Friday, October 28, 2016

Oscar Predictions (October 2016)

Image result for moonlightNot much has changed since my last slate of predictions.  Fences, Silence, Live by Night and Hidden Figures remain unseen, so there are still some contenders out there which will remain unknowns for a while.

Moonlight won big this Month!

The Gotham Award nominations were announced, and gave us a small taste of films that will do well in the critics awards.  Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight got the biggest boosts, which is not surprising.  I think both films will do well with critics across the board, especially since Moonlight is 99 on Metacritic.  Moonlight was in fact the biggest winner of the last month, not only with the Gotham Awards, but a fantastic limited box office run, and sold out weekday shows in New York and LA.

Category Placement Changing

The other "big news" in the last month was category placement.  Viola Davis, as potentially suspected back in September went Supporting, which no matter the quality of the film gives her performance a huge boost to win, since the Supporting Actress field is not as crowded.  

Dev Patel was also switched to Supporting, and I think that boosts his chances for a first time nomination.  Lion jumped from non-contender to 7 on my list, and this is mainly because of two elements, The Weinstein Co. and the emotional it factor.  The buzz I am hearing from this film is lots of tears, and strong emotional reactions, this will play well for voters.

My Predictions:

I have laid out my predictions for the major categories (outside of screenplay). Films/performances that have been seen are ranked above any film or performance that has not been seen.

Best Picture
1-La La Land
2-Manchester by the Sea
8-Hell or High Water 

*Lion and Hell or High Water were bumped to the top 10

20th Century Women
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Hidden Figures
Live by Night

*Arrival and Hidden Figures were bumped to Contenders

Best Director
1-Damien Chazelle-La La Land
2-Barry Jenkin-Moonlight
3-Kenneth Lonnergan-Manchester by the Sea
4-Pablo Larrain-Jackie
5-Martin Scorsese-Silence

*Pablo Larrain was bumped to fouth

Ang Lee-Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Jeff Nichols-Loving
Denis Villeneueve-Arrival
Denzel Washington-Fences

*Denzel Washington was bumped to contender status

Best Actor
1-Casey Affleck-Manchester by the Sea
2-Ryan Gosling-La La Land
3-Joel Edgerton-Loving
4-Tom Hanks-Sully
5-Denzel Washington-Fences

* Dev Patel had his category placement changed and Tom Hanks was bumped to fourth

Robert DeNiro-The Comedian
Andrew Garfield-Silence
Jake Gyllenhaal-Nocturnal Animals
Michael Keaton-The Founder

Best Actress
1-Emma Stone-La La Land
2-Natalie Portman-Jackie
3-Annette Benning-20th Century Women
4-Ruth Negga-Loving
5-Meryl Streep-Florence Foster Jenkins

*Viola Davis had her SAG category placement changed to Supporting, so she was replaced by Streep

Amy Adams in Arrival and Nocturnal Animals
Jessica Chastain-Miss Sloane
Taraji P. Henson-Hidden Figures
Isabelle Huppert-Elle

Supporting Actor
1-Mahershala Ali-Moonlight
2-Jeff Bridges-Hell or High Water
3-Lucas Hedges-Manchester by the Sea
4-Dev Patel-Lion 
5-Liam Neeson-Silence

*Ali was bumped to one, Bridge moved from contender to 2, Hedges from 1 to 3, Patel was moved from Lead to Supporting.

Jovan Adepo-Fences
Aaron Eckheart-Bleed for This
Hugh Grant-Florence Foster Jenkins
Michael Shannon-Nocturnal Animals
Peter Sargaard-Jackie

*Sarsgaard & Adepo were moved to contender status, and Hugh Grant was added to this list, I think he has a strong chance

Best Supporting Actress
1-Naomi Harris-Moonlight
2-Michelle Williams-Manchester by the Sea
3-Greta Gerwig-20th Century Women
4-Nicole Kidman-Lion
5-Viola Davis-Fences 

*Viola Davis was moved to Supporting

Laura Dern-The Founder/Certain Women
Felicity Jones-A Monster Calls
Molly Shannon-Other People

Best Adapted Screenplay
5-Hidden Figures

Three of these films have not been seen, so it's harder to predict this category.

Best Original Screenplay
1-Manchester by the Sea
3-La La Land
5-Hell or High Water 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Certain Women is a poetic, and well crafted story about the complexity of life in the American Heartland

Certain Women
Directed and Written by: Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, Meek's Cutoff)
Starring: Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, and Lily Gladstone

In 1994 several major film directors made the feature film debut, the most notable being Danny Boyle, Frank Darabont, Doug Liman, David O. Russell, and Kelly Reichardt.  I could turn this into a  think piece clamoring for Reichardt to get same "indie cred" David O. Russell has attained, but I won't.  I will state that gender plays a role in this divide between these two directors trajectories, and opportunities. I probably could write a book about the gender gap with women behind the camera, but instead I will dive deeper into this beautiful film about women, and their everyday lives in the American Heartland. 

