Sunday, September 18, 2016

Emmy Nominations and Predictions 2016

The Emmys are today and since I revel in procrastinating, here just now are my quick thoughts on the nominations and my accompanying predictions for tonight's award show. In general, they did pretty okay. Definitely lots of people I would have wanted to get nominated weren't, but a few others did. That's the best one can hope for.

The Americans
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Mr. Robot

Let's get this out of the way first, last year's Emmy champ Game of Thrones will win. It has the most nominations and they won last year for their weakest season. The two shows I can possibly see toppling it would be the two shows that broke through this year, which would be the buzzy freshman show Mr. Robot and the "should've been nominated a bunch of times already" The Americans. The latter's inclusion pretty much meant I was pretty damn happy nomination morning no matter what happened. I'm already excited about next year though when Downton Abbey *and* Game of Thrones aren't in the running. What happens then?

Prediction: Game of Thrones
Alternate: The Americans
Should Win: The Americans
Should've Been Nominated: Sense8, Orange is the New Black, The Leftovers, Marvel's Jessica Jones

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

With Jon Hamm and Jeff Daniels out from last year, it made room for two of the new best nominations this category has had in awhile with Matthew Rhys finally getting his deserved dues and breakout star Rami Malek also getting honored. This category is actually confounding me in terms of predicting a winner especially since the category has been all Cranston (then Hamm) for the past few year. Chandler is actually the only past Emmy winner while Spacey is the Susan Lucci (outdated reference) of this category with 9 previous nominations and no win.

Prediction: Kevin Spacey
Alternate: Rami Malek
Should Win: Matthew Rhys
Should've Been Nominated: Damian Lewis, Aldis Hodge, Cillian Murphy, Justin Theroux

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

SUCH a stacked category, like it is every damn year. This list is actually the same as last year (with last year's breakout Maslany surprisingly getting a repeat nom!) with the exception of Keri Russell replacing Elisabeth Moss. Wait, let me repeat that... KERI RUSSELL IS NOMINATED FOR AN EMMY FOR HER WORK IN THE AMERICANS. She'll probably lose, but goddamn if that isn't just the best new ever. Last year's winner Viola will likely repeat and I can't complain that much since I lover her.

Prediction: Viola Davis
Alternate: Keri Russell
Should Win: Keri Russell
Should've Been Nominated: Shiri Appleby, Carrie Coon, Julianna Margulies, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Kristen Ritter

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Last year's winner Dinklage won for a season where he barely did anything so underestimate him at your peril. With that said, the "surprise" nomination for Harington shows great love for the show and he IS featured heavily in the show's "best" episode of the season so don't be too shocked if his name is called tonight. With that said, this really is the best time for them to honor Banks for his great work not only on this show, but as a tribute to what he did in Breaking Bad.

Prediction: Peter Dinklage
Alternate: Kit Harington
Should Win: Jonathan Banks
Should've Been Nominated: Joshua Jackson, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Martin Wallstrom, David Tennant


Maura Tierney, The Affair
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
Constance Zimmer, UnReal

After taking a refreshing breather last year, the TV Academy decided to honor Smith one last nomination for her work in Downton Abbey. Will it translate to an actual win given her strongest competitions, the three Game of Thrones ladies, might split votes? That's actually good news as well for Tierney and Zimmer (both inspired choices for nominations). That said... so damn strange to see both Uzo Aduba and Christine Baranski left out especially for the latter's final season.

Prediction: Lena Heady
Alternate: Maggie Smith
Should Win: Maura Tierney
Should've Been Nominated: Jamie Clayton, Ann Dowd, Calista Flockhart, Alison Wright

Master of None
Silicon Valley
Modern Family
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I do like that slowly and surely, these comedy categories are changing with the times especially with Black-ish and Master of None breaking through. With that said, sure let's nominate Modern Family again I guess. It's not as if there's a whole list of shows they could've picked instead like Broad City, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, etc. Last year, I thought Transparent was a lock to win, but Veep won instead. This year, Veep garnered more nominations than any other comedy show by a lot... so obviously that will win.

Prediction: Veep
Alternate: Transparent
Should Win: Black-ish
Should've Been Nominated: Broad City, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, Fresh Off the Boat, Shameless

Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Will Forte, Last Man on Earth
William H. Macy, Shameless
Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

If there's anyone who could beat Tambor (he won't lose regardless), it might just be Anderson. It is the more popular show and it's an easy performance to honor especially if voters think Tambor's been awarded enough. I'm just happy that Ansari broke through (lots of those happening this year) as well as Middleditch. And while this category is less heinous than in year's past, I encourage them to keep thinking outside the box.

