Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Looking Forward To...

Fall TV Edition

The weather is starting to cool and suddenly everything is pumpkin flavored, which means that the Fall TV season is upon us. Of course, I'm excited for my returning shows, but I'm also eager to dive into whatever new shows TV has to offer. Below are just some of the shows I'm highly anticipating for one reason or another. 

Gotham (FOX)
Premieres: Monday, 9/22 8PM
Starring: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, David Mazouz, Robin Lord Taylor, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Cory Michael Smith
Time Period Conflict: Big Bang Theory, Mom
Why: A Batman show without Batman is a laughable concept, but so is a TV show about the Headless Horseman plus McKenzie is easy on the eyes.

How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)
Premieres: Thursday, 9/25 10PM
Starring: Viola Davis, Charlie Weber, Alfred Enoch, Billy Brown, Karen Cabrera, Katie Findlay, Jack Falahee, Matt McGorry, Liza Weil, and Aja Naomi King
Time Period Conflict: N/A
Why: VIOLA DAVIS. VIOLA DAVIS. VIOLA DAVIS. Also Paris from Gilmore Girl and Bennett from Orange is the New Black. But really... Viola Davis.

Selfie (ABC)
Tuesday, 9/30 8PM
Starring: Karen Gillan, John Cho, Allyn Rachel, Joy Randolph, Tim Peper, and David Harewood
Time Period Conflict: N/A
Why: Modern retelling of My Fair Lady is a fun concept and I really like both actors. Plus I have nothing else to watch at that time.

Gracepoint (FOX)
Thursday, 10/2 9PM
Starring: David Tennant, Anna Gunn, Nick Nolte, Michael Pena, Jacki Weaver, and Kevin Rankin
Time Period Conflict: A to Z
Why: As a Broadchurch viewer, this American adaptation is unnecessary and yet to see Tennant and especially Gunn weekly? I won't pass that up.

A to Z (NBC)
Thursday, 10/2 9:30PM
Starring: Ben Feldman, Cristin Milioti, Lenora Crichlow, Henry Zebroski, and Christina Kirk
Time Period Conflict: Gracepoint
Why: The trailer is twee even for me and yet all I can hope for is that the show is as charming and adorable I find the two leads.

The Affair (Showtime)
Sunday, 10/12 10PM
Starring: Joshua Jackson, Ruth Wilson, Maura Tierney, and Dominic West
Time Period Conflict: Revenge
Why: I don't know much about this show except all of the actors are great and it looks to be some excellent soapy drama.

The two new shows actually premiering tonight, Red Band Society and The Mysteries of Laura, aren't on my list, but I'll still check out their pilots. I'm going to do that for a bunch of new shows. The other shows on my radar include Madam Secretary, Black-ish, Manhattan Love Story, Bad Judge, Mulaney, Jane the Virgin, and Marry Me. I might see them all or just half, we'll see.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sports Movie Rankings

With the US Open crowning its new champions, football season starting to bombard us with its inescapable presence, and baseball heading into its month-long play-off race, sports has been on the mind as of late. Kacey over at Pop Culture Crazy was in the same mindset when she decided to poll as many people as she could to come up with a Sports Movie Ranking. She asked people to send in their top/favorite 5 sports films and to rank them. She received over 50 submissions with over 90 different films. Check out her great site for the full results including the Top 25 as well as her methodology.

Below are the five films I submitted for the poll as ranked by me. How they were ranked in the final Sports Movie Ranking is in parenthesis:

1. BRING IT ON (#3)

As soon as I heard about the sports film poll, this was the first and second film I thought of. So many people think cheer-leading is not a sport, but I still remember just being in awe at the level of athleticism displayed in the film. Of course the film is more than just a cheerleading film. It's incredibly fun, addictively quotable, and the trio of Dunst, Dushku, and Union is just the best. A few years ago, I briefly talked about the film during it's 10th year anniversary.

2. WIMBLEDON (#16)

If you know me at all, then you know that tennis is my absolute favorite sport. So putting this on my list was a no-brainer even though its presence is less about its quality and more about how few tennis films there actually are. With that said, I saw this on opening weekend and even got a poster of it. Dunst (she's my sporting muse apparently) and Bettany had fun chemistry with each other. So while this is more a guilty pleasure, I don't really care, especially since this is also the very first film I saw with James McAvoy.

