Archive for the ‘Bessie’ Tag

67th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Leading Actress in a Limited Series or Movie   Leave a comment

longform actress

We reach the last acting category for the longform acting ones, as we discuss the leading ladies of the past year. All of them Oscar nominated with three of them Best Actress winners from the 1990s. Let’s begin.

Emma Thompson once again sneaked an Emmy nomination basically without any campaign at all. This time, it’s for the live rendition of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Live From the Lincoln Center. This reminded me of Thompson’s nomination for The Song of Lunch. I doubt she’d even bother attending, but then this just won Outstanding Special Class Program at last night’s Creative Emmys, so that might mean that it has its followers.

Pulling off a surprise win last year is Jessica Lange over supposed frontrunner Cicely Tyson for her work in American Horror Story: Coven. This time around, Lange is nominated again for Freak Show where she plays circus owner Elsa Mars. Lange takes a backseat during most of the season’s run, but she was front and center in the initial pilot episode including a big reveal in the end. This is also the last time they can reward Lange as she officially retired from the AHS series.

Queen Latifah receives her second career Emmy nomination seven years after her first for Best TV Movie winner Bessie. Playing the title role Bessie Smith, Latifah has probably name checked the amount of drama and acting she was required to do in this. It’s a very charming performance using Latifah’s own voice in her singing parts, and one that could have garnered her an Oscar nomination too. If Bessie continues to have a huge contingent, then this might be the expected surprise (a bit) win.

While The Honourable Woman hasn’t been as well-received as initially expected, I think Maggie Gyllenhaal has way far more support than the whole show itself. Already winning the Golden Globe back in January, Maggie carries the whole series on her back especially during the first hour of the limited series. It includes a scene of her running and doing a lot of crying, so that might siphon votes her way.

Ten years after pulling off that upset in 2005 for Desperate Housewives, Felicity Huffman is back in the Emmy race for her role as racist and defensive mom Barbara Hanlon in American Crime. Huffman does a lot of strong acting in this series, garnering critical support, but what works the best in her favor is that she’s a respected actress which commands a lot of support from her peers. That said, she’s up against equally respected (if not more) co-nominees, so chances are, this is a welcome back nod for her.

Lastly, we have SAG winner Frances McDormand rounding the group with her performance as the title role of Olive Kitteridge. McDormand gets to play a gamut of emotions and situations in this performance, one backed by the actors guild and the critics alike. Considering Olive did well in the nominations, it’s ideal to think that McDormand is on her way to achieve that E and complete the acting trifecta wins this year.

Prediction: Frances McDormand, “Olive Kitteridge”
Alternate: Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Honourable Woman”

Full Rankings:
01. Frances McDormand, “Olive Kitteridge”
02. Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Honourable Woman”
03. Queen Latifah, “Bessie
04. Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Freak Show
05. Felicity Huffman, “American Crime
06. Emma Thompson, “Live from the Lincoln Center: Sweeney Todd: The Demon barber of Fleet Street

Check my other 2015 Emmy prediction analysis here.

For more Emmy talk, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

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67th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie   Leave a comment

longform supp actor

Let’s continue our discussion with the male counterparts as we tackle the Supporting Actor in Limited Series and TV Movies. Richard Cabral got in this year for his role as Hector Tonz in American Crime and submitting “Episode 10” where he was accused to be lying about the gun leading to his deportation to Mexico. He is very sympathetic in his episode as he was being forced to admit something he said he really didn’t do. That said, tapes seem like they don’t matter anymore,

Two seasons after his first nomination for the first season, Denis O’Hare is back for another shot, this time for American Horror Story: Freak Show. This nomination came off as a surprise considering it’s Emmy winner Michael Chiklis who has the flashier role. Playing muscle man Stanley, his submission “Pink Cupcakes”  is nothing to write home about. But then again, his surprise nomination might indicate support and the voting system favors basically out of nowhere wins.

On the other hand, his AHS co-star and co-nominee Finn Wittrock is a welcome surprise to the race and it’s one who would fare better under the tape system because “Bullseye” was a good submissions. However, he’s hurt by the fact that the new voting system favors name checking or veteran status more than newbies and younger ones. That said, he can still be in the race and who knows, might pull off the win.