Prediction: Jeffrey Tambor
Alternate: Anthony Anderson
Should Win: Aziz Ansari
Should've Been Nominated: Chris Geere, Andy Samberg, Randall Park, Timothy Omundson

Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Veep
Laurie Metcalf, Getting On
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace & Frankie

As great as this line-up is, I was bound to be disappointed with the exclusion of Rachel Bloom, Gina Rodriquez, Aya Cash and both Broad City ladies. There's just so much damn talent out there begging to be recognized! That said, Louis-Dreyfuss will probably win unless they're sick of awarding her (they are not). There isn't even anyone that would seem to be competition to her unlike last year with both Lisa Kudrow and Amy Poehler delivering career-best work. Perhaps Ross, but that's not a gimme.

Prediction: Julia Louis-Dreyfuss
Alternate: Tracee Ellis Ross
Should Win: Tracee Ellis Ross
Should've Been Nominated: Rachel Bloom, Aya Cash, Gina Rodriguez, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Constance Wu

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

Most of these are repeat nominees from last year with Adam Driver the only one not cited again and being replaced by Anderson and Walsh. I didn't see his show, but apparently Anderson is terrific while Walsh's inclusion shows the deep love the TV Academy has for Veep. Speaking of, last year's champ Hale is your likely winner, but I'm rooting hard for Braugher to finally get his comedy Emmy.

Prediction: Tony Hale
Alternate: Louie Anderson
Should Win: Andre Braugher
Should've Been Nominated: Jamie Camil, Noah Galvin, Andrew Rannells, Cameron Monaghan

Niecy Nash, Getting On
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Judith Light, Transparent
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Last year, the TV Academy gave this category 8 slots so this year they've trimmed it down to just six which meant a few perennials were left out like Mayim Bialik, Julie Bowen, and sadly Jane Krakowski. That said, Judith Light is a bit of a surprise inclusion this year and might just fight for the win against last year's champ Janney. The only other person I can see possibly winning would be Chlumsky if Veep suddenly sweeps.

Prediction: Allison Janney
Alternate: Judith Light
Should Win: Kate McKinnon
Should've Been Nominated: Donna Lynne Champlin, Yael Groblas, Cecily Strong, Jane Krakowski

They've already given out the Guest Acting Awards last weekend at the Creative Arts Awards. The winners are below:
BEST GUEST ACTOR, DRAMA: Hank Azaria, Ray Donovan
BEST GUEST ACTRESS, DRAMA: Margo Martindale, The Americans
BEST GUEST ACTOR, COMEDY: Peter Scolari, Girls
BEST GUEST ACTRESS, COMEDY: Tina Fey & Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live

What an interesting list of winners. No one predicted Azaria and Martindale barely broke a sweat garnering her second win for this role. Scolari meanwhile was a late addition to the category and still won. And of course this is Poehler's FIRST Emmy win. I'm happy for her, but she also deserved A LOT better than sharing an Emmy win for a guest stint on SNL that won't be televised.

Finally, for completeness sake, here are my predictions for the Limited Series/Movie categories:

BEST TV LIMITED SERIES: The People v. OJ Simpson

Monday, September 5, 2016

Surveying My Summer 2016 Movie Season

Happy Labor Day! While summer technically lasts for a few more weeks, the first weekend of September pretty much signals the end of Summer Season. Kids are heading back to school, stores are putting out their Halloween decorations, and everything is suddenly pumpkin-flavored. What's a better time to take stock of the new movies I saw this summer?

For the purposes of setting a limit, I'm considering April 15 as the start of the Summer Movie Season mostly because THREE films opened that day including one of this year's biggest blockbusters. I'm also including just movies that actually had a theatrical release this year, because I watch too many films. Let's take it month by month.


The third weekend of April started the season with a bang with Disney's live action adaptation of their beloved The Jungle Book keeping the bulk of the story intact while marveling audiences with incredible CGI work that other blockbuster films this year could achieve. Two smaller films also came out that weekend which I ended up seeing later (and really liking) in the summer on DVD. Sing Street is another musical tale from the wonderful mind of John Carney, a coming of age story full of wit and charm and music you can't stop humming. The other film, Green Room, is one of the last films done by the late Anton Yelchin and is also one of the tensest thrillers I've seen recently with a bunch of talented young actors and a scary turn from Patrick Stewart.

Films I wished I had seen: Keanu
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: Elvis & Nixon, A Hologram for the King
Films I purposely skipped: The Huntsman: Winter's War, Mother's Day


May technically is the beginning of Summer Movie Season and like the past few years, it's all about Marvel. This year it's their Avengers-sized Captain America: Civil War that starts the season. I saw it opening weekend of course and enjoyed most of it, but like many of their films it seems I'm more primed to look ahead instead of savoring what's in front of me especially with their great introductions of Chad Bosewick as Black Panther and Tom Holland as the NEW Spider-Man. Two films in May which came after that have a good chance of making my Top Films of 2016. The first is Love & Friendship, an Austen adaptation with all the usual period trappings coupled with darkly comedic sensibilities headlined by a never-better Kate Beckinsale. The other film is The Nice Guys, the hilarious buddy-cop movie starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe we all didn't think we needed. Gosling should do more comedies. The last film I saw in theaters this month was X-Men: Apocalypse which I actually enjoyed slightly more than Captain America (I do love me some mutants), but while it's certainly an imperfect film I feel the series' rebooted films of late have been underappreciated. Finally, I saw High Rise on DVD, but other than Tom Hiddleston's almost-naked scene that happens early on, there's not much to recommend.

