Emmy Nominations: The Good, The Bad and The Snubbed

Well, folks, the 2009 Emmy nominations came out yesterday, and as usual, there’s the expected (30 Rock), the unexpected (Jim Parsons!), the ridiculously snubbed (FNL, and though I’ve never seen it, Battlestar) and the mercifully snubbed (suck it, Piven!)

Believe it or not, I’m mostly ok with this list. There are some egregious snubs, which I’ll get to in a sec, but there’s also some unexpected delights.

The bad:

– It is ludicrous that Connie Britton didn’t get an nomination – and after switching over to supporting actress, even! I know that FNL is an off-the-beaten-path kind of show that shoots in Texas and not in Hollywood, and it’s probably off the radar for a lot of voters. But after seeing episode 4 of this season, in which Tami and Eric debate buying a new house, I don’t know how she could possibly have been left off the list. (This clip is, maddeningly, not available online, so here’s another great scene from this season.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

– Also oddly snubbed? Amy Ryan for outstanding guest actress on The Office. I’ll give them the Tina Fey SNL nom, but Christine Baranski and Jennifer Aniston over Amy Ryan? I love them all, but Ryan was the clear pick, here. Anyone who can make Michael Scott a human being with feelings deserves some acclaim.

– While I love Rainn Wilson, I would have rather seen The Office nomination go to John Krasinski. Or better yet, skip The Office all together and give it to Jason Segal for HIMYM. If you must include Rainn Wilson, fine, but what’s up with Kevin Dillon? Granted, I haven’t watched Entourage in years, but from everything I’ve read, the show is a distant memory of its former self. While we’re on HIMYM, no love for Cobie Smulders or Alyson Hannigan? Really?

– I kind of can’t believe the Beau Bridges nomination. It was a nice episode (yes, I watch Desperate Housewives. Shut up.) but not Emmy-worthy. Ditto with Steve Martin. If it’s protocol to honor guest stars from 30 Rock, why not give a shout out to Dean Winters, who plays the always  hilarious “Beeper King” Dennis Duffy? All together now, “Sub-way He-ro!”

– I have no real gripes about the drama nominations, mostly because I don’t watch many of the nominated shows. However, I was definitely bummed the supporting cast of Dexter didn’t get any recognition. Sure, Michael C. Hall is the best part of the show, but it has an extraordinary supporting cast. Were I in charge, I would have recognized Julie Benz as Rita and Lauren Velez as Lt. Laguerta.

The good:
– NPH! And no Piven to upset! This is his year, right? RIGHT?

– Jim Parsons! I only discovered The Big Bang Theory this year, but Sheldon is by far my favorite character. Dude makes the show.

Dr. Horrible! Wait, what? Yes, it’s true. They made up some new category, and I don’t fully understand the title (“Outstanding Special Class – Short-format Live-Action Entertainment Programs”….what?) but I’m thrilled the little Internet TV Sensation That Could is getting some major recognition. That’s good for Joss, for the Internet, AND for all the filmmakers out there who are trying to make it without studio backing.

HIMYM for best comedy! Even if it doesn’t win (and we all know it’ll go to 30 Rock) I’m glad it’s being recognized, because it truly is outstanding.

– All the Grey Gardens nominations. They were inevitable, but still, SO deserved. I don’t know how the academy will pick between Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. Hopefully, if they can’t decide, both ladies will take home a statue, instead of canceling each other out. I tried to find some clips for those who didn’t catch the film, but nothing really gave it justice. It’s out on DVD now; go rent it. If you get through the ending without crying buckets, you’re as soulless as Dexter Morgan.

My picks for the major nominations.

BEST DRAMA SERIES
Big Love
Damages
Dexter
House
Lost
Mad Men
Dexter, all the way. Granted, I don’t watch the other shows, so I am biased. But Dexter has been captivating from episode 1. Any show that can turn a killer’s confession into a marriage proposal (see below) is top notch in my book.

BEST ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Hugh Laurie, House
Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Simon Baker, The Mentalist
Again, I’m going with Dexter, though I realize Michael C. Hall probably won’t win. I’ve heard great things about all these guys. But it takes a lot of skill to turn a serial killer into a lovable, even funny, character, while still being scary as hell. And Hall gets extra props this year for dealing treading the line between “family man” and “psychopath.” (Though he is at his most fun when he returns to his crazy killing roots.)

BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Sally Field, Brothers and Sisters
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Glenn Close, Damages
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Holly Hunter, Saving Grace
I don’t watch any of these shows, and have no opinion.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Rose Byrne, Damages
Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy
Chandra Wilson, Grey’s Anatomy
Dianne Wiest, In Treatment
Hope Davis, In Treatment
Cherry Jones, 24
Ditto – though I did just see Cherry Jones on a theater panel, where she was wonderful. But again, I don’t watch these shows.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Kevin Dillon, Entourage
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Rainn Wilson, The Office
Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock
Jack McBrayer, 30 Rock
Jon Cryer, Two And A Half Men
Well, duh. NPH! I tried to find some of his best stuff from season 4, but HIMYM is also noticeably absent from YouTube. However, I think this pretty much says it all:

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
William Shatner, Boston Legal
Christian Clemenson, Boston Legal
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
William Hurt, Damages
Michael Emerson, Lost
John Slattery, Mad Men
Again, no opinion.

BEST COMEDY SERIES
Entourage
Family Guy
Flight Of The Conchords

How I Met Your Mother
The Office
30 Rock
This is a tough one. The Office saw a resurgence this year with the Michael Scott Paper Company plot line and Amy Ryan. 30 Rock is always amazing, and lest we forget, they had a Mamma Mia this year! However, I’m going to go with HIMYM, because it’s been deserving of a nomination since season 1, and 30 Rock and The Office have had their days in the sun.

BEST ACTOR, COMEDY SERIES
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Jemaine Clement, Flight Of The Conchords
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Steve Carell, The Office
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Charlie Sheen, Two And A Half Men
I love Alec Baldwin and Steve Carell. But I’m going with Jim Parsons, because, as I said before, he makes the show. But really, I’d be happy if any of those 3 men won. Just as long as it’s not Tony Shaloub or Charlie Sheen.

BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures Of Old Christine
Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?
Sarah Silverman, The Sarah Silverman Show
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Toni Collette, United States Of Tara
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
Sorry haters, I’ve gotta go with Tina Fey. I hear MLP is amazing, I love Toni Collette, and Christina Applegate was hilarious as Rachel’s sister on Friends. But Tina Fey makes me laugh week after week. Also, what single gal my age doesn’t want to be Liz Lemon, just a little? In celebration of awkward, nerdy girls everywhere, here’s the best of Liz Lemon, as stated by…some person on YouTube with lots of time.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds
Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty

I have no real favorite here, but it’d be nice to see Kristin Chenoweth win for Pushing Daisies. I liked the show a lot – not as much as some fans, but a lot. However, for me it wasn’t Ned and Chuck. I was all about Olive Snook. (And also, the idea of Olive and Ned. Shh. Tell no one.)

The only thing I’ll say about the reality categories is I hope American Idol wins. Just because…look at the impact it has every year. I love Project Runway as much as the next person, (and would be thrilled if it won) but I think AI deserves some Emmy love.

And in terms of Variety or Talk Show…I am torn between Colbert and Stewart. Jon Stewart had Hall and Oats. But Colbert had Cookie Monster. Decisions, decisions.

So what are your thoughts? Did I get anything wrong? Are there any shows I don’t watch that I should? (Besides Mad Men. I already know. Oh, and Lost, because the reality is, I’m never going to watch that show. Sorry, Internet.)

For a full list of nominations, including best title sequence (do they still have those), best cinematography for a single camera show, and best lackey, go here.

Two for two

This is old news by now, but I’d like to jump on the bandwagon and say: YAY! NPH is hosting the Emmys! Also, it appears I am quite predictable. On the day this was announced, I got not one but TWO texts from people delivering the news. What can I say? I am what I am…. That’s Popeye. (Bonus points to anyone who gets the reference.)

I’m excited about this, but I also hope it doesn’t hurt his chances of a nomination and/or a win. Anyone who watches HIMYM knows he’s at least worthy of a nomination. And IMO, a win, but so far the Emmy people haven’t agreed. But what do they know? They give Jeremy Piven awards just for breathing. And Martin Sheen didn’t win in all the 7 years The West Wing was on the air. And have they never watched Dexter? Why diss Michael C. Hall ever year, and not even recognize Dexter‘s amazing supporting cast? And don’t even get me STARTED on Friday Night Lights.

Even so, I love the show and watch ever year. (And every year, I’m disappointed.) At least this year will have a good host.

Video of the Day:

In honor of the news, here’s one of my favorite NPH clips. Makes me laugh every time.

Emotional Overload: Next time, remind me to encorporate some humor

In 2005, I tried to watch Six Feet Under. I got through the first season and partway through the second before I had to stop.

It’s not that the show wasn’t good; it was excellent. Maybe a little too excellent. I was going through an awkward period in my life -that post-college phase where you’re no longer a kid, but you don’t quite feel like an adult, and have no idea what you are supposed to be doing in life.  You spent 20-some years going to school and now that it’s over…what do you do next? (Anyone? Anyone?) I wasn’t in the happiest state. So, watching a show where bad things continue to happen to (semi) good people was a little too much to handle. For weeks, I found myself in this constant state of melancholy. It wasn’t overwhelming; it was just always there. I tried and tried to place it, and then one day it just hit me: it’s Six Feet Under. I had to stop watching, or I’d end up in a permanent state of depression.