3. SUMMER STORM (Unranked)

This German film about rowing teams preparing for a rowing regatta is a must-see especially if you like to watch good gay films. It's sexy, gorgeously shot, and just an affecting coming-of-age coming-out film.

4. WHIP IT (#7)

The year this film came out I dubbed it "like Juno but not annoying." It was fun and energetic and in the heart of it was Page kicking ass in roller derby with Wiig and Barrymore. How could anyone say no to that? Saw it at a special screening and was rewarded with swag, a shirt that says Whip It: Be Your Own Hero. I still cherish it so.


I was one of the few people rooting for this film during the Oscars over The Aviator and I don't regret it one bit after all of these years. Eastwood's aesthetics matched this particular story and with Swank's Oscar-winning powerhouse performance, it was clear cut for me. Her death scene is still one of the saddest for me.

Wow, my list began quite happily then ended in such a depressing way. That sounds about right. Looking over my list now, it's not really surprising that the majority of them are girl-led and the two that aren't directly speaks to my interests (tennis and pretty gay boys). A few of the other films I considered included A Knight's Tale (jousting fun!), The Cutting Edge (Romeo and Juliet on ice!), and Space Jam (fly you fools!). Then there's the trio of The Mighty Ducks, Angels in the Outfield, and Remember the Titans with young Joshua Jackson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ryan Gosling starring respectively.

Again, don't forget to go to Pop Culture Crazy to see the full list of Top 25 Sports Films (as polled) as well as other cool stuff.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Looking Forward To...

The Skeleton Twins
Release: September 12, 2014
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Director: Craig Johnson
Starring: Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson, Joanna Gleason, Boyd Holbrook, and Ty Burrell

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dodge This...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

In honor of Keanu Reeves' 50th birthday, the film chosen today is the sci-fi classic The Matrix. In spite of how disappointing the final film ended up or how many inferior action films afterwards aped its aesthetics, The Matrix is still a great cinematic achievement for its imaginative concept and ground-breaking visual flair. I certainly remember being wowed by it all when it came out in theaters and even upon re-watch for this post, I noticed most of its visual effects have aged quite well.

Neo, played by Reeves, is the main character and he's the Chosen One in every sense of that phrase. Morpheus, played by Laurence Fishburne, is the wise mentor who opens Neo to the realities of the Matrix. Agent Smith, played by Hugo Weaving, is the main antagonist hellbent on capturing Neo and company. They're fine and all, but I want to talk about Trinity played by Carrie-Anne Moss, because even though I remember loving her when I first saw the film, I really couldn't take my eyes off of her during my re-watch. She's the first of the main good characters we meet and she gets to kick ass a number of times even before we meet Neo and Morpheus. These two great shots are from the first six minutes of the film already showing us how ready she is for anything:

She gets a lot more opportunities to show off how awesome she is throughout the film, which is when I realized how fantastic it would've been if instead of Neo being the Chosen One, it was Trinity. Instead she becomes a catalyst for Neo to become the Chosen One, which is fine and all if a bit predictable, but to then frame it all by how much they loved each other was a bit of a stretch for the film as their romantic feelings were barely developed other than a few errant glances and the tacked-on Oracle prophesies to both of them. In any case, my runner-up pick is the shot right after my pick for best shot:

I think it's great how it's Trinity who is in charge of the active situation while Neo is on the floor still barely reacting. Plus if you watch the film, the whole thing is done in the film's trademark slo-mo way which adds to how bad-ass this moment was. My favorite shot is then the literal "shot" right before this one with Trinity giving the bad guy a heads up to the world of hurt she's about to deliver unto him:

Best Shot... literally

The foregrounded gun is made to seem huge, but she's the weapon and if you think differently then you're in trouble. It's a wonderful moment in the film and I'm glad she's the focal point of it since the entire film really should've focused on her.

