Archive | June, 2011

Green Lantern

29 Jun

Title: Green Lantern
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Martin Campbell
Writers: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Goldenberg, with story by Mr. Berlanti, Mr. Green and Mr. Guggenheim, based on the comic book by John Broome and Gil Kane
Starring: 
Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, Tim Robbins, Geoffrey Rush, Michael Clarke Duncan, Clancy Brown
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action
Runtime: 
114 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
6.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 
26%

 

Ugh. That about sums up my overall experience with the Green Lantern movie. No, it’s not the worst film of the year, not even close, but as a comic book fan who’s extremely fond of this character, I sure as hell was thoroughly disappointed. Seriously, this is a character I adore, he might even be my favorite DC Comics staple, or at the very least right up there with Batman, and other than Spider-Man he may just be about my favorite comic book character ever. And yet what we got here is a film that had a huge budget but that did absolutely nothing with it, totally squandering the incredible opportunities embedded within the deep comic book mythology available in favor of just this very noisy and badly written spectacle in which you just know every penny available was spent in the effects and not to flesh out the story.

And look, even the effects with the $200 million budget and everything actually look very flat, add that to the fact that the writing was just plain bad, the direction totally uninvolved and the fact that Ryan Reynolds’ charm was just put to basically no use and you have a film that, while certainly more than fine to kill an afternoon with, still doesn’t even get close to achieving its full potential, and I was left feeling very disappointed by what they did to one of my favorite superheroes, and I want someone to reboot this franchise now. I won’t hate on it that much because there were still a couple of good things, but I just need to vent my frustration about those good things not being plain awesome, and not being nowhere near enough of them to begin with.

In the past I have talked a lot about my dislike of screenplays written by a team of more than two people, I generally dislike every single thing that comes out of such a conglomerate, and while there certainly have been some exceptions to that rule in the recent past (like last year’s Love and Other Drugs or How to Train Your Dragon, for instance), this one just isn’t. And what’s worse is that it’s not as though the four guys who contributed to this one are any bad, you have Greg Berlanti, known for his television work in quality shows he spearheaded like Eli Stone and Jack & Bobby, then you have Michael Green, a collaborator of Mr. Berlanti’s on some of his shows and a comic book writer, Marc Guggenheim, who much like Mr. Green has worked on those TV shows before and also writes comic books, and Michael Goldenberg, who adapted the fifth Harry Potter movie. So, you see, I had high hopes for this script, it had a blend of a guy who had successfully adapted a popular property before, two guys who had experience in the comic book world and certainly knew about the mythology, and a guy who had created TV shows that were all about character development. And yet they got together and created this thinly-written work that I just can’t see anyone liking. Again, a team of more than two to write a screenplay is usually not the brightest move.

On the one hand you have Hal Jordan here on Earth, the character played by Mr. Reynolds, who’s a pretty damn good test pilot for this crazy fighter jets who he flies next to Carol, played by Blake Lively, who’s actually the daughter of the man who makes these jets. But at first what happens on Earth really isn’t all that important, because the real critical stuff is happening in a whole other part of the universe, in which the Green Lantern Corps have been created to combat Parallax, the evil alien trying to envelop the universe in evil. A member of the Corps is then sent to Earth, so as to a find a worthy human of joining their group, but after a dangerous journey across the galaxy he barely makes it to Earth, and dies soon after entrusting Hal with the green ring and green lantern, which he’ll soon enough find out are tremendously powerful, but will have a hard time knowing to trust and trying to access that power.

And of course trying to really cram this all up in a two hour film would be difficult, because you obviously can’t buy Hal being so chill as he understands and takes in all the stuff the green lantern can do, but this is a movie that can’t afford him not getting it real fast, and it really does try its best to explain the logic behind it all, but you just know it’s only doing that so that it can then zoom ahead and create some expensive special effects sequence. And that’s really all that you get after that first part of the movie is done, a very expensive and green lights and sound show, but that’s not even nicely done because the stuff that Hal creates with his will and the ring just look silly a lot of the times, and you can’t really buy into all the supposed seriousness of the task at hand.

I won’t go on longer about this one, because I feel like we already should have known what to expect, and it’s on me feeling disappointed because I held out some hope for this character because I love him. But yeah, it’s not like we got world-class acting or dialogue with any real substance, we’ll get our villains, our PG-13 appropriate kisses and our special effects showcase, but not much more. But I don’t really know if I’ll recommend this one to you, probably not, I mean it would be somewhat recommendable for those initial scenes in deep space because the CGI there is pretty kickass, but once the CGI has to adapt itself to a bit more rules of logic when the movie gets back to Earth, the results aren’t even that great, no matter how immense its budget. And, again, this is a film with Ryan Reynolds that didn’t really let him turn on the charm like he has before, and that’s the guy’s greatest asset, so there’s that. I hear that Warner Bros. is already thinking about a sequel, even though they’re obviously seeing the results of this one, both critically and commercially, as a disappointment, and I would love for them to scratch that idea, but not give up on the character. This superhero deserves better, and so do we.

Grade: C+

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The Trip

27 Jun

Title: The Trip
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Michael Winterbottom
Writer: 
Starring: 
Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon
MPAA Rating: 
Not rated
Runtime: 
107 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
7.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 
88%

 

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are two very funny men with some pretty sharp wits, and they both starred together in a film some five years ago called Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story in which they played heightened versions of themselves in a very meta environment. They did sort of what Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart do on their brilliant Comedy Central shows, they are essentially playing themselves, but they are acting nonetheless, adding an egotistical sense to their portrayals and developing this sort of rivalry between each other. And, much like Mr. Colbert and Mr. Stewart, these two Brits are terrific when they play off each other, just riffing along and creating some very neat moments, and director Michael Winterbottom, who directed that first film, thought they were good enough as themselves that he should get them to do it again in an even more improvisational setting, and The Trip is the result of that idea, and boy was it a good one.

