Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Care to Make Any EMMY Predictions?

If you're new here and click on the EMMY label below, you'll probably find a thesaurus worth of unpleasant adjectives about TV's own "Oscars". But to save you the trouble of clicking, it goes like this: I don't like them. There, that was short and sweet bitter.

Does another dark Emmy-less fate await Friday Night Lights?
What a great show. Why can't they see that?

The Academy Awards are often chastised for their obvious preferencing: Holocaust dramas, biopics, women who allow themselves to look frumpy ... but at least you can understand where they're coming from and why they go for those things even if you don't agree. Who can explain EMMY's deep love for Two and a Half Men?

When Oscar gets chastised for repeatedly ignoring a brilliant performer or filmmaker, they usually give in and do a kind of makeup 'yeah, we're sorry we ignored your brilliance!' nomination. When Emmy gets chastised for ignoring something awesomely good at what it does they just continue to ignore it (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, Scrubs, The Wire, Friday Night Lights). So I'm not really hopeful that they'll suddenly grow a brain when the nominations are announced tomorrow but you never know. Occasionally they don't run screaming from true brilliance but fully embrace it (see: Mad Men, 30Rock) which makes their usual dimness all the more puzzling.

I couldn't find any info on "top ten finalists" this year (did they do away with that system? I can't keep track of EMMY's frequent rule changes) but there will be 6 nominees in each of the lead categories.

BEST DRAMA Which six will be named: (previously nominated series in red. winners with asterisks) 24*, Battlestar Galactica (final season), Big Love, Boston Legal (final season), Breaking Bad, The Closer, Damages, Dexter, ER* (final season), Friday Night Lights, Grey's Anatomy, House, In Treatment, Lost*, Mad Men*, The Shield, The Tudors and/or True Blood?

<-- Will host Neil Patrick Harris finally win supporting actor for How I Met Your Mother or will they feel the need to give Entourage's Jeremy Piven a fourth consecutive trophy? They do get stuck in ruts.

BEST COMEDY Which six: (previously nominated series in red. winners with asterisks) 30 Rock*, The Big Bang Theory, Californication, Desperate Housewives, Entourage, Family Guy, Flight of the Conchords, The Office*, How I Met Your Mother, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Parks and Recreation, Samantha Who? (final season), Scrubs, Two and a Half Men, Ugly Betty, The United States of Tara and/or Weeds?

Do you care?

Or are you just waiting for the news of which silver screen actresses will get nominated for their acclaimed detours into pay cable work? I think we can all expect Tara's Toni Collette and Grey Gardens' Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange to be there on the big night in their red carpet finery, can't we?


Anonymous said...

There's a lot to love on tv but not much to love with the emmys. This year they did away with the top 10 because the nominees are determined only by popular vote and there is no longer a top 10 runoff. Im hoping they're not so stupid this year but...doubt it!

Ryan T. said...

I care. I mean not really. Last year's ceremony was a travesty so this year no matter who hosted would be a step up. The fact that it's NPH has actually gotten me excited for it.

As for nominees/winners, yeah I share your frustrations. Their constant snubs of quality shows like BSG or BtVS were beyond grating. But even worse is their penchant to stick with the same ol' same ol'. Just awful.

I'm rooting for NPH to first get nominated and then FINALLY win. It'd be fantastic for HIMYM to also get recognized, but I'm not holding my breath. And while BSG is still quite a longshot, I'll be rooting for Lost to get a well-deserved nomination and IMO win.

Glenn said...

I don't know how anybody can vote for Two and a Half Men and then not vote for How I Met Your Mother. Just bizarre.

Dan C said...

Hey Nathaniel, longtime reader/first commenter/ex-TV-blogger here. I follow TV more closely than Film so I'm always invested in the Emmys. The Emmys are like the stepsister of all awards shows, and while everyone highlights their shortcomings, they've done a few good things that no one ever notices.

First of all, I think it's great that the Academy is always tinkering the voting process, because they know it's broken and needs fixing. You can't say the same about the Oscars' foreign film branch.