Top Ten Performers of 2014 (So Far)

With summer movie season coming to a close this past weekend and the fall movie season already ramping up, it's the perfect time to take stock at my top 10 favorite performances of the year (so far). These would only be coming from the 37 theatrical releases that I have seen, which is much less than last year, but more than the year prior so go figure. A few 2014 films still on my to-watch list include Obvious Child, Lucy, Chef, The Immigrant, Maleficent, Frank, What If, etc. I've been known to "cheat" with my numbering in the past, but other than my top pick, I kept it pretty narrow this time around.

1. The cast of Boyhood - And I do mean the entire cast of this 12-year in the making intimate epic of a film from Ellar Coltrane to "No Obama Man." Of course I'd be remiss to not call out the three principal actors along for the ride with Coltrane--Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, and Lorelei Linklater--as they all quite literally lived into their roles for more than a decade. Seeing them all age is quite a novelty and yet they all were able to develop all of these characters so organically and genuinely that in the end you realize you've watched something special.

2. Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff (Winter Soldier) and as Alien (Under the Skin) - Johansson seemed like she was born to play Black Widow and even though it's her third time in the role, it almost feels like she's slowly taking ownership of it in her own kick-ass way. Then of course there's her striking turn in Under the Skin, which I briefly talked about here. She's equal parts seductive, dangerous, alien, and human all at once. As I said above, I didn't get to see Lucy, but she's apparently quite fun in it and its success is making me side-eye Marvel's indecision regarding a stand-alone Black Widow film.

3. Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke (Locke) - The entire film is just Hardy inside a car talking on the phone with a bunch of unseen people. The script does a lot of the heavy lifting, but if Hardy wasn't as good as he was (and with his glorious accent to boot), the movie would've completely missed the mark. It's also refreshing to see him in a more subdued role that still manages to convey the intensity he brings to many of his roles.

4. Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Dido Elizabeth Belle (Belle) - The movie was a breath of fresh air this summer movie season as was Mbatha-Raw's performance. What I love most about what she did with her role was that her main character could've easily been one-note or overplayed, but instead she showed great complexity and tremendous restraint in portraying Dido's fascinating life story.

5. Chris Pratt as Peter Quill (Guardians of the Galaxy) and as Emmet Brickowoski (The LEGO Movie) - Sweet, affable Andy Dwyer is now a Hollywood super star and I'm just so happy for him! He's just fine in the voiceover work in The LEGO Movie, but he just absolutely shined as Star Lord in Marvel's latest film which highlighted his penchant to play brodude characters with immense heart and humor. He's obviously buoyed by one of the most fun scripts of the year as well as a fantastic ensemble which includes a talking tree (Vin Diesel) and a gun-toting raccoon (Bradley Cooper) who were also *this* close to making my shortlist.

6. Andy Serkis as Caesar (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) - I've called him out before for the exact same role and if it's possible, he seems to have gotten even better that last time. Certainly the character has much more to do this time around and Serkis is up to the task in delivering such a heartfelt performance in collaboration with the many people involved in bringing Caesar and the other apes to life. Shout out to Toby Kebbell, who played Koba, who really went toe to toe with Serkis' Caesar.

7. Tilda Swinton as Mason (Snowpiercer) and as Eve (Only Lovers Left Alive) - The best quality of being an actor is excelling in many different kinds of roles and Swinton is a master at this especially in offbeat roles as evident by what she has done this year not only in the two films I've cited here, but also in her brief cameo as an old lady in The Grand Budapest Hotel. She was obviously perfectly cast as a vampire in Only Lovers Left Alive and brought just the right amount of anime villain quality in Snowpiercer that made her character so memorable.

8. Emily Blunt as Rita (Edge of Tomorrow) - When I think of a kick-ass heroine, my mind doesn't immediately think Emily Blunt, that is until I saw this film and now I'm a lifetime convert. The film is more fun that it had any right to be and Cruise still has enough star power to headline this sort of movie, but Blunt to me was the film's MVP as she took the title "Full Metal Bitch" and owned it completely.

9. Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave (The Grand Budapest Hotel) - It's almost always a treat when Fiennes tries his hands in comedy, especially ones that has a bit of an edge or in this case, whimsical edge that only Wes Anderson can deliver. Even though this is the first time the two have collaborated, Fiennes seemed perfectly at home in Anderson's world delivering an energetic and sometimes even campy performance that's thoroughly entertaining and dare I say one of his best.