Reichardt focuses on four women and their lives in Montana.  Throughout the the film we get to meet Laura Dern's hard working, and often funny Laura.  Laura is attempting to help her client Fuller, played by Jared Harris, realize he can't sue a former employer for a work place accident.  Laura takes Fuller to another lawyer (a man) who explains to Fuller he can't win, and Fuller walks away.  Laura is exasperated, claiming if she were a man she would be taken serious in her profession.

In any other film, like "I Don't Know How She Does It" (2011) you would get an exaggerated version of this women.  How does the woman get the guy, have the kids, and get taken seriously at work? I did not see this Sarah Jessica Parker jaunt, but I have seen a hundred films of this ilk.  'Women' is different, and focuses on the basic every day humanity of Laura, similar struggles working to balance some extreme moments, with her own life, blended with the absurd humor we all encounter. This film does not assert itself to belittle the concept of the working women, but instead shows great complexity.

To state that these stories intersect is factual, but not like a Babel, where these stories are all connected because we are part of the global world. James Le Gross who plays William is connected to Laura, but it's his wife Gina who Reichardt introduces next.  Gina is played by Reichardt's oft used muse Michelle Williams and she is one of the most complex characters in the film.  Gina's complexity comes in the form of mother/and boss of her husband; she is his actual boss.  On their way home Gina and William stop by their distant neighbor Albert's house (Rene Auberjonois) home to ask for some sand stone in order to add to their families new "authentic home."

This sandstone represents Gina's desire to maintain that consistent Montana homestead while creating a somewhat gentrified space; she wants to  use this to build up her own happiness and keep her family together. Gina or characters like her are often represented as shrill, and one note, but Williams and Reichardt craft a woman who is both unlikeable and sympathetic.  Gina is working hard to maintain her family, and  she believes this sand stone will be the foundation to stabilize their lives.  Gina is willing to barter hard and take away the stone from it's natural habitat in order to c aid in her happiness.  This all culminates in a wave, a telling wave, and the response.

The most compelling story focuses on Jamie, played by first time actress Lily Gladstone. The quiet, shy awkward Jamie tends to the horses for a seasonal job at the ranch.  One night she sees people entering the school, and decides to follow.  Jamie stumbles into a school law class taught by Beth (Kristen Stewart).  The two connect and Lily joins Beth in a diner after class, Lily does not even eat with Beth but rather waits to get a burger from a vending machine.  Gladstone conveys the nerves in awkwardness in a way that even seasoned actresses could not convey.  Even when when Gladstone is just simply staring at Beth, you feel so much care, and emotion in the simplest glance.

As you follow the characters journeys you get lost in is the sumptuous visuals. Reichardt worked with cinematographer Christopher Blavelt who shot Meek's Cutoff.  From the snow covered mountains, to the way in which the street light hits Lily while on horse back riding down the high way.  This film captures every element of Montana, and the Heartland, and how these women are lives are connected to the land around them.

Reichardt sets a tone that envelopes you in the everyday lives of these people; she breaks down the wall, while never letting an artificial moment exist.  Whether you are watching converse Beth and Lily past a man slurping soup, or Native Americans dancing while Laura wanders the mall after eating some lunch you feel at home in their lives. Certain Women is one of the most beautiful and captivating films I have seen.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Oscar Predictions (September 2016)

Image result for oscars 2017At this point in the "Oscar season" I have seen one film that could be a contender for award show consideration in the main categories, and at this moment I would consider it a huge long shot. Hell or High Water is a fantastic film about the evolution those fighting to make ends meet, fighting to do right, while being saddled with the simple burdens of everyday life in America.  Sounds like a contender.  Hell still has a fighting chance, it will depend on the campaign. At the moment the strongest chances are in Supporting Actor for Jeff Bridges and Original Screenplay, but the latter is a very competitive category.

There are a couple big things hanging out there for Oscar predictions at the moment:

Will #OscarsSoWhite not be a thing this year?

There are four films yet to be released this year about the black/African American experience, Moonlight, Fences, Hidden Figures and Loving.  Moonlight and Fences are both majority black cast and directed. Loving is about over turning the law preventing interracial marriage.  Hidden Figures is about three black women and their impact on NASA.