Originally this was a six-part series the BBC did, which saw Mr. Coogan being asked to do this sort of gastronomic tour of the north of Britain and write about the restaurants he went to for a national newspaper. That’s the trip the title refers to, one which, after his girlfriend and a couple of others turn him down, he invites Mr. Brydon on. I haven’t seen the series, though I hear it was brilliant, so I really can’t compare that three-hour experience to this one which lasts less than two. My guess is that what was lost the most was just longer scenes with these two just talking over a meal, because there are times in which this condensed version does feel like it has a rushed pacing, kind of like it was hurrying to get from one location to the next, and I’ll check out the series because I think that would make this a better experience, though what we got was still undeniably hilarious.

In paper watching a film that consists mostly of shots of people talking while on a carride or eating, and of shots of beautiful places and beautiful meals and just watching these two men face this sort of midlife crisis may seem a bit boring, but it’s really not. Both Mr. Coogan and Mr. Brydon are exceptionally gifted at improvisation comedy, and they make every second of their witty bantering with each other, each constantly trying to prove superior against the other, feel truly genuine and it really gives The Trip all the assets it needed to become a very successful little comedy.

Then there’s the part in which Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon the actors, and not the improv comics just riffing of each other, come into play, and that’s just very good stuff, too. Because, yes, the witticisms that are so fully on display for a good chunk of the movie are undeniably awesome to watch come out, and they will certainly entertain you, but if this film were just that then The Trip would be just as good as a series of improv comedy bits that you could watch during your spare time on YouTube in separate order. But the film is as good as it because when these two get to the emotions of their characters on display this really becomes a special little film, just each of them trying to very differently cope with their very different midlife crisis, Mr. Brydon has a nice home and a great family to come home to, but he’s certainly in one nevertheless, just take a look at his face when he tries to have phone sex with his wife, and then there’s Mr. Coogan, who doesn’t really have much of a family situation to come back to, and who gets a very similar look on his face when a woman recognizes Mr. Brydon and not him, because Mr. Coogan is all about their rivalry, saying he’s better and thinking he deserves more A-list material.

There a handful of really neat moments between these two, the impressions these two start acting out, especially that Michael Caine one done by Mr. Brydon are awfully funny to watch, and their whole dynamic just really work. And it’s that dynamic, propelled by the individual talents of these two, that makes these characters they play, these versions of themselves, feel very relatable at times, and never really annoying, like they certainly could have turned out had they been handled by lesser actors, and what we ultimately get is a very fun trip. I don’t really know where the real Mr. Coogan and Mr. Brydon end and where the versions of themselves they created for this film begin, but whatever the balance may be they are witty, they can really make fun of each other, and we get some pretty neat philosophical sort of questions here that are quite nice to see these two take a stab at.

And that to me was, I think, part of the pleasure of The Trip, to sort of figure out where the real man ended and his on-screen character began, to figure out if Mr. Coogan really desires celebrity so damn much, if Mr. Brydon really is so impervious to the offenses launched at him by his mate. And it’s a question I haven’t really figured out yet, and they probably can’t answer exactly how much is them and how much isn’t, but what matters is that it really works, and right now I’m off to check out the original series, because my guess is that with more time of just these two conversing it’ll work even better.

Grade: B+

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

26 Jun

Title: Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
Year: 
2011
Director: 
John Schultz
Writers: Kathy Waugh and Megan McDonald, based on the book series by Ms. McDonald
Starring: 
Jordana Beatty, Heather Graham, Parris Mosteller, Preston Bailey, Jaleel White
MPAA Rating: 
PG, some mild rude humor and language
Runtime: 
91 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
3.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 
15%

 

Fair warning: If you are over 8 years of age, you will most likely end up detesting the living hell out of Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, a film created with the sole purpose of entertaining the very young, with no sort of respect paid to the grown-ups who will pay to get the kids in the theaters and will then have to endure the hour and a half of this garbage. Okay, so that may have been rather harsh, but seriously, I hated this movie, and that’s because I always hate kids films that don’t even try to appeal to adults even in the slightest ways, even a film like last year’s Marmaduke, which was still quite bad, or Ramona and Beezus, which was only mildly better but still way below par, at least tried to expand it’s reach outside of pre-adolescent girls with short attention spans that have parents that will gladly pay money for them to keep quiet and still in an air-conditioned theater in the middle of summer.

For real, if your age needs two digits to be spelled out in numbers, then this is a movie that certainly wasn’t made for you and that you’ll most likely hate. This is the perfect example of a film that just needed to be sent straight to video, where parents will gladly buy it for their kids to watch in the living room while they can avoid it and have some downtime on their own. You have Judy Moody here, the heroine of Megan McDonald’s best-selling series of books now making the transition to the big screen in this deplorable adaptation, and in this case Judy’s parents are taking a summer trip alone, leaving both Judy and her brother Stink to the care of Aunt Opal, who they really don’t like.

What happens next is that Aunt Opal, who’s played by Heather Graham, turns out isn’t as bad as they initially thought, and she makes this list of activities that she has planned out so that the kids can keep busy during summer, and the film obviously evolves from there to show all of these activities and make use of silly music and sillier jokes. And seriously that’s it, the material provided by the screenplay, adapted by Kathy Waugh with the help of Ms. McDonald, is truly horrendous, and seems only interested in getting their characters to move around and keep busy while making gags about vomit and other bodily parts that are seriously worn out in movies nowadays. And that’s really how it feels, like this just shallow compilation of really frenetic moments thrown together tied up by no visible narrative string, and, again, very little kids that themselves are just always moving around and laughing at silly noises may indeed find this film quite pleasurable, but for the adults accompanying them it’ll be a seriously crappy ninety minutes.

If it feels like I’m knocking this one too hard then you’ve clearly not seen the film, I know it’s made for kids so thus they are the ones that should be entertained, but the quality of kids movies nowadays has given us kid-oriented films that adults can love as well, or at least be entertained by them, or at the very least keep busy with and follow the plot, while in Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer every single person that’s past the third grade will undoubtedly start thinking about anything but the movie while they see it, and that’s just a sure sign of failure for this film.

