Mrs. Maisel is still marvelous. The fallout from Chernobyl continues. And one show could destroy EMMY competition faster than Khaleesi’s dragons. The nominations are out and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences clearly has its favorites, both old and new. So here are a few early thoughts on where this year’s awards are headed.
First, I’m absolutely amazed at the love being showered on Game of Thrones. Fans weren’t thrilled with many (most?) of the ways the show resolved storylines in the truncated final season (at only six episodes I thought maybe they’d enter the Limited Series categories just to screw with Sharp Objects and Chernobyl). But that made no difference to voters, who dumped a record-setting 32 nominations on the show, including Drama, Actor and Actress in a Drama (Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke), plus four nominations in Supporting Actress in a Drama (Gwendoline Christie, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, and Maisie Williams) and three in Supporting Actor in a Drama (Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau, and Alfie Allen).
I also believe every White Walker from The Battle of Winterfell episode is nominated in the newly-created category of Best Acting in an Ensemble Hoard.
The shooting was amazing this season. Unlike many of my critical breathern, I liked the tight, low-light shot choices in the battle episodes. The production values are unprecedented. However, I did not like the way many story lines were resolved. Many were too easy: getting crushed by a collapsing castle, getting stabbed by your lover, etc. Daenerys legitimized Gendry to make him an ally, only for him to be written off, presumably to live happily ever after, sans Arya.The only death that had any real build up was Missandei. But while dramatic, it didn’t have any real impact on any of the final outcomes.
The stage is set for the show to rule on EMMY night, but a certain amount of sentimentality will rule voters when they get their ballots.
On the comedy side, Mrs. Maisel is back in force. It doesn’t matter if she’s being assertive or vulnerable, Rachel Brosnahan commands our attention every moment she is on screen, and once again people are taking notice. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is up for Best Comedy Series, along with nominations for Rachel as Best Actress in a Comedy, with Tony Shalhoub in Supporting Actor in a Comedy, and Marin Hinkle and Alex Borstein both up in Supporting Actress in a Comedy. This season got off to a slower start than season one, but it allowed the supporting cast to be more, well, supportive. It’s gonna be tough for Rachel to bring home EMMY gold, mainly because voters were also singing:
Hail To the Veep
Julia Louis-Dreyfus finished up her run as Selena Meyer by breaking her own record for most EMMY nominations in the Lead Actress in a Comedy. The show is nominated for best Comedy (though, like Game of Thrones, I wasn’t thrilled with the ending), and there are nominations for Tony Hale in Supporting Actor in a Comedy as well asÂ Anna Chlumsky in Supporting Actress in a Comedy. This show has gotten nothing but critical love since it started. I wouldn’t be surprised with a split-decision by voters: Julia wins Best Actress in a Comedy while Mrs. Maisel wins for Best Comedy.
Finally, a quick look at the Limited Series category. Chernobyl got a scorching 19 nominations. The show looked back at the start of the ongoing disaster in the (at the time) Soviet Union. It’s an early favorite, which is really too bad for Sharp Objects. The all-star cast of was bascially snubbed, with only Amy Adams getting a nomination. It doesn’t help that Sharp Objects aired nearly a year ago. Chernobyl wrapped up its run just as voters started the nominating process. (Season two of Big Little Lies could face the same problem a year from now).
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Wine. Served in a ceramic jug. Daenerys’ army chugged it on the eve of the battle of Winterfell, the same should serve them well as they prepare to do EMMY battle.