10. Chris Evans as Curtis (Snowpiercer) and as Steve Rogers (Winter Soldier) - He beat out James McAvoy for this final spot, but both hit it out of the park this year headlining a superhero film with gusto as well as appearing in indie films that not many may have seen, but showcased their versatility as actors. Like many of his Marvel colleagues, Evans was perfectly cast as Captain America and he has just gotten better in the role with every film. But it's in Snowpiercer, playing the reluctant hero with a very dark burden, where he showed he could also deliver a quiet heart-wrenching performance.

Honorable Mentions: James McAvoy (Filth, X-Men: Days of Future Past), John Lithgow and Alfred Molina (Love is Strange), Shailenne Woodley (Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill (22 Jump Street), Pierre Deladonchamps (Strangers by the Lake), Rose Byrne (Neighbors), James Corden (Begin Again), and Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield* (Amazing Spider-Man 2)

*Almost didn't include these two, because the majority of the film that didn't include the two of them together were really not good. But then I keep remembering how fun and full of chemistry they had with each other whenever they shared screen. If the entire movie was just them going on a date, it would be one of my favorite movies of the year probably.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Birthday Boy: Aaron Paul

Aaron Paul celebrates his 35th birthday today. Just a couple days ago, he picked up his third Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series making him the youngest and only actor to win the award three times. He won it for playing one of the best characters in TV, Jesse Pinkman, who went from meth-head punk to sympathetic hero in the course of Breaking Bad's run. His character to many, including myself, became the heart of Breaking Bad especially towards the show's end and he and the show will be missed. I still remember that Labor Day weekend four years ago when I started watching the show and noticed Paul's talents.

Of course, I had seen Paul prior to his Breaking Bad stint most memorably in Big Love playing the love interest of Amanda Seyfried's character. He was also pretty good in Smashed alongside Mary Elizabeth Winstead. He also appeared in bit parts on a few TV shows and movies such as Veronica Mars, Joan of Arcadia, Mission: Impossible III, Get Real, and a whole bunch more. As for what his future entails, he starred in Need for Speed earlier this year and will be in Exodus: Gods and Kings. neither of those projects excite me. Instead, I look forward to next year for Fathers and Daughters which reunites him with Seyfried and John Hillcoat's Triple Nine which has an enviable ensemble (Winslet, Reedus, Harrelson, Affleck, Mackie, Ejiofor).

But really whatever he does now, he'll always be Jesse Pinkman and everyone will always want him to call them bitch. I know that's my dream.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The 2014 Emmys: The Winners

This morning I saw someone describe last night's Emmy Awards as "almost shocking predictability," which pretty much sums it up perfectly as the majority of winners went to those who have won Emmys before, most for the same category/roles they've won previously. In fact, all eight acting winners last night had won an Emmy before with only now 6-time Emmy winner Allison Janey winning for a new role. Meanwhile, Modern Family and Breaking Bad respectively won Best Series for a 5th and 2nd time fighting off buzzy newcomers such as Orange is the New Black and True Detective (both which a lot of people think were done in by category confusion).

It was a huge night for Breaking Bad in their last year of eligibility not only winning Best Drama Series but picking up hardware for all of its principal actors and for writing which went to only the third woman ever to win in this category for solely writing a TV script. True Detective did win Directing while Julianna Margulies won extending the wonderful streak of women from The Good Wife winning Emmys to five years. In the comedy side, it was no less predictable and yet more frustrating. Network TV stood tall here with Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, and Mom winning most of the awards while Louis C.K. (for his writing) and Veep's Julia Louis Dreyfus representing cable/premium. The latter by far had one of the best reaction to a win tonight as she got to hilariously make out with her previous Seinfeld beau Bryan Cranston on the way to the stage. Serious question though, when will the TV Academy tire of awarding Modern Family? With their win, they tied Frasier as the winningest comedy.