I will say one thing for it, and this is the only reason why I’m not giving this one a lower failing grade, and that’s that Jordana Beatty, the young newcomer chosen to play the leading role, is actually pretty damn decent in this film, or at the very least you can tell she was just totally game for anything the script threw at her, which makes it even more of a pity that the material she had to work with was so atrocious, and her character was so poorly fleshed out that the little girl more often than not comes off as just this really dislikable little brat who can’t stop whining, even when she’s supposed to be the main character that we all really like. I just hope little Jordana Beatty has better luck with her future projects, because she certainly gave it her all here, even if it was to no avail.

About Ms. Graham, I thought the role she gets was weird, they tried to make her this sort of quirky girl who wouldn’t seem out of place in an okay-but-not-great little indie romantic comedy, and then they just throw her into this kiddie film. She, much like her younger co-star, is also totally game just being this sort of cool aunt that’s totally fine with doing art projects in the middle of the living room and just loving life and bouncing around. But all that bouncing around and shouting just doesn’t work if it’s not sustained by anything with a bit more depth, just take a look at both Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies, they haven’t been great, but they’ve been decent enough because in the midst of all the kiddie-oriented mindless fun they got their main character to grow up a bit and learn things about life, while this film never even approaches that territory. You can definitely go ahead and skip this one.

Grade: D+

Super 8

25 Jun

Title: Super 8
Year: 
2011
Director: 
J.J. Abrams
Writer: J.J. Abrams
Starring: 
Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard, Noah Emmerich, Bruce Greenwood, David Gallagher, Rily Griffiths, Zach Mills, Gabriel Basso, Ryan Lee
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use
Runtime: 
112 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
7.9
Rotten Tomatoes: 
82%

 

Finally got to see Super 8, the new J.J. Abrams flick that was shrouded in secrecy and that was meant to serve as some sort of homage to the old, great films of Steven Spielberg, which Abrams grew up with. And look, the level of expectation I had for this film going into it were supreme, I honestly felt like this could be the second A+ film of the year after Terrence Malick’s masterpiece The Tree of Life. And, for a while there, Super 8 was indeed that perfect film, it was the perfect mix of nostalgia and real raw emotion fueled by a very human story and some touching performances, but then it lost me. I mean it didn’t really lose me, because I’ll still rank it as one of the five best films of the year so far, but it lost that aura of perfection to me, even though it remained an overall terrific film experience.

First of all, let me just say one thing, I have heard a lot of people saying that J.J. Abrams in this film is just copying what Steve Spielberg created, and not really doing something that comes from a genuine place in his heart, and I have two things to say to those who are saying that. Number one, Abrams has been very explicit about the fact that the film is a tribute to Spielberg, the guy has cited the importance of his influence in pretty much every single interview he has given to promote this film, not to mention that fact that the legendary director served as a producer on this film, so of course there is going to be some pretty obvious stuff drawn from those films, and it’s not like he’s not admitting it. And number two, this isn’t a copy of what Spielberg made, this was something I thought really came from a special place in Abrams’ heart, and the Spielberg homage is due to the fact that when Abrams was a kid making his own Super 8 films the movies he watched and inspired him were those early Amblin ones made by Spielberg, so of course there will be a lot of that in there when the man is making a film inspired partly by his own childhood memories.

Now, that’s exactly the part that made me think this was a perfect film: the scenes with the kids just telling a very real and human story, the ones that came from Abrams’ own childhood memories. That stuff was just amazing to me, as we got a seriously talented group of young actors telling a very personal story in the midst of a monster movie, and it felt amazing to me. The film, for those who don’t know, is about this group of kids (sort of like in The Goonies) who are making a Super 8 monster film in the small town in which they live in where all of a sudden supernatural stuff starts to happen (sort of like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind), then we get the sense that there’s a monster that we don’t really see for a big portion of the film (sort of like in Jaws) and even the military has to come into the picture (sort of like in E.T.).

So yeah, it’s all very Spielbergian, but this film really is more than just the sum of Spielberg’s influences on it. Because the big thing that Spielberg does best is achieve this sort of sublime balance between the big scale narrative events and the more intimate human story developing behind it all, and I really think Abrams did that, too. The kids part was done to perfection, like a work of Spielberg at his very best, it felt like Abrams was taking a lot from his own childhood story and even though the monster part didn’t feel as personal, and felt like it could have been borrowed from any other monster film, though a very solid one in this case, it was still remarkably well done, so even if that part meant I won’t give this film a perfect grade, it’s still certainly an A-range film, and J.J. Abrams should feel tremendously proud about his finished product.

But let me talk just a bit more about the stuff that kept me from giving this one a perfect grade before commenting on the stuff that made me come close to doing so. First of all, the monster itself. Much like in Cloverfield, a film Abrams produced, we don’t get to see the monster itself for a lot of the movie, the advertising campaign shrouded in secrecy didn’t even let us know what it looked like or what it was, and the film kept refusing to show us the monster, building some sort of huge expectation for its big reveal. Now, that move obviously takes its cues from Jaws, Spielberg’s first huge hit in which we didn’t get to see the shark the movie was all about until the very end, and when we finally go to it was this hugely memorable cinematic moment. The thing is, however, that the fact that we didn’t see the shark in Jaws was this very organic thing, we didn’t see it because it was underwater and our characters weren’t, whilst in Super 8 I felt it got to the point in which it felt as though Abrams was just going out of his way not to show us the monster even though all our characters could, placing the camera at angles behind something that obstructed the view, and it really wasn’t great that whole delay, especially because once we actually saw the monster the payoff wasn’t really worth the hype. Another thing that I had some issue with, though I’m just nitpicking here, was the music, the score was very epic and reminiscent of Spielberg’s work, and even thought at times that was fantastic there were times in which it felt overdone, in which a scene in and of itself was emotionally powerful and we didn’t need the music to tug our heartstrings.

