Saturday, September 19, 2015

MTVP Emmys Coverage 2015: The Players

There are a few things that really personify late summer/early fall for me. One is that the busy season at my job is looming (the shit should really hit the fan in about a month, to be precise). The second is the Maryland Renaissance Festival (I just returned home earlier today from my second visit of a possible three this year). The third, of course, and the one we’re going to be talking about today (since MTVP is a television blog, after all) is the Emmys. Tomorrow night’s telecast is on FOX, and they’ve tapped Andy Sandberg for hosting duties. I don’t really watch Saturday Night Live, so I’m not especially familiar with Sandberg’s earlier work beyond viral videos like “Dick in a Box,” but I really enjoy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and his portrayal of Jake Peralta. I’m excited to see what he can do with the hosting gig. I am guessing he received plenty of advice from fellow SNL alum and last year’s host, Seth Meyers.

Let’s get into my usual disclaimer before we really get into the meat of the discussion (I am a lawyer, after all, albeit not a practicing one). I’m an Emmy enthusiast, for sure, but I’m not an Emmy expert. If you really want in-depth, professional awards show analysis, check out Gold Derby or Awardsline. Instead, what I try to do here is talk about a few categories that really excite me or where I have strong preferences for winners. I try to follow the overall ethos of MTVP when I write my Emmy preview posts. If it’s not fun, Sarah and I don’t write about it! So with that said, on to the categories!

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Taraji P. Henson (Empire)
Claire Danes (Homeland)
Robin Wright (House of Cards)
Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)

My Pick: Tatiana Maslany

I’ll admit, this one was an incredibly tough choice for me. I was torn between Taraji P. Henson, who has been a standout for her superb work as Cookie Lyons on “Empire” and Tatiana Maslany, who for three years has done yeoman’s work as multiple characters on “Orphan Black.” Ultimately, I had to go with Maslany, because she is way overdue for this recognition. I seriously think she must work harder than anyone else on television. On “Orphan Black,” she plays multiple clones, and each one feels completely distinct and like its own, fully-formed characters. She even manages to pull off one clone trying to pretend to be another and all the intricacies that entails. Taraji can have the Emmy next year!

Outstanding Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

My Pick: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

This was another tough choice, although not quite as tough as the last one. I was torn between “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which ticks many of my boxes (looking at the effects of fundamentalist religion and cults, quirky female lead character, Broadway) and “Veep,” which is based on a British show I love (“The Thick of It”) and up until now has been filmed in my beloved city of Baltimore (they’re moving to California for the next season, apparently). Because I’ve seen more of “Kimmy Schmidt” than I have of “Veep” (although I seriously need to catch up – Armando Iannucci is a genius), I went with “Kimmy Schmidt.” “Kimmy Schmidt” comes from the mind of the always funny Tina Fey, and it stars Ellie Kemper as recently freed cult victim Kimmy Schmidt, who is trying to make her way in New York City. It’s a really charming, quirky show, and it always makes me smile.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Adam Driver (Girls)
Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Tony Hale (Veep)

My Pick: Tituss Burgess

This was another incredibly tough choice for me (which probably speaks well of the nominations overall this year). I was torn between Andre Braugher, Keegan-Michael Key, Tituss Burgess, and Tony Hale. All are incredibly funny men. Ultimately, though, I had to go with Burgess, because he has made the biggest impression on me in the past year, and this was really a breakout year for him. He plays Kimmy’s roommate and Broadway star wannabe Titus Andromedon on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” His music video “Peeno Noir” is hilarious, and once you see it, you can’t unsee it! I have a feeling Keegan-Michael Key may have a shot at winning, though, because “Key & Peele” just ended last month, so it is on voters’ minds. As long as Ty Burrell doesn’t win, to be honest, (nothing against him personally, I’m just sick of “Modern Family” winning all the Emmys), I’ll be satisfied.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black)
Christine Baranski (The Good Wife)

My Pick: Lena Headey

There are many talented ladies on the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama list this year, but Lena Headey stands out above the rest to me. I don’t really like the character she plays, Cersei Lannister, on “Game of Thrones.” Cersei is manipulative and sociopathic. This year, however, Headey did a fantastic job making viewers feel just a touch of sympathy for Cersei as she tried to save her daughter and got imprisoned by a fundamentalist religious order. It was hard not to feel some sympathy, really, as Cersei was paraded naked through the capital while a cleric shouted “Shame!” repeatedly. Headey really conveyed the true horror of that moment, and for that, I think she deserves an Emmy.

And in closing, I’ll leave you with this. See you Monday for my usual “Aftermath” post, TV nerds!

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