The Emmys have done quite well in acknowledging the genres that the Academy won't even touch, and are much more willing to nominate a crowdpleaser. I acknowledge that this can be a double-edged sword, and that for every Lost or X-Files nomination, we have to contend with Two and a Half Men getting nominated as well. Contrast this to the Oscars, who still can't get The Dark Knight or Wall-E nominated despite their mass appeal. Who knows if a top ten BP lineup will help.

Critically-acclaimed shows from basic cable (e.g. Battlestar Galactica) or netlets like dearly departed The WB (e.g. Buffy) are always going to be bridesmaids in a popularity contest. They're like indie films, they're amazing but few people have seen it, so apart from the Independent Spirit Awards they won't get nominated for Oscars. But for every Rachel Getting Married that don't get nominated, we occasionally get a Little Miss Sunshine. Similarly, for every snub Gilmore Girls received, occasionally critical acclaim is so undeniable that Mad Men gets to be the first basic cable show to win Outstanding Drama Series. We can't win them all.

The Emmys get more flak because TV shows run for years, and it's easy to hate when the Emmys snub a critically-beloved show for seven straight seasons. In contrast, when the year is over, the Oscar race resets and everyone can choose to back a new pony, so everyone gets their pick now and then (by the laws of probability).

Phew. Feels good to let that all out :)

MJS said...

I must say, I don't understand why 30 Rock is such a perenial favorite. It's a good show, but, come on really?

Anyway, I wouldn't be predicting Damages if I were you, its last season sucked and its not proving to be the big thing some thought it would. Also, if the Golden Globes are any indication I'd be predicting more from Showtime.

ms. Berkowitz said...

I agree "30 rock" is a okay show. I've never laughed at anything in the show. Its joked are on the same level as fart jokes. I really dont understand it. I watched it four times and decided I gave it too many chances. And "scrubs" is awful. The jokes are horrible. When does it become funny and the narriations try to be deep but its just corny and stupid. But yeah, the Emmys suck.

Guy said...

As long as January Jones gets a nomination, I won't complain about anything else.

But she probably won't (I mean, Mariska Hargitay clearly sold her soul to Satan, or whatever else it takes to secure an annual nom), in which case it'll be kvetch city from me.

Drew said...

Battlestar Galactica deserves just about every drama award, and I cannot stand the fact that it probably won't even get nominated for anything, let alone win.

Hopefully True Blood gets a lot of nominations, but I'm not holding my breath for that either.

Go 30 Rock! The only show to represent me at the Emmys.

bbats said...

Listen...the first episode of Friday Night Lights I saw was midway through season wasn't great, the wife/principal was being very, very annoying about buying a house..I talked a lot of trash about the show based on this...and season three in general was not stellar (the ending shot was grrrrreat though)


since then, I've watched season one and two...they're fantastic. Some of the best tv drama ive I must rescind my comments. The show is great and I can't wait for the next season. Go Lions!


dan c i agree with your points about why people get more upset with EMMYs and i suppose the same is true with Oscar (in terms of ruts)... but it's harder to notice because the ruts shapeshift in a way.

ms berkowitz i don't know how good scrubs is now (i don't watch it anymore) but it was MUCH better than many of their beloved sitcom nominees in its early seasons: more inventive, funnier, richly performed. Maybe it's gone downhill?

bbats i actually think you've hit on one of the main problems with the emmys. If you watch a movie, you can form a reasonably valid opinion about it. You've seen it. If you watch only one episode of a serialized show (to decide if it's emmy worthy if you're a voter) you can only form a terribly half-assed opinion because most shows are long form. This problem is less severe with sitcoms most of which you don't really need to watch in order or be completist about but if you tune in to, say, Buffy or battlestar or lost or madmen season 2 episode 10 or whatever... how the hell are you going to understand why the show is brilliant when so much of its brilliance is derived from its understanding that television is a longform medium and the effect is meant to be cumulative?


that said it's interesting that you responded so negatively to the principal/wife at first. I think Friday Night Lights has one of the richest portraits of marriage on television that i've ever seen. and i think it's criminal that neither the principal/wife or coach/husband ever get nominated.

