time that voters loaded up the acting categories with House of Cards and Game of Thrones, there was also a lot of variety as well.

Damn Veep. It wasn't enough that you won this year, you had to clean up even more nods. From Matt Walsh joining Hale (was kind of hoping it would be Simons, but Walsh is pretty damn good too), to Mull and MacNicol getting in for Guest, and then a ton of love from the writers and directors, Veep exploded. Of course it should have, as season 5 was incredible. I was also so thrilled to see Season 2 of black-ish, along with Ross and Anderson get in (was hoping for Lewis and Fishburne, but maybe next year!). It is such a funny and smart show, and it definitely deserves to pick up where Modern Family left off. Speaking of Modern Family, only Burrell is left, and if it continues at this rate, it might miss out on the top nomination soon enough. Looking through the acting categories, it was great to see the acting branch finally embrace Silicon Valley with that Thomas Middleditch nomination, and can I say, after years of literally groaning at the Best Actor in a Comedy Series nominees, these six are fantastic choices. Laurie Metcalf scored big with three nominations, but the one I am most excited about is Getting On. That is a great show, and to see her and Niecy Nash get in for its final season is a real high point for me. Although I am so happy she also got a nod for Big Bang. I get that voters love Christine Baranski's Beverly, I do too. But every episode that Metcalf's Mary Cooper is in is a riot, and she is a scene-stealer if there ever was one. I am sad that neither of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ladies got in, and of course Bowen's snub is huge. Overall, I think the Emmy voters did well. I would have liked to have seen Casual, Girls, Please Like Me (which was finally on the ballot), and more of Mom and Getting On, but in the current television landscape narrowing down these categories is near impossible.

TV Movie/Mini
Why oh why did voters ignore Show Me a Hero? It was brilliant, HBO was behind it, and it had a great cast. I will never understand it getting literally zero nominations, especially those actors. What we did learn is that American Horror Story has finally peaked at the Emmys, and that Emmy voters loved The People vs. OJ Simpson so damn much that Gooding, Travolta, and Schwimmer got in over some big names. As for the rest, I loved the Bokeem Woodbine nomination, and shocked none of the Roots actors managed a nod, and am jaw-dropped that something like The Dresser, with those two actors at its lead, managed to miss out across the board.

I don't care too much about either of these categories, but two things stand out. First, The RuPaul nomination in Reality Host is fantastic and I hope it leads to the show making it in soon. The second is hard to type. I cannot fathom how that mediocre Jerry Seinfeld show could get in over the likes of Samantha Bee, other than outright and blatant sexism. With Colbert tamed and Stewart out, she is the best thing in variety television, and while the writing nod is nice, she was robbed. Period.

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