Film I wished I had seen: The Lobster
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: Money Monster, Last Days in the Desert, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Weiner
Films I purposely skipped: The Angry Birds Movie, Alice Through the Looking Glass


And the summer slowdown begins. Didn't it seem like this year summer season was frontloaded of Must See in Theater Films? I only saw two movies in theater this month, both of which are sequels to films I highly enjoyed. The first is Now You See Me 2 which unfortunately fails to capture the magic of the first movie. It was still fun and some scenes were worth the price of admission, but not the follow-up I expected. Then there's Finding Dory, which also seems to rely too much on people's love of the first film, but to me it works perfectly. Dory is one of my favorite animated characters ever and exploring her past was exactly what I wanted. Tears flowed freely by the end. And that's it. I haven't even seen any June films on DVD yet (because they're not out yet?). There were a number of films I WANTED to see in theaters, but just didn't feel motivated enough to do so.

Film I wished I had seen: Popstars: Never Stop Never Stopping
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: Me Before You, The Fits, Central Intelligence, The Neon Demon, The Shallows, Swiss Army Man
Films I purposely skipped: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, The Conjuring 2, Warcraft, Free State of Jones, Independence Day: Resurgence


The movies I saw this month all had a tinge of nostalgia to it. The first, and my favorite, was Ghostbuster starring the super talened quarter of Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. The remake of the 80s film has had A LOT of media and press about it which had nothing to do with the actual movie itself which, while not Paul Feig's best, was still great fun. The next film is Star Trek Beyond, which of course is based on the 60s sci-fi classic. I actually liked it a lot, certainly compared to its previous outing. Bittersweet to see Yelchin, but glad that he was in a film that looked like it was a hoot to make. Finally, I saw Jason Bourne, the latest film in a series that started back in 2002! I've been a big fan of this series, especially its first three films headlined by Matt Damon who is back for this latest one. But apart from the usual great action sequences, something was missing for me this time around. Maybe give the series a rest for a bit?

Film I wished I had seen: Captain Fantastic
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: The BFG, The Secret Life of Pets, Cafe Society, Bad Moms, Indignation, Nerve
Films I purposely skipped: The Legend of Tarzan, The Purge: Election Year, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Ice Age: Collision Course


I was away on my Brazilian/Olympics vacation so it makes sense I didn't see that many new movies this month. But the month also was pretty dire in terms of options so I actually just caught up of the rest of the summer's fare either in theater or on DVD. I still did end up seeing two VERY different animated films in theaters. There's the outrageous and raunchy Sausage Party which probably could've been 30 minutes shorter so it doesn't outstay its welcome. In the other end of the spectrum is another gorgeous stop-animation film from Laika, Kubo and the Two Strings which I actually just saw this past weekend. Casting controversies aside, the film is a must-see with its breathtaking animation and a truly heartfelt story.

Film I wished I had seen: Florence Foster Jenkins
Films I'll probably watch on Netflix: Pete's Dragon, Hell or High Water, Morris from America, Don't Breathe, Hands of Stone, Southside with You
Films I purposely skipped: Suicide Squad, Nine Lives, Ben Hur, War Dogs, Mechanic: Resurrection

More random End-of-Summer honors!

BEST SUMMER FILM (that I saw): The Nice Guys
WORST SUMMER FILM (that I saw): High Rise
ACTING MVPS: Kate Beckinsale, Tom Bennett, Ryan Gosling, Anton Yelchin, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon
BEST VOICEOVERS: Idris Elba, Sigourney Weaver, Ellen Degeneres, Art Parkinson

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

She works hard for the money...

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.

Splash is a romantic comedy from the 80s about a guy meeting a mermaid and both falling in love. You could even say it's a tail as old as time. Directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah as the two leads, the film was one of the biggest hits of its year. The film is a bit all over the place, but the fun twist to the boy-meets-girl concept and the charming chemistry between the leads elevate it for me.

Seeing young Hanks in the film is a treat, fresh-faced and so physically expressive. Hannah, meanwhile, is captivating in spite of not being able to speak for the first third of the film and then for being kept in a tank for the last third. There's just such a joy that emanates from her for most of the film quickly endearing her character to the audience. This also makes her character's darker and deeper moments in the film that much more affecting such as her tearful/fearful avoidance of the rain in the tunnel (photo below) and her helplessness inside the tank.

