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68th Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Predictions Part 2: TV Movie and Limited Series   Leave a comment

Before Anthony Anderson and Lauren Graham announce the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards nominees on July 14, here’s a preview on who can get nominated come Thursday. Yesterday, we tackled the Reality and Variety Series, this time the focus is on the TV Movies and the Limited Series. The past few years saw the rise in the limited series genre, now even eclipsing the acclaim of the current dramas on the boob tube. This year, we can have a rehash of the 2013 race when it’s Ryan Murphy vs. Fargo. Here are my predictions in all eight longform series categories.

tv movie

OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE:
• All the Way (HBO)
• Confirmation (HBO)
• The Dresser (Starz)
• Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (BBC)
• A Very Murray Christmas (Netflix)

Sixth nominee: Luther (BBC America)

While the Jay Roach political drama has this Emmy wrapped up already, let’s discuss which ones will join it as co-nominees. As for starters, there’s the other HBO political film Confirmation, which is basically the runner-up HBO TV movie of the year. We always have those (Hemingway & Gellhorn to Game Change, Taking Chance to Grey GardensYou Don’t Know Jack to Temple Grandin.. you get the point). After its surprise win haul back in 2013 taking home three major Emmys, they’ll surely nominate the new Sherlock special too. Expect the Emmys to fall in love with The Dresser, albeit it being on Starz; after all, it stars two acting veterans, an Oscar-winning material, and it’s British. As for that last spot, considering how much Netflix is great at campaigning, I’m going with that A Very Murray Christmas from Emmy winner Bill Murray.

miniseries

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES:
• American Crime (ABC)
• Fargo (FX)
• The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
• The Night Manager (AMC)
• Roots (History Channel)

Sixth nominee: Show Me A Hero (HBO)

As mentioned, the big story here is The People v. O.J. Simpson, which I expect to dominate the nominations. It was critically acclaimed, it had Ryan Murphy in a very prominent case in Murica, and it’s star-studded. Considering how much Ryan Murphy’s pilot seasons always go well with Emmy nods, expect this to be a shoo-in here. Not to be left behind of course is another FX gem, Fargo, whose first season won the Emmy of this category too. It premiering last year and being more subtle than the showy OJ showcase could cost it wins, but not nominations. ABC’s American Crime (not to be confused with American Crime Story — we saw what you did there, Ryan Murphy) is also poised to come back. After all, it’s ABC’s only push here and had a decent showing with the nods last year. Roots is one of the most iconic and memorable shows in TV history and is still an Emmy record holder, so expect the new version to at least be acknowledged with a nom. That last spot is tricky — there’s HBO’s Show Me A Hero which feels like an afterthought at this stage, but it’s HBO’s only shot here plus it stars one of Hollywood’s current it boys Oscar Isaac. But there’s also AMC’s The Night Manager which they are campaigning aggressively, stars Tom Hiddleston and multiple Emmy nominee Hugh Laurie. I can see it both go ways, but for now let’s stick with the latter.

longform lead actor

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:
• Bryan Cranston, “All the Way”
• Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride”
• Cuba Gooding Jr., “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
• Ian McKellen, “The Dresser”
• Courtney B. Vance, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
• Patrick Wilson, “Fargo”

Seventh nominee: Oscar Isaac, “Show Me A Hero”

Talk about an insanely competitive category. You literally can fill this group with at least a dozen names. To be frank, I think only Bryan Cranston is a lock here. His LBJ performance which previously netted him a Tony will likely join an Emmy as well (will Oscar follow?). To a certain extent, I think Courtney B. Vance is also safe considering he’s the breakout performer among the lads in the show. Benedict Cumberbatch pulled off an upset in an equally strong category back in 2013 (against Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, and Fargo guys) so it’s not impossible for him to pull one off again this time. Then this is where it gets tricky. Patrick Wilson is probably my fourth, though the passive, subtle role can somehow hurt him especially in an insane category like this one. That said, I’m sticking with him. I also think they won’t let the opportunity of nominating any of The Dresser actors pass by. It’s tough between Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins and Sir Ian McKellen, so you can just go eitherway (maybe even both get in?), and for now I went with McKellen. Cuba Gooding Jr. just feels like he’ll be a part of the OJ lovefest, and considering he’s playing the titular character, I’d go predict him as well. Watch out for Oscar Isaac though considering how much he’s an in-demand actor now. Other notable names to consider are The Night Manager‘s Tom Hiddleston, Bill Murray in A Very Murray Christmas, Idris Elba in Luther, and even Sir Ben Kingsley in Tut.

longform lead actress

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:
• Kirsten Dunst, “Fargo”
• Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
• Rachel McAdams, “True Detective”
• Audra McDonald, “Lady Day at Emersons Bar and Grill”
• Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
• Kerry Washington, “Confirmation”

Seventh nominee: Blythe Danner, “Madoff”

Unlike its male counterpart, the Lead Actress category is wider than usual. Of course, one expects that Confirmation‘s Kerry Washington, Fargo‘s Kristen Dunst, and People v. OJ Simpson‘s Sarah Paulson are all but sure now. After that, there’s Emmy winner Audra McDonald for her HBO special too. We can also see two American Crime actresses in this category, but it’s safer to go with Emmy  winner Felicity Huffman. As for that last spot, there’s her co-star Lili Taylor, and Emmy favorite Blythe Danner in Madoff, but let’s go daring a bit and predict that her Oscar luck would extend here so I say Rachel McAdams for True Detective. longform supp actor

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:
• Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
• Ted Danson, “Fargo”
• Martin Freeman, “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride”
• Hugh Laurie, “The Night Manager”
• David Schwimmer, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
• Bokeem Woodbine, “Fargo”

Seventh nominee: John Travolta, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