But that’s enough about what I didn’t love, let’s now talk just a bit about the great stuff in Super 8, which obviously means talking about the more human story of it, which obviously means talking about the kids (even though the amazing Kyle Chandler was his usual awesome self here), which obviously means talking about an amazing young actress named Elle Fanning. She’s no longer the girl people will know as Dakota’s kid sister, as she’s grown to be this insanely mature actress who’s just phenomenal in everything she does, and absolutely steals the show here (just go see Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, which I ranked as the 6th best film of 2010, for further proof). There are a handful of scenes with these kids that are so emotional, and that really get your eyes misty, and there are some that are just examples of seriously fantastic acting by this young group, just take a look again at that scene of Fanning doing her audition take for the film they were making, it’s just truly fantastic.

Super 8 started as this incredibly perfect film, full of really human stories, told by a filmmaker that was clearly emotionally invested in what he was telling, and by a group of kid actors who were pitch-perfect for their roles, commanded by an Elle Fanning who’s quickly becoming one actress to really watch out for, this was just a terrific summer film-going experience. And yes, the monster stuff might not have been handled to perfection and ended up subtracting from the overall effect for me, but Abrams wanted to make this a big film with a personal story, and considering the personal story was so perfect, then that automatically makes the big film that stands on its shoulders totally fine for you. Go see Super 8 for the nostalgia behind it all, and to be impressed by how wonderful an homage to a childhood hero and your childhood memories can turn out to be.

Grade: A-

EmmyWatch 2011: Drama

24 Jun

Joshua Jackson and Melissa McCarthy are set to announce the nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards bright and early on Thursday, July 14th. And even though this is a film blog, some of you many know I’m also a pretty obsessive TV-watcher, and I currently watch over 70 television series, so I’d like to think I know a fair bit about what’s on the air right now. And in that spirit, I’ll do what I did with my OscarWatch posts back in January, and tackle the major categories for this years Emmy Awards in 4 EmmyWatch posts: Reality/Variety, Mini/Movie, Comedy and Drama.

In them I’ll give my quick thoughts on a particular race and how I personally think things will eventually shape up, listing both the 6 contenders I would personally pick were the nominations up to me, and then 6 who I actually think will have their names called out come nomination morning. Then once the nominations are announced I’ll do a post with my reactions and my actual predictions for the races. In this, the final EmmyWatch post, we’ll take a look at the Drama races…

DRAMA SERIES

This is kind of the category that really shows you that the cable networks really do have the best drama series on television right now. Between HBO, AMC, Showtime and FX there will probably be room for only one broadcast network nominee. The question is not really about who will get the nods, because that’s more or less clear cut, but who will actually pick up the trophy…

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Friday Night Lights – Look, I watch over 70 TV shows that are currently airing, and I have watched over 120 others that have already finished their run, and none of those I like more than I do Friday Night Lights. It’s my favorite TV show of all time, and while it was insanely great that Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton finally got their much deserved nominations last year, I think the Emmy voters would be stupid if they don’t nominate the show itself for its final season.
  2. Mad Men – It will obviously get nominated again, but will it manage to score its fourth consecutive win? I wouldn’t be against that happening, this is the show that manages to put out the highest quality writing and acting on display week after week (and yes, I’m crying over having to wait till January for the new season, too).
  3. Fringe – I’m a huge fan of this show, the fact that it seemingly keep getting better and better with each season is just a testament to the perfect writing and the characters its superb cast has managed to flesh out.
  4. Justified – Its second season was arguably better than its first, which is really saying something, I just really want this one to get the nod.
  5. Parenthood – I don’t think this one really has much of a chance of scoring a nod, but it definitely classifies for my Top 6. When this show hits the high notes it can hit, it’s amongst the very best on television.
  6. Game of Thrones – My #6 slot could really be altered between this or The Good Wife or The Walking Dead, but since Game of Thrones just ended this past weekend on a high note I’ll give the spot to this epic saga full of twists and meticulously plotted shorelines because it’s just really fresh on my mind.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Mad Men – I think the buzz surrounding Boardwalk Empire has subsided enough now to grant this one its fourth straight win.
  2. Boardwalk Empire – But maybe the buzz hasn’t died down and the wonderfully lavish HBO Atlantic City-based saga will reign supreme.
  3. The Good Wife – A broadcast network is bound to have a show in here, and this one is the one that will appeal to voters the most, just a stellar second season.
  4. Dexter – The fifth season was probably the most inconsistent one the show has had to date, but it was the highest-rated one, too, and an inconsistent season of Dexter is still better than most of what’s on TV out there anyways.
  5. Justified – I think there will be about five shows battling it out for the last two nominations, and I sure as hell hope the voters choose to reward this one.
  6. Friday Night Lights – So that would leave four shows battling for this final slot. My guess is that they’ll be this one, The Killing, Game of Thrones and True Blood. And while something tells me The Killing will ultimately get it, I don’t want to jinx it, so I’ll put my personal #1 in here.

LEAD ACTOR IN DRAMA SERIES

Will this finally be Jon Hamm’s time? I sure as hell hope so. Bryan Cranston has won this award for the masterclass in acting he gives in Breaking Bad every single episodes for the past three years. However, Breaking Bad didn’t air this year during the eligibility period, so that opens the field for a new winner, and hopefully that’ll mean the mad man will get it.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) – Coach Taylor. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose. There has been no one better than him on television (with the exception of maybe Bryan Cranston) for the past five years, it’s time for him to get his due.
  2. Jon Hamm (Mad Men) – How no one in this insanely talented cast has gotten an Emmy yet is beyond me, but considering Cranston is out this year, and Hamm has ‘The Suitcase’ to submit as his episode, this might finally be his year.
  3. Timothy Olyphant (Justified) – I cannot say enough about this man’s performance, and even though he doesn’t necessarily have the flashiest role that Emmy voters may warm up to, he should definitely get in there.
  4. William H. Macy (Shameless) – I really loved this series from the get-go, and a lot of this has to do with this man’s performance as the drunken father of a very dysfunctional family.
  5. Michael C. Hall (Dexter) – I love Dexter, and one of the reasons the show is so great is because the man who plays our favorite serial killer is perfect at embedding in the character a lot of likability.
  6. Peter Krause (Parenthood) – Again, Parenthood has a special place in my heart because when it’s on it gives some of the most emotional performances on television, and Peter Krause is front and center in a cast full of terrific actors.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Jon Hamm (Mad Men) – Read Personal 6. With Cranston out and the episode he has to submit, he’s not losing this year.
  2. Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) – He didn’t make my Personal 6, but the Mad Men vs. Boardwalk Empire battle won’t only happen in the Best Drama category. If anyone can prevent Hamm from winning, it’s him.
  3. Michael C. Hall (Dexter) – Read Personal 6.
  4. William H. Macy (Shameless) – Read Personal 6.
  5. Hugh Laurie (House) – He’s always a nominee, and that won’t stop this year.
  6. Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) – Much like I did in the Best Drama category, I give this final slot to him because my heart really wants it to be. But look for an also very deserving Timothy Olyphant, and maybe even Jeremy Irons, to challenge Chandler for that final slot.