But going back to happier moments, one of my favorite sequences in the film is Hannah going to Bloomingdale's (incidentally her first word) to shop for the first time. She is of course delighted by all the clothes and she is just thrilled by television. In fact, she actually learns English during her 6-hour stay, the tail-end of which we see with her gleefully dancing to a Richard Simmons workout show. It has my favorite shot from the film...

Best Shot

If I knew how to gif her dancing, that probably would be more indicative of my actual favorite shot especially since seeing her dress and hair gracefully moving to the music is a key element. But the shot above captures the motion of both indicating the fun and energy of the scene. Her teal blue dress against the salmon-tint of the screens (not to mention Simmons' bright blue workout gear and her primary-colored shopping boxes) make for a vibrant tableau that's pleasingly eye-catching. Another reason I like this scene is because it simultaneously shows her as a fish-out-of-water while also being superbly adaptable.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Boom, then crash...

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.

The Get Down, the latest from Baz Luhrmann, is a new (and very expensive) Netflix show about the birth of hip hop set in the Bronx of the late 1970s. I admit that I was surprised when I heard Luhrmann was working on this, but upon further thought, the time period and topic lend themselves well to Luhrmann's highly stylized and frenetic direction.

The pilot, the only one actually directed by Luhrmann, is chock full of Luhrmann's visual panache and manic style, but the latter at times felt a bit too much especially in the first half of the extra long 90-minute episode where viewers are still trying to get a sense of the world and its characters. The tone is all over the place and the hyper editing threatened to make everything practically incoherent. Thankfully the performances held up and I'm intrigued enough to further follow the stories of Ezekiel, Shaolin, and their ragtag group of friends.

As for my best shot, I chose something that came from one of my favorite sequences in the pilot. This was one of the few times Luhrmann and company slowed it down a bit, giving us a better sense of the main character and just letting the power of words do most of the work.

Best Shot

Here Ezekiel is challenged by his teacher to recite a very personal poem he wrote talking about his dead parents. It's an evocative moment that appropriately starts off visually evocative as well with the camera panning to the left obscuring Ezekiel at the same time he's finally opening himself up. I love this particular shot as well because it highlights an Ezekiel who is literally split down the middle just as his journey seems to be. On the one hand there's his pursuit of his crush Mylene and on the other is his unlikely partnership with Shaolin. It'll be interesting to see how exactly the show handles this moving forward.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Perfect time of life...

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.

The movie Julia opens the film with a solitary woman on a boat as a voice narrates, talking about wanting to remember things. It's a curious start to a movie whose title character isn't the main character at all, but instead is the object of strong fascination, or memory, to the actual main character Lillian played by Jane Fonda. Vanessa Redgrave plays Julia, Lillian's best friend since childhood. With the film mostly relegated to Lillian's point of view, we only ever really see Julia through Lillian's remembrances and daydreams thus never really becoming a character in her own right and instead becoming a sort of mythic figure.

The moments recollected when they were young shows how much Lillian idolized her older friend while the ordeals Lillian imagined Julia to have suffered through later in life displays a heroic and brave figure. All of it could be true of course, but the writer Lillian would of course want to think best of her beloved friend. So to follow her lead, my best shot pick is that "perfect time of life" for Julia...

There are women who reach a perfect time of life...
when the face will never again be as good...
the body never as graceful or powerful.

Not only is it an objectively fierce shot of Redgrave, but it's probably the image that Lillian herself keeps of her friend in her mind even after years have passed and she's sitting on a boat and wanting to remember "what was there for me once." It's a bittersweet sentiment, but also quite affecting in the end.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I want to try everything...

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.

Zootopia is probably still my favorite film of 2016. And how could it not with its resonant timely message, fleshed-out leads with excellent chemistry, and staggering amount of world building.

There are so many great things about this film, but it's its world building I'd like to focus on because I sincerely believe one of the reasons this movie succeeds is the attention to detail the filmmakers had not just on the story and the characters, but the actual city of Zootopia itself. With 12 unique eco-systems and countless of species of mammals of all shapes and sizes living and working together within its city limits, the city of Zootopia would've been a real challenge for anyone to envision let alone actually show on screen. And the filmmakers did it in a matter of minutes (less than three in fact) in my favorite sequence of the movie set to the film's key song "Try Everything" by Gazelle (aka Shakira).

Judy's train ride into Zootopia, from her humble Bunnyburrow, was a genius way for the film to introduce this truly amazing metropolis not only to the main character, but to us. Judy essentially acts as the audience surrogate with her wide-eyed wonderment at the glittering city from a distance and then at all of the diverse and beautiful regions--Sahara Square, Tundratown, Rainforest District--and animals as she gets closer. And when she gets off the train, there's even more to see--hamsters using tubes to get around, hippos drying themselves after coming out of the water, giraffes getting drinks via air-tube system.