Emmy winner Damian Lewis guns for his Emmy #2, now for Limited Series nominee Wolf Hall. Playing the villainous role of Henry VII of England, this is a flashy performance as one can get. It has shoutings and long monologues and confrontations and even a supposed death scene. If tapes do matter, then his submission “Crows”  would have been a sure shot. Remember though that we’re still talking about Emmy winner Damian Lewis here, only one of the two men who’ve beaten Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad, so clearly he’s a familiar name.

Getting in for Best TV Movie winner Bessie is Michael Kenneth Williams who is Queen Latifah’s lover in the movie. It’s a pretty showy role appearing in a large chunk of the TV movie. I can’t help but think though that if another more prominent actor was in the role, it would have been a sure winner. It’s basically not because Michael Kenneth Williams’ performance wasn’t good, but that it would have given him more buzz.

Then there’s Bill Murray. His submission, the last parter for Olive Kitteridge has that emotional moment with Frances McDormand in the end, but aside from that, it’s basically a “nothing much happened” performance. However, we’re talking about Bill Murray here, and he’s the biggest and most respected name from the bunch. While that didn’t help Ed Harris in 2012, we’re living with a new voting system where Murray can easily benefit with a win.

I still don’t know who to predict here. Maybe Bill Murray can easily go all the way, though his caise is usually the type of contender that the press would usually pimp but ends up losing. So I guess I’ll go with Emmy winner Damian Lewis in a scenery chewing performance. Then there’s over the top Fin Wittrock as well considering they’ve already rewarded AHS performance in the same category before.

Prediction: Damian Lewis, “Wolf Hall”
Alternate: Bill Murray, “Olive Kitteridge”

Full Rankings:
01. Damian Lewis, “Wolf Hall”
02. Bill Murray, “Olive Kitteridge”
03. Finn Wittrock, “American Horror Story: Freak Show
04. Michael Kenneth Williams, “Bessie
05. Richard Cabral, “American Crime
06. Denis O’Hare, “American Horror Story: Freak Show

Check my other 2015 Emmy prediction analysis here.

For more Emmy talk, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

67th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie   Leave a comment

longform supp actress

Let’s move on to the longform acting categories which provided the surprises last year as frontrunners Mark Ruffalo, Cicely Tyson, Matt Bomer and Julia Roberts all went home empty handed. With how crazy this year’s new voring is taking shape, we’d know if the same applies for 2015. It’s a tad hilarious that this is the year where they started the tape system when tapes seem like they don’t matter anymore.

Anyway, let’s begin with the trifecta of American Horror Story: Freak Show actresses in this category – all nominated last year and all came back again this year. As Desiree Dupree, Angela Bassett played the three-breasted freak with so such commitment this season, but she’s jsut competing with two other characters who received meatier material than her. Even her submission “Show Stoppers” feature her co-nominees more than her.

Then there’s current champ Kathy Bates who plays the role of bearded woman Ethel Darling. After years of slump when it comes to Emmy wins, Bates suddenly won two Emmys in three years, and she’s very much in it again this year. While her submission “Edward Mordrake Part 1” is excellent on its own, she also shines in the extra two tapes she had from her co-nominees. Plus, she benefits from name-checking as well.

But it doesn’t get as baity as Sarah Paulson now on her fourth consecutive nomination (and still Emmyless, while we’re at it). Her role as twins Bette and Dot is probably the most challenging in this group (though Tatiana Maslany probably laughs at this sentence), and if she can’t win for this double performance, she probably won’t ever win for this whole series. And while her episode “Tupperware Massacre Party” makes her really competitive, it might be too gimmicky for other voters.

Elsewhere, there’s Zoe Kazan from Olive Kitteridge playing the role of the outgoing Denise Thibodeau. Submitting the first part of the series is a wise move, as it contains her most vital moments where she came as stronger than perceived. It has the perfect balance of comedy and drama that might appeal to voters, or the Olive Kitteridge fans among the voting bloc.

