Tuesday, September 18, 2018

EMMYS 2018: HITS AND MISSES

Even as the wins presented a few pleasant surprises, along with a few other positives, the landmark 70th Primetime Emmy Awards were hardly a celebration. Here’s a look at what went right, and the things that left little to enjoy

THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL wins outstanding comedy series

When ‘television’s biggest night’ is in its 70th year, one expects a little more from the show. It didn’t necessarily need to be a grander production or a flashier show, but something that can leave the audience with fond memories at least till the 75th year, if not for decades to come.

THE MISSES:
1. THE HOSTS: I won’t presume to know how good the comedians, Michael Che and Colin Jost are on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE or anything else they’ve done. In fact, I’ll even give them credit for some of the jokes made. However, the delivery was not there. They didn’t command the audience’s attention, especially not the audience sitting at home. Maybe they were the wrong choice for the 70th Emmys, or maybe they just didn’t live up to expectations. I’m sure others will agree that it would have been wiser to go with someone tried and tested, such as Jimmy Kimmel or Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and give Che and Jost a chance another year. Something tells me we won’t see these two hosting any major awards anytime soon.

2. MAYA RUDOLPH AND FRED ARMISEN: What was that! They probably expected a lot more to come out of this whole bit where the hosts expect them to know the ins and outs of the Emmys, but it fell flat from the word go, and there was no coming out of it. Perhaps the producers of the show should have nipped it in the bud after the first round of banter itself. The duo were obviously there to promote their new show, FOREVER, but this was probably not the best way to go about it.

3. OTHER PRESENTATIONS: It wasn’t just Rudolph and Armisen that gave me second-hand embarrassment, there were others too. When Larry David and Rachel Brosnahan likened presenting an award to a blind date, it was so weird and unfunny that I felt really bad for at least Brosnahan. Worse than that were Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette and Benicio Del Toro, doing a bit about Del Toro mock-planning a murder or execution. Firstly, he was too far from the mic, and then with the awkward silence that followed, there might as well have been crickets. But the most annoying was Will Ferrell pretending like the walk from wings to podium was insanely long, and with that being the second-last award, they were really trying our patience.

4. THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF NOMINEES: Probably to make the show crisper, the nominees were announced in voice-overs before the presenters came up to reveal the winners. That, however, did a major disservice to the presenters, as it resulted in their presence being less than justified. Once the nominees are announced, we’re only looking to hear the winner, so even the bits and sketches at that point that might have been good didn’t go as expected. Some still made it work, but there would’ve been no saving the presentations mentioned above.

5. THE ACADEMY PRESIDENT AND THE REPARATION EMMYS: When the president of the Television Academy comes up to speak on the 70th anniversary of the Emmys, the least we could expect was a decent AV. It lacked the excitement that TV always brings into our homes, and I at least couldn’t wait to move on to the next thing. And the ‘Reparation Emmys’—it was weird and ineffective. I’m sure the intentions were good, but the idea and execution didn’t quite deliver.

Still, there were some things that I really liked about the show.

THE HITS:
1. THE OPENING NUMBER: It may not have been an amazing experience, visually, but it was quite funny. ‘We solved it’ they sang, and it drove home the fact that issues of diversity are far from over, but there’s a positivity and hopefulness about it now. In fact, I didn’t even see them as an all-minority performer ensemble, until the straight, white male, Andy Samberg showed up and became the minority in that situation. Of course, Ricky Martin’s entry and Latino spin was the icing on that cake. Like I said, it may not have been a spectacle, but it was effective, and went well with the minimalistic look of the stage this year.

2. PRESENTATIONS THAT NAILED IT: Andy Samberg made it work with both his appearances on-stage. He and Sandra Oh were the funniest presenters. They may have simply gone with material based on the Oscars-La La Land blunder, but that joke’s still hilarious, and they did it so well. I really want to see Sandra Oh in an out-and-out comedic role now! Also on point was Samantha Bee’s presentation. She spoke of the news being the ‘dystopian drama’ that she’s been following and how she feels that ‘the lead needs recasting’. Adding that Robin Wright would be better for the role became a double dig—at Donald Trump and Kevin Spacey. This was one of probably just a couple of politically-charged bits in the show.