Moonlight will be released in a limited capacity this month, and appears to be one of the best reviewed films of the year. Loving has also scored positive reviews, and lots of praise.  While Fences and Hidden Figures has yet to be seen.  There are two other films which have been officially released this year which also could be considered in some races and thy are Queen of Katwe, and Birth of a Nation. Katwe has solid reviews, and the heart, but the furthest I could see it going is maybe a Supporting Actress nomination for Lupita Nyong'o.  Birth of a Nation was a predicted front runner back in February and March, but then it was released that star/director Nate Parker was involved in a sexual assault case in college, which has impacted the film's perception.  Parker was actually found not guilty, but his words and other actions surrounding this case have not gone unnoticed.  To get varying perspectives on this please listen Sasha Stone's podcast on and NPR's Code Switch podcast specifically about this issue.

There is obviously a lot of pressure on the Academy considering their increased measurement and they have to be waiting with bated breath.  Honoring any combination of these films (more than one in Best Picture) would be a win. I think the next problem is that Hollywood does not make enough films the Latino/Hispanic experience, the Asian experience, the LGBT experience, hell there are rarely Best Picture nominees with a lead white women.  2015 had two, Room and Brooklyn, that's rare.  Highlighting diversity and inclusion is always important, because representation matters. I hope Hollywood and the Academy (and prestige studios) start to push more realistic, well made stories about different people's lived experiences.

We still have not seen or head anything about you!

Yes Twitter, I heard that Scorsese is still in the editing room with Silence, and that it's his "masterpiece." The truth is that no one has seen the film yet.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk was recently seen by many critics/bloggers, and while last week many were predicting as a spoiler to La La Land (the presumptive front runner) the negative buzz cause it to tumble a lot!  I am one person who has removed it from my predictions, but I could have been a bit knee jerk, you never know, after all Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was a Best Picture nominee.

The other films which have not been seen yet, which may be huge contenders are Fences (mentioned above), Live by Night, and Hidden Figures.  There is of course a danger in predicting the unknown, look at Unbroken, many were predicting up to 10 nominations, and the film floundered big time.

I like to play the hunch game, which films/performances do Oscar voters typically go for and will reviews matter, because they sometimes do not, again this time I will pick on The Blind Side.

My Predictions:

I have laid out my predictions for the major categories (outside of screenplay). Films/performances that have been seen are ranked above any film or performance that has not been seen.

Best Picture
1-La La Land
2-Manchester by the Sea
10-Hidden Figures

20th Century Women
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Birth of a Nation
Hell or High Water
Live by Night

Best Director
1-Damien Chazelle-La La Land
2-Kenneth Lonnergan-Manchester by the Sea
3-Barry Jenkin-Moonlight
4-Martin Scorsese-Silence
5-Denzel Washington-Fences

Pablo Larrain-Jackie
Ang Lee-Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Jeff Nichols-Loving
Denis Villeneueve-Arrival

Best Actor
1-Casey Affleck-Manchester by the Sea
2-Ryan Gosling-La La Land
3-Joel Edgerton-Loving
4-Dev Patel-Lion
5-Denzel Washington-Fences

Robert DeNiro-The Comedian
Andrew Garfield-Silence
Jake Gyllenhaal-Nocturnal Animals
Tom Hanks-Sully
Michael Keaton-The Founder

Best Actress
1-Emma Stone-La La Land
2-Natalie Portman-Jackie
3-Annette Benning-20th Century Women
4-Ruth Negga-Loving
5-Viola Davis-Fences

Amy Adams in Arrival and Nocturnal Animals
Jessica Chastain-Miss Sloane
Taraji P. Henson-Hidden Figures
Isabelle Huppert-Elle
Meryl Streep-Florence Foster Jenkins

Supporting Actor
1-Lucas Hedges-Manchester by the Sea
2-Peter Sargaard-Jackie
3-Mahershala Ali-Moonlight
4-Liam Neeson-Silence
5-Jovan Adepo-Fences

Jeff Bridges-Hell or High Water
Kyle Chandler-Manchester by the Sea
Aaron Eckheart-Bleed for This
Michael Shannon-Nocturnal Animals
Timothy Spall-Denial

Best Supporting Actress
1-Naomi Harris-Moonlight
2-Michelle Williams-Manchester by the Sea
3-Greta Gerwig-20th Century Women
4-Nicole Kidman-Lion
5-Octavia Spencer-Hidden Figures

Viola Davis-Fences (category placement not determined)
Laura Dern-The Founder/Certain Women
Felicity Jones-A Monster Calls
Molly Shannon-Other People

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Walk Down Oscar Memory Lane, 20 Years of Following the Oscars (1996)

Image result for fargo jerry maguireI started following the Oscars on a more detailed level 20 years ago this year. Three films from the nominees jump to mind from 1996 for me, and they are Jerry Maguire, The Birdcage, and Fargo.

