Monday, August 30, 2010

Emmy Recap: Infuriating, Boring, and a Few Deserving

What a night last night was! Admittedly, I only saw the last 15-20 minutes of the ceremony, thanks to the obnoxious amount of schoolwork I had to get done (most of it some really interesting German philosophy, but that's another discussion). So, having not actually seen what happened, here's last night's big winners.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Julia Ormond, Temple Grandin
Pretty much what you would have expected, except that I picked Susan Sarandon to win. Oh well. I'm sure she's fine in the film, which I may have to check out someday.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
David Strathairn, Temple Grandin
To the best of my knowledge, this is Strathairn's first EGOT award, so good for him. I think he's a terrific actor when he's given great material, and its nice to finally see him do just that again.
BEST ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Claire Danes, Temple Grandin
First off, I think I'm in the majority when I say that Danes should already have an Emmy for My So-Called Life. Yay retribution! But seriously, I need to see this movie now, since its won three of the four acting categories for miniseries/TV movie.
Isn't she just cute as a button?
BEST ACTOR IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Al Pacino, You Don't Know Jack
So far, all of these have been very predictable. Of course Pacino won this, he looks like he is fantastic in the film. I'm a pretty big fan of Pacino: I think he is consistently good in just about everything he does, often elevating what could have been mediocre into something worth watching. I hope he keeps finding interesting things to do.
BEST TV MOVIE
Temple Grandin
Seeing how the film so easily dominated the acting categories (as well as technicals), we all should have seen this one coming. So still nothing surprising.
BEST MINISERIES
The Pacific
Not the dominating force everyone thought it would be, considering it had the most nominations of any program, but like I said before, fellow nominee Return to Cranford didn't stand a chance against it.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Jane Lynch, Glee
This one was sealed last year, when Lynch's tour-de-force performance captured everyone's attention. She was consistently one of the best parts of Glee, making even the lesser episodes worth watching. Good for her for picking up the prize. She deserved it.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
As my friend Nathaniel R pointed out, the straight man playing the gay man won the gayest category ever. But I'm glad he won. There was not a single episode of Modern Family where Cam didn't make me laugh, and the episode he won for, "Fizbo", was probably one of the greatest comedy achievements of the year. And honestly, I liked most of the nominated performances here, so, with the exception of Jon Cryer, I would have been pleased with any of them.
BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
When she won, she declared, "I'm not funny!" That, of course, is the resounding cry of her critics, saying that she and her show should be considered in the drama category. But you can't change it now. Falco is now one of only a few performers to win Emmys for comedy and drama, and you can't really argue with the power of her performance. This was a pretty tough category, and she earned the win.
BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Ok, I'm sure there are people out there who saw this one coming. But I was completely convinced that they would give the Emmy to Tony Shalhoub (it would've been his fourth) for the final season of Monk. I've only seen one episode of The Big Bang Theory, and I think its more or less just Two and a Half Men with geeks, but Parsons is a delight, and I don't have any qualms with his win.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
When they were voting for the drama categories, there must have been some really weird stuff going on, because some of these just don't make sense. Take Panjabi, for example. Most people were surprised she was even nominated, and discounted her for the win because there was no way she could do it. But here she is, an Emmy winner. I've never seen the show, so I won't pass judgement, but I may have to now to try to understand how she won. Good for her, though.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
I've seen Breaking Bad. I like Paul's character, and I think its a stellar performance. Its nice to see him win. But he did not deserve it this year. Terry O'Quinn's performance on Lost was the best one in the category, and arguably the best by anyone this year. He masterfully handled two distinct characters, only slightly letting them overlap to make them even more disturbing than before. How he lost this category is beyond me: maybe it was because of the sci-fi nature of the performance, but you have to recognize brilliance, and that's what O'Quinn was.
BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Was it "her time?" I didn't realize that, and I don't think anyone else did, since everyone else had either Julianna Margulies or Glenn Close for the win. Its good to see the talent Sedgwick finally win an Emmy, but I don't necessarily think she deserves it for this show: she's good, but her material isn't always interesting. Que sera, sera.
BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Now they're just being lazy. Anyone who bothered to watch the submitted episodes would know that Hugh Laurie, Matthew Fox, and especially Michael C. Hall gave better performances this year. Don't get me wrong, Cranston's great in Breaking Bad, but he's already got two awards for it and he just didn't deserve a third this year. Wake up, Emmys! There are other great actors out there!
Smug bastard.
BEST COMEDY SERIES
Modern Family
And so 30 Rock's three-year reign comes to a close. I love the show, but this past season was uneven, and it just wasn't the best comedy on TV this season. That honor deservingly goes to Modern Family, which was funny, heartwarming, and honestly observant of today's world. And let's face it: Glee, though the most popular, just wasn't as consistent as Modern Family was. Maybe that show can be the comeback kids next year, just like New Directions.
BEST DRAMA SERIES
Mad Men
A deserving winner....oh who am I kidding? I like Mad Men, don't get me wrong; I think its probably the best show on television now. But kids, its time for a rant. So get your Jason's-gone-crazy ears on.
How is that after six miraculous seasons, including its phenomenal last season, Lost only won one Emmy this year? What did it win, you ask? Best Picture Editing. That's right: Best. Friggin'. Picture. Editing. Not Best Drama Series, which it most easily was. Not Best Supporting Actor, for whom I've already made the case for Terry O'Quinn, but Michael Emerson would have been deserving as well. Not Original Music Score, which is perhaps the biggest oversight of all, considering the outstanding, moving, and completely gorgeous score Michael Giacchino created for the show and particularly the finale. Not Best Director for a Drama, for Jack Bender's steady work as the show's strongest director. Not Best Writing for a Drama, for the magnificent screenplay Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse wrote for the finale. Not Best Actor for a Drama Series, where Matthew Fox maybe wasn't the most deserving to win (that honor goes to the similarly-ripped-off Michael C. Hall, of course), but his performance over this past season was the best he's ever given, as his character showed considerable growth. In fact, go ahead and look back at the pilot of the show and see how far these characters have come. And this season they all underwent huge moments of growth and development, as they reached redemption in both worlds. I know I'm in a minority here, and what I'm about to say may actually be considered heresy or even treason, but Lost, not Mad Men, was the best show on television this year. And it has been for the last six years, from its stellar pilot to its emotionally and narratively satisfying finale. Lost changed the way we watch television, the way we think about what television can be. And sure, we can all be upset that the show didn't provide "the Big Answers," but when in life do we get that? Lost was bold enough to ask the Big Questions and let us figure it out ourselves. Maybe there are no answers to some questions. Maybe the answers are outside of our grasp. Its philosophy as television. But despite its intellect, it was always a character drama, driven by these castaways that we cared about as people. None of them were perfect, and that was the point: the island was a purgatory of sorts; though they were still alive, they were brought there to sort out their lives and their identities. And we got to watch them undergo these thrilling and involving moments of revelation. Lost was not a show for casual viewers; it involved time and effort and a willingness to submerge yourself into its world. It required thought, something that most shows nowadays discourage. If all of this doesn't make it Emmy-worthy, then I don't know what will. It did win one Best Drama Emmy for its first season, but it should have so many more.
This concludes the rant. You may now return to normal activities.
So did you watch the Emmys last night? What did you think of it all?

1 comment:

Simon said...

I didn't watch, because they nominate the same people every year, and they inexplicably love Two and a Half Men.

But Temple Grandin was so awards baity I can't even stand it.