What it it with male acting categories that they are really jampacked this year? The Supporting one is full of potential categories, and there’s a chance that it can go The Normal Heart way with four bids in it. That said, I’ll go predictable and include only two: Sterling K. Brown, and David Schwimmer’s TV comeback. That said, if they go star heavy, there’s John Travolta and Nathan Lane, both of whom can benefit from name-checking from voters. Martin Freeman won this category too back in 2013 against The Normal Heart group, so unless the lukewarm reviews for The Abominable Bride catches on, then he’s safe here. Ted Danson is a TV veteran, but he’s no easy bid as well, though being the veteran among Fargo supporting actors might help him. I might also be personally bias here with my prediction of Bokeem Woodbine, also from Fargo, but they nominated Alison Tolman two years ago, so there’s a precedent. Lastly, if The Night Manager is indeed a successful campaign, still Emmyless Hugh Laurie can sneak in a nomination for this as well. That said there’s also Forest Whitaker for Roots, Frank Langella for All the Way, and Denis O’Hare of AHS: Hotel to consider.

longform supp actress

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:
• Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Hotel”
• Connie Britton, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
• Regina King, “American Crime”
• Melissa Leo, “All the Way”
• Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Hotel”
• Jean Smart, “Fargo”

Seventh nominee: Olivia Colman, “The Night Manager”

I might be underestimating American Horror Story: Hotel this year, but not in this category. I’ve dismissed it in previous years only for it to come back stronger, though Jessica Lange’s absence really hurt it. That said, double nods for Kathy Bates and Sarah Paulson are still safe bets. Speaking of safe bets, Emmy veteran Jean Smart’s cold, conniving matriarch in Fargo might even be competitive for the win. Meanwhile, a lesser known actress would definitely not be in contention considering the small of the role, but it’s Oscar and Emmy winner Melissa Leo in a supportive wife role in All the Way so it’s safe to say she’s getting in. Lastly, to continue my narrative of strong OJ Simpson love, I’m predicting that the scene-chewing performance of Connie Britton will give her another nod (I mean she got in for Nashville).

longform directing

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:
• All the Way (Jay Roach)
• Fargo, “Loplop” (Keith Gordon)
• The Night Manager (Susanne Bier)
• The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, “From The Ashes of Tragedy” (Ryan Murphy)
• The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, “The Race Card” (John Singleton)
• Roots, “Night Four” (Bruce Beresford)

Seventh nominee: Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (Douglas MacKinnon)

I went safe with my predictions here — only two OJ episodes, one by Ryan Murphy and one by John Singleton, then Jay Roach will surely get in as well. There’s a Fargo episode in between, from the same one who pulled off the upset win back in the first season, and then there’s Oscar winner Susanne Bier in a well-campaigned British program. Last one is between a Sherlock episode and a Roots finale from a popular 80s movie director, and since I think Sherlock won’t go as perfectly lucky as the last time, I give the edge to Roots.

longform writing

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:
• All the Way (Robert Schenkkan)
• American Crime, “Episode Seven” (John Ridley)
• Fargo, “Palindrome” (Noah Hawley)
• The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, “From The Ashes of Tragedy” (Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski)
• The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” (D.V. DeVincentis)
• Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (Steven Moffat & Mark Gatiss)

Seventh nominee: The Night Manager (David Farr)

Like in Directing, went safe here by including only two OJ Simpson episodes, All the Way, and a Fargo one too. But instead of The Night Manager, I replaced it with another British series — Sherlock considering it won this category the last time it contended. And instead of Roots,  we have Oscar winner John Ridley’s penned American Crime episode to round up the group.

Next up, the LOL shows of the comedy categories as we continue our 68th Emmy nomination prediction series tomorrow.

Talk to me about it on Twitter: @nikowl

 

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Final 67th Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions   2 comments

emmy predictions 2015

Drama Series: Game of Thrones (alternate: Mad Men)
Drama Lead Actor: Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards” (alternate: Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
Drama Lead Actress: Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder” (alternate: Taraji P. Henson, “Empire”)
Drama Supporting Actor: Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul” (alternate: Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline)
Drama Supporting Actress: Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones” (alternate: Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black)
Drama Directing: Game of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy” (alternate: Homeland, “From A to B and Back Again”)
Drama Writing: Mad Men, “Person to Person” (alternate: Game of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy”)

Comedy Series: Veep (alternate: Modern Family)
Comedy Lead Actor: Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent” (alternate: Will Forte, “The Last Man on Earth”)
Comedy Lead Actress: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” (alternate: Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer”)
Comedy Supporting Actor: Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (alternate: Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”)
Comedy Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, “Mom” (alternate: Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”)
Comedy Directing: The Last Man on Earth, “Alive in Tucson” (alternate: Veep, “Testimony”)
Comedy Writing: Veep, “Election Night” (alternate: Transparent, “Pilot”)

Limited Series: Olive Kitteridge (alternate: Wolf Hall)
Limited Series or Movie Lead Actor: Mark Rylance, “Wolf Hall” (alternate: Richard Jenkins, “Olive Kitteridge”)
Limited Series or Movie Lead Actress: Frances McDormand, “Olive Kitteridge” (alternate: Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Honourable Woman”)
Limited Series or Movie Supporting Actor: Damian Lewis, “Wolf Hall” (alternate: Bill Murray, “Olive Kitteridge”)
Limited Series or Movie Supporting Actress: Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Freak Show” (alternate: Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Freak Show”
Limited Series or Movie Directing: Olive Kitteridge (alternate: Wolf Hall)
Limited Series or Movie Writing: Wolf Hall (alternate: Olive Kitteridge)

Reality/Competition Show: The Amazing Race (alternate: The Voice)
Variety Talk Show: The Colbert Report (alternate: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver)
Variety Sketch Show: Saturday Night Live (alternate: Inside Amy Schumer)
Variety Directing: Inside Amy Schumer, “12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer” (alternate: Late Show with David Letterman, “Episode Show 2414”)
Variety Writing: Inside Amy Schumer (alternate: The Colbert Report)

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

Ranking the 1990s Oscar Best Actress Winners   3 comments

bloggerhead

So I have decided to start another project here which obviously from the title of this post already gives you a clue on what it’s about. Inspired from a poll on a forum, I’ve decided to watch all the 90s Best Actress Oscar champs arranged from the earliest up to the last of the decade in order to revisit, rekindle, and look how these performances stood the test of time. The focus will be on the performances so little to no mentions of Anjelica Huston in The Grifters, Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves, and Judi Dench in Mrs. Brown and how they were all robbed here. Okay I take it back. Will mention them as well but in small doses. Okay let’s begin!