For her role as Aliyah Shadeed in American CrimeRegina King received her first Emmy career nomination. An Islam convert in the show, King’s submission “Episode Four” had her delivering a speech in the episode which is as Emmy clip as one can possibly wish. The support for American Crime is more than what was expected, so if voters aren’t in the mood for the horror story, this can be one where they’ll throw their vote to.

Closing the group is Oscar winner Mo’nique for her turn as Ma Rainey in TV Movie winner Bessie. For this performance, Mo’nique has already received lots of great ink which easily puts her as in hunt for the actual Emmy. Her biggest problem though is that she appears only in the first part of the series only to just come back in the last few moments. While this works in a usual show episode, this might be deemed far too small for a TV movie performance. Only one actress has won this category for a TV Movie in the last five years (Julia Ormond in 2010 and that’s because 4 of the 5 nominees are from TV Movies).

Sarah Paulson is the overwhelming frontrunner here between her transformative role and her overdue status, but she is a shaky frontrunner at best. Kathy Bates can easily pull off a back to back, so does Mo’nique to reach halfway of her EGOT status. I’m currently thinking Bates’ beard would be enough to pull a double Paulson come next week.

Prediction: Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Freak Show
Alternate: Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Freak Show

Full Rankings:
01. Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Freak Show
02. Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Freak Show
03. Mo’nique, “Bessie
04. Regina King, “American Crime
05. Zoe Kazan, “Olive Kitteridge
06. Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Freak Show

Check my other 2015 Emmy prediction analysis here.

For more Emmy talk, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

67th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Writing and Directing in a Movie or Mini Series   Leave a comment

Hi there again, you’re still reading the continuous 2015 Emmy predictions over here at Tit for Tat. We’re currently still doing the longform categories which combine both the television movies and limited series. For this one, we’d be focusing on the writing and directing categories. In other awards show, these two categories are usually swept by one movie (in the case of Oscars) or one record (in the case of Grammys). But the Emmys doesn’t play like that. In the last five years, only two times did one show manage to win both (Downton Abbey in 2011 and Game Change in 2012). If we extend it to the last 15 years, that would be seven times. Let’s see where this year lies.

longform directing

First up, it’s directing! Seven directorial efforts were nominated this year, but we can easily cross out some already. The Missing hasn’t been nominated for miniseries, and this is its sole nom, so it’s unlikely for it to win. Houdini got its lead actor Adrien Brody a nomination, but otherwise, it’s almost shut out as well. The season opener of American Horror Story: Freak Show is as flashy and grandiose and over the top as one can expect from Ryan Murphy, but in this case, the nomination is its reward. Any of the four other remaining contenders have a chance to snatch this category. Bessie is a template player for biopics, and they have rewarded a lot of those in the past (Temple Grandin in 2010, Game Change in 2012, Behind the Candelabra in 2013 and like Bessie, those are all from HBO). The Honourable Woman, while underperforming in terms of nominations, has everything that looks baity with its direction — big speeches? Check! explosions? Check! Tense-filled scenes? Check. Wolf Hall is another of those go-to showy directing pieces the Emmy usually reward (aside from biopics) just like Downton Abbey in 2011, Little Dorrit in 2009, and Elizabeth I in 2006. Ultimately, I think it’s Oscar nominee Lisa Cholodenko’s to lose. Her four part directorial event in Olive Kitteridge had critics raving to no end, and an Emmy will definitely be deserved.

Prediction: Lisa Cholodenko, “Olive Kitteridge”
Alternate: Peter Kosminsky, Wolf Hall”