Jerry Maguire was the romantic comedy/drama, a film type or style that will occasionally find itself in the Best Picture race because of the undeniable magnetism and popularity.  As Good as it Gets (1997) fits this mold in a way, but I the offbeat love story element falls flat as this movie ages.  Maguire is more akin to Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Maguire sticks out to me only because twelve at the time, and it was a film everyone was seeing, including my parents.  This was also one of those moments I look back on and I am thankful my parents let me see R-rated films at twelve. I remember Maguire because I felt part of the in crowd, I had seen the film, and as a young kid I was able to root for a movie.

Jerry Maguire was nominated for 5 Oscars including Best Picture, Actor (Tom Cruise), Best Supporting Actor (Cuba Gooding Jr.), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.  Cuba Gooding Jr. walked away the biggest winner and loser that evening; he was the only winner from the film, but his career choices would turn him into a running joke in many people's minds.  Cuba Gooding Jr. started a rebound of his career in the late 2000s, but has truly found the most amazing roles this year, ironically.  Gooding Jr. is part of two different Ryan Muprhy television vehicles, American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, and American Horror Story: My Roanoke Tales.

In looking back at this win I would have picked Edward Norton for Primal Fear, but Cuba Gooding Jr. gives one of those beautifully rare scene stealing comedic performance, that is honored by the Oscars.  Cuba Gooding Jr. was the sixth African American Actor to win an Oscar in the the acting categories,the third in the Supporting Actor category to win.  What happened to Gooding Jr.'s career that came after was what happened to many black or African Americans around this time, there were fewer opportunities for roles, especially in prestige pictures, or even well respected art house comedies.  Cuba Gooding Jr. has shown tremendous acting prowess this past year, and I hope as he continues to take on more roles his acting win is held in wider regard.

I have not re-visited Jerry Maguire in a long time, but I am fairly certain the speeches and lack of chemistry between Cruise and Zellwgger would not hold up.  The film is too sappy, and it's interesting because it's a romantic comedy that appealed to both men and women.

I have re-visited The Birdcage, maybe too many times.  As a young gay man (still in the closet) this was a movie I needed to see, there was visibility of gay men, sign me up.  At least that is what the internal voice said in my 12 year old mind.

The Birdcage was not a major Oscar player, the film only had one well deserved nomination for Art Direction. 1996 was before the intensity of the film critic narrative, which has erupted more because of social media and the internet.  1996 was only the second year of the Screen Actors Guild Awards.and holds to be the only year a Best nominee did not win the Outstanding Cast by a Cast in a Motion Picture, and that was The Birdcage. SAG also nominated Nathan Lane for Lead Actor and Hank Azaria for Supporting Actor.

SAG rarely goes rogue, they did in 2015 (big time) and there have been fun ensembles from comedic films nominated: Waking Ned (1998), My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002), Hairspray (2007), and Bridesmaids (2011), but none of them in the modern awards era won the top prize like The Birdcage, and I can't imagine a film doing that again.  This sets The Birdcage apart from most films, and makes its place in Oscar/award show history unique. The Birdcage is memorable, for me because it was the first film I saw where the lead characters were gay, and did not die tragically. This film will always hold a special place in my heart.

The last and most memorable Oscar film I saw that specific year was Fargo.  Fargo was not a movie I saw in theatres, but rather something I convinced my grandparents let me rent while I stayed over at their house.  I am grateful that both my parents and grandparents allowed me to explore so many great films at such a young age.  I remember going online, and reading in Entertainment Weekly about the Coens, and this film.  At twelve I am I know I did not fully grasp this film, but I did know that I was watching something special.

Fargo's path to the Oscars was not as gold paved as people would assume, sure it won Best Film at the New York Film Critics Association, Best Director at the BAFTA, and Frances won at SAG (it swept the Independent Spirit Awards, but Fargo's winning record, was rather similar to No Country for Old Men.

Fargo like many Coen films was ahead of its time (or for the award season) and was steam rolled in many critics awards by Mike Leigh's Secrets and Lies and in the main line awards by The English Patient.  Fargo was nominated for seven Oscars and won two, Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay.

Fargo holds a special place in my heart, it's one of the first "dark comedies" I had ever seen, which opened my mind to a whole new world. Fargo is the film I re-visit the most from this year, I have seen it at least 15 times, and every time I watch I find a new thing which makes me smile, or look at the film with a different viewpoint.  Fargo and the Coen's direction helped open my perspective on film and the award season/Oscars.