1990

And we begin the decade with that surprise win of Kathy Bates for breathing life to the big fan turned obsessed creep Annie Wilkes in the adaptation of the Stephen King novel “Misery.” While the writing of Annie Wilkes can be a bit one note, Bates brings a certain humanity to the character thus encompassing emotions that show her character’s vulnerability. How Kathy Bates managed to show defeat and hurt of Annie when she spilled the wine on their dinner to bringing in the crazy when the officer visited her house and that composed demeanor she had after she tied Paul Sheldon is a testament of her range given the limitations of the role. And one has to appreciate the humor that Bates has brought to the role that makes the achievement more appreciated such as her rant against the coupon bond issue as for starters.  Of course at this stage, no one knew that Bates would  play another Stephen King character via Dolores Clairborne five years later, and while that one had the better performance, it does not take away the complexity that Kathy brought to the role of Annie Wilkes. It is difficult to laugh and be scared with the same character at the same time, and she does it so well that it’s hard to take this win from her. It’s also quite a special win considering how much the Academy rarely touches anything from the thriller/horror genre (unless one counts that win by Jessica Tandy just a year before) and that then unknown Bates, whose popularity only exists on the four walls of Broadway, managed to beat then it girl Julia Roberts, Hollywood royalty Anjelica Huston, Oscar favorite Meryl Streep, and legendary actress Joanne Woodward. Bittersweet indeed.

1991

Just a year after I commented on how this category rarely touches performances from horror or thriller films, AMPAS then decides to reward them back to back. In 1991, The Silence of the Lambs defied all odds by being released exactly one whole year prior to its Oscar sweep the following year. Of course that includes the win for its lead actress Jodie Foster, who herself was already a recipient of this same exact trophy three years before for The Accused. However, this remains to be an iconic role and performance from Jodie, which is nothing to question about. As for starters, it is very refreshing for a woman to headline a thriller such as this one and gain much critical and commercial success. of course it would be unfair to dismiss the efforts of Anthony Hopkins who churned in an iconic performance himself, but Foster’s Clarice Sterling is basically the heart of the movie. And how it succeeds is definitely a gender bending milestone of how thrillers are associated with only male actors front and center. It also does not hurt that this performance is really great as well. In it, Foster rarely (or none at all) relied to histrionics and made Clarice driven but not totally ambitious, subtle but never forgettable, and complex without being one-sided. This is the same year when both Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis were nominated for their team up in Thelma and Louise and part of me thinks that’s also another reason which helped Foster’s road to the podium at all. While one can argue that those two are better than Foster (I belong to that camp to be honest), it is easier to reward this performance than pulling a Sophie’s Choice between the two. But in the end, it must not limit the merits that Jodie has brought into this performance, as it’s probably one of the most respected wins in this category especially for non-Oscar aficionados.

1992

And from one Anthony Hopkins leading lady to another, queen of British period pieces Emma Thompson won the following year for her performance as Margaret Schlugel in Howard’s End. It was one of those easy Oscar calls as she has been the frontrunner all season long, and it’s not difficult to figure out why. Thompson brought a warm touch to a likable human being that isn’t a scene stealing, attention grabbing character. She was the voice of sense and reason, and Emma was quick to figure that her character balances the story in between her hands. Margaret was a sympathetic character but not one who you’d feel pity for, and there’s a certain glow that Thompson just radiates while playing this character. Whether it’s her tea sessions with Vanessa Redgrave or finding out about Anthony Hopkins’ romantic past, she inhabits Margaret’s confidence effortlessly reflecting Emma’s class act performance. 1990 winner Kathy Bates, Emma Thompson would go on and play another period character in another James Ivory film, The Remains of the Day, for which she nabbed another Oscar nomination, but whether it is arguable if she did well better in the former or the latter, the heart of Howard’s End will always belong to Emma Thompson and with that, she is certainly deserving of this Oscar recognition.

1993

1993 was all about talking (or lack thereof). With Whoopi Goldberg hosting the Oscars — being the first black woman (and up to now still remains the only one) to do so, this was also the last previous bid for a black actress to win the coveted Best Actress Oscar prior to Halle Berry’s historic win in 2001. The person in talks was Angela Bassett for portraying iconic performer Tina Turner in What’s Love Got To Do With It? And the talks are loud, perhaps really loud, that this is still the subject of some debates years after. But the woman who ended up with the Oscar needs no talking in her film, at least. The Piano‘s Holly Hunter became the seventh person in Academy history to win an Oscar for not uttering a word on screen (except the narration at the beginning and the end). In hindsight, why people argue Holly Hunter’s win years after is beyond me. In a really strong field that includes Stockard Channing in Six Degrees of Separation and last year’s winner Emma Thompson in The Remains of the Day, Hunter towered above the rest of the field with her performance. The mute aspect isn’t gimmicky nor calculated for me, as she was able to translate a performance that started as a mail ordered bride who was cold but willing to open up, just given the opportunity to do so. Hunter has always been praised for her delivery and the energy she inserts into the role she plays, but she managed to overcome all that and give an equally impressive one stripped off her usual assets. The stares, the body language, and the actions are far from a stunt performance and on top of that, the emotions that she just poured in it. I doubt performances like this could win an Oscar in this period now where showy OMG acting in this category seemed to be the key to be considered an “actress.” It’s a performance that stood well the test of the time, and it’s one of the times when Oscar go against the norm and ultimately get it right.