Abe Fried-Tanzer said...

No finalists this year could mean completely unpredictable nominees. Hopefully, BSG will make it in.

My predictions:

Simone said...

Neil Patrick Harris deserves to win his first Emmy. And the timing couldn't be more perfect with him hosting. I got my fingers crossed for him.

Ben said...

Since they ignored "The Wire" for every freaking season, the Emmys are dead to me.... Seriously, it is easily the best TV I have ever seen. Nat, have you watched it? If not, you really should.

I would be thrilled to see some "Friday Night Lights" love, especially for Connie Britten. And they did do right by "30 Rock" last year.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping January Jones makes it from Mad Men, Alison Pill from In Treatment, Kyle Chandler from FNL. Maybe some people from True Blood and Big Love.

Deborah said...

Mad Men for Best Drama. January Jones for Best Actress in a Drama. They've just got to acknowledge her staggering work in "A Night to Remember."

Daniel Armour said...

If Lost and 24 make it in for Drama and some acting categories then great but I've never watched an entire Emmy Award show so I don't hold much stock in them (I'm not sure why I hold stock in the Oscars, come to think of it).

Eric Arvin said...

I would love to see Elizabeth Mitchell nominated for LOST. And Mary McDonnell for BSG.

Agustin said...

Toni Collette should definitely get nominated, and so should the show.

Agustin said...

oh and Keir Gilchrist is awesome
It would be great if they get him a nod but I fear it won't happen
will the show be a comedy or drama?

jess said...

I hope Uma Thurman manage to get a nom in the Best Actress in a TV movie category.

Clarence C said...

The Emmys have always been wierd. They NEVEREVER nominated any of the WB/CW shows that were on air in the acting awards or the best tv series awards despite obvious greatness... Seriously, Lauren Graham was, in my opinion, deserving of a nomination for Gilmore Girls... The show itself was great and witty--the same words critics describe 30 Rock but that got two best tv series awards already...Plus aside from lack of love for "non-bigfour networks" they really don't do well with picking the right actor or actresses as winners. For example, Can someone explain to me how James Spader won 3 out of 4 nominations for BOSTON LEGAL compared to Hugh Laurie is still waiting to win??? HELLO!!! HE Is FUCKing INSANEly GREAT in HOUSE!!!! Sheesh...
But in all fairness, I think they've made lots of good choices for comedy :) 30 Rock still makes me lmfao (omg The Reunion episode and the Oprah one are still in my head). Entourage is still incredibly delightful and cool in all of its "frat-boyness". Steve Carrell is still amazingly funny in The Office and Two and a Half Men isnt bad.

However, my dream best comedy series lineup would be
1. 30 Rock (still rocks)
2. Entourage
3. Family Guy (for it sheer ability to make me laugh all the time)
4. The Big Bang Theory
5. The Office
6. Desperate Housewives (despite the bad ending, the season was a return to original form)

vince said...

I LOVE "Friday Night Lights"! It's so good, it hurts. I'm foolish for having waited to get into it for as long as I did.

And, "Big Love," of course, is my favorite.

Henry said...

I'm still upset that the Emmys have awarded multiple trophies to James Gandolfini (thus robbing Martin Sheen of a couple of trophies), Jeremy Piven, and Tony Shalhoub. I still don't understand their love of Monk (it isn't really funny), Two and a Half Men, and some others. I mean, they occasionally make some good decisions (giving Arrested Development, Lost, Mad Men and The Office trophies) but the bad so outweigh the good that it sometimes makes me wonder why I even care who or what wins.

And Friday Night Lights should have won for its first season. It hasn't approached that nadir since.

Nate Tyson said...

Nat, maybe you've mentioned this before, but what are your feelings on The Wire? It's one of my personal favorites, but then again, I live 30 minutes outside of Baltimore.

Marsha Mason said...

I just hope Battlestar Galactica gets nom'd for one of actress or drama series. Not that I'm holding out much hope.

Billy Held An Oscar said...