The Oscars are seen by many around the world as the most prestigious award you can be nominated for/receive.  Over the years there has been a narrative which creates a sense of validation.  Winning the Oscar = You made it!  There are of course ways in which this is debunked, Alfred Hitchcock never won this prize for direction, Peter O'Toole never won for acting, and Roger Deakins has never won in Cinematography.

There are also problematic aspects to the three names I used as examples of Oscar "injustice" namely that they are CIS straight white males (as far as I know).  The greatest amount of visible diversity appears in the acting categories, which is scary because of 1,000 plus nominees only 62 of the acting nominees were black/African American, and this does not account for one person having multiple nominations.  Only three black men have been nominated in Best Director, two of which were in the last 6 years, and Oprah was the first black woman to be nominated as a Producer in the Best Picture category.  I could not find a list for Asian, Latino, or Native nominees.  There are also very few LGBT folks who have been nominated and won at the Oscars. This is why #OscarsSoWhite became a thing, minoritized people are not seeing themselves honored, celebrated, or even show on film.  How can this awards be meaningful is they do not represent society across the globe?

The Oscars represent a zeitgeist in some ways, and in some ways are behind the eight ball.  In the 1970s the Best Picture went to films represented societal norms the strongest.  Films that spoke to people on a social level and were popular.  The legacies of The Godfather and Rocky still live on.  As we moved toward the invention of the blockbuster in the early 80s the Oscars started to lose cultural relevance.

As I have grown up, the Oscars are still fun to watch, I love when small meaningful films like Spotlight can win Best Picture, or when someone like Lupita N'yongo's performance speaks more than the biggest box office star in the world.  Film is about more than the Oscars, but about the experience you can create for people.  In the end I do not remember the amount of nominations a film got (well I do know) but I more important measurement is the impact the film had on me, and film canon.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Emmy Predictions (2016) Will it be an HBO Sweep Again?

Image result for emmys 2016Tonight Jimmy Kimmell will host the Emmy Awards, and I hope he doesn't tousle a racist Presidential candidates hair.  I do hope he takes Fallon to task for this; he can set himself apart, which he has continued to do in many ways in the late night game, finally making ABC a contender after years of Leno v. Letterman.

Outside of the host this is the second year the Emmy Awards have had their new popular vote, with another new tweak, voters are no longer ranking the nominees, they are picking their favorite and voting for one show/person.  Since this system is new this could provide some surprises, this could also become a boring ceremony quickly.

One of the most interesting elements to pay attention to in this new system is whether or not there will be surprise winners, and vote splitting.  Last week at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards there were some surprises, especially in the Guest Acting categories, but those always happen.  More on those in a second, but the biggest surprise and delight was when RuPaul won for Outstanding Reality Show Host.  This was her first nomination, and she won for season 8, this rarely happens.  I hope this surprise makes its way to the main show.

I am going to use the Comedy Guest Acting winners to prove that vote splitting may be a reality.  In Comedy Guest Actor you had Larry David and Tracy Morgan from Saturday Night Live. My guess is that both had their supporters, which ciphered votes paving the way for Peter Scolari to win for Girls.  Scolari was a replacement nominee, and his win was surprising, especially since I thought Martin Mull would benefit from the Veep name check, but he did not.  I think this proves that people are not just going to pick actors because they are in the show they are voting for in Best Comedy, which is why I am not picking Anna Chulmsky. Scolari also had a good tape, which actors still submit, but I am not sure people are watching tapes anymore.  I am not sure if we will ever truly know if the tapes matter anymore.

Many Emmy predictors will use Outstanding Guest Actress winners Amy Poehler and Tina Fey to disprove my vote splitting theory.  They were up against Melissa McCarthy and Amy Schumer for SNL. My argument, albeit thin, is simply, if you looked at ballot and saw those two power house comedic women nominated as one do you think there was any competition?

It is a thing argument, but I am going to go with it to make my predictions this year, and if I am wrong, at least I was one of the few to predict RuPaul's win!

Outstanding Drama Series
The Americans
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards 
Mr. Robot

Who Will Win: Game of Thrones, it won a record nine crafts Emmy Awards last week, and will become the most honored show at the Emmys

Watch Out for: The Americans, I think it could spoil in writing and acting, but not here yet.  With Thrones out of competition next year, if the show keeps up the quality, I think it will win next year.