1994

There is such a stigma being labeled to the 1994 Best Actress line up to be one of the weakest in this category’s history. After all, this was the year when Linda Fiorentino should have swept all the awards if only The Last Seduction wasn’t shown briefly on HBO, thus making her ineligible for the rest of the season. But while there’s a hint of truthfulness with that, you can all spare Jessica Lange’s winning performance in it. Say what you want about her weak ass nominees, but Lange is nowhere a weak winner this year. Playing a mentally unstable wife of a military man and causing troubles to his career, Jessica was able to amp up the physical, emotional, and mental requirements of the role effectively that it’s definitely one of the underrated wins in this category’s history. Much of the talks about this performance and film was how it was dumped in the shelf three years after its completion, when in fact we should be talking about Jessica Lange slaying the hell out of this role. It’s a very complex performance which suited a woman of her age as she oozes her sexuality and shifts to calm to showy in a snap. While some performances get carried along the strength of their overall films, the opposite can be said about here as Blue Sky ended up as inferior to what Jessica brought to the role. Besides, her only Oscar until this year was a thank you for a great year supporting win in 1982, and if someone fits the narrative of a multiple Oscar winning actress, her name would definitely be up on that list. So this one albeit a weak year is an inspired win and one who should overcome, if anything else, the weak field she’s been grouped with.

1995

After a weak 1994 line up, we’re bound to have a strong one no? But to say the 1995 Best Actress line up is a strong one is even an understatement if we are to look past the performances that were left off that year (Nicole Kidman in To Die For, Julianne Moore in Safe, Kathy Bates in Dolores Clairborne among others). Now if we are to look at those actual nominated performances, then it makes the case even stronger with Elisabeth Shue acting opposite the eventual Best Actor winner and Meryl Streep in the second best performance of her career are unrewarded with Oscars. But then, it’s all about Susan Sarandon. Sure, her overdue status would have pushed her the win that year especially since she was nominated four times the last five years, but to consider that as a demerit to her performance is reaching it. Playing real life nuin Helen Prejean, Sarandon would always be on the odd side of the film. On the outer, you have to act opposite Sean Penn’s more interesting and showy character as Susan is relegated to facial reactions to what his character is saying. To act with such a very complex character and not be overshadowed is a feat itself, but Sarandon perfectly crosses the line of being receptive but not totally eaten and distinct without overshadowing her co-star. If anything, it was a perfectly arranged harmony that she has showed here. And beyond that, she plays the character of a nun. It’s hard to play a character who is morally good and be believable in it, but Sarandon’s Prejean’s cling in her “faith” does not only resonate to Matthew Poncelet but to humanity is an acting accomplishment that is deserving to be honored with an Oscar.

1996

On one hand, it would be a waste to hate on Frances McDormand’s win here especially since she’s a very talented actress whose charisma really transcends through her works. On the other, this was the year when the revelation that is named Emily Watson brought one of the best performances I’ve ever seen on screen via Breaking the Waves, that even if I know Oscar won’t touch it, I still feel like my hopes were dashed. But since I’ve let that one out of the way, let’s go back to our 96 champ Frances McDormand. Playing police officer Marge Gunderson, McDormand certainly made the most of all of her scenes in Joel Coen’s Fargo. It is very hard to root for a character as lovable and likable as Marge, and like Thompson’s Margaret, there’s a certain amount of rooting for that you feel with the character. Much of Marge’s magic — if I may call it that — can be attributed to Frances McDormand’s own wit and charisma. Her confident personality seems to play a factor with the end result of Marge’s character and that it will make you want to see more of her (granted she’s only in the film half of the time). There is a reason why Marge, despite limited screentime and borderline supporting appearance, is an iconic character and Frances is the main reason why. On a totally unrelated note, I would just like to share that I am amazed with Alison Tollman’s portrayal of such role in the FX adaptation series of Fargo because even if she wisely did not copy the same approach that McDormand did in her character, you can see the influences and nuances that McDormand indelibly left in her portrayal 18 years before.

1997

Before we start the 1997 discussion, let’s get this one out of the way: Nope, Helen Hunt did not win just because she’s battling against four British actresses in here. If anything, Helena Bonham Carter and Dame Judi Dench are in British period pieces, Julie Christie has been rewarded an Oscar already, and Kate Winslet is the reason why Leonardo di Caprio died  serviceable but in no way awards worthy in Titanic. There’s a certain level of vitriol spawn on Helen Hunt’s Oscar win and that’s probably because her post-Oscar career sizzled or that like any others, she was perceived as the darling of that year’s awards season. In As Good As It Gets, Helen plays the longer version of what makes her a prominent American that time: a big TV star sweeping off Emmys for her show Mad About You. But that is not to say that Hunt wasn’t good in what she did in the film. As waitress Caroline who found love in the most unusual way, Hunt was pleasantly and delightfully sweet that it charms the Oscar voters to give her that trophy. It’s a performance where she’s acting off one of Hollywood’s finest Jack Nicholson, and how he did not swallow her in their scenes together must be credited to the both of them. I still don’t think Helen Hunt had any business winning an Oscar that year, but she was convincing for the most part, albeit sitcom-ish as well, in her performance in the film.

