Miss the Emmys? So Did We… (But Here’s Who Won)

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The collective entertainment industry converged on the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles last night for the most prodigious event in the world of television: the Primetime Emmys. At least I think they did, I was a few clicks of the dial, up watching the Bears-Steelers game. And then Breaking Bad. And then Dexter.

The results are listed below for your perusal. I’ve added some thoughts to the selections:

  • Drama Series: ”Breaking Bad” (AMC)

Deserved. I would’ve liked to see this go to Mad Men or House of Cards, as Breaking Bad is clearly going to win all the awards plus a few that have yet to be invented solely to keep honoring Breaking Bad when it visits the Emmys last year for its final bow. Though it’s becoming harder to argue that this isn’t the best series in the medium right now, it bears note that Bad is winning here for an imcomplete season which is just now wrapping up. 

  • Actor, Drama Series: Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom (HBO)

Newsroom is a series wherein I have friends who watch it every week and never have particularly nice things to say. I avoid this like I avoid The Walking Dead, both shows seem worthy of playing catch-up at somepoint but I never can muster up the interest. There’s Good Sorkin and Bad Sorkin and this unfortunately sounds to me like the latter. And yet Daniels is a great actor who’s consistently delivered awards-worthy work throughtout his career even if he hasn’t been honored nearly enough. 

That said, Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men) both delivered crazy-good performances on their respective shows. Spacey will appear in this category as long as Cards stays on, but never putting an Emmy in the hands of Dick Whitman is a major bummer. That opportunity is fast dwindling as Mad Men‘s final season approaches.

  • emmys2Actress, Drama Series: Claire Danes, “Homeland” (Showtime)

Danes grabs Emmy the third meanwhile Farmiga gets nominated for her performance on a show none of us expected to be decent. It was a strong year for dramatic performances from women on TV. I don’t know if the nominees listed completely reflected that, but the right actor won. 

  • Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Bobby Cannavale, “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)

Cannavale is one of those journeyman actors that’s often the best thing about whatever he’s in, regardless of whether it’s great (Blue Jasmine) or dogshit (Paul Blart Mall Cop). Gyp Rosetti is a bad dude on a good show. Glad Cannavale is being recognized.

  • Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)

I don’t know if there’s a more worthy winner on the board. Anna Gunn’s Skyler White has gone from hapless victim to willing participant and now finds herself caught somewhere in between. A meaty supporting role has evolved into one of the cornerstones of the series. When whatever happens happens next week, Skyler is the one who’ll be left confronting her and Walt’s actions – making her just another lost soul in the wake of her destructive husband’s choices. Skyler will never be a universally beloved character, but the moral ambiguities she skirts are worn on the face of Gunn’s performance like a mask of manic self-destruction in process.

  • Directing, Drama Series: David Fincher, “House of Cards” (Netflix)

David Fincher wins in absentia. I’m not sure the series found its footing until an episode or two out from Frincher’s pilot, but he absolutely set the tone that, of all directors, Joel Schumacher seems to have refined later in the season. 

  • Writing, Drama Series: Henry Bromell, “Homeland” (Showtime)

With Mad Man not garnering a nom I’d hoped David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would be honored for so deftly pulling off “The Rains Of Castamere” episode of Thrones. That didn’t happen and it’s a missed opportunity. Breaking Bad seems to be doling out one gutwrenching death after another, but The Red Wedding is the most nihilistic episode of television I’ve ever seen. From top to bottom, Benioff and Weiss own the credit. These were not gratituous deaths extrapolated for shock value, these were characters we’ve come to know and love dispatched in the most brutal way possible – and the dominant story of the first three seasons came to a dramatic, heartbreaking conclusion. 

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  • Comedy Series: ”Modern Family” (ABC)

Over 30 Rock and VeepModern Family is one of the few tolerable network sitcoms around and touched greatness on a few occaisions in its first and second season. But last year was a major step down as the show took a turn similar to the American Office where the writing team is now clearly straining to find believable arcs for these characters. A once-relatable show went wildly off-course this season and the win here feels more political than anything. I’m not yet writing Modern Family off, but this win isn’t indicative of the series’ dwindling quality. 

  • Lead Actor, Comedy Series: Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

I don’t like that there’s a series that attempts to pander to a subculture while co-opting it for mass consumption. But such has been the story of The Big Bang Theory. I know this show has its defenders and those people are absolutely wrong. I feel like the three-camera sitcom died and we neglected to tell our grandparents and people who need to be constantly reminded the nerds won. Jim Parsons is a bad actor on a bad show. And if you disagree then you’re my Grandma and I still love you all the same. 

  • Lead Actress, Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep,” (HBO)

Good call. 

  • Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Tony Hale, “Veep” (HBO)

Great call. 

  • Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Merritt Wever, “Nurse Jackie” (Showtime)

So this is still a show that airs. Okay then. 

  • Directing, Comedy Series: Gail Mancuso, “Modern Family” (ABC)

Earn it this season. 

  • Writing, Comedy Series: Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, “30 Rock” (NBC)

People are already talking about Ms. Fey’s unfortunate wardrobe malfuction. A shame that what’s dominating the conversation overshadows what was a really fine final bow for the Rock. 

  • Miniseries or Movie: ”Behind the Candelabra” (HBO)

Steven Soderbergh’s first film since retiring from films. Soderbergh going away would be a major loss to the form, so here’s hoping he has more of these HBO films in the tank. A great biopic covering one of America’s great eccentrics. 

Lead Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra” (HBO)

If this were a feature film, Douglas would have been a series contender for the academy award. One of the most enveloping bio performances since Jamie Foxx in Ray. Douglas put on a disappearing act here. 

  • Lead Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Laura Linney, “The Big C: Hereafter” (Showtime)

True story, I’ve yet to meet a single person who’s watched this show. If it’s good, its fanbase is a quiet lot.

  • Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie: James Cromwell, “American Horror Story: Asylum” (FX)

That’ll do James. That’ll do.

Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Ellen Burstyn, “Political Animals” (USA)

Not surprising: Ellen Burstyn winning an award. Surprising: Anyone winning an award for anything on USA. 

  • Directing, Miniseries or Movie: Steven Soderbergh, “Behind the Candelabra” (HBO)

Well, duh. 

  • Writing, Miniseries or Movie: Abi Morgan, “The Hour” (BBC America)

I need to watch BBC America more. I’ve never seen The Hour but, holy shit, Series 3 of Luther.  

  • Reality-Competition Program: ”The Voice” (NBC)

Survivor is my one reality splurge. I just know CeeLo Green is slowly morphing into a leaving, breathing cartoon character and it’s been majestic to observe it happening. 

  • Variety Series: ”The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)
  • Writing, Variety Series: ”The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)

Seems like a gimme. 

  • Directing, Variety Series: Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

Last season was the closing chapter for the most recent cast, as Hader and Sudekis are gone and Meyers is phasing out over the year as he inherits Late Night (Lorne Michaels now controls the 10:30 and 11:30 slots every night except Sunday).

  • Choreography: Derek Hough, “Dancing With the Stars” (ABC)

I want to thank the voting members behind this prestigious event for taking my many letters and drawings into account in their selection of this category. 

And with that, the 65th Annual Primetime Emmys come to a close. Rumor has it there’s another one in the works next year.