My Vote: The Americans

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series 
Kyle Chandler-Bloodline
Rami Malek-Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk-Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys-The Americans 
Liev Schrieber-Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey-House of Cards

One of the hardest categories to predict.  None of these men have ever won.  Spacey is the biggest name, and he has won SAG twice, which should mean that he is the obvious choice, but I'm not sure it's that simple.  Malek is the hot new star, but that rarely works, it took John Hamm until the last season of Mad Men to win. Odenkirk is also a strong option, the show has some consistent love, but it's not on the same level as Breaking Bad style love.  Then there is Liev Schrieber "a movie star" in a show with growing support, but is it enough to bump him to a win?  Kyle Chandler pulled off an upset for Friday Night Lights, but that was based on tapes as opposed to popularity.  Then there is Matthew Rhys who finally pulled off a nomination with growing support The Americans, especially in the acting branch, could he pull off the biggest surprise?

Will Win: Kevin Spacey-House of Cards. Anyone of these 6 men can win (obviously) but usually there are people you know will not.  I am going the safe route on this one, Spacey makes the most sense.

Watch Out for: Everyone else, but strongest are (in order) Rami Malek, Liev Schrieber, and Bob Odenkirk.

My Vote: Rami Malek-Mr. Robot

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series 
Claire Danes-Homeland 
Viola Davis-How to Get Away with Murder
Taraji P. Henson-Empire
Tatiana Maslany-Orphan Black 
Keri Russell-The Americans
Robin Wright-House of Cards

Like last year many are predicting this to be a race between Robin Wright and Viola Davis.  I think Kerri Russell is a strong third, but not this year.  

Will Win: Viola Davis-How to Get Away with Murder.  She has two SAG wins, is well respected, even if the show does not have any other love.

Watch Out for: Robin Wright, who has never won, and was the true star of season four.

My Vote: Keri Russell-The Americans

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series 
Jonathon Banks-Better Call Saul
Peter Dinklage-Game of Thrones
Kit Harrington-Game of Thrones
Michael Kelly-House of Cards
Ben Mendelsohn-Bloodline
Jon Voight-Ray Donovan

No offense to the nominees, but this is the weakest category, based on tapes. Which makes this a harder category to predict.  This category also has many surprise wins like Ċ½eljko Ivanek for Damages, Petere Dinklage (first win), and Bobby Cannavale for Boardwalk Empire, but these were all based on tapes.

Last year in the first year of the popular vote we saw Dinklage win, he rode the Thrones victory train.  Will this happen again?  Does Kit Harrington being in this category help one of the other men?

Will Win:  Jonathon Banks-Better Call Saul.  I think the vote split will be real, and I am going out a limb on this one.

Watch Out for: Peter Dinklage, he is popular, and could get a third win, tying Aaron Paul.  I do think he and Harrington are both popular enough to split enough number one votes to help Banks, who has been nominated her for both Breaking Bad and Saul.  Jon Voight is a big star who could bank on name recognition

My Vote: Peter Dinklage-Game of Thrones (I guess)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series 
Emilia Clarke-Game of Thrones
Lena Headey-Game of Thrones 
Dame Maggie Smith-Downton Abbey
Maura Tierney-The Affair
Maisie Williams-Game of Thrones 
Constance Zimmer-House of Cards

There is a chance that no one will be back in this category next year, wouldn't that be crazy? No Thrones, Abbey is gone.  Tierney and Zimmer could lose buzz.  With that said I think with three nominees the vote splitting will lead to many award show junkies are dreading...

Will Win: Dame Maggie Smith-Downton Abbey.  I think the vote splitting will happen here, and people will want to honor Abbey one last time, but Smith will not be there, so people will be upset Thrones woman does not win.

Watch Out for: Anyone else! This category is impressive.  My second ranked person is Maura Tierney, she is very popular (even if The Affair is not) and could be the person people pick.

My Vote: Maura Tierney-The Affair

Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series 
Will Win: Mr. Robot-eps1.0_ (also my vote)

Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series  
Will Win: Game of Thrones-Battle of the Bastards (also my vote)

As we move into Comedy, you will see less commentary, mainly because the top three categories, have little assessment that is needed.