1998

Now think of the vitriol that Helen Hunt received in 1997 and double it to come up with the reception that Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar win had earned over the years especially from fans of the performances of co-nominees Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth and Fernanda Montenegro in The Central Station. But then I think it is unfair to simply attach Paltrow’s competition to the performance that she has given in Shakespeare in Love. This is not the same case as that of the previous year’s winner since Shakespeare in Love is mighty ahead in terms of being the better film. As a matter of fact, Paltrow and the film itself carried the same burden with regards to their Oscar legacy — she and the film are perceived to tackle lighter subjects; thus they are easier to dispose. This is not to say that both her and the movie are rightfully and every inch deserving of their wins but more of an underestimation with the accomplishments that they have achieved. Focusing back on Gwyneth, her gender bending role as Viola de Lesseps provides the perfect heroine accessory to the film. Given that great screenplay and lavish production of the movie, it does not need an actress that will overshadow all of that but instead one that will understand the circumstances and just go with it, which she did in the movie. It is not easy to be charming and delightful as your film’s heroine and she possesses both of that in her performance. So while I understand that this leans on the lighter fare of stuff as compared to playing a queen, it does not warrant the notorious image that it has since then received.

1999

Now after three comedic performances in a row, the decade closed with one of its closest and most infamous Oscar rivals. In 1999, Annette Bening, one half of the power couple with Hollywood legend Warren Beatty, is up for her performance as part of eventual Best Picture winner American Beauty. Prior to the Oscars, she has won the SAG and there’s a really great chance that the film will join the elite few of winning the four major awards (Picture, Director, Actor and Actress). Then there’s up and coming actress Hilary Swank, whose probably known for her remake of Karate Kid sometime in the mid 90s, playing the role of real life transgender Teena Brandon in the small indie film Boys Don’t Cry. And in a Cinderella moment, David beats G0liath as Hilary Swank became the last winner of the decade. That is probably one of the boldest moves made by the Academy and one of the best upsets if I may say. In one of the best breakthrough performances by an actress here, she was raw, heartbreaking, and every inch convincing in this performance. Swank never made the movie about her tics or her adjustments, but she assured that it will be about Brandon’s journey, and it is within this fearlessness that she made this character and performance remarkable. If anything, I think it’s even braver that she denied the easily to use sentimentality nor trademarks that in the hands of a lesser actress would rely to, and instead let it breathe and parade it with so much clarity and confidence. Whatever Hilary Swank did for the remaining of her career after this is hers to celebrate or to blame, but in this one particular performance, she made it clear that she would be remembered.

The 90s Best Actress winners line up in general have been less receptive to biopics (with only two out of the ten winners were for playing real persons) and more to poetic costume pieces films. There’s also a stage where humor works best (even three in a row from 96-98) and if you’d even include, Kathy Bates in Misery. Ranking this is difficult since there’s a lot of performance here that I admire and the ones I appreciate and respect aren’t even totally deserving of a low ranking. That said, I guess I’m gonna go with…

01. 1993 (Holly Hunter, The Piano)
02. 1999 (Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry)
03. 1995 (Susan Sarandon, Dead Man Walking)
04. 1992 (Emma Thompson, Howard’s End)
05. 1991 (Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs)
06. 1996 (Frances McDormand, Fargo)
07. 1994 (Jessica Lange, Blue Sky)
08. 1990 (Kathy Bates, Misery)
09. 1998 (Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love)
10. 1997 (Helen Hunt, As Good As It Gets)

So who is your favorite 1990s Best Actress winner? Who would you consider as the best of the decade? And how many of those performances have stood the test of the time? Chime in the Comments section below and let’s converse! 🙂

You can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

66th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie   Leave a comment

Emmy TV Movie Miniseries Supp Actress

And to complete the four acting categories for the TV movie and miniseries categories, it’s time to discuss one of the most competitive races for this year’s Emmys. To say this is an embarrassment of riches is truly an understatement of its own. Supporting Actress is so stacked there’s no room left for the likes of Tony queen Audra McDonald as The Sound of Music Live‘s saving grace, owner of the Globe’s most memorable speech this year, Dancing on the Endge‘s Jacqueline Bisset, 2x Oscar nominee Janet McTeer from The White Queen and the Tony nominated role of Vanessa Williams in The Trip to Bountiful. As for the actual nominees though, we have…

Current winner Ellen Burstyn makes another bid for a back to back win. By now, her 2006 fluke nod for Mrs. Harris has long been forgotten (or not) and she’s finally been rewarded with a win here last year as the matriarch last year in Political Animals. That said, her nominated performance this year is a big departure from her winning one last year. In Flowers in the Attic, she plays a grim and strict mother whose strong beliefs control her daughter and her grandchildren. This is physical transformation mixed with a baity role, and if she can win one for Animals, she can totally win for this too.

We also have the trifecta of the American Horror Story: Coven actresses in this category. There’s Frances Conroy whose red tips demand your attention (and deservedly so). As Myrtle Snow, Conroy ends up being one of the most vital characters by the end of the season, though she’s at a disadvantage by having her character introduced in the middle of the season as compared to the other co-nominees here who were already featured in the pilot episode. Since I highly doubt that voters will watch the whole season of Coven before voting, I think it’s a con for her.

Angela Bassett receives her second career Emmy nomination by playing the fierce witch Marie Laveau who’s out to seek some revenge for her loved ones. Bassett was every inch a gay man’s dream character here. She’s sassy and she’s ready to fight right here right now. That said, I think hers is a character that is more appreciated by fans as opposed to one that garners awards and stuff.

The last Coven actress nominated is Emmy favorite Kathy Bates. Sure, Bates only has one Emmy under her belt, but she’s one of the four actresses who has the most number of nominations in this category’s history, and you know she’s bound to win one. There’s a chance that this might be the year though. As racist Delphine LaLaurie, Kathy’s character travels in time literally that is as she’s uncovered under the grounds. Bates is the first character you’d see from the previous season of AHS, which means she benefits the most if voters only check the first few episodes of the series.