Fortunately/unfortunately, the miniseries/TV movie actually provided some surprises as presumed frontrunners Fargo and The Normal Heart only walked away with three trophies total including Best Miniseries and Best TV Movie respectively. The rest of went to Sherlock and American Horror Story: Coven. I actually went 0 for 4 in those Miniseries acting categories putting my overall prediction tally at 11 of 19 (with alternates 13 of 19).

The ceremony itself was okay even though there were a lot of skits and presenter banter/monologues that fell flat or went on too long. Unless you're Amy Pueblo (Poehler) or Julia Louis-Dreyfus, I don't recommend doing anything extra. Seth Myers was fine in his Weekend Update Late Night Show Host kind of way, but he really wasn't help by the lack of suprise winners or moments during the ceremony. The Weird Al performance of TV themes set to lyrics was equal parts genius and messy (would've help if they had provided captions). I also love Billy Eichner so his Emmy on the Streets routine was great, but I can see him being polarizing. The In Memoriam segment was beautiful and depressing and Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams was perhaps the highlight of the night for a lot of people. The lowlight, at least for me, has got to be Sofia Vergara being placed in a rotating platform as Academy president ironically talked about diversity on TV.

The complete list of winners from tonight (plus the guest acting winners from last week):

Breaking Bad (AMC)
ACTOR: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC)
ACTRESS: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife (CBS)
SUPP. ACTOR: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad (AMC)
SUPP. ACTRESS: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad (AMC)
DIRECTING: Cary Joji Fukunaga, True Detective (HBO)
WRITING: Moira Walley-Beckett, Breaking Bad (AMC)
GUEST ACTOR: Joe Morton, Scandal (ABC)
GUEST ACTRESS: Allison Janney, Masters of Sex (SHO)

Modern Family (ABC)
ACTOR: Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory (CBS)
ACTRESS: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep (HBO)
SUPP. ACTOR: Ty Burrell, Modern Family (ABC)
SUPP. ACTRESS: Allison Janney, Mom (CBS)
DIRECTING: Gail Mancuso, Modern Family (ABC)
WRITING: Louis C.K., Louie (FX)
GUEST ACTOR: Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live (NBC)
GUEST ACTRESS: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

Fargo (FX)
TV MOVIE: The Normal Heart (HBO)
ACTOR: Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock (PBS)
ACTRESS: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven (FX)
SUPP. ACTOR: Martin Freeman, Sherlock (PBS)
SUPP. ACTRESS: Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven (FX)
DIRECTING: Colin Bucksey, Fargo (FX)
WRITING: Steven Moffat, Sherlock (PBS)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Emmy Nominations and Predictions: Drama

Yesterday, I took a look at the comedy categories and talked about who the favorites are and who should've been nominated. With one day left until the Emmys, here are my thoughts and predictions for the drama categories.

Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men
True Detective

Last year, I was fine with The Good Wife not being nominated, but this year I'm just ANGRY. There's just no excuse for that show to have been left off the list this year after its mind-blowing fifth season. I guess I should be satisfied that there aren't any real dogs among the nominees (maybe Downton Abbey a little?), but how great would it have been to see something like Masters of Sex or The Americans (this show in particular was largely ignored by the TV Academy as well as Hannibal) in the lineup. Breaking Bad is the slight frontrunner here after snatching the reins from Mad Men last year and delivering a nearly flawless final final season, but True Detective (in the wrong fucking category by the way) is the buzzy new kid on the block starring the McConnaisance so it's not a lock by any means.

Prediction: Breaking Bad
Alternate: True Detective
Should Win: Breaking Bad
Should've Been Nominated: The Good Wife, Masters of Sex, The Americans, Hannibal

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

The Oscars should beat the Tonys at this year's Emmys. I mean, I've made my peace that Oscar winner McConaughey will win and not undeservedly so especially since Tony winner Cranston already has won three times prior, so it's all good. And to be brutally honest, I'm pretty much just anti-Daniels this year whose win last year still confounds and angers me (over Cranston? over Spacey? over Hamm?). So everyone else can literally win as long as it's not Daniels. With that said, did the TV Academy not watch Hannibal with its stunning season-long two-man standoff between Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy? Because wow.