I am interested to see if Grey Gardens will be nominated in a billion different categories.

Also, would like to see a nomination for 30 Rock's Tracy Morgan.


the huge love for 30Rock but none for Jane Krakowski ever is maddening to me.

Nate -- i haven't seen the Wire. well, scractch that i have seen 2 episodes i think. and i didn't understand a THING that was happening. which is why i think the EMMYs are a farce. How can you judge serialized drama unless you actually watch the serialized
dramas in order and all (or at least most) of them at that.

billy i feel certain that grey gardens will.

deborah i know a lot of people are rooting for january jones but my heart is still totally with christina hendricks. I cannot believe (like seriously it confounds me) how much she manages to put into that part which is a series of basically unsaid things and ordering people around the office and taking orders herself. Her facility with subtext is just ayiyiyiyi.

anyway. LOVE MAD MEN.

John D. said...

I'm hoping William Hurt (Damages), Max von Sydow (The Tudors), Ian McKellen (King Lear), Sigourney Weaver (Prayers for Bobby), Judy Parfitt (Little Dorrit), and Marcia Gay Harden (Damages) receive nominations tomorrow.

Jorge Rodrigues said...

For what I've seen among the supporting women - drama, if Katherine Heigl gets nominated tomorrow (which I don't doubt she will, what with the media interest in her pulling out of the Emmy race and the leaving/returning to Grey's for season six), she'll collect Emmy #2.

Her performance this season was astonishing... (ok, a little bit unbearable at times, but amazing!) She was the lead of Izzie's (not Grey's) Anatomy...

So glad TR Knight is leaving Grey's. He was one of the reasons I couldn't stand the show at times.

If they have been paying attention to Grey's (which I think the Emmys are) Justin Chambers, Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson will also be nominated. And the series will be nominated for Best Series - Drama.

Apart from this, I agree with everyone else on their picks.

Henry said...

How can you judge serialized drama unless you actually watch the serialized
dramas in order and all (or at least most) of them at that.

I think that, outside of the fact that the Emmys completely exclude the sci-fi genre, this is the question Emmy voters ask themselves when considering Battlestar Galactica. You watch one episode and judge it on its merits based on that and I think half the time, the voters have no idea what's going on. I mean, if they judged it on say, the third season finale, do they understand what the big deal and power of the final revelation is? If they watched "Revelations" or "Sometimes a Great Notion," do they understand the impact of the Galactica crew's findings? If they watched "The Oath," do they understand what the big deal is about the characters' actions? I think they say no to all those questions and that's why they just take it out of consideration.

When you see 2000 people in one room giving not one, but two standing ovations as I did at Comic-Con last year, how can you say that it isn't the best television show out there?


henry totally agree with your points. except for comic con... conventions are built for standing ovations even for terrible stuff ;)

jorge isn't the TV industry still anti-Heigl for being outspoken?

Jorge Rodrigues said...

Yeah Nat but I can't see them snubbing her with her screen time and work this season. Usually the three supporting actresses from Grey's are nominated (Wilson, Heigl, Oh) and this year, for the other two to be nominated, she cannot not be nominated.

This season was IZZIE. Period.

I don't like her as a person (too much Diva-like for my taste and she doesn't even deserve to be treated like one) but I have to admit that the actress is quite good (no Meryl Streep but hey at least she kicks Jen's and Sarah's asses... Unlike them, she doesn't play the same character time and time again)

Anonymous said...

grey gardens should get lots and lots of nominations. both drew barrymore and jessica lange will get nominations. the movie was really fabulous.

Karen said...

My wish-list includes nominations for Friday Night Lights, BSG and Chuck.

Lenny said...

They did away with the top tens and panel votes (half) this year. It's all popular vote for the main categories (except the guest acting categories and some juried awards). Everyone's expecting pretty atrocious nominees b/c of the popular vote, and we'll find out soon enough, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt to surprise me, or not totally blow it (but why I'm expecting that much, I don't know).

Anonymous said...

I think You Also to Covered Big Bang Theory in Best Comedy TV Show.