By Alan Hurst
The Emmy nominations for the 2017-18 TV season were announced on Thursday with the traditional combination of the expected, some surprises and some snubs. But the one recurring thought I have – as I did last year – is that there are way too many nominees in key categories. While it acknowledges that we’re in a pretty fertile period of great TV, seeing seven and eight nominations in some of these categories diminishes the overall impact of a nomination. It does shake things up by allowing more fringe shows to get some attention but at what price?
Game of Thrones (HBO) leads with 22 nominations, the most for any series. Next with 21 nominations are Westworld (HBO) and Saturday Night Live (NBC), the latter getting some really heavy Emmy attention over the last few years. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX), the second installment in that anthology, received 18 nominations and Atlanta (FX) was the top comedy in terms of nominations with 16.
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid’s Tale
This Is Us
No real surprises here, although second season of Stranger Things was a bit of a let down for me and I’m not sure it would have made my final list. I’ll be rooting for The Crown.
LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Ed Harris, Westworld
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld
A good slate and I’d like to see Bateman take this for Ozark, some of the strongest material he’s had to work with and he delivers.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Claire Foy, The Crown
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Keri Russell, The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld
I think everyone who should be here is on the list. I’m hoping for a Claire Foy. It’s her last shot for this series, as she’s handing the role of Queen Elizabeth to another actress for season three, and she’s wonderful in the role.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Vanessa Kirby, The Crown
Thandie Newton, Westworld
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale
I want to see Vanessa Kirby take this one. She’s spectacular as Princess Margret, but one of The Handmaid’s Tale trio of nominees may prove to be unbeatable.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid’s Tale
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Matt Smith, The Crown
I know I’m on a bit of a kick with The Crown, but I think Matt Smith should be the victor in this category. He’s done a terrific job of getting us to feel the frustration of Prince Philip, but not whitewashing the character.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
With Veep out of the running and Modern Family finally off the list, it clears the field for a victory by Atlanta, black-ish or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Black-ish did well with some big topics this year, but I think Emmy votes will be following the Golden Globes and honouring the delightful Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Allison Janney, Mom
Issa Rae, Insecure
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
Lily Tomlin, Grace & Frankie
I’m surprised and a little disappointed that Janney made this list but not Jane Fonda for Grace & Frankie. Fonda has been doing some terrific work with her ever evolving character over the last four seasons. With Fonda out of the mix, I’d like to see Tracee Ellis Ross or Rachel Brosnahan take home the trophy.
LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Bill Hader, Barry
William H. Macy, Shameless
Not sure why Larry David made it back on to the list with the so-so return of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I think John Goodman should have been here for his strong work on the Roseanne reboot. Expect to see Donald Glover repeat his 2017 win again this year for this excellent work on Atlanta.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Zazie Beetz, Atlanta
Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Laurie Metcalf, Roseanne
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace
Eight nominees and no room for Rita Moreno for her sensational work on One Day at a Time? Insane. This should have been Moreno’s to lose. Expect to see Megan Mullally win her for the just OK reboot of Will & Grace, but of those nominated I’d like to see Alex Borstein take this.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Louie Anderson, Baskets
Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live
Henry Winkler, Barry
Not sure why Baldwin is back again for a second year of playing Trump on SNL. Any of the other nominees have a pretty fair shot at taking home the award, but I’m thinking this may be Henry Winkler’s year for his sad, funny acting teacher on Barry.
Black Mirror, “USS Callister”
I still have to catch a few of these, but it’s a very slim slate to pull from – similar to last year. All energies seem to be going towards the regular dramas or limited series.
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Not nearly as competitive as last year when Big Little Lies and Feud: Bette and Joan went head to head. Expect The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story to be the winner.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Jessica Biel, The Sinner
Laura Dern, The Tale
Michelle Dockery, Godless
Edie Falco, Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
Regina King, Seven Seconds
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Cult
Again, not the most exciting list but I think Dern will win her second Emmy in a row for The Tale.
LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso
Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose
Jeff Daniels, The Looming Tower
John Legend, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert
Jesse Plemons, Black Mirror, “USS Callister”
John Legend’s acting was the weakest part of the well-done live broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar. And I never would have predicted that Darren Criss would be front-runner for an Emmy, but he is. He nailed both the sleaze and the sadness of the killer in Ryan Murphy’s second installment of this American Crime Story anthology.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Adina Porter, American Horror Story: Cult
Letitia Wright, Black Mirror, “Black Museum”
Merritt Wever, Godless
Sara Bareilles, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert
Penelope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Judith Light, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
I think Cruz will be the ultimate winner here, but it’s nice to see Sara Bareilles in the running for her beautiful work as Mary Magdalene.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Jeff Daniels, Godless
Brandon Victor Dixon, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert
Ricky Martin, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Finn Wittrock, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Michael Stuhlbarg, The Looming Tower
John Leguizamo, Waco
Again, way too many nominees. Ricky Martin as Versace’s lover was a thankless role and the actor brought little more than a pretty face and a pout to the party. I think Finn Wittrock will be the winner here for his moving work in the Versace story.
Hooked from a first viewing of Mary Poppins at four and after school reruns of I Love Lucy, Alan has been a movie and TV enthusiast ever since. A particular aficionado of films from the late thirties through the seventies, he enjoys helping others discover the joys of those films, directors and stars. His career has careened from journalism to public relations to marketing, always with one foot in the arts and with a unique ability to relate all work and life experiences back to a movie. Alan’s top five desert island films are Bonnie and Clyde, Sunset Boulevard, Cabaret, Mildred Pierce and, with no apologies, Mary Poppins. Alan’s focus will be on films from Hollywood’s first golden era (and a little beyond) as well as TV.