Prediction: Matthew McConaughey
Alternate: Bryan Cranston
Should Win: Bryan Cranston
Should've Been Nominated: Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Matthew Rhys

Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards

The sheer happiness I felt when Caplan's name was called on nomination morning was tempered a bit when I realized that Elisabeth Moss was left out. Out of all last year's nominees, I would've pegged Moss to be the safest based on what she did on her show this season. Her non-nomination was one of those things that you didn't think about until it happened and then everything hurt. I am happy that Margulies came back after being left out last year, especially after such a brilliant season. I have no idea who the favorite is. Danes has won the past two years, but Caplan could surprise as could Golden Globe winner Wright. Write-in vote for Moss? Write-in vote for Tatiana Maslany! Who am I kidding? It'll probably be Jeff Daniels and I'll get angry all over again.

Prediction: Julianna Margulies
Alternate: Robin Wright
Should Win: Lizzy Caplan
Should've Been Nominated: Elisabeth Moss, Tatiana Maslany, Keri Russell

Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

I actually still like Downton Abbey and Carson is a hoot, but Carter's nomination is just ridiculous especially in such a seriously competitive and stacked category already. Very happy to see Charles nominated here and it does lessen the sting of his character's loss in the show (and the show's snub... yes, still not over it). Previous winners Dinklage and Paul upped their level making it really easy to see and want either one in the winner's circle again. Voight is the wildcard as he could swoop in as the veteran Hollywood actor to get his first Emmy win. Dean Norris probably should've gotten nominated as well as a couple of my genre picks Jordan Gavaris and Dylan O'Brien.

Prediction: Aaron Paul
Alternate: Peter Dinklage
Should Win: Josh Charles
Should've Been Nominated: Dean Norris, Jordan Gavaris, Dylan O'Brien

Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Joanne Froggat, Downton Abbey
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

The good news is that I heart all of these actresses so even if I think a couple of nominations are lazy (Smith, Hendricks), the TV Academy couldn't really do much wrong here. I'm rooting for Gunn and Baranski in equal measure as I want the former to win for delivering just an outstanding tour-de-force performance and the latter to win to continue the awesome Good Wife streak to five years of kick-ass actresses winning the Emmy from that show. With regards to who should've been nominated, there are a few names, but most are from genre shows so I didn't expect them too much. Though what does Maisie Williams have to go to get in on the Emmy love for Game of Thrones? Pay attention, people!

Prediction: Anna Gunn
Alternate: Maggie Smith
Should Win: Anna Gunn
Should've Been Nominated: Maisie Williams, Lana Parrilla, Katheryn Winnick

And if you're still reading here are just my predictions for the Miniseries/TV Movies categories:

BEST TV MOVIE: The Normal Heart

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Emmy Nominations and Predictions: Comedy

The Creative Arts Emmy were last Saturday. Fantastically, Allison Janney and Uzo Aduba picked up wins for Guest Actress for their amazing performances in Masters of Sex and Orange is the New Black respectively. I told myself that if those two wins actually transpired, I would be fine with whatever happens during the Emmys proper. But really, I have my favorites. So before the ceremony this coming Monday, I'm going to share with you my thoughts and predictions for the big categories. Today, I'll tackle the comedy categories and tomorrow the drama ones.

The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
Orange Is the New Black
Silicon Valley

The Emmys really showed their love for the little Netflix show that could, Orange is the New Black, and I'm super happy for it. It might actually be the favorite to finally unseat 4-time Emmy champ Modern Family, which would just be amazing. With that said, I'd also be tickled to see Veep win after such a strong third season. I am shocked to see Silicon Valley in this shortlist especially over the more buzzed HBO show Looking or Golden Globe winner Brooklyn Nine-Nine. But the Emmys just doen't love Mike Schur shows of late (sigh Parks and Recreation). Also RIP Enlisted and Trophy Wife.

Prediction: Orange is the New Black
Alternate: Modern Family
Should Win: Orange is the New Black
Should've Been Nominated: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks & Recreation, Shameless

Louis CK, Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H Macy, Shameless
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

This category just makes me so depressed, but maybe it's because I've only seen two of the performances here. But also because they just keep picking the same names over and over again. What does Adam Scott have to do to get noticed? Or newcomers Jonathan Groff and Golden Globe winner Andy Samberg? Macy is a "new" name, but not really. His show made the switch from Drama to Comedy this year and he benefited from a weaker field. And Gervais? In Derek? Seriously? Parsons is the favorite probably, especially this year with his show as popular as ever and being double nominated (The Normal Heart).

