Friday, September 21, 2012

A LANNISTER ALWAYS WINS HIS EMMY:  The problem with the Emmy Awards is that they neither succeed as recognition of merit or, as the Grammys now do, as spectacle. But we go into Sunday night with the awards show we have, and not the awards show we want.  Matt Zoller Seitz lists five races which excite him, while Sepinwall and Fienberg continue their omnibus will/should wins.  Wiki has the most concise rundown of the major categories, but, really, is there ever going to be as tight and well-regarded a category as 2005's Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series?
David Shore, House, "Three Stories"
J. J. Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber, and Damon Lindelof, Lost, "Pilot"
David Fury, Lost, "Walkabout"
Denis Leary and Peter Tolan, Rescue Me, "Pilot"
George Pelecanos and David Simon, The Wire, "Middle Ground" 
And I'll remind everyone, again, that among those actors who never won an Emmy for their iconic roles are Hugh Laurie, Jason Alexander, Steve Carell, Martin Sheen, John Goodman, George Wendt, Noah Wyle, Angela Lansbury, Elizabeth Montgomery, Delta Burke, and, thus far, Jon Hamm.


  1. It remains appalling to me that, after four years of awards, Mad Men has not won a single Emmy for acting. I know there's a lot of sympathy in these parts for Kyle Chandler's win last year, but dammit, HE STOLE JON HAMM'S EMMY. I'm still hopeful that Hendricks will break that curse this year. She was phenomenal in "The Other Woman", and it was more recent and more buzzed-about than Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey. (I *love* Smith in Downton, but she's really just doing That Maggie Smith Thing.)

  2. Tosy and Cosh2:02 PM

    I'm a big proponent of giving the award to the most deserving actor, no matter how many times he or she has already won. So Hamm's lack of Emmys doesn't bother me because Cranston and, yes, for me, Chandler. In other categories:

    Moss has lost to Glenn Close, Juliana Margulies, Archie Panjabi, and this year may well lose to Claire Danes.

    January Jones lost to Kyra Sedgwick.

    Hendricks has lost to Margo Martindale and Archie Panjabi. 

    John Slattery has lost to Peter Dinklage, Aaron Paul, Michael Emerson, and Zeljko Ivanek.

    I've never seen Damages so can't speak to Close or Ivjanek, but none of these losses feel egregious to me - I could maybe be swayed by Panjabi, but not easily - she's damn good. In other words, while I'm not saying a Mad Men award or two would have been undeserved, I can't cry foul either.

  3. isaac_spaceman2:46 PM

    I don't know that anybody is complaining that Hendricks lost to Martindale or that Slattery lost to Paul or that January Jones lost, no matter to whom.  But if you were going to identify the signature character of the last half-decade, I think it would be Don Draper, not Walter White or Coach Taylor, and that's why Hamm's lack of Emmys seems so weird. 

  4. Tosy and Cosh3:23 PM

    He can certainly correct me if I mis-read his comment, but I took Randy's "appalled" as suggesting that somenone should have won one by now, and when I look at the races one by one I don't see a clear-cut case for any Mad Men wins. In other words, while it may be weird that Hamm hasn't won, given who's beaten him I can't get to "appalling." Whereas, for example, a quick glance at the Best Actor lists shows that John Goodman on Roseanne lost to Craig T. Nelson on Coach, Burt Reynolds on Evening Shade, and Richard Mulligan on Empy Nest--now, given those races I'm fine with calling Goodman's losses "appalling"!

  5. I always felt Hamm was better in year 1 of Mad Men than Cranston was for year 1 of Breaking Bad (admittedly, I didn't really think BB took the leap until late in season 2) and deserved the win for that year. That's where the current issue arises.

    And it does just seem weird that the best drama of the last 4 years has won zero acting awards.

  6. Randy4:04 PM

    Like BK says below, my "appalled" stems from the fact that Mad Men has won best Drama four times, AND has what is possibly the best ensemble on TV, and still has won no acting awards. It's appalling on a macro scale. When you look at it on the micro scale, with the individual losses, it's far less appalling - but in my universe, Hamm easily beats Chandler last year, but let's not open my "I don't like FNL" can of worms...

  7. Goghaway4:43 PM

    I really, really just want Poehler to win. I have a sinking feeling that she won't for whatever reason, in which case I'll probably just watch "Woman of the Year" again.

  8. isaac_spaceman6:33 PM

    No, look, I love FNL, but I agree with you.  I am not appalled, but I think Hamm should have won.  And, frankly, I think that he was more deserving in each of the seasons in which he was up against Bryan Cranston, even though I love Breaking Bad and think that Cranston's work has been incredible.  Hamm is a gifted natural comedian who has played the hell out of a part that has almost no comedy in it; he does incredible work where you can see the difference between Don Draper and Dick Whitman, and then where you can catch a glimpse of Dick Whitman through the worn patches on Draper, and then where you can watch Draper struggling to sublimate Whitman.  It is not dissimilar to what Cranston has played over the entire course of Breaking Bad (where pre-meth Walter is Dick Whitman and latter-day Walter is Draper), but I think Hamm's performance is subtler, less theatrical, and the more impressive for it. 

    But then I have to remind myself:  Emmys are completely meaningless.  E.g., not giving it to Poehler for Season 2 of P&R. 

  9. Jenn.7:14 PM

    My overwhelming sense is that the acting losses are not appalling, in the sense that the wins by other people are defensible.  While I tend to agree that Jon Hamm, Elizabeth Moss, and Christina Hendricks should have won Emmys by now, it doesn't feel like a situation where a weaker performance is getting the win because of, say, voter inertia.

    But in a world where The Wire never got any acting nominations---must less wins---maybe I just can't get too worked up about this sort of thing.

  10. Jordan8:38 PM

    I've never watched Mad Men (I'll show myself out), but T&C's list for Slattery reminds me of Peter O'Toole.  He probably should have won at some point, but it's hard to argue losing to Peck for TKAM, Harrison for My Fair Lady, Brando for the Godfather, De Niro for Raging Bull, Kingsley for Gandhi, etc.

    It remains appaling to me that, after 5 years of awards, the Wire was never nominated for a single Emmy for acting.  So fuck all these old white people.

  11. isaac_spaceman9:38 PM

    Maybe this is just my recency bias, but my impression is that the argument for Peter O'Toole centers entirely on Lawrence of Arabia.  I don't know whether anybody thinks his remaining body of work (i.e., without Lawrence) marked him as one of the all-time greats, though I freely admit this may just be a blind spot for me (cue much more knowledgeable people saying that I'm wrong). 

    But in my opinion, Peck over Lawrence in 1962 seems weird.  Again, this is probably my recency bias.  To me, TKAM is an old-fashioned movie with a performance from Peck that, while solid, seems like it could have been delivered by any number of good actors -- a performance that is right there on the page waiting to be delivered.  Whereas LoA is a thoroughly modern movie with a mesmerizing, electrifying performance from O'Toole that I can't imagine anybody else doing. 

  12. Jordan10:09 AM

    Do you think, like the new gymnastics scoring, performances should be judged not just on execution, but on the level of difficulty as well?