Full Rankings:
01. Lisa Cholodenko, “Olive Kitteridge”
02. Peter Kosminsky, Wolf Hall”
03. Hugo Block, The Honourable Woman”
04. Dee Rees, Bessie”
05. Ryan Murphy, “American Horror Story: Freak Show (Monster Among Us)”
06. Uli Edel, “Houdini”
07. Tom Shankland, “The Missing

longform writing

Onto the writing side, it’s basically an Olive Kitteridge vs. Wolf Hall redux all over again. If they want to spread the wealth just like usual, then we can see a Wolf Hall win here, which is plausible on its own considering that they’re into British period pieces as well. But then, the new voting system where in everyone can easily vote in almost all categories without the need to prove such will make it an easy checking for Olive Kitteridge here. As for the other nominees, Hello Ladies: The Movie, while great on its own, might be seen as too lightweight in contrast to the other serious nominees. Bessie‘s direction has more chances than its writing, which goes without saying that it’s likely it will just lose both. The same actually applies for The Honourable Woman. The only other spoiler I can see here is Oscar winner John Ridley’s work for the pilot of American Crime, which picked up a lot of nominations, so there’s a chance of that really happening.

Prediction: Peter Straughan, “Wolf Hall”
Alternate: Jane Anderson, “Olive Kitteridge

Full Rankings:
01. Peter Straughan, “Wolf Hall”
02. Jane Anderson, “Olive Kitteridge
03. John Ridley, American Crime: Episode One” 
04. Hugo BlickThe Honourable Woman”
05. Dee Rees, Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gillois, Horton Foote, “Bessie”
06. Stephen Merchant, Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg, “Hello Ladies: The Movie”

Check in soon to see the rest of my 2015 Emmy prediction analysis. For more Emmy talk, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

67th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Television Movie   Leave a comment

tv movie

And we’re back! As another TV year ends, a new Emmy season begins! For the next month leading to the Primetime Emmys on September 20, we will be covering 30 different races ranging from dramas to comedies up to reality shows and variety sketches! This year, we begin with one of the easiest races of the night… Outstanding Television Movie.

It’s a tad ironic that this category has six nominees this year considering how weak the year for TV Movie was. But if you look at the nominated works this year, two out of these six are individual nominations for their shows. National Geographic Channel received another nod for their Klling trilogy, this time it’s the religious themed Killing Jesus, which surprised me how low key it was that it didn’t even receive nominations for costumes or even hair styling.

Then there’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case, which obviously signifies the last episode of this 25-year long TV adaptation. After 13 seasons and 70 episodes, the series ends with Curtain, where Poirot goes back to the setting of the first episode back in 1989. It seemed like the sentiment is strong with this one to get a nomination, but not enough for a win.

HBO has three nominations for this year, which is one more than their usual, but two of those are really minor. Nightingaledespite getting a Lead Actor nom for David Oyelowo, failed to receive any traction outside of that when it could have been an easy bet in directing and writing too. Stephen Merchant’s Hello Ladies: The Movie received Screenplay nomination outside of TV Movie, but nothing else aside from that. Also, this could be seen as lightweight as compared to the other contenders.

But really, this category won’t be complete without mentioning Olivier Dahan’s Grace of Monaco. The journey of this flop Nicole Kidman starrer about the biopic of Oscar winning actress turned princess Grace Kelley is astounding to say the least. What started as a prime Oscar contender in 2013 was suddenly canceled and moved to March 2014 only to be given a second life as the Cannes opener in 2014. But then, it was welcomed with no open arms until it was announced to be debuting on Lifetime earlier this year. When you think about it, I won’t be surprised if this starts the trend of failed Oscar bait films moving to TV to snatch Emmy nominations instead.

Then again, this category is basically Bessie‘s to lose. Receiving 12 nominations including three acting nods plus writing and directing, this HBO vehicle about the life of legendary blues figure Bessie Smith stands out from the rest of this mediocre pack. Had this been a feature film, it would have been in the running for some Oscars and not the other way around.

To predict an alternate is a bit misleading considering that Bessie is far and away ahead here. Might as well go with Grace of Monaco to troll the hell out of this boring category. Bottom line is, it’s another year and another HBO movie winning (and deservedly so).

PREDICTION: Bessie (HBO)
ALTERNATE: Grace of Monaco (Lifetime) — LMAO

Full rankings:
01. “Bessie
02. “Grace of Monaco
03. “Hello Ladies: The Movie
04. “Killing Jesus
05. “Nightingale
06. “Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case

Check in soon to see the rest of my 2015 Emmy prediction analysis. You can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl