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 Chandler is actually the only past Emmy winner while Spacey is the Susan Lucci (outdated reference) of this category with 9 previous nominations and no win.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