Then there’s one of the biggest movie stars in the world Julia Roberts as she receive her second Emmy nod. In any other year, this would have been a surefire winner in this category and one that’s bound to sweep awards. After all, this is reminiscent of her Oscar winning performance as Erin Brockovich only that she’s in a wheelchair for the duration of the TV movie, so that makes her role a thousand times baitier. Unfortunately for Roberts, this is probably one of the most competitive years in the history of this category and while she’s much in the race, it’s not an easy win as one might think.

And in the midst of all these big stars, the last nominee is virtually an unknown. Allison Tolman gives one of the last season’s best breakthrough performances given the pressure of this Oscar winning role in Fargo. The reviews and personal citations that she has received all seasons is definitely a statement of how people are paying attention to her performance, and this nomination alongside these established actresses is just the cherry on top of it.

This category is really crazy. Aside from Angela Bassett and Frances Conroy, this could go to any of the four other nominees depending on which performance the voters will dig the most. The difference between the four actresses is so thin that in any other day, I might come up with a different ranking. That said, I’m going on a limb here and predict newbie Allison Tolman to take home the Emmy. Sure it’s a David vs. Goliath level of competition given the line up, but I think hers is the one that will elicit the most passionate response. That said, I won’t be surprised if they’d be carried away with Julia’s schtick, or Kathy’s in your face role, as well as Ellen’s costuming performance.

 Prediction: Allison Tolman, “Fargo
Alternate: Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Coven

Full Rankings:
01. Allison Tolman, “Fargo
02. Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Coven
03. Ellen Burstyn, “Flowers in the Attic”
04. Julia Roberts, “The Normal Heart
05. Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Coven
06. Frances Conroy, “American Horror Story: Coven

You can see my other 2014 Emmy prediction analysis here.

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

66th Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Predictions Part 2: TV Movie and Miniseries   2 comments

Hey again guys! If you may not know (as if that blog header isn’t obvious enough), we’re still on our Emmy week here at Tit for Tat as we gloss over the possible Emmy nominees before Carson Daly and Mindy Kaling announce them on Thursday morning. Yesterday, I started this four part series of predictions by going over the Reality and Variety categories. This time, we’ll be tackling the eight major categories of the Movie and Miniseries genre. Let’s get started!

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

Longform Writing

• Dancing on the Edge (Stephen Poliakoff)
• Fargo, “The Crocodile’s Dilemma” (Noah Hawley)
• Luther (Neill Cross)
• Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (Shawn Slovo)
• The Normal Heart (Larry Kramer)
• Sherlock: His Last Vow (Steven Moffat)

Alternate:  Treme, “To Miss New Orleans

Well aside from The Normal Heart and Fargo, it’s really difficult to pinpoint which direction the voters will go to. I’d have Luther in simply because the last time the show was eligible, it also received a nod in this category. Then Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight won the WGA for Adapted Screenplay albeit a field of two only. Then what I’ve noticed in this category is that they love ’em British pieces. They might not nominate them for the bigger series awards, but the writing branch always have a soft spot for them; thus, I’m going with Sherlock. And lastly, Dancing for the Edge seems like a filler nod for either Writing or Directing, and I’m palcing it here since it’s less competitive than Directing.

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

Longform Directing

• Fargo, “Buridan’s Ass” (Colin Bucksey
• Fargo, “The Crocodile’s Dilemma” (Adam Bernstein)
• The Hollow Crown, “Henry IV: Part II” (Richard Eyre)
• Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (Stephen Frears)
• The Normal Heart (Ryan Murphy)
• The Trip to Bountiful (Michael Wilson)

Alternate:  The White Queen, “The Final Battle

The two surest contenders here are definitely Ryan Murphy (at this point, The Normal Heart will just steamroll its way to a lot of nominations) and Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight because come on it’s Stephen Frears. And he’s a well known film director. Plus it’s from HBO. Fargo’s “The Crocodile’s Dilemma” seems like a good bet as well since it’s the pilot of the show, and I’m certain Fargo will get in here. That said, I’m predicting two episodes from the show to get nominated. Aside from the pilot, I also have Buridan’s Ass which has that major shooting episode (it’s Ep 6 for you casual viewers). It’s one of Fargo‘s most buzzed episodes of the series and I think it can penetrate the race. The Trip to Bountiful seems like a better directing contender than a writing one that’s why I’m putting it here instead of Writing. As for the last spot, I think it’s gonna be one of those epic fantasy episodes, so it’s between The White Queen’s Final Battle versus The Hollow Crown’s Henry IV: Part II. I’m going with the latter simply because of the name recognition.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

Longform Supp Actress

• Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Coven
• Jacqueline Bisset, “Dancing on the Edge
• Ellen Burstyn, “Flowers in the Attic
• Julia Roberts, “The Normal Heart
• Allison Tolman, “Fargo
• Vanessa Williams, “The Trip to Bountiful

Seventh nominee: Audra McDonald, “The Sound of Music Live!

What a crowded category. There’s like ten women in actual contention for this usually barren category. Let’s begin with the easy guesses. There’s Julia Roberts. In a friggin TV movie. In her wheelchair. Throwing papers. I can go on and on but you get the point now. She’s in. Then there’s Kathy Bates too. At this point, I think there’s a slow decline of Emmy love for American Horror Story in general that’s why I’m predicting her as the only supporting actress nominee from this show. If only this was a weak year or if AHS was in its first or second season (both are not), I’d be more lenient with her inclusion. Then there’s an unknown by the name of Allison Tolman? I know you’re probably thinking “Who?”, but this is TV’s biggest breakthrough performances of the season. This is a friggin’ Oscar winning role, and I see her even being the dark horse for the win. Speaking of win, Golden Globe winner Jacqueline Bisset is also in my predictions list simply because her role is something that is a regular in this category.And her Globe win, as infamous as it was, put her to some sort of public consciousness.  Current champ Ellen Burstyn is also in contention, and I think a repeat nod is possible. Sure Flowers in the Attic is no Political Animals, but this is the category that nominated her for a 14 second performance in 2006. They love her here. The last spot is between two Tony nominees: Tony queen Audra McDonald is the only redemption of The Sound of Music Live! and her current Tony good will might translate to a nod, but my bet is on 3x nominee Vanessa Williams reprising her Broadway role here.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

