Sunday, September 18, 2016

MTVP Emmys Coverage 2016: The Players

The Emmys really snuck up on me this year, probably because I spent most of August in Australia (I’m slowly but surely getting back into blogging now, I promise!). Nevertheless, the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast tonight on ABC. Our host is Jimmy Kimmel, who also hosted the Emmys in 2012, where I believe I found him competent but not spectacular. I think the choice of winners that year kind of ruined the telecast for me. Hopefully this year will be better on that front. The Academy has certainly chosen some interesting nominees this year, so hopefully the winners will be equally interesting. It can’t possibly be worse than ABC’s previous Emmy telecast in 2008 where all the nominees for best reality competition host shared telecast hosting duties. That one was an unmitigated mess. Anyway, as always, I’ll give the usual disclaimer. I’m by no means an Emmy prognosticator. I’m just a fan of TV in general and the Emmys in particular. If you want real analysis, there are plenty of people who get paid to do that and do it well. This post is where I pick a few categories that interest me and tell you would win if I had my druthers. On with the speculation!

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
Laurie Metcalf (Getting On)
Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish)
Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer)
Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie)

My Pick: Ellie Kemper

There are several very deserving women in this category, but I’m going to have to go with Ellie Kemper, because I adore her portrayal of recently rescued doomsday cult victim Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Kimmy has been through some horrible, unspeakable things, but she tries her best to approach life with a sunny optimism that I find very admirable. Ellie Kemper does a fantastic job of making Kimmy a winning, enjoyable-to-watch character, both when she’s being silly and loving life, and in those moments when she realizes that she does indeed need to deal with some of the things she has been through. Julia Louis-Dreyfus will probably win this one, though, because she is a perennial Emmy darling, going back to her multiple wins for Seinfeld in the 90’s. I’m a fan of her and a fan of “Veep,” I just like to see things get switched up sometimes.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

The Nominees:

Louie Anderson (Baskets)
Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Tony Hale (Veep)
Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele)
Matt Walsh (Veep)

My Pick: Tituss Burgess

The Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category this year is really an embarrassment of riches. I love Andre Braugher’s dry humor in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” Tony Hale is fantastic in everything he does, including “Veep.” Keegan-Michael Key has done barrier-breaking work on “Key and Peele,” and I especially love his appearance as Luther, President Obama’s anger translator, at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. Ultimately, however, I have to give this one to Tituss Burgess, also of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Burgess plays Titus Andromedon, Kimmy’s Broadway star wannabe roommate. Burgess is a fearless actor, who is never afraid to do anything in service of the joke. His music video “Peeno Noir” in the first season instantly became a classic. In season two, I liked how the character of Titus was able to evolve. He went from goofy player to exploring a committed relationship. Burgess did a great job at portraying both Titus’ fun-loving silliness and his fear at actually giving commitment a try. All that being said, if any of the men I’ve mentioned win the award, I won’t be upset.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

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)

My Pick: Taraji P. Henson

This is another tough category due to, yet again, an embarrassment of riches. I also feel obligated to mention here that Sarah feels very strongly that Tatiana Maslany should win this one, due to the way she effortlessly plays multiple characters on “Orphan Black.” It’s a strong argument, and I will certainly be very happy if Maslany wins (in fact, I was equally torn and went the other way last year), but I’ve got to give this one to Taraji P. Henson because she has created an iconic character in Cookie Lyons on “Empire.” While she hasn’t had quite as good material to work with in season two as she did in season one, Henson just steals every scene she is in. She’s making the best of the material she has to work with, and Cookie Lyons is not going to be leaving the zeitgeist any time soon. That is a testament to Henson’s talent as an actor.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

The Nominees:

Kyle Chandler (Bloodline)
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Matthew Rhys (The Americans)
Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan)
Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)

My Pick: Rami Malek

I’ve been a huge fan of Kyle Chandler since his “Friday Night Lights” days (his win for playing Coach Taylor made me very happy), but since I haven’t gotten to watching “Bloodline” yet, I’ve got to get this one to Rami Malek. Malek, who I had previously only seen in “Night at the Museum” (he played King Tut), plays Elliot Alderson, a computer hacker suffering from significant mental health issues and a morphine addiction. He and “Mr. Robot” (I won’t spoil who Mr. Robot is, in case you haven’t tried the show yet) work together to try to bring down the massive E Corp and change the world economy forever. Malek plays all these aspects of the character in a believable way and is the most interesting actor to watch among the very talented “Mr. Robot” cast.

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