Outstanding Comedy Series 
Master of None 
Modern Family 
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Will Win: Veep 

Watch Out for: Silicon Valley

My Vote: Master of None 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series 
Anthony Anderson-Black-ish
Aziz Ansari-Master of None
Will Forte-Last Man Standing
William H. Macy-Shameless
Thomas Middleditch-Silicon Valley
Jeffrey Tambor-Transparent

Will Win: Jeffrey Tambor-Transparent

Watch Out for: Anthony Anderson-Black-ish

My Vote: Aziz Ansari-Master of None

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Ellie Kemper-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfus-Veep 
Laurie Metcalfe-Getting On
Tracee Ellis Ross-Black-ish
Amy Schumer-Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin-Grace and Frankie

Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus-Veep

Watch Out for: Laurie Metcalf-Getting On (namely because she had three nominations this year)

My Vote: Ellie Kemper-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Louie Anderson-Baskets
Andre Braugher-Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Ty Burrell-Modern Family
Titus Burgess-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale-Veep
Keegan Michael Key-Key and Peele
Matt Walsh-Veep

This is a category to watch out for, I think anything is possible, even Ty Burrell (but I would rank him last).  I think the two people out front are Tony Hale and Titus Burgess, with Louie Anderson and Matt Walsh as spoilers.  This is the first time Hale has had competition from his own show in this category, and it could hurt his chances.  With seven nominees here, anything is possible.  I think Matt Walsh has a solid amount of love, and will ciphen votes from Hale.  I am going out on a limb with this category...

Will Win: Titus Burgess-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  I think many people love him and this character, and the residual love from last year will help him finally win.

Watch Out for: As listed above Hale, Anderson, and Walsh in that order, but this is category that I would not be surprised to see an upset.

My Vote: Titus Burgess-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Anna Chlumsky-Veep
Gabby Hoffman-Transparent
Allison Janney-Mom
Judith Light-Transparent
Kate McKinnon-Saturday Night Live
Niecy Nash-Getting On

The easy pick here is Allison Janney for a threepeat, which is probably going to happen.  I could also see Chlumsky finally getting her due for Veep tonight.  I think this race is between them logically.  There is also a voice in my head that is saying scene stealers Niecy Nash and Judith Light could spoil.  Might as well go out on this limb.

Will Win: Niecy Nash-Getting On.  She got nominated last year, was in two shows, and is well liked by many.  I am willing to admit I may be wrong on this one, but I am going to have fun with this category, like supporting actor.

Watch Out for: Janney (she will most likely win), I can honestly see everyone but McKinnon and Hoffman winning.

My vote: Judith Light-Transparent

Outstanding Direction in a Comedy Series
Will Win: Transparent-Man on the Land 

Watch Out for and My Vote: Veep-Kissing Your Sister

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series
Will Win: Master of None-Parents 

Watch Out for and My Vote: Veep-Mother

The most suspenseful, and best categories of the evening are the TV Limited Series/Movie Acting categories.  This is the first year where you could probably fill each category with 10 worthy nominees.  These will/could be the most exciting to hear announced so hold on to your seats.  Listed below is my predictions for each category.  I think you will see the wins spread between OJ, Fargo and The Night Manager

Outstanding Limited Series: The People v OJ Simpson

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie: Courtney B. Vance-The People v OJ Simpson

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series/TV Movie: Sarah Paulsen-The People v OJ Simpson

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie: Hugh Laurie-The Night Manager (watch out for this one, could Sterling K. Brown for OJ too)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series/TV Movie: Jean Smart-Fargo

Outstanding Direction in a Limited Series/TV Movie: Fargo-Before the Law

Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series/TV Movie: The Night Manager

Outstanding Reality Competition Program: The Voice

Outstanding Variety Talk Series: Last Week Tonight

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series: Inside Amy Schumer

Sunday, July 10, 2016

If I picked the Emmy Nominees (2016) ....

The Emmy nominations are coming out this week (July 14) and I tepidly excited.  In their new voting system there are more involved in the voting processes, which I think will just water down the nominees (and winners).  In an ideal world I would like to see at least some of my personal choices make the cut, but I will just put them right here:

Best Drama Series 
The Americans (F/X)
Better Call Saul (AMC)
The Leftovers (HBO)
Marvel's Jessica Jones (Netflix)
Mr. Robot (USA) 
Penny Dreadful (Showtime)
Transparent (Amazon) 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Hugh Dancy-Hannibal (NBC) 
Rami Malek-Mr. Robot (USA)
Bob Odenkirk-Better Call Saul (AMC)
Matthew Rhys-The Americans (F/X)
Jeffrey Tambor-Transparent (Amazon) 
Justin Theroux-The Leftovers (HBO)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Shiri Appleby-UnReal (Lifetime) 
Carrie Coon-The Leftovers (HBO)
Viola Davis-How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)
Eva Green-Penny Dreadful (Showtime)
Krysten Ritter-Marvel's Jessica Jones (Netflix)
Kerri Russell-The Americans (F/X)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series 
Jon Bernthal-Daredevil (Netflix)
Alan Cumming-The Good Wife (CBS)
Jay DuPlass-Transparent (Amazon)
Michael McKean-Better Call Saul (AMC)
Christian Slater-Mr. Robot (USA)
David Tennant-Marvel's Jessica Jones (Netflix)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Gillian Anderson-Hannibal (NBC)
Regina King-The Leftovers (HBO)
Helen McCrory-Penny Dreadful (Showtime)
Maura Tierney-The Affair (Showtime)
Alison Wright-The Americans (F/X)
Constance Zimmer-UnReal (Lifetime)