So I wish I can just cite the entire sequence as all of my favorite shots, but I know I had to pick just one. I ended up choosing a shot that captures a great moment.

Best Shot

It's when Judy passes through Rainforest District and it starts to rain and she looks up, clearly beaming at where she is at that very moment, soaking up the entire experience. That's pretty much how I felt watching the film and now all I want to do is watch it all over again. Plus I just love her super expressive face and the interplay of all the blue and greens with the rain in the background as the "camera" sweeps up. Just masterful animation work all around.

Bonus: My roommate picked her favorite shot as well! And it's giving me a lot of weird feelings regarding inter-species relationships!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Emmy Nominations: The Good, The Bad, and The Whatever

It's been five years since I've done a "The Good, The Bad, and The Whatever" reaction post to Emmy nominations, but I'm feeling the overwhelming need to share, so let's do this. First, just a note on my wishlists ballots: Even with naming 10-11 names for each category, I only still managed 34 out of 87 nominations which is pretty dismal, but weirdly actually higher than I expected. Onwards...


-Perhaps my absolute favorite nominations were those for The Americans which finally broke through in its fourth year with Best Drama Series and Best Actor/Actress nominations. I'm especially happy for both Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell who have done amazing work and finally getting their deserved recognition.

-People vs. OJ Simpson getting 22 nominations including no-brainer nods to Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown, and Courtney B. Vance. It's a show that should've been a hot mess, but it was just so damn well done.

-Should've been more, but I'm ecstatic for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's four nominations, including one for their Main Title Theme Music as well as...

-"Settle for Me" getting nominated for Original Music and Lyrics. The category also had Galavant's one and only nomination with their "A New Season" number.

-Mr. Robot breaking through including nominations for Best Drama Series and Best Actor. A weird show that could've easily gone unnoticed by the TV Academy.

-Nominations for Rami Malek, Aziz Ansari, Tracee Ellils Ross, Viola Davis, Andre Braugher, Taraji P. Henson, Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess, Anthony Anderson, Kerry Washington, Keegan-Michael Key, Regina King, Niecy Nash! Diversity!

-Maura Tierney for The Affair! Which is also the show's first and only Emmy nomination ever. It's an inspired choice as my tweet attests:

-Other nominees that were right on: Constance Zimmer, Tatiana Maslany (now a 2-time Emmy nominee!), Ellen Burstyn, Molly Parker, Maisie Willians, and all the Fargo love (Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Bokeem Woodbine, and Jean Smart.

-RuPaul finally getting nominated for Best Reality TV Host for RuPaul's Drag Race. I don't watch the show myself, but I know plenty of people who do and I'm very for him and them!

-Very happy the TV Academy saw and apparently liked The Night Manager and gave all of its main stars nominations (Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie), but I'm especially happy for Olivia Colman's nod.

-Best Writing in a Drama Series is one HELL of a category. There is honestly no wrong choice in my opinion.

-American Ninja Warrior gets its first Emmy nomination! My favorite summer reality fare finally broke through for Best Reality-Competition Program.

-"Parents" episode of Master of None getting Directing/Writing nod. If you haven't seen this episode, it's a must-watch especially if you're a 1st generation with immigrant parents. It hit close to home.

-Live musicals are a it! Grease: Live and The Wiz Live! did well with nominations. It helps that they were both GOOD as well so yes more please!

-Best Directing for "Battle of the Bastards" for Game of Thrones should really be the one to beat. Just masterful.


-It's not super surprising that the Emmys yet again forgot the CW exists, but with other award bodies (and critics) the past couple of years banging the gong for Jane the Virgin and this year's super fresh Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I really thought they'd finally recognize them in major categories. At least Crazy managed to get a handful of technical nominations (see above), but acting noms for Rachel Bloom and Donna Lynne Champlin should've been no-brainers.

-Other TV shows the TV Academy should really watch more for next year's consideration because wow seriously: The Leftovers, Sense8, You're the Worst, Broad City, Underground, Fresh Off the Boat, UnReal, Superstore, Jessica Jones, Peaky Blinders, and so much more.

-Speaking of Sense8, aka my favorite show of last season, I knew it wasn't likely to get anything so I guess I should just be happy with its 1 nomination for Main Title Theme. But holy shit, it have so much more!

-I know the transition from Comedy to Drama hasn't been particularly graceful and its 3rd season was far from its best, but Orange is the New Black managing to only get 1 nomination for this still great television show is sad.

-With that said, Girls really had quite a comeback season this past year and the once lauded series similarly got no love this year.