Prediction: Jim Parsons
Alternate: William H. Macy
Should Win: I don't even care
Should've Been Nominated: Adam Scott, Jonathan Groff, Andy Samberg

Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black

I was really hoping that Emmy Rossum would breakthrough here after her show's category switch, but alas the only fresh name is Schilling and that's because her show is quite beloved as I already mentioned (and could help her cause to pull off an upset win). Another person I was hoping to be nominated was Mindy Kaling, but maybe next year if more people actually watches her show. Louis-Dreyfus is the favorite here and not undeservedly so, but I'm rooting so hard for Poehler to win her first Emmy since she didn't win last week for hosting the Globes. I love Louis-Dreyfus, but Leslie Knope CANNOT go un-rewarded like Michael Scott and Jenna Maroney.

Prediction: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Alternate: Amy Poehler
Should Win: Amy Poehler
Should've Been Nominated: Emmy Rossum, Mindy Kaling, Malin Akerman

Fred Armisen, Portlandia
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Tony Hale, Veep

Modern Family is slowly loosening its grip on this category, so there's that. But actually this year I'm not too disappointed with their picks. The fact that they nominated Braugher is just stupendous and I'm hoping the 2-time Emmy winner will come out on top even if his show didn't get more love from the TV Academy. His biggest competition is last year's winner Hale (who has a great submission episode or, should I say, scene) and probably the Modern Family guys. Of course, I wish they showed more love to Parks and Recreation and Shameless or to two breakout actors from departed shows, Parker Young (Enlisted) and Albert Tsai (Trophy Wife).

Prediction: Tony Hale
Alternate: Andre Braugher
Should Win: Andre Braugher
Should've Been Nominated: Albert Tsai, Jeremy Allen White, Parker Young, Reid Scott

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Last year's winner, Merritt Wever, isn't nominated so it's a pretty wide open race. Mulgrew (aka Captain Janeway forever) might be the slight favorite just because her show seems poised to have a great night, but Janney is an Emmy favorite and could win a second Emmy this year. It also seems likely that before their respective shows end that Bialik and Chlumsky will pick up hardware, so who knows? Despite a less than optimal final season, I really was hoping for Cristin Milioti from How I Met Your Mother to make it in since she was the best thing ever. Was also hoping for more Orange is the New Black and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Prediction: Allison Janney
Alternate: Kate Mulgrew
Should Win: Kate Mulgrew
Should've Been Nominated: Cristin Milioti, Danielle Brooks, Chelsea Peretti, Stephanie Beatriz

So in summary, the field isn't as heinous as in previous years mostly because Orange is the New Black is around. There's still a lack of fresh picks especially in the male actor categories, but at least some of the people I'm rooting for aren't complete long shots. Here's looking to you Braugher and Mulgrew. Join me tomorrow as I discuss the drama categories.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Predicting Guest Acting at Creative Arts Emmy Awards

I keep forgetting that the Emmy Awards are being held a whole month earlier than usual this year, which means the Creative Arts Emmys is happening this weekend, tonight specifically. It's their way of trying to handle the approximately 100 or so awards they have to give out. The only acting awards being given out tonight are those for Guest Acting, so here are my thoughts and predictions on those...

Dylan Baker, The Good Wife
Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex
Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards
Paul Giamatti, Downton Abbey
Robert Morse, Mad Men
Joe Morton, Scandal

I expected stronger showings for Mad Men and The Good Wife (and it's insane both shows don't even make it into Guest Actress). For the past two years, I kept wrongly predicting Michael J. Fox and I don't even think he submitted his name this year. That said I'm rooting for Bridges for his heartbreaking storyline, but they might give it to Morse or Giamatti. I wished Pedro Pascal had been nominated though for his fantastic work in Game of Thrones.