3. MRS. MAISEL’S YEAR: This may have been the most predictable turn, but it was lovely to see THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL getting recognized for its brilliance. From Alex Borstein’s and Rachel Brosnahan’s supporting and lead actress comedy wins to Amy Sherman-Palladino’s Emmys for writing and directing in comedy, all were well deserved. The clean sweep was complemented by acceptance speeches that reflected the same energy that the show has exemplified in its first season, while it was also announced that the second season has just finished filming.

4. FITTING TRIBUTES: Two presentations did go well for the show. One was where they honored Betty White, the 96-year-old living phenomenon, who has been around for many of the seven decades of the Emmys. And the second was the ‘in memoriam’ section, introduced by Tina Fey in a seldom-seen somber presentation. Heartbreakingly poetic was seeing the tribute to Aretha Franklin, with her own iconic ‘Amazing Grace’ as the accompaniment.

Matthew Rhys wins lead actor drama for THE AMERICANS
5. DRAMA SURPRISES: The most surprising and diverse section was drama, with wins from GAME OF THRONES to WESTWORLD, and surprisingly none for THE HANDMAID’S TALE. While it was sad that Yvonne Strahovski didn’t take home an Emmy for her character-defining turn in the second season of the show, it was still good to see Thandie Newton recognized for WESTWORLD, which she deserved. It also felt right that Claire Foy won for THE CROWN, which may have seemed like an award for her overall portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II through both seasons, but a deserved win nonetheless. The most pleasant surprises were the wins for THE AMERICANS for writing and for Matthew Rhys’ lead actor Emmy. I think the show deserved even more for its stellar final season and season finale, but it was fantastic that the members of the Academy found at least these performances deserving.


And finally, the show came to an end with GAME OF THRONES winning outstanding drama series, and hence dethroning THE HANDMAID’S TALE.







A LIST OF WINNERS AT THE EMMYS 2018:

GAME OF THRONES wins outstanding drama series

Outstanding Drama Series
GAME OF THRONES
THE HANDMAID’S TALE
THIS IS US
WESTWORLD
THE AMERICANS
THE CROWN
STRANGER THINGS

Outstanding Comedy
ATLANTA
THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
BLACK-ISH
SILICON VALLEY
CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
GLOW
BARRY
Claire Foy wins lead actress drama for THE CROWN
Outstanding Drama Actress
Elisabeth Moss, THE HANDMAID’S TALE
Keri Russell, THE AMERICANS
Evan Rachel Wood, WESTWORLD
Sandra Oh, KILLING EVE
Claire Foy, THE CROWN
Tatiana Maslany, ORPHAN BLACK
Outstanding Drama Actor
Sterling K. Brown, THIS IS US
Jason Bateman, OZARK
Ed Harris, WESTWORLD
Matthew Rhys, THE AMERICANS
Jeffrey Wright WESTWORLD
Milo Ventimiglia, THIS IS US
Outstanding Comedy Actress
Tracee Ellis Ross, BLACK-ISH
Rachel Brosnahan, THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
Allison Janney, MOM
Lily Tomlin, GRACE AND FRANKIE
Pamela Adlon BETTER THINGS
Issa Rae, INSECURE
Outstanding Comedy Actor
Donald Glover, ATLANTA
Bill Hader, BARRY
Anthony Anderson, BLACK-ISH
Ted Danson, THE GOOD PLACE
William H. Macy, SHAMELESS
Larry David, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama
Lena Headey, GAME OF THRONES
Millie Bobby Brown, STRANGER THINGS
Vanessa Kirby, THE CROWN
Alexis Bledel, THE HANDMAID’S TALE
Ann Dowd, THE HANDMAID’S TALE
Yvonne Strahovski, THE HANDMAID’S TALE
Thandie Newton, WESTWORLD
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, GAME OF THRONES
Peter Dinklage, GAME OF THRONES
Mandy Patinkin, HOMELAND
David Harbour, STRANGER THINGS
Matt Smith, THE CROWN
Joseph Fiennes, THE HANDMAID’S TALE
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Zazie Beetz, ATLANTA
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Laurie Metcalf, ROSEANNE
Leslie Jones, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Kate McKinnon, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Aidy Bryant, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Alex Borstein, THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
Megan Mullally, WILL & GRACE
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Brian Tyree Henry, ATLANTA
Louie Anderson, BASKETS
Alec Baldwin, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Tituss Burgess, UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT
Henry Winkler, BARRY
Kenan Thompson, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Tony Shalhoub, THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama
Diana Rigg, GAME OF THRONES
Cicely Tyson, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER
Viola Davis, SCANDAL
Samira Wiley, THE HANDMAID’S TALE [Creative Arts Emmys, Sep 8-9]
Kelly Jenrette, THE HANDMAID’S TALE
Cherry Jones, THE HANDMAID’S TALE

