Saturday, September 22, 2012

MTVP Emmys Coverage 2012: The Players

Tomorrow’s the big day that I like to call the Super Bowl for TV fans. It’s the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards!  This year’s telecast will be on ABC, and it will be hosted by late night man Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel has his funny moments, and it can’t be as bad as ABC’s last crack at the show, where they thought it would be a good idea to have all five or so nominees for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality Competition Program act as co-hosts. What I’m here to talk about tonight, though, are the people who are going to be honored at tomorrow’s ceremony. As I say every year, if you want real expert analysis on who is actually likely to win at the Nokia Theatre, check out a site like Gold Derby. What I do here is highlight some categories that especially excite me and tell you who, if I had my druthers (which I don’t) would win. Some of my picks are a pipe dream, I know, but as the cliché goes, it’s an honor that some of my favorites were nominated.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Lena Dunham (Girls)
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly)

My Pick: Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel plays Jess Day, loveably quirky teacher and roommate on FOX’s “New Girl” (which has its season premiere next week with two back to back episodes…I’m so excited, you guys!). This category has quite a deep field, and Deschanel didn’t really do herself any favors by choosing the kind of awkward “Bad in Bed” as her submission episode (I suppose “Naked” would have been worse, though). Despite, this, however, Deschanel is my pick because she consistently delivers a performance that modulates well between quirky and twee and just real enough to avoid being really annoying. “New Girl” is my favorite show currently on television (RIP “Pushing Daisies” forever) because of how it expertly combines commentary on that time in life when you realize you need to grow up and sunny optimism. Deschanel is vital in creating that hopeful, often joyful, tone.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Ed O’Neil (Modern Family)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)

My Pick: Max Greenfield

If any category demonstrates the absurdity of the Academy’s “Modern Family” love, it’s this one. Does anybody still even like “Modern Family?” I thought that went out of style a season or two ago. Anyway, Max Greenfield plays Schmidt, loveably douchey roommate on “New Girl.” Greenfield was really the breakout star of the first half of the first season. The evolution of Schmidt from douche joke delivery system to someone more well-rounded and Greenfield’s critical recognition for that performance showed that “New Girl” wasn’t going to be the Zooey Deschanel show. The success of Schmidt as a character really allowed “New Girl” to be an ensemble driven show, which I think is one of its strengths. Jake Johnson, with his super quirky loveable loser character Nick kind of took over as MVP of the second half of the season, but Greenfield really opened the door for Johnson to be able to shine, so I think Greenfield is very deserving of an Emmy.

Outstanding Drama Series

The Nominees:

Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
Breaking Bad (AMC)
Downton Abbey (PBS)
Mad Men (AMC)
Homeland (Showtime)
Game of Thrones (HBO)

My Pick: Game of Thrones

I know this is my most pie-in-the-sky pick, since with the exception of the 2004 Academy Awards (yay Lord of the Rings), awards shows aren’t kind to genre. I have to give it up to some honorable mentions here. “Downton Abbey” is wonderfully addictive Edwardian soap opera television, and Sarah loves “Homeland” (and I intend to watch it someday too). “Game of Thrones,” however, is beautifully immersive, complex television. While season two didn’t tell as cohesive a story as season 1, it was still an incredibly high quality production that I greatly enjoyed watching. For the lush visuals alone, I think “Game of Thrones” is deserving of an Emmy.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Julianna Marguiles (The Good Wife)
Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Kathy Bates (Harry’s Law)
Claire Danes (Homeland)
Glenn Close (Damages)

My Pick: Michelle Dockery

Michelle Dockery plays Lady Mary Crawley, heiress (now that she’s getting married) to the Earl of Grantham’s fortune on “Downton Abbey.” Dockery really had a chance to shine in the second season, which aired this past winter on PBS. The season focused on Mary’s past transgressions and her relationship with Downton heir Matthew. Mary ran the gamut of emotions as Matthew was at war, engaged to someone else, and then eventually proposed to her. Mary also had to confess a past relationship to both her father and to Matthew, and her relief when neither of them disowned her was palpable. For the ease with which this relative newcomer effectively conveyed so much emotion, Michelle Dockery is definitely deserving of an Emmy.

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie

Game Change (HBO)
American Horror Story (FX)
Hemmingway & Gellhorn (HBO)
Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (PBS)
Luther (BBC America) Hatfields & McCoys (History)

My Pick: Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia

“A Scandal in Belgravia” was the first of the three episodes of “Sherlock” to air this past winter. “Sherlock” is Steven Moffat’s “other” show, which is a modern day take on Sherlock Holmes starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. “A Scandal in Belgravia” showcases the relationship between Sherlock and “The Woman” Irene Adler. This episode was especially notable for its in-depth exploration of Sherlock’s character as he’s confronted with having feelings for a woman for the first time. “Sherlock” in general is smart, entertaining television that is more than deserving of an Emmy.

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