So I did. And I felt better. (But don’t worry – I caught up in 2007 during the Writers’ Strike, and damn, that’s some good TV.)

I have had a similar feeling all day today, and I know why: I had the most depressing weekend of film and TV watching.

With the Academy Award nominations announced last week, by Friday, I had added a slew of films to my Netflix queue. The problem? I currently had three movies from Netflix sitting on top of my DVD player, where they had sat, untouched, for weeks. I wanted to see them; they just weren’t exactly, “Hey, come watch me!” movies. But I have a goal to see as many nominated films/films with nominated actors and directors, etc. as I can before the awards. My actual goal is to see everything, but I know this is not possible.

So, Friday night, I watched Mr. Saturday Night, on my queue from when I added Helen Hunt films after The Great Mad About You Re-watch. You guys…this is a real downer. And honestly, not particularly great. The only real reason to see it is for David Paymer’s Oscar-nominated performance. But seriously – the life of a mediocre-at-best comic, who’s basically an asshole? Not exactly uplifting. Why, Billy Crystal? Why?

Saturday, I had tentative plans to hang out with Liz, eat soup, and have an Aaron Sorkin/presidential marathon. But, I was sacked with a major headache that took up most of my day. So I stayed in bed and watched Stevie, a documentary by acclaimed filmmaker (and graduate of my school and film program!) Steve James. I saw this movie when it premiered at my school’s film festival back in 2002. It’s a great piece of film-making, if self-indulgent on James’ part. However – the story follows this dude, Stevie, whom James mentored while a student at Southern Illinois University. Years later, James decides to visit Stevie, see what he missed, and it turns out Stevie has been arrested and charged with sexually abusing his 8-year old niece. The film follows Stevie and his family for the 2 1/2 years in between the abuse charges and Stevie going to jail. Again, this is a great film. But not exactly uplifting. Also, it has these great shots of the southern Illinois landscape, which just made me homesick for my college town. (Weird, I know, in a documentary about child abuse, but there ya go.)

As if that wasn’t enough, I accompanied my parents to see The Wrestler on Sunday. I’d seen it before, and wanted to see it again, to soak it in a little more. The first time I saw it, I liked it a lot, thought Mickey Rourke and Marissa Tomei were excellent, and that the film was sad but not overwhelmingly sad. This time…I was heartbroken. It affected me so much more. I don’t know if it’s because I had already seen it, and so could concentrate more on performance and noticing little things, or if it was because I was with my parents, whom I knew would be more affected by it, or what. But by the time Randy walked in for his last match, and Sweet Child of Mine started playing, my heart was beating a mile a minute, my lip couldn’t stop quivering, and the tears came.

So there was that.

Then there were the SAG Awards, which were kind of depressing only because Sean fucking Penn won best actor over Mickey Rourke AND Richard Jenkins, Hugh fucking Laurie won best actor over my boy Michael C. Hall, and Dexter did not win best acting ensemble.

To top it all off, I decided to end my weekend by watching the  Cheers season 5 finale (More on this re-watch in a later blog post.) I wrote my immediate reaction to that in my personal blog. Here is what I said:

“Have a good life.”

I just watched the last episode of season 5 of Cheers. The one where Diane leaves. And um….I just spent the last 10 minutes weeping. WEEPING.
Maybe I am a little overly emotional this weekend, but, damn.
I watched the first four seasons pretty quick. (Side note – the final episodes of season 4? When Diane is spying on Sam and the politician? some of the hardest laughing I’ve ever done, right there.) 
Then I got to season 5, and Sam and Diane were finally happily together, and I started slowing down my watching. I didn’t want to get here. I remembered what this episode did to me.
It’s weird, how I watch old TV. I can watch it through my adult eyes, but I can also turn that off, and watch it through the same eyes I did as a child. So, when I watch old episodes of Lois and Clark, for example, Adult Sarah recognizes that this is not stellar television. But Child Sarah remembers how pretty they are, and how wonderfully schmoopy they are, and how I would get so excited on Sundays, waiting for 8 o’clock. It’s a nice thing to be able to do, actually.
This is how I’ve watched Cheers. And it doesn’t help that Cheers is actually a stellar show, both in acting and writing. So, Adult Sarah can get some of the more adult jokes she didn’t get as a kid. But Child Sarah still holds on to that feeling and joy she got to watching Sam and Diane. And Child Sarah was absolutely heartbroken when Diane left. (Let me just stop here and say – I totally watched the show through repeats. I was only a year old when the show started. I discovered it in sixth grade, and fell in love immediately. So, Child Sarah was heartbroken watching the reruns. In case there was any question.) 
Anyway, Child Sarah was heartbroken. Even though she knew that Diane left the show. She cried then. And it hurt just as much tonight, even though I knew it was coming. Again.
But you know what I had forgotten about? I forgot that Sam flashed forward in time halfway through, and imagined his life with Diane, and that they had grown old together. And I completely forgot he flashed again, and that is how the show ended. So, I was already getting ready for a good cry during the scene where they say goodbye to each other. But the part after? Oh, man.