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama
F. Murray Abraham, HOMELAND
Cameron Britton, MINDHUNTER
Matthew Goode, THE CROWN
Gerald McRaney, THIS IS US
Ron Cephas Jones, THIS IS US [Creative Arts Emmys, Sep 8-9]
Jimmi Simpson, WESTWORLD

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy
Wanda Sykes, BLACK-ISH
Tina Fey, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Tiffany Haddish, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE [Creative Arts Emmys, Sep 8-9]
Jane Lynch, THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
Molly Shannon, WILL & GRACE
Maya Rudolph, THE GOOD PLACE
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy
Katt Williams, ATLANTA [Creative Arts Emmys, Sep 8-9]
Bryan Cranston, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
Donald Glover, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Bill Hader, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Sterling K. Brown, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
Lin-Manuel Miranda, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM

Outstanding Limited Series
GENIUS: PICASSO
GODLESS
PATRICK MELROSE
THE ALIENIST
THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
Outstanding Television Movie
FAHRENHEIT 451
FLINT
PATERNO
THE TALE
BLACK MIRROR ‘USS Callister’ [Creative Arts Emmys, Sep 8-9]
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Sarah Paulson, AMERICAN HORROR STORY: CULT
Edie Falco, LAW & ORDER TRUE CRIME: THE MENENDEZ MURDERS
Jessica Biel, THE SINNER
Regina King, SEVEN SECONDS
Laura Dern, THE TALE
Michelle Dockery, GODLESS
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Antonio Banderas, GENIUS: PICASSO
John Legend, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR LIVE IN CONCERT
Benedict Cumberbatch, PATRICK MELROSE
Darren Criss, THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
Jeff Daniels, THE LOOMING TOWER
Jesse Plemons, BLACK MIRROR: ‘USS Callister’
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie
Adina Porter, AMERICAN HORROR STORY: CULT
Letitia Wright, BLACK MIRROR: ‘Black Museum’
Merritt Wever, GODLESS
Sara Bareilles, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR LIVE IN CONCERT
Penélope Cruz, THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
Judith Light, THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Brandon Victor Dixon, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR LIVE IN CONCERT
Ricky Martin, THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
Edgar Ramírez, THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
Finn Wittrock, THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
Michael Stuhlbarg, THE LOOMING TOWER
John Leguizamo, WACO
Jeff Daniels, GODLESS
Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
GAME OF THRONES “The Dragon And The Wolf”
KILLING EVE “Nice Face”
STRANGER THINGS “Chapter Nine: The Gate”
THE AMERICANS “Start”
THE CROWN “Mystery Man”
THE HANDMAID’S TALE “June”
Outstanding Directing For a Drama Series
GAME OF THRONES “Beyond The Wall”
GAME OF THRONES “The Dragon And The Wolf”
OZARK “The Toll”
OZARK “Tonight We Improvise”
STRANGER THINGS “Chapter Nine: The Gate”
THE CROWN “Paterfamilias”
THE HANDMAID’S TALE “After”
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
ATLANTA “Barbershop”
ATLANTA “Alligator Man”
BARRY “Chapter One: Make Your Mark”
BARRY “Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast and Keep Going”
SILICON VALLEY “Fifty-One Percent”
THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL “Pilot”
Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series
ATLANTA “FUBU”
ATLANTA “Teddy Perkins”
BARRY “Chapter One: Make Your Mark”
GLOW “Pilot”
SILICON VALLEY “Initial Coin Offering”
THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL “Pilot”
Outstanding Writing For A Limited Series, Movie or Drama
AMERICAN VANDAL
GODLESS
PATRICK MELROSE
THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
TWIN PEAKS
BLACK MIRROR: ‘USS Callister’
Outstanding Directing For A Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special
GODLESS
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR LIVE IN CONCERT
PATERNO
PATRICK MELROSE
THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY
THE LOOMING TOWER
TWIN PEAKS