LEAD ACTRESS IN DRAMA SERIES

Last year Julianna Marguiles somehow lost to Kyra Sedgwick (who voters wanted to finally reward after a lot of years of getting nominations for The Closer). Elisabeth Moss and some other will try and deny Marguiles again, but she should score this time. This is one strong category this year.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) – The series came in as my personal #1, so did Kyle Chandler, so of course Connie Britton would to. She’s a force of nature in the best show ever on television.
  2. Julianna Marguiles (The Good Wife) – The likeliest winner there can be, and her work on the show’s second season has been on par, if not above, the great performances she turned in during its debut run.
  3. Lauren Graham (Parenthood) – Yes, I love this show dearly, and it’s an outrage to me that Graham never got Emmy nominations for her time on Gilmore Girls so not only do voters have to reward for her sheer brilliance on this show, but also for the mistakes they made in the past.
  4. Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) – I’m usually not such a huge supporter of Moss no matter how much I live and die for this show, but, just like Jon Hamm, she now has ‘The Suitcase’ episode to submit, which makes her an instant favorite.
  5. Emmy Rossum (Shameless) – This is such a fantastic role that Rossum manages to make the most of. It’s very doubtful she’ll get a nod, but I wanted to give her a slot on my list.
  6. Anna Torv (Fringe) – I had a horrible time picking my final personal nominee. So honorary shout-outs to Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy) and Mireille Enos (The Killing), but I had to go with the woman who’s on the best sci-fi show on TV (other than Doctor Who), and who managed to play four different roles, each to great levels of perfection.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Julianna Marguiles (The Good Wife) – Look, she was totally snubbed last year, it’s just not gonna happen again.
  2. Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) – Again, she has ‘The Suitcase’ episodes to submit. If Marguiles hadn’t been snubbed last year this would be hers.
  3. Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) – The fact that she finally won last year doesn’t mean she’ll stop getting nominated for her consistently solid work.
  4. Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) – She has a better chance of getting in there than the show itself or Kyle Chandler, and I think she’ll sit firmly in the middle of the pack.
  5. Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy) – She somehow got snubbed of a nod last year, but her win at the Globes gives her the momentum to secure one now.
  6. Mireille Enos (The Killing) – My guess is that this final slot is between Enos and Mariska Hargitay, and I’m hoping Emmy voters will opt for the newbie here, who has given us quiet and beautifully nuanced performance in AMC’s new series.

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN DRAMA SERIES

This race is wide open this year, considering that the amazing Aaron Paul, who finally got his win for Breaking Bad last year, is ineligible because his show didn’t air during the eligibility window. Ditto for Damages‘ Martin Short. And now that Lost is gone that means no Michael Emerson or Terry O’Quinn, either. So yeah, this one is wide open this year.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. John Noble (Fringe) – Much like Anna Torv in the Lead Actress race, I think people should reward Noble, the stand-out in an impeccable cast on TV’s best sci-fi show, for so wonderfully playing two very different versions of the same character to perfection.
  2. Walton Goggins (Justified) – The reason why I thought Justified‘s second season was better than its already stellar first one was because of the introduction of Margo  Martindale and Goggins. Goggins hasn’t gotten much Emmy love in the past, and he’ll have a hard time getting the nod now, but he’s extremely deserving.
  3. Alan Cumming (The Good Wife)The Good Wife has four solid eligible men for this category, Cumming, Josh Charles, Chris Noth and Matt Czuchry. Cumming was nominated for Guest Star last year, but now that he’s a regular on the CBS hit you can certainly count him as a major contender here.
  4. Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) – If Mireille Enos is the quiet performer that gives the show its intensity, it’s Kinnaman that keeps it from ever being boring, the way he plays the shady-at-times Holder is one of the biggest reasons to watch this show.
  5. John Slattery (Mad Men) – I was torn between Slattery and Jared Harris for Mad Men‘s slot in this personal list of mine, but Slattery has been incredibly consistent and this year he has a real good shot at winning.
  6. Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) – I was thinking about a couple other picks for my final slot (Mad Men‘s Harris, Hawaii Five-0‘s Scott Caan or Boardwalk Empire‘s Michael Shannon) but I kept coming back to this guy, his performance in HBO’s epic is tremendous, and in a cast full of standout actors it’s him you remember.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. John Slattery (Mad Men) – My money is on him to, much like Jon Hamm, finally break through and get the win after three straight nominations. With Breaking Bad gone this year it’s time for Mad Men to go on a spree.
  2. Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age) – I don’t watch this show (though I plan on catching up with it soon as it’s done with its current season), but the consensus is that Braugher’s performance is simply outstanding.
  3. Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) – Read Personal 6.
  4. Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire) – I’m having a hard time predicting which Boardwalk Empire guy, either Pitt or Michael Shannon, will get the most love from Emmy voters. I think Pitt, though both of them might get in.
  5. Josh Charles (The Good Wife) – Yeah, I’m thinking two The Good Wife guys will get in here and, much like in the series, Charles and Chris Noth will fight to be the one. I’m going with Charles because I like his performance more, but if you hear Noth’s name called out don’t be surprised.
  6. Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) – Much like in my Personal 6, I had a hard time predicting who would get the voters final slot, either Dinklage or Michael Shannon, and, much like in my Personal 6, my hunch said Dinklage.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN DRAMA SERIES

I said the Lead Actress race was a strong one this year. Well, this one’s even stronger, and will be tougher to call. With Elisabeth Moss going Lead and January Jones being dumb and entering in Lead as well instead of here where she’d have a better shot, there’s one new slot here, and another one when you factor in Rose Byrne’s absence from the race as Damages didn’t air during the eligibility period.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) – Kalinda is one of the best characters in broadcast TV, and when Panjabi came out of nowhere and won last year, over her castmate Christine Baranski which was more favored, she got people to notice her. The stuff she did on the show’s second season was stunning as always and a repeat nod is assured, and maybe even a two-peat will be in order.
  2. Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) – My beloved Joanie went through quite a ride during Mad Men‘s stellar fourth season, but that only meant that Hendricks would have chances to really let her acting shine.
  3. Margo Martindale (Justified) – An industry vet who has given probably the role of her career here, just one insanely fun character to watch develop week after week, and it was all because of the little things Martindale did with her performance.
  4. Michelle Forbes (The Killing) – That this TV veteran hasn’t gotten any Emmy love is an outrage, but the way in she portrays so much grief and pain in this dark and rainy show is one of the most perfect parts of it.
  5. Kelly MacDonald (Boardwalk Empire) – She’s my favorite part of the great ensemble on this HBO series, she gives her character so many layers that really adds a lot to the overall effect of the show.
  6. Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) – I wanted a young member of one my favorite ensembles to get my personal sixth slot. I was between Shipka or Parenthood‘s Mae Whitman, but Shipka, at just 12 years old, was given a lot of really mature and challenging stuff to portray in her first year as a series regular, and she absolutely nailed each and every one of them.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) – Read Personal 6. I think she’s still the favorite to repeat.
  2. Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) – Read Personal 6.
  3. Kelly MacDonald (Boardwalk Empire) – Read Personal 6. If Boardwalk starts getting a lot of love she could potentially pull this one off.
  4. Margo Martindale (Justified) – Read Personal 6.
  5. Christine Baranski (The Good Wife) – I doubt they’ll leave her out of the conversation, she’s been great on TV for years.
  6. Sharon Gless (Burn Notice) – I don’t watch Burn Notice, and I don’t really intend to start, but people seem to love Gless and I fear she might be the one to keep Michelle Forbes out of the running.

EmmyWatch 2011: Comedy

23 Jun

Joshua Jackson and Melissa McCarthy are set to announce the nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards bright and early on Thursday, July 14th. And even though this is a film blog, some of you many know I’m also a pretty obsessive TV-watcher, and I currently watch over 70 television series, so I’d like to think I know a fair bit about what’s on the air right now. And in that spirit, I’ll do what I did with my OscarWatch posts back in January, and tackle the major categories for this years Emmy Awards in 4 EmmyWatch posts: Reality/Variety, Mini/Movie, Comedy and Drama.

In them I’ll give my quick thoughts on a particular race and how I personally think things will eventually shape up, listing both the 6 contenders I would personally pick were the nominations up to me, and then 6 who I actually think will have their names called out come nomination morning. Then once the nominations are announced I’ll do a post with my reactions and my actual predictions for the races. In this, the third EmmyWatch post, we’ll take a look at the Comedy races…

COMEDY SERIES

There are groups in which you can divide the shows vying for this award. For starters, there are the two established new-ish hits, Modern Family (which won last year) and Glee, both coming off their second seasons and who are proven new contenders who people seem to think will ultimately battle each other for the top honor. Then there are the veteran bonafide hits, which are of course 30 Rock (a three-time winner of this award) and The Office  (a winner in 2006 and a nominee ever since). And then there are the ones trying to get into the conversation along with them, shows like The Big Bang Theory or How I Met Your Mother, as well as Showtime hits like The Big C and Nurse Jackie and new critical hits like Parks and Recreation and Community. So yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out, though I think it’s pretty much sewn up already.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Community – Yes, this is my favorite comedy on television, it’s just sensationally inventive and has one of my Top 3 casts in all of television. The ratings have been sort of low, which may make it hard for it to get the nod, but I dearly hope it gets recognized.
  2. Parks and Recreation – Look, my #1 is Community, and this one is similar to that one in many ways. It’s part of NBC’s Thursday comedy block, it has the critical praises but not the great ratings, and it’s funny in extremely smart ways. However, unlike Community, I actually think this one actually has a shot at getting a nod.
  3. 30 Rock – Look, the fact that Modern Family ended its streak last year means nothing, this show is still absolutely incredible. It may not be as consistent as it once was, but when it’s firing on all cylinders it’s still the one to beat.
  4. Modern Family – It won last year for a reason, it gave us, in its very first season, the high quality comedy that veteran series would kill to have, and considering that it hasn’t let down even one bit on their second season you can sure as hell count on it to repeat.
  5. Eastbound & Down – Just because there’s not a single character even remotely similar to Kenny Powers on television right now, it may be too raunchy and dirty for Emmy voters but it certainly gets a slot on my list.
  6. The Office – I was torn between this one and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for my final slot, but come on, The Office just went through their final season with Steve Carell and handled the closing of Michael’s story perfectly, they definitely get on my list.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Modern Family – Read Personal 6. It’s still the one to beat.
  2. 30 Rock – The voters may think they did their part diversifying last year and giving to a new one, and now may be itching to reward their usual king.
  3. Glee – I’m guessing this will be the Top 3 in the actual ballots no matter what. I don’t think has nearly as good a shot with this group as they do with the Globes but they’ll certainly get the nod.
  4. The Office – Read Personal 6.
  5. Nurse Jackie – Yeah, they’ll probably make room for one, if not two, of the Showtime dramedies and this one has the better chance of getting it.
  6. The Big Bang Theory – It’s really weird that this show hasn’t gotten a nomination here, and I’m still not sure it will (I was thinking either this one, The Big C or Parks and Recreation), but Jim Parsons win for Lead Actor last year gave it momentum with this group.

LEAD ACTOR IN COMEDY SERIES

Last year the panorama changed quite a bit in this category, with Jim Parsons rising up to the plate to deny Alec Baldwin his third Emmy, will he prevail again this year? Or will Baldwin get it back? Or will Steve Carell finally get rewarded for his final season in The Office?

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Steve Carell (The Office) – Look, performance-wise he’d probably be #3 or so, but I’ve loved The Office since day 1, and it’s all because of what he did as Michael Scott. The fact that he’s never won one of these is an outrage I’d like to think the Emmy’s will be quick to resolve.
  2. Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) – He was denied last year, but performance-wise I thought he was the best there was this year, but the sentimentality factor of Carell leaves him as my #2.
  3. Danny McBride (Eastbound & Down) – Like I said when talking about the show in my Personal 6 for Best Comedy, the guy plays a role that’s 100% unique in television right now, but the racy tones of the show may make it too hard for him to get a nod, as much as he deserves one.
  4. Joel McHale (Community) – The leading man of my favorite comedy on television, of course he was gonna get in my personal ballot. The Jeff Winger character is one that a lesser actor would’ve played straight as plain arrogant and sarcastic, but he gives him layers that make Jeff a total triumph.
  5. Louis C.K. (Louie) – The new season of this FX show premieres tomorrow, and I cannot wait. The guy is one of the funniest stand-up comedies around, if not the funniest, and he does everything in this show, just a genius.
  6. Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) – I don’t like the show enough to put him higher on my list, but his performance is undeniably great, so of course he gets in on my list, and he’ll be higher on the actual ballots.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Steve Carell (The Office) – Read Personal 6. He’ll get a deserved full-series-achievement win, as well as he should.
  2. Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) – I think he’d actually repeat were it not for Carell, even over Baldwin.
  3. Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) – Read Personal 6.
  4. Matthew Morrison (Glee) – Why this guy keeps getting nominated I have no idea, the show really isn’t a comedy any more, just a musical dramedy, but alas, people love Glee so he’ll find a way to get in there again.
  5. Joel McHale (Community) – Read Personal 6.
  6. Matt LeBlanc (Episodes) – I was torn between him or Rob Lowe for Parks and Recreation, but LeBlanc was part of the Friends cast and the seven episodes of his Showtime series, in which he got to make fun of himself, were pretty damn great.

LEAD ACTRESS IN COMEDY SERIES

This category I’m having a not-so-easy time really cracking. Tina Fey is Tina Fey so you have to assume she’s in there, the Showtime leading ladies are all in there because they are superb actresses and their series are not straight-out comedies so they get heavier stuff to shine with, and then there might be a newcomer or two, we’ll have to wait and see…

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Tina Fey (30 Rock) – Look, she’s Tina Fey, she the most charming, likable, talented woman around, no other way around that.
  2. Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) – I actually nearly put her at #1 but that would mean saying someone’s better than Fey. Still, she’s amazing and on one of the finest comedies on TV, so I’ll be rooting for her.
  3. Patricia Heaton (The Middle) – She already has two of these from her time on Everybody Loves Raymond, and her work on The Middle has been consistently great.
  4. Toni Collette (United States of Tara) – Look, I actually really liked this show, and she already won this award a couple years ago, so the voters certainly like her. And I mean, the show was cancelled and aired its series finale a couple days ago so they should give her the nod as some tribute of sorts.
  5. Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) – She is the most underrated part of this ensemble. Jim Parsons and her male co-stars get all the attention, but she rocks at playing Penny and never gets the recognition. Now would be a good time to start.
  6. Laura Linney (The Big C) – She gets in on my personal list just because she’s Laura Linney and I love her, but her show isn’t really a comedy and I have strict feeling about the liberties people take with this category, but whatever, she shines in this show.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Laura Linney (The Big C) – She did make my Personal 6, but nowhere near this high. However, she just won the Globe and the Emmy’s have loved her in the past, so I think she’ll emerge victorious.
  2. Tina Fey (30 Rock) – Read Personal 6.
  3. Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) – The Showtime ladies will try to all get in here, and Falco is just awesome so she probably will.
  4. Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) – I’m wishing she comes out of nowhere and beats everyone because that’d be a true and deserved underdog victory, but my guess is that she’ll end up in the middle of the pack.
  5. Toni Collette (United States of Tara) – Yeah, three Showtime dramedy ladies in a comedy category. But hey, at least they’re all truly phenomenal actresses who rock at what they do.
  6. Martha Plimpton (Raising Hope) – I’m going with this great actress in a great role over Glee‘s Lea Michele because I hope the voters recognize actual comedic chops over musical ones.

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN COMEDY SERIES

Or what should be called the Modern Family category, as all the cast members of that ensemble enter their names in the supporting races to embrace the fact that everyone is as important as each other on that show, a true family. So yeah, at the very most there will be only three other slots, maybe even just two, for actors from other series to nab.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) – By far the funniest guy on television, he has the coolest mustache on television as well, and I just hope Emmy voters bestow him with a nomination.
  2. Ty Burrell (Modern Family) – I’m including only two Modern Family guys but really all four of them could conceivably get in. Burrell is my favorite part of the show though, he’s perfect as the clumsy and lovable Phil.
  3. Danny Pudi (Community) – My favorite comedy on television, and Danny Pudi (as well as Donald Glover who would’ve gotten my #7 slot here) is a big part of that, he’s insanely funny and endearing as the very weird Abed.
  4. Ed O’Neill (Modern Family) – He missed out on a nod last year when the rest of his co-stars got one, and it was a rob, so please, Emmy voters, right your wrongs.
  5. Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) – Yeah, I’m going with Segel over Neil Patrick Harris for the HIMYM pick because the stuff he did with the darker storyline Marshall was given in this one was just tremendous.
  6. Ed Helms (The Office) – He got his biggest storyline yet with the love triangle he was involved in, and now that Carell is gone the show will probably use him to shoulder more of the burden, which is a good thing.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Ty Burrell (Modern Family) – I think Modern Family will completely dominate this category as long as it’s on the air, and this time I think (and hope) it’s Burrell that picks the trophy up.
  2. Chris Colfer (Glee) – I don’t have him on my Personal 6 because his best scenes are his dramatic ones and not the comedic ones, and this is a comedy category after all, but when he’s strong he’s strong and there’s no counting him out.
  3. Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) – He could conceivably repeat, but my guess is that he won’t, good as he might be.
  4. Ed O’Neill (Modern Family) – Yeah, I highly doubt they’ll leave the Pritchard family patriarch out this time.
  5. Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) – Certainly look for him to be the HIMYM castmember to score a nod (and not Jason Segel like I wanted), and he’s always awesome as Barney so that’s cool with me.
  6. Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) – Yes, I’m putting him this high, over Jon Cryer who might sympathy votes after Sheengate and over Jesse Tyler Ferguson who might just make the Modern Family guys go four-for-four, but it’s just because I want his name to be read too damn much.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN COMEDY SERIES