Sam and Diane were the first TV couple I ever cared about. I LOVED them. LOOOOVED. Just ask my parents or my sister. You think Luke/Lorelai was bad? They had nothing on Sam and Diane. I don’t remember this, but my sister said that when the show ended, I cried and cried – not because the show was over, but because Sam and Diane didn’t end up together.

And yeah, it’s just a TV show, and I know that, and I’m tired and it’s been kind of an emotionally exhausting week, and weekend, so that isn’t helping any. And yes, this now happened over 20 years ago. But, it still makes me sad that Shelley Long left the show. Sure, we wouldn’t have had Rebecca, or Robin, and maybe Lilith wouldn’t have joined the cast as a series regular. Maybe the attention would have stayed on Sam and Diane, and the supporting cast wouldn’t have gotten more to do. And without that, maybe there would have been no spin off, no Frasier, and then we wouldn’t have Niles or Marty Crane, and that would be a shame in the world of TV.

But I do wonder what would have happened, had she stayed. Because this right here is freaking beautiful.

~~~~~~~
Now, my reaction was most likely 50% Cheers and 50% emotional exhaustion from all the other media I’d seen over the weekend. But the bottom line is, I cried for a good half hour last night. And getting ready for work this morning, a bit of the song from the above video got in my head, and I got all teary again and had to force it out of my head. (Which, BTW, is not an easy thing to do.) And all day today, I have had the same feeling of melancholy I expressed above.

The point of all this? Well, I guess it’s twofold:

1.) It’s kind of amazing how much good storytelling can affect a person.
2.) I am in need of a laugh, and some mindless, lighthearted entertainment.

To that end, I give you something that never, ever fails to make me laugh, as my Video of the Day

Richard Jenkins, FTW!

If you don’t already know, Oscar nominations were released today.

For the most part, I wasn’t surprised. There’s still a lot of films I have to see (including Milk, which I know is supposed to be great, but I just have no desire to see it.) so I can’t give final verdicts yet.

BUT

I was beyond thrilled to see that Richard Jenkins has been nominated for Lead Actor for his performance as Walter Vale in The Visitor!

For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Jenkins is best known as playing Nathaniel Fisher Sr. in Six Feet Under. He was also the owner of the gym in Burn After Reading, though I wouldn’t count that among his best roles.

I saw The Visitor a few weeks ago. I’d wanted to see it for awhile, and it was one of those movies far down the line on my Netflix queue. After hearing an interview with Jenkins on Fresh Air, I moved it up. I am so glad I did.

The Visitor is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a quiet little film (the best kind, really). It didn’t go where I expected it to. It didn’t try too hard, and hit all the right notes. And Jenkins is incredible in it. I’ve liked him since day one on Six Feet Under, but was blown away by his performance. (Even though I knew he could do it; everyone on SFU had serious acting chops.)

I was disappointed that Jenkins didn’t even merit a nomination at the Golden Globes. So now I am thrilled. (Have I said that already?)

Normally, when I have a favorite in an award category, I am crushed when they don’t win. (I mean, not forever, usually for a few minutes, until the next award is given out) But this time, I really don’t care if Jenkins wins. It’d be great if he did; mostly I’m just happy he was recognized. It’s so deserving. And we all know Mickey Rourke is going to (also deservedly) win anyway.

If you haven’t already, check out The Visitor. It’s a really beautiful film. And if you don’t weep at the last shot like I did, well, you may be made of stone.

Rock on, TV Boyfriends!

This just in from the Hollywood Foreign Press (Golden Globes):

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA

1. GABRIEL BYRNE – IN TREATMENT
2. MICHAEL C. HALL – DEXTER
3. JON HAMM – MAD MEN
4. HUGH LAURIE – HOUSE
5. JONATHAN RHYS MEYERS – THE TUDORS

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

1. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS – HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
2. DENIS LEARY – RECOUNT
3. JEREMY PIVEN – ENTOURAGE
4. BLAIR UNDERWOOD – IN TREATMENT
5. TOM WILKINSON – JOHN ADAMS

I swear if Piven wins this again, I’m going to boycott all award shows. (Okay, that’s just crazy talk. But I will be pissed. NPH doesn’t even have to win, just NOT Piven.

Though, I am not sure how much clout the HFP holds for me this year, as both Mamma Mia! and Burn After Reading are best picture nominees. I will give them the Cohen Brothers, but…Mamma Mia!? Huh? That movie scarred me for life. And as talented as Meryl Streep is…she does not deserve her best actress nomination.

Sorry, no time for Video of the Day. Have to get back to work!