Prediction: Paul Giamatti
Alternate: Robert Morse
Should Win: Beau Bridges
Should've Been Nominated: Pedro Pascal, John Noble

Kate Burton, Scandal
Jane Fonda, The Newsroom
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
Kate Mara, House of Cards
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones

A bit annoyed that last year's winner (yay!) Carrie Preston didn't repeat especially in a category with the a few repeats (Fonda, Martindale, Rigg), but I actually don't care because this category is ALL ABOUT Allison Janney for me. Her character and her performance is my everything. I might hurt somebody if she doesn't win this. Spoiler alert: I have similar feelings in the comedy category. Also to all voters, did you watch Hannibal? I count four women easy on that show who you should've nominated.

Prediction: Allison Janney
Alternate: Jane Fonda
Should Win: Allison Janney
Should've Been Nominated: Gina Torres, Gillian Anderson

Steve Buscemi, Portlandia
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Gary Cole, Veep
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
Nathan Lane, Modern Family
Bob Newhart, Big Bang Theory

This category is pretty boring, which is why I really wished they had gone nuts and nominated Prince for his bit role in New Girl. It's also boring because I think everyone knows that Bob Newhart could very well repeat his (deserved) win last year. I don't even have anyone I'm really rooting for among the nominees. Maybe Cole just because he's in the show I like the most from the options.

Prediction: Bob Newhart
Alternate: Steve Buscemi
Should Win: Gary Cole
Should've Been Nominated: Prince, Andrew Rannells

Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Laverne Cox, Orange is the New Black
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
Natasha Lyonne, Orange is the New Black
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live

I do love the TV Academy's love for Orange is the New Black and these specific nominations are pretty flawless. I would've even added Taryn Manning, but maybe that's a bit overkill. Of course even though her show change from Drama to Comedy, Cusack is still inexplicably in this category so whatever. But who cares because I'm putting ALL OF MY ENERGIES to making sure Aduba wins. Janney and Aduba are MUST wins. I will cry if they don't. I will throw pies. (If Laverne Cox wins, I'll be upset for like a second and then really happy though.)

Prediction: Uzo Aduba
Alternate: Laverne Cox
Should Win: Uzo Aduba
Should've Been Nominated: Taryn Manning, Romy Rosemont

Why I even make predictions in these categories is beyond me since year in, year out I've done horribly. I hope that doesn't jinx my picks. And just for kicks, three more random categories that will be decided tonight...

"No Trouble," A Christmas Carol - The Concert
"Les Mis," Key & Peele
"Home For the Holiday," Saturday Night Live
"Merroway Cove," Sofia The First: The Floating Palace
"Day Is Gone," Sons of Anarchy
"Bigger!" 67th Annual Tony Awards

Even though I haven't heard of any of the other songs, I don't really care because "Bigger!" from last year's Tony Awards really needs to win. The song is great, but the performance by Neil Patrick Harris is EPIC. Just watch:

Black Sails
COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey
Masters of Sex
Silicon Valley
True Detective

I would refer you to this post over at The Film Experience if you want to view all of these. I'm rooting for Masters of Sex, because it's just so fun (and to be honest I'm kinda over these deep, brooding title sequences that a lot of shows prefer to do now). And while it's not high art, I do love the fun and retro title sequence for Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

The 71st Annual Golden Globe Award
The Oscars
Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Opening
The Sound of Music Live!
The 67th Annual Tony Awards

This will be interesting, because I think it's a fight of the Award Shows with Cool Hosts (who get the Emmys if their show wins). On the one hand, NPH's Tony show was great (see above clip) but Ellen's Oscar was a viral hit. On the other hand, Fey and Poehler made the Golden Globes a must watch. Of course, I'm also assuming that while The Olympics is always a threat, Sochi being Sochi will make them not likely to win and The Sound of Music Live! was a joke nomination, right?

Anyways, those are just a small percentage of the awards being given out tonight. I'm sure the pundits are hoping to see which shows win those technical categories to figure out which way the TV Academy is going. The Normal Heart should be a big winner, but the regular series race is actually up in the air. Last year, Breaking Bad had this race sewn up, but True Detective is a tough challenger. And could this finally, FINALLY be the year Modern Family loses (to Orange is the New Black)? We'll all find out next week for sure!