Sunday, December 10, 2017
TV and Media

Who will win big (we hope) at the Emmys on Sunday

TV is the perfect escape, and boy, do we need to after that anxiety-ridden storm week. And Sunday's Emmys will honor the best distractions we have.

Two shows are tied with the most nods: NBC's Saturday Night Live and HBO's Westworld, with 22 each. SNL, which had its best season in years thanks to an interesting political climate, has already taken home some of those at the Creative Emmy awards earlier this week, including Melissa McCarthy being honored for her take as the embattled press secretary Sean Spicer.

But here's hoping HBO's Westworld goes home (mostly) empty-handed. Come at me with your tiki torches, but this sci-fi futuristic western was nothing but a high-priced melodrama lacking any real significance or substance. I didn't find the long-winded, confusing story-telling, and that ultimate plot twist, at all affecting. While the acting was good, not great, please go watch The Americans on FX — also nominated for best drama — to see how true actors portray nuanced emotions.

Fierce women had quite the year on the small screen, and those categories are the ones I'm most excited about. For best dramatic actress, Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale) and Keri Russell (The Americans) both star in politically relevant dramas. And A-listers Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon are all up against each other for their superb shows Big Little Lies and Feud: Bette and Joan. Sorry dudes, it's not your night.

Not every category is as tough as that one, especially since the Emmys like to play it safe. I swear I will throw my TV out the window if Modern Family wins anything. These aren't scientific predictions, rather preferences and wishful thinking. But even if nothing works out in my favor, at least Stephen Colbert will entertain with politically-charged comedy.

 

Drama series

Better Call Saul; The Crown; The Handmaid's Tale; House of Cards; Stranger Things; This Is Us; Westworld

Anything goes without a Game of Thrones nod; however, the Emmys fawn over HBO (see Westworld, above). Props to a network channel sneaking in there, but NBC's melodrama doesn't have anything on the sleeper breakout hit Stranger Things.

 

Comedy series

Atlanta; Black-ish; Master of None; Modern Family; Silicon Valley; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Veep

What show gave me the most laughs? Veep. Which show had the most cultural significance? Atlanta. Gotta go with Donald Glover's baby on this one.

 

Limited series

Big Little Lies; Fargo; Feud: Bette and Joan; Genius; The Night Of

Here's where the Emmys can love on HBO. Big Little Lies will take home this prize.

 

Actress, drama

Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder; Claire Foy, The Crown; Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale; Keri Russell, The Americans; Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld; Robin Wright, House of Cards

Elisabeth Moss is the queen of prestige TV dramas, and her take as Offred in The Handmaid's Tale shook me.

 

Actor, drama

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us; Anthony Hopkins, Westworld; Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul; Matthew Rhys, The Americans; Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan; Kevin Spacey, House of Cards; Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

Let's give a shout-out to network television and award Milo Ventimigilia or Sterling K. Brown, the best dads on TV.

 

Actress, comedy

Pamela Adlon, Better Things; Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie; Allison Janney, Mom; Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep; Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish; Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the one to beat. She's on a five-time winning streak, and I'm okay with that.

 

Actor, comedy

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish; Aziz Ansari, Master of None; Zach Galifianakis, Baskets; Donald Glover, Atlanta; William H. Macy, Shameless; Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

I'd love to see my TV boyfriends Aziz Ansari or Donald Glover on stage, but while Baskets isn't your typical comedy, per se, Zach Galifianakis gives one heck of a performance as a sad clown.

 

Actress, limited series

Carrie Coon, Fargo; Felicity Huffman, American Crime; Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies; Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan; Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan; Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

No question, Nicole Kidman has the edge here.

 

Actor, limited series

Riz Ahmed, The Night Of; Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Lying Detective; Robert DeNiro, The Wizard of Lies; Ewan McGregor, Fargo; Geoffrey Rush, Genius; John Turturro, The Night Of

There isn't a standout actor in this bunch, but The Night Of definitely deserves some recognition for introducing us to rising star Riz Ahmed.

 

Supporting actress, drama

Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black; Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things; Ann Dowd, The Handmaid's Tale; Chrissy Metz, This Is Us; Thandie Newton, Westworld; Samira Wiley, The Handmaid's Tale

It's refreshing to see such a diverse list like this one. Uzo Aduba continues to shine in a show that continues to go downhill.

 

Supporting actor, drama

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul; Ron Cephas Jones, This Is Us; David Harbour, Stranger Things; Michael Kelly, House of Cards; John Lithgow, The Crown; Mandy Patinkin, Homeland; Jeffrey Wright, Westworld

I wouldn't have originally picked John Lithgow to play Winston Churchill, but it was definitely one of the best performances this year.

 

Supporting actress, comedy

Vanessa Bayer, Saturday Night Live; Anna Chlumsky, Veep; Kathryn Hahn, Transparent; Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live; Judith Light, Transparent; Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

From Hillary Clinton to Jeff Sessions to a blobfish mermaid, Kate McKinnon is SNL's MVP.

 

Supporting actor, comedy

Louie Anderson, Baskets; Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live; Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Ty Burrell, Modern Family; Tony Hale, Veep; Matt Walsh, Veep

No one understands my love for Arby's curly fries like Louie Anderson's Christine Baskets. But we all want Alec Baldwin on the stage for what could be an interesting acceptance speech.

 

Supporting actress, limited series

Judy Davis, Feud: Bette and Joan; Laura Dern, Big Little Lies; Jackie Hoffman, Feud: Bette and Joan; Regina King, American Crime; Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard of Lies; Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies

American Crime was unjustifiably canceled, as it was one of the most culturally and politically relevant dramas on TV. Regina King should take home her third win here.

 

Supporting actor, limited series

Bill Camp, The Night Of; Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette and Joan; Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies; David Thewlis, Fargo; Stanley Tucci, Feud: Bette and Joan; Michael K. Williams, The Night Of

David Thewslis wins, for having the grossest teeth of all time.

Contact Brittany Volk at bvolk@tampabay.com. Follow @bevolk.

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