-Aya Cash, Constance Wu, and the ladies of Broad City certainly should be nominated. Couldn't one of them have bumped Amy Schumer this year?

-Modern fucking Family... again? I can literally name 7 other shows that deserve its spot (and a lot more actually). At least it looks like the show's vice grip on the Emmys is loosening slightly.

-Benedict fucking Cumberbatch... again? And technically I would also add Idris Elba here as much as I love that man to pieces. For both though, it's a bit too much of a same thing and I just *hate* repeat nominees in Limited Series/Movie categories. And as much as I love the show, Cuba Gooding Jr. was the weak link in his cast. All I'm saying is... OSCAR ISAAC was right there, TV Academy!

-Even with some performances I like nominated, the Guest Acting categories are a mishmash of WHAT? I feel there really should be an overhaul somehow. Some choice names that they should've seriously considered: Lisa Kudrow, Cynthia Nixon, Corey Stoll, Octavia Spencer, Christopher Abbot, Natasha Lyonne, BD Wong, and Tom Hardy. Most of these are even household names!


-In the battle between Lady Gaga, Adele, and Beyonce, the latter two came out on top. Lemonade and Adele's live concert get four nominations each while Gaga surprisingly didn't get one for her turn in American Horror Story.

-Documentary films that were eligible for Oscars (He Named Me Malala, The Hunting Ground, What Happened Miss Simone, Cartel Land, etc.) also being eligible for Emmys is a bit shady if you ask me.

-Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are co-nominated for hosting Saturday Night Live. Their joint nomination is history-making I think, but all I can think about is... 

-Game of Thrones leading with 23 nominations. I don't know why this isn't up there in The Good, because I quite love the show and this past season is a step-up from its Emmy-winning season last year. Perhaps I just want to keep the show honest. And similarly...

-Veep leading comedies with 17 nominations, up from their previous best of just 9 nominations last year. Look, I also love the show to death, but did the quality of the show increase THAT much (in a year with a new showrunner even)? Let's give some more love to other shows, shall we?

-Hannibal getting its first nomination of its entire run this year for Visual Effects in a Supporting Role. I guess that's something!

-People are pooh-pooing the Downton Abbey nominations, especially its Best Drama Series nod, but I thought its final season was one of its best so I'm good.

-Was it because of the slap heard around the world? The Good Wife bows out with just 4 nods in its final season.

-Let's end of a gay note... congrats to the nominations for Gay of Thrones (not a typo!) and Gaycation with Ellen Page. I don't watch either one, but the world always needs a little more gay.

And that's it! I'll do a more detailed commentary later for the main categories with my predictions as well. To see a complete list of this year's Emmy nominations, click here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Emmy Wishlists: Drama Categories

Previously, I posted my wishlists for the Comedy categories for tomorrow's Emmy nominations. Time to somehow do this with Drama for which there seems to be a lot more shows and performances to pick from at least in my case.

Drama. Drama. Drama. And yet I tend to like shows and performances that are a bit more genre-flexible. Shall we take a look down the rabbit hole? Like the comedy categories, I'm picking 10 per category because I DAMN WELL CAN:

The Americans
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
The Leftovers
Marvel's Jessica Jones
Mr. Robot
Orange is the New Black

This list alone has a fantasy epic from HBO, a biting look of reality TV from Lifetime, a trio of brilliantly awesome genre shows from Netflix, a radical breakout from USA Network and a brave slavery tale from WGN. And I was forced to leave out the very solid final seasons of Downton Abbey, Hannibal and The Good Wife as well as the enjoyable freshman seasons of Limitless, Into the Badlands, and Supergirl. It's so good to have so many choices, isn't it?

Aldis Hodge, Underground
Damian Lewis, Billions
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Jake McDorman, Limitless
Mads Mikkelsen, Hannibal
Cillian Murphy, Peaky Blinders
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Justin Theroux, The Leftovers
Daniel Wu, Into the Badlands

Shiri Appleby, UnREAL
Laura Carmichael, Downton Abbey
Carrie Coon, The Leftovers
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Krysten Ritter, Jessica Jones
Keri Russell, The Americans
Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Underground
Robin Wright, House of Cards

My drama picks for Lead Acting seem to be slightly more Emmy-friendly than my comedy picks. I can definitely see Malek, Odenkirk, Davis, and Margulies all make it in. But there's also a lot of names here that I wish they would take seriously like the powerhouse duos of Rhys/Russell, Theroux-Coon, Hodge/Smollett-Bell.