Longform Supp Actor

• Matt Bomer, “The Normal Heart
• Martin Freeman, “Sherlock: His Last Vow
• Colin Hanks, “Fargo
• Joe Mantello, “The Normal Heart
• Jim Parsons, “The Normal Heart
• Blair Underwood, “The Trip to Bountiful

Seventh nominee: Frank Langella, “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight

This one is basically the extension of The Normal Heart cast with five of their men eligible in this category. That said, I’ll only be predicting three, as I don’t see anything beyond that possible. Of course there’s winner frontrunner Matt Bomer who is the surest guy from the show here. I’m also rpedicting Jim Parsons since it’s somewhat of a departure from him, and he’s current champ (in Comedy Lead Actor) that they won’t shy from giving him double nominations this year. Lastly, I have Joe Mantello since he’s “breakdown” moment is one of the most talked about. It’s a clip made for awards show purposes plus he’s a veteran that I won’t be surprised Emmys going for it. As for the other three guys, I’m going with Martin Freeman to repeat the same nod he got in 2012 for the previous season of Sherlock. I’ quite confident with Colin Hanks as well since he’s the only one that FX is campaigning here (which means no Oliver Platt), so that bodes well for his chances. I’m going with Blair Underwood for the last spot as Cicely Tyson’s son since this is a Tony nominated role, and I fail to see him missing here.

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

Longform Actress

• Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton & Taylor
• Toni Collette, “Hostages
• Rebecca Ferguson, “The White Queen
• Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven
• Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Coven
• Cicely Tyson, “The Trip to Bountiful

Seventh nominee: Whoopi Goldberg, “A Day Late and a Dollar Short

If the three other acting nominees are somewhat stacked, consider this the Debbie Downer of the group with the lack of possible nominations. I guess it’s safe to begin with Jessica Lange since she’ll easily be nominated for the show’s third season. She won Supporting the first year and was nominated here for the second season, and a third consecutive one is already expected. Cicely Tyson is a sure bet too. She literally translated her Tony winning performance and she’ll likely add “Emmy winning” too come awards ceremony on August. It doesn’t hurt as well that it’s also an Oscar winning role, so a trifecta of best Actress wins for this will be quite historic.  Then there’s Globe and SAG nominee Helena Bonham Carter. She was already recognized for this at the earlier awards show, and it’s not as if this category is full to even consider her missing. Rebecca Ferguson is the unknown here but playing the title role of a Miniseries contender doesn’t hurt her. I’d be more cautious if this was only a field of five, but it’s not. Emmy winner Toni Collette also has a bid via her failed CBS series Hostages. I expect this to be a repeat of Ashley Judd’s nom in 2011 when she got in for a more star studded line up. If Judd made it in a five nominee line up, what more for Emmy champ Collete? The last spot can either go to Whoopi Goldberg or Sarah Paulson. There’s a reason why Goldberg’s EGOT win has an asterisk beside the E, it’s because she hasn’t won a Primetime Emmy yet. Therefore, it’s quite clear Emmy isn’t totally fond of her, thus making me give the last spot to Sarah Paulson who is hitting some career best stride the past few years and was nommed in Supporting for the last two years.

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

Longform Actor

• Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: His Last Vow
• Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge
• Idirs Elba, “Luther”
• Martin Freeman, “Fargo
• Mark Ruffalo, “The Normal Heart
• Billy Bob Thornton, “Fargo

Seventh nominee: Christopher Plummer, “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight

Okay so it didn’t sound as competitive in this category when True Detective announced it will compete in Drama instead, but it makes the prediction part easier. As for starters, the pair of British actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Idris Elba are likely to repeat their nods they got for their roles as Sherlock and Luther respectively. Both of them competed in 2011 as well. Then Cumberbatch’s Sherlock co-star and buddy Martin Freeman is poised to get double acting nominations as he gets one for Fargo as well alongside Billy Bob Thornton. Then it boils down to three Oscar nominees (and one winner). Mark Ruffalo is as sure as one can get, and he’s also one of the frontrunners to win for his role as the gay protagonist in The Normal Heart. While I keep on switching back and forth with Christopher Plummer and Chiwetel Ejiofor, I’d be giving the last slot to the latter since his momentum is pretty much fresher with his Oscar nod earlier this year.

OUTSTANDING MINI SERIES:

Miniseries

• American Horror Story: Coven (FX)
• Dancing on the Edge (Starz)
• Fargo (FX)
• Luther (BBC America)
• The White Queen (BBC America)

Sixth nominee: The Hollow Crown (BBC America)

Of all years where they decided to separate the TV movies and miniseries again, they went with this year goddamit. Anyway, both the FX series are sure things here. American Horror Story got in the last two years and Fargo is the de facto frontrunner here. Luther is poised to make a comeback here as well especially in a weak field. Then in the battle of large ensemble dramas, I’d go with Dancing on the Edge as the first one since this flashy period piece works well in this category. I’m leaning with The White Queen in my last spot though simply because I felt it has an overall mainstream appeal than The Hollow Crown, but all I know is that it’s a slot reserved for BBC America.

