5 thoughts on the Emmy nominations or non-nominations

1724_McCarthy_Mothers_Day_Monologue_AIR_038Sad isn’t it — the Emmy nominations are the first thing since March that I’ve chosen to comment on using this blogging platform. I’ve seen at least 10 movies since The Edge of Seventeen I’d like to review soon. I let all of Girls‘ final season blow by without weighing in — one of my two or three favorite shows of all time. Yet, here I am again. It’s the Emmys, the academy that completely ignored Girls and its terrific final season, save a few guest appearance and music nominations.

Therein lies my greatest beef. These are a few of my other thoughts:

For guest actress in a comedy series

Is Carrie Fisher a wild card candidate for a post-humous award? Possibly. But Melissa McCarthy. Her guest-starring turn as Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, on SNL shook up the world. The first of her four Spicer sketches was one you knew was the stuff of legends as you were watching it — and ripe for an award. Also seeing reports that Spicer’s days in the White House are limited, there may not be another opportunity for the Emmys to properly distinguish her performance.

For lead actress in a limited series or movie

A play-the-odds predicament. Six nominees. Four shows. Forget who’s most deserving. Will same-show nominees Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, of Big Little Lies, and Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon, of Feud, take votes from one another? That could improve the odds for Felicity Huffman and Carrie Coon.

For lead actress in a drama series

The Crown, with Claire Foy, was my favorite new show of the year. Tales of the British monarchy, what can I say, they’re my muse, and The Crown was seriously terrific. But my wife and I are watching The Handmaid’s Tale. We have to rest a week between episodes, it’s that daunting and that good. It’s impossible to me that Elisabeth Moss doesn’t win this Emmy. She’s paid her dues — six nominations for Mad Men, one for Top of the Lake. Nothing to show for it. Until now.

For supporting actress in a comedy series

I’m a fan, so it’d be pleasing to see Vanessa Bayer exit SNL with an Emmy; though, I’m not so sure she’s be the top pick from SNL contenders in this category (Hi, Kate McKinnon). Also, where’s Jemima Kirke’s nomination for her part in Girls? But someone not nominated can’t win, so for goodness sake give the thing to Anna Chlumsky already.

For outstanding comedy series

Write-in for Girls.


“Girls”: A gay emergency


Stay tuned this weekend for my first take on Jessa and Adam’s “friendship.” Briefly below, let’s recap “Good Man” by evaluating the strained relationships of the Horvath family.

The suggestion, based on Elijah’s reaction (“It got gayer?”) to Hannah’s emergency call, is that Hannah has been babysitting her parents, a mediator between Tad and Loreen, since Girls went away for the summer and “Good Man” is the first episode, in season five, we’re seeing it because it’s the moment it breaks Hannah down.

From what we can tell, Hannah has put on a really brave face throughout; at least, she’s accepted her dad’s homosexuality much more than season four’s “Daddy Issues.”

But this is sensory overload this week. First, she’s asked to rescue her dad in the city and confront a man named Keith who, for all we know, is his first sexual partner. Then, her mom asks her to tell Tad that she wants a divorce — this coming from the same mom who robbed Tad of telling Hannah he’s gay, although there was clearly a secret he wanted to tell her when he visited Iowa early in season four.

It gets messy in “Good Man,” so much so that Elijah takes one look at Hannah and Tad through a restaurant window and runs from the situation (“Oh… No.”). To her credit, Hannah handles it well. She holds onto that divorce bombshell, in fact I don’t think she wants to tell her dad ever. One, that’s a conversation Loreen ought to have with him. Two, maybe if she swallows it, it won’t be real. Three, why kick him while he’s down?

Ultimately, it comes up at an opportune moment. Tad’s in no position to tell Hannah what she does and doesn’t know about relationships. When he thinks he can go home and all be normal, it’s time for her to tell him what she knows. This is a difficult moment for Hannah because her family is breaking up right before her eyes.

She needs a Jessa moment circa season two’s “Video Games.”

“I’m the child!”

Then, there’s this:

  • Although I got a kick out of the name (Helvetica) for the new cafe across the street from Ray’s — you don’t name a business after a font — this isn’t a storyline I was particularly interested in. It’s noteworthy, though, in that it’s the first guest appearance for Lena Dunham’s sister, Grace.
  • It looks like Corey Stoll (House of Cards) is going to be a recurring guest star this season. Elijah sparks the rumblings of a relationship with him. He plays Dill Harcourt, a public figure who sends Elijah a drink at a bar.
  • Two absences this week: Marnie and Shoshanna. The upcoming episode, “Japan,” will travel to the country Shosh now calls home.

“Room” deserved better than Sacha Baron Cohen


Looming over the Academy Awards, a diversity issue. The Academy nominated an all-white group of actors and directors for the second year in a row. Chris Rock, the show’s host, did a really good job framing his monologue and subsequent bits around this topic. The pre-produced sketch inserting black actors into scenes from some of the nominated films (The RevenantJoy, etc.) was hilarious, so was the Compton one.

Knowing Chris Rock would talk about this issue, I was worried about it overshadowing the performances and films actually nominated. They were nominated for good reasons, guys. Chris Rock wasn’t the problem. Some presenters took it upon themselves to push the issue forward. Do you think Kevin Hart’s spiel was scripted?

And then Sacha Baron Cohen took the stage as one of his famous characters, Ali G, to introduce Best Picture nominee Room. What he did pissed me off.

First of all, it wasn’t even supposed to happen.

Much like the character, Ali G, he brought back to the stage and the movies he’s made, his rant was dumb, rotten and awful. Trying satire, he threw shade at the diversity issue by making jokes that missed big-time, when all he had to do — all the producers asked him to do — was introduce an excellent film about something very serious and terrifying.

Maybe the producers are a little to blame, because the people they chose to introduce the Best Picture nominees seemed rather random. But, again: Cohen wasn’t supposed to do that. Go back to that Daily Mail article. They warned him.

But I don’t blame the producers. Yeah, let’s do it different next year. But some presenters gave wonderful introductions. On the red carpet pre-show, Olivia Wilde explained that she was very excited and honored to present Brooklyn as a nominee. It was a film she loved, so the Oscars were an appropriate vehicle for her to go on stage and honor it.

She did, so eloquently.

Cohen acted like he didn’t even know what Room was.

When he finally needed to introduce it, he said: “… and now here’s a movie about a room full of white people.” How disrespectful can you be? A lot of people worked very hard to make this film and, let’s go there, every other film. And yet, Cohen goes up there making jokes, being an idiot. Room deserved way, way more than that disgraceful minute.

And guess what? Everyone knows it.

Did you notice how uncomfortable Olivia Wilde was standing next to him on stage? That’s the way Cohen made me feel, and I hope you, too.

Cohen robbed a wonderful film of the acknowledgement it deserved. To the people watching the Oscars who maybe haven’t seen these films, the introductions can be important endorsements. By introducing Brooklyn, Olivia Wilde is generally saying, “You should see this movie. I loved it. You will, too.”

Thank goodness Brie Larson won Best Actress only a few minutes later.

Chris Rock had the topic under control. It only took one bonehead to ruin it, and that was my concern. Cohen is that guy at a party who steps into a storytelling late and makes a joke that takes it too far. That guy thinks he’s being funny. Cohen was tone deaf to the issue and disrespectful to a great film and the people who made it.