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
James D'Arcy, Agent Carter
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Joshua Jackson, The Affair
Alano Miller, Underground
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, The Good Wife
Conrad Ricamora, How to Get Away with Murder
Miguel Angel Silvestre, Sense8
Jussie Smollett, Empire
David Tennant, Jessica Jones
Martin Wallstrom, Mr. Robot

Jamie Clayton, Sense8
Ann Dowd, The Leftovers
Calista Flockhart, Supergirl
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Taryn Manning, Orange is the New Black
Lana Parilla, Once Upon a Time
Rhea Seehorn, Better Call Saul
Maggie Siff, Billions
Liv Tyler, The Leftovers
Alison Wright, The Americans
Constance Zimmer, UnREAL

I've allowed myself 11 picks for both of these categories, because my "short" list came out to 69 for both categories. Narrowing it down to just 10 was pretty impossible actually. I pretty much wanted to cite the entire cast of Sense8 and Orange is the New Black. Ask me to come up with 30 more names per category and I can easily give them to you. Chance to see most of these names called out tomorrow? A few perhaps, but mostly the forecast is weak.

Sebastian Arcelus, House of Cards
Richard Armitage, Hannibal
Dominic Cooper, Agent Carter
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Tom Hardy, Peaky Blinders
Christopher McDonald, The Good Wife
Ron Rifkin, Limitless
Paul Sparks, House of Cards
BD Wong, Mr. Robot
Zach Woods, The Good Wife

Ellen Burstyn, House of Cards
Natasha Lyonne, Orange is the New Black
Annet Mahendru, The Americans
Cynthia Nixon, The Affair
Carrie Preston, The Good Wife
Bridget Regan, Agent Carter
Sarah Steele, The Good Wife
Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away with Murder
Mare Winningham, The Affair

I'm a little disappointed that more people from Sense8 didn't submit themselves for consideration in this category especially Freema Agyeman, Alfonso Herrera and Eréndira Ibarra, but maybe they couldn't since they were in a lot of episodes? Anyways, this list didn't feel as random to put together compared to the comedy one. Almost all are in shows I really like and in roles that are recurring rather than one-off. I'd be shock if the TV Academy picks any of these, but maybe they'll surprise me. One can always hope, right?

So surprise me tomorrow, TV Academy. Though it's more likely they'll stick to the status quo or surprise me in ways I will probably hate. And the beat goes on.

Emmy Wishlists: Comedy Categories

The Emmy nominations are tomorrow! My how the time flies! I had wanted to do a more extensive write-up on the shows and performances that I wish the TV Academy would honor with a nomination tomorrow. Instead just a whole bunch of lists starting with Comedy!

Comedies don't get their fair shake especially during this Peak TV era and yet I would probably say comedies are where the real quality stuff is happening at the moment. There's just so much out there, in so many networks, highlighting so many great performances. Here are my comedy picks (10 per category because why not?), in alphabetical order:

Broad City
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Fresh Off the Boat
Jane the Virgin
Master of None
You're the Worst

If you're not watching any of these shows, you're definitely missing out. I especially recommend the ABC family comedies and the CW offerings. There were more I could've included like a revived Girls, the joyful Galavant, the biting Silicon Valley, the crazy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and the solid freshmen series Superstore and The Real O'Neals, and so much more, etc.

Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Jay R. Ferguson, The Real O'Neals
Chris Geere, You're the Worst
Derek Jacobi, Vicious
Jake Johnson, New Girl
Ian McKellen, Vicious
Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
Timothy Omundson, Galavant
Randall Park, Fresh Off the Boat
Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Aya Cash, You're the Worst
Ilana Glazer, Broad City
Abbi Jacobson, Broad City
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Gina Rogriguez, Jane the Virgin
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
Emmy Rossum, Shameless
Constance Wu, Fresh Off the Boat

Even with 20 names, I'm already sad that perhaps other than perennial favorite JLD, none of these names are super likely to make the shortlist. But I do have hopes for Ansari and Bloom in buzzy freshmen series. If I had to pick just one for a guaranteed nomination, I would give it to Aya Cash who was next level great this past season.

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Jaime Camil, Jane the Virgin
Brett Dier, Jane the Virgin
Paul W. Downs, Broad City
Noah Galvin, The Real O'Neals
Pete Gardner, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Tony Hale, Veep
Mark McKinney, Superstore
Cameron Monaghan, Shameless
Andrew Rannells, Girls

Donna Lynne Champlin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Kether Donohue, You're the Worst
Yael Groblas, Jane the Virgin
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Zosia Mamet, Girls
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Chelsea Peretti, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Amy Poehler, WHAS: First Day of Camp
Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live

If you ask me to give you 10-20 more names for both of these categories, it would be so damn easy. There's just so many great actors and performances. I do think a few of these have a good chance based on history (Braugher, Hale, Chlumsky, Krakowski, Poehler). But I'm rooting HARD for a few people like Camil, Champlin, and Groblas... all no-brainers if voters actually watched TV.