OUTSTANDING TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES:

TV Movie

• Killing Kennedy (national Geographic)
• Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (HBO)
• The Normal Heart (HBO)
• Sherlock: His Last Vow (PBS)
• The Trip to Bountiful (Lifetime)

Sixth nominee: Burton & Taylor (BBC America)

As if they still need to have nominees here since The Normal Heart is gonna sweep this away (and deservedly so), but for the sake of competition, the four other nominees here would definitely be Sherlock: His Last Vow. Why the show decides to submit here instead of Miniseries when they can compete now is beyond me. Then you have Lifetime’s The Trip to Bountiful. It’s an acclaimed TV movie and at this point, a Lifetime show is bound to get in so it being their top contender also makes it a surer bet. National Geographic’s Killing Kennedy is a buzzed TV movie as well even reaping nods at the SAGs for its lead actor, so with a divided field for TV Movie and Miniseries, there’s a huge chance of it happening. The last spot, which I call the HBO slot, is reserved for that lesser buzzed HBO TV movie. After all for every Game Change, there’s a Hemignway & Gellhorn. For every Behind the Candelabra, there’s a Phil Spector and for every Temple Grandin, there’s a You Don’t Know Jack. So for this year’s The Normal Heart, I’d go with Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight since it’s the more buzzed one than that other HBO TV movie Clear History whom despite having a more known cast, has a nonexistent presence at the race at all.

There you have it. How many The Normal Heart guys are you predicting in Supporting Actor? Can Whoopi Goldberg change her Daytime Emmy to a Primetime one? And how do you feel if NBC’s Rosemary Baby Suddenly enters the race? Pipe them in the comments section below.

Tomorrow, ready your tummies for the hilarity that will ensue as we discuss the Comedy categories.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

 

ANALYSIS: Emmy Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series 2012   Leave a comment

EPISODE SUBMISSIONS:

• Kathy Bates, “Harry’s Law” (Onward and Upward)
• Glenn Close, “Damages” (I’ve Done Way Too Much for This Girl)
• Claire Danes, “Homeland” (The Vest)
• Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey” (Episode 7: Christmas Episode)
• Julianna Margulies “The Good Wife” (Parenting Made Easy)
• Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men” (The Other Woman)

This year, still Emmyless Kathy Bates is nominated twice: one is for her performance as Charlie Harper’s reincarnation in the Guest Actress, Comedy category. The second is for her performance as the lawyer in this canceled David E. Kelley show. It’s such a shame that this show was finally canceled when it started to pick up already in terms of the quality of the episode. Her season finale episode (which turned out to the the series finale as well) deals with her knowing that her first husband was dead and no one wants to claim the body. It makes Harry re-visit her past and reminisce her relationship with the said husband. While the case of the week does not involved some Emmy bait monologues that David E. Kelly shows are made of, it ends with Bates dedicating a song to her husband. Had there been no solid frontrunner this year, I’d say she has a chance to win. But, for now, the most I can do is keep her in the upper tier. Glenn Close‘s Emmy winning role has already received two Emmys in 2008 and 2009. However, since then, all of Close’s succeeding nominations were paired up with bad submissions. It seems she Close’s team really knows how the game works and were submitting on purpose in order to spread the wealth, which at one hand, is glorious since they’re all for sharing. But on the other hand, it makes you question why they’re clearly sabotaging their chances. Close’s episode this year sounds baity with her visiting a shrink but it’s joined with a hunt for a baby sitter. After viewing Closes’s tape, you’ll feel as it just came and went leaving no impact to voters. Claire Danes, after winning two years ago in the Miniseries categories, is on the hunt again for her second Emmy, and it’s pretty obvious she’ll get it. Week after week, her performance in Homeland has been described as a tour de force, and I’m a testament of that. In her submitted episode, we get to see Danes’ character play bipolar and go batshit crazy. I can see some voters being polarized with this performance, but I don’t think it will be enough to overcome the buzz, critical support, and status that Danes had. After all, this is probably the only major category where in they can reward Danes, and it’s not as if they’re giving it a consolation win. I don’t see her faltering come Emmy time in terms of her odds, and she’s probably one of the few locks in this very competitive year. Moving on, it’s nice to note that voters are really paying attention to Downton Abbey when they nominated Michelle Dockery over last year’s Elizabeth McGovern who wasn’t given much to do this season. Dockery has been very consistent this season, and she would have benefited if ti was judged for a whole season’s body of work rather than an episode. Given that, she did the most she can by submitting the Christmas episode which was the most well received Downton episode of the season. She gets to have a lot of screentime here, but it wasn’t until the last scene that she leaves an impact. I don’t think it will be enough to trump other co-nominees’ submissions, but she’s probably somewhere in the middle of the pack. Current winner in this category Julianna Margulies, and she has a chance to reap a back to back win for her role as Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife. I like that she submitted an episode that has a history of getting awards here: a mother trying to balance her professional and personal duties which was put into test when she thought her daughter was missing. Margulies hits all the right notes here, and I won’t be shocked if she easily wins number two, though Danes is very hard to beat. This is a very good submission, and her only con is that she’s up against a co-nominee who is pretty much unstoppable at this point. Lastly, after being very competitive last year with The Suitcase, Elisabeth Moss is back this year with a less than stellar tape. However, this isa  good submission for her when she decided that she’s not given the worth that she deserves, so she jumps on a new company to work for which will give her the treatment she thinks she deserves. The episode ends up with an impactful scene with co-star Jon Hamm when she broke the news to him. This led to a scene where she packs her things and leaves the elevator smiling. This would have been a more competitive tape for Moss had she been given more screentime when the likes of her co-nominees such as Margulies, and to a certain extent, Danes, were the highlights of their episodes. I don’t think this is the year where we’ll see Moss nab the Emmy.

This category could have been more exciting if Danes wasn’t a sure bet as she is, but since we all know now that she’s taking this, I guess it will really be a shock if any other name will be called by the presenter on Emmy night.

Prediction: Claire Danes, “Homeland”
Dark Horse: Juliana Margulies, “The Good Wife

Complete Rankings:
1. Danes
2. Margulies
3. Bates
4. Dockery
5. Moss
6. Close