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama
Richard Armitage-Hannibal (NBC)
Josh Charles-The Good Wife (CBS)
Collin Donnell-The Affair (Showtime)
Vincent D’Nofrio-Daredevil (Netflix)
Ian McShane-Game of Thrones (HBO)
B.D. Wong-Mr. Robot (USA)

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Melora Hardin-Transparent (Amazon)
Patti LuPonne-Penny Dreaful (Showtime) 
Natasha Lyonne-Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Diane Rigg-Game of Thrones (HBO)
Liv Tyler-The Leftovers (HBO) 
Leslie Uggams-Empire (FOX)

Outstanding Direction in a Drama Series
The Americans-The Magic of David Copperfield v. The Statue of Liberty Disappears-Matthew Rhys (F/X)
Better Call Saul-Fifi-Larysa Kondracki (AMC)
Game of Thrones-The Winds of Winter-Miguel Sapochnik (HBO)
The Leftovers-International Assassin-Craig Zobel (HBO)
Mr. Robot- Arden Oplev (USA)
Transparent-Kina Hora-Jill Solloway (HBO)

Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series
The Americans-Persona Non Grata-Joel Fields, and Joe Weisberg (F/X)
Better Call Saul-Klick-Heather Morrison and Vince Gilligan (AMC)
Jessica Jones-AKA Ladies’ Night-Melssa Rosenberg (Netflix)
The Leftovers-Lens-Damon Lindelof and Tom Perotta (HBO)
Mr. Esmail (USA)
Transparent-Man on the Land-Ali Liebegott (Amazon)

Outstanding Comedy Series
Black-ish (ABC)
Broad City (Comedy Central)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW)
Girls (HBO)
Master of None (Netflix)*
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Veep (HBO)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson-Black-ish (ABC)
Aziz Ansari-Master of None (Netflix)
Rob Delaney-Catastrophe (Amazon)
Tommy Dewey-Casual (Hulu)
Noah Galvin-The Real O’Neals (ABC)
Rob Lowe-The Grinder (FOX)

Outstanding Lead Actress in Comedy Series
Rachel Bloom-Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW)
Sharon Horgan-Catastrophe (Amazon)
Abbi Jacobson-Broad City (Comedy Central)
Ellie Kemper-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus-Veep (HBO)
Gina Rodriguez-Jane the Virgin (CW)
Tracee Ellis Ross-Black-ish (ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Louie Anderson-Baskets (F/X)
Titus Burgess-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Jaime Camil-Jane the Virgin (CW)
Andrew Rannells-Girls (HBO)
Sam Richardson-Veep (HBO)
Mel Rodriguez-Getting On (HBO)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Yael Grobglas-Jane the Virgin (CW) 
Jane Krakowski-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Jennifer Lewis-Black-ish (ABC)
Donna Lynne Champlin-Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW)
Niecy Nash-Getting On (HBO)
Allison Williams-Girls (HBO)

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy
Christopher Abbott-Girls (HBO) 
Shoukath Ansari-Master of None (Netflix)
Deon Cole-Black-ish (ABC)
Paul W. Downs-Broad City (Comedy Central)
Peter MacNicol-Veep (HBO)
Timothy Olyphant-The Grinder (FOX)

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy
Claire Danes-Master of None (Netflix) 
Anna Camp-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Tina Fey-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Estelle Parsons-Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
Jenny Slate-Girls (HBO) 
Amy Sedaris- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series
Black-ish-The Johnson Show-Gail Lerner (ABC)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine-Yippie Kayak-Rebecca Asher (FOX)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend-Josh just happens to live Here! -Marc Webb (CW) 
Girls-The Panic in Central Park-Richard Shepherd (HBO) 
Master of None-Mornings-Eric Wareheim (Netflix)
Veep-Kissing Your Sister-Dave Mandel (HBO)

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series
Black-ish-The Word-Kenya Barris (ABC) 
Catastrophe-Episode 1-Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan (Amazon) 
Girls-I Love You Baby-Judd Apatow, Lena Dunham, and Jenni Konner (HBO)
Master of None-Indians on TV-Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang (Netflix)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt-Kimmy Goes to Happy Place-Robert Carlock & Emily Altman (Netflix)

Veep-Mother-Alex Gregory & Peter Huyck (HBO)