Christopher Abbot, Girls
Shoukath Ansari, Master of None
Noel Fisher, Shameless
Ryan Gosling, Saturday Night Live
Dennis Haysbert, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Justin Kirk, You're the Worst
Jason Mantzoukas, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Martin Mull, Veep
Peter Scolari, Girls
Corey Stoll, Girls

Sasha Alexander, Shameless
Anna Camp, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Claire Danes, Master of None
Tovah Feldshuh, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Tina Fey/Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Megan Fox, New Girl
Kathryn Hahn, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Lisa Kudrow, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Octavia Spencer, Drunk History

Guest categories are great since they're SUCH a hodgepodge of random actors and performances. And like where else could a first-time actor like Shoukath Ansari be placed next to someone like Gosling? Or how about Megan Fox (she was good!) next to Spencer (who played Harriet Tubman in a show with drunk people). Of course this is assuming/wishing the TV Academy actually think outside the box, which they so rarely do.

Coming up! Drama categories!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Aint there anyone here for love?

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.

It was an absolute joy to watch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, a wonderfully entertaining musical featuring two screen legends. The fact that it clocked in at just 90 minutes makes it that special kind of movie that just leaves you wanting for more.

Speaking of wanting more, that's exactly what the two main leads are looking for. Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe play best friends who seemingly have little in common other than being breathtakingly beautiful and knowing exactly what they want. Monroe's Lorelei wants a rich man who can provide her with shiny baubles. Russell's Dorothy wants a fit guy who would be able to keep up with her.

Both are thus given splashy musical numbers that highlight this with Monroe's "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" the more popular and iconic of the two. Russell's "Ain't There Anyone Here for Love?" though is my preference and not just because of plenty of eye candy. My penchant for tennis and puns got the best of me as well.

Best Shot

Truthfully I could've pick any shot from this whole number, but the above shot is my pick because she looks damn fierce holding those old-timey tennis rackets with those nearly naked men all around her. It's pretty much my own dream scenario to be honest. Plus there's the slight pun of this scene with the song's title since in tennis "love" means zero and well since most of these guys were clearly gay, that makes sense.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

And I am, after all, me...

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.

This week the movie was chosen by his readers and somehow the late 1980s hit Working Girl was chosen. And it was a hit, good for 11th highest grossing film of its year, adjusting for more than $130 million in today's currency. It was also nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Picture/Director and for three of its actresses. I'm merely pointing all of this out because how rare it is nowadays for a female-led film to make that much money and to garner awards. The hair and clothes aren't the only thing dated then I suppose.

The film, for those who haven't seen it, is about a secretary (Melanie Griffith), thinking her boss has stolen one of her ideas, who pretends to have her boss' job while her boss is waylaid with injury. The story beats are familiar, but I still found it overall quite entertaining bolstered by its leading lady who seems to work just as hard as her character Tess. Sigourney Weaver is a hoot as her devil-may-care boss and Harrison Ford is welcome eye candy especially amidst the garish style of the 80s.

My honorable mention pick for best shot includes all three of the main characters in a shot from towards the end of the film. It's at this point where the Big Reveal happens and I just love this shot of all of them prepping for the worse. Nichols does love to frame background people with foreground people doesn't he (think the iconic shot of The Graduate)?

And speaking of that famous scene in The Graduate, a similarly shot scene in this film became my pick for best shot. It's towards the beginning of the film with Tess working with her new boss for a few weeks now and realizing that the best way to move up in the world is to copy other successful people.

Best Shot

Just look at how identical their clothes are, white top and black skirt. Tess is clearly trying her best to imitate her boss here, a prelude to the main plot of the movie. Her legs in the foreground isn't for seduction like in The Graduate, but she's certainly seduced by the idea of her seemingly perfect boss and mentor. Weaver even compels her to "Watch me" and "Learn from me" soon after this increasing Tess' need to please her boss by becoming more like her. It's a fascinating interplay between the two characters nicely setting up the rest of the film.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Nobody will ever recognize me in these...

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.

I've never seen Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch A Thief starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. I was shocked at how slight the actual story of a former thief trying to find the thief that's impersonating him (and thus making his life difficult). But if the actual plot is less than expected, the visual elements of the film more than make up for it. The Academy Award-winning cinematography is breathtaking especially all of the aerial shots of the French Riviera coastline and countryside. The vibrant costumes by Edith Head and the sumptuous lighting throughout are also to be commended.

The latter especially gets highlighted in the best scene of the film with Kelly seducing Grant not with her great beauty, but by the massive diamond necklace she wears. It's a fun and sexy scene cast in gorgeous green lighting and the shot below was almost my pick for best shot for the above reasons.

But I had to pick one of the film's most random visual gag which is of Cary Grant wearing a plaid bathing suit nonchalantly lying on the beach while he hides from the police.

Best Shot

I guess if you're known for being a thief hiding in the shadows, the last thing people expect you'd do is relaxing on the beach half-naked out in the open. You do you, Cat.