Look for this trend to continue for a while, Glee, Modern Family and 30 Rock will grab the majority of this nods, and then maybe one or two newbies to score their kudos.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Alison Brie (Community) – I’ll say it again, this is the best comedy on television, and Alison Brie is damn awesome in it, and it’s not as though people have forgotten how hot she looked in the paintball episodes.
  2. Julie Bowen (Modern Family) – Look, she’s a seriously consistent actress. Not only is she absolutely brilliant in Modern Family, but, come on, Boston Legal, Ed, she’s been this great for a while, so she’s due.
  3. Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) – She’s the best at deadpan comedy, period. Nobody on TV can do that better than her, doubt she’ll get in but I’m crossing my fingers.
  4. Ellie Kemper (The Office) – I loved Ellie Kemper this season, the daughter type she was to Michael, her perfect performance in that whole love triangle, she’s just a gem.
  5. Sofia Vergara (Modern Family) – She’s insanely funny in this show, probably the one castmember people weren’t sure was going to be as hilarious as she is, she’ll probably end up quite high on the actual ballots.
  6. Jenna Fischer (The Office) – She’s totally underrated here, I mean Pam is totally warm and is probably the person viewers can relate to the most, and Jenna Fischer is always great in the role.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Jane Lynch (Glee) – Yeah, she didn’t even make my Personal 6, but she really is the only funny thing on a show that really isn’t a comedy. And she has all the buzz and she’s hosting the show (though that didn’t work for Neil Patrick Harris in the past), so I think she’s the one to beat.
  2. Julie Bowen (Modern Family) – However, I’m more and more liking the idea of Julie Bowen coming up victorious, so watch out for her.
  3. Betty White (Hot in Cleveland) – Come on, she’s Betty White, that right there puts her in the top half of the ballot.
  4. Sofia Vergara (Modern Family) – Read Personal 6.
  5. Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live) – I think an SNL has to get in here, and she’s the MVP of that show, so that’s more than fine with me.
  6. Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) – She’s getting another nod for sure.

EmmyWatch 2011: Movie/Miniseries

22 Jun

Joshua Jackson and Melissa McCarthy are set to announce the nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards bright and early on Thursday, July 14th. And even though this is a film blog, some of you many know I’m also a pretty obsessive TV-watcher, and I currently watch over 70 television series, so I’d like to think I know a fair bit about what’s on the air right now. And in that spirit, I’ll do what I did with my OscarWatch posts back in January, and tackle the major categories for this years Emmy Awards in 4 EmmyWatch posts: Reality/Variety, Mini/Movie, Comedy and Drama.

In them I’ll give my quick thoughts on a particular race and how I personally think things will eventually shape up, listing both the 6 contenders I would personally pick were the nominations up to me, and then 6 who I actually think will have their names called out come nomination morning. Then once the nominations are announced I’ll do a post with my reactions and my actual predictions for the races. In this, the second EmmyWatch, we’ll take a look at the Made for TV Movie and Miniseries races…

TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES

Look, this is the category in which Carlos competes, and even though I haven’t seen the mini-series version, I have seen the shortened film version and I absolutely adored it, and my guess is that an elongated look will only make it that much better a watch, so I definitely love that. Then we have Mildred Pierce and Downton Abbey and Cinema Verite, and the latest editions of Sherlock and Luther, so yeah, I’m actually really like the Movie/Mini category this year.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Carlos – Again, I’ve only seen the shortened movie version of this one, but the longer one I assume only means additional hours with the powerhouse performance that Édgar Ramírez gave in the titular role, which is saying something, so yeah, this is my number one.
  2. Sherlock: A Study in Pink – I’m guessing this one will have a tough time actually cracking the nominations, but I absolutely adore Sherlock and Bennedict Cumberbatch in the title role, so it gets my personal number 2 slot.
  3. Mildred Pierce – This one was made I guess with the sole mission to reap through these awards. And even though I really liked it, and Kate Winslet was perfect as ever in the leading role, I thought I’d find myself liking it more than I ultimately did.
  4. Luther – The stuff Idris Elba does with this character is just magnificent to watch and he should get all the kudos he deserves, he just makes the series an insanely compelling watch.
  5. Too Big to Fail – The cast, the timing of the story, the direction, this one had all the key elements to make it a big player, and even though I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would considering the pedigree, it’s still pretty excellent.
  6. Cinema Verite – In any other year in which Mildred Pierce didn’t have Kate Winslet then my guess is that Diane Lane would be the front runner for the actress award, she makes Cinema Verite very good.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Mildred Pierce – Read above, they made this one to rule these categories, and it should win the top prize.
  2. Downton Abbey – Not even in my Personal 6 but I think that if Mildred Pierce is to suffer an upset here it’ll be at the hands of this one.
  3. Carlos – It’s my number one but my guess is that in the actual ballots it will end up somewhere in the middle of the pack.
  4. Cinema Verite – It’s good but it should’ve been better in order to have a shot at the big prize.
  5. Too Big to Fail – Read Personal 6.
  6. Luther – I’m torn between this, Sherlock and The Sunset Limited for the final slot that will be given, but I think Luther will eventually prevail.

ACTOR IN TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES

There were some great performance in this field this year actually. As I said in the aforementioned category Édgar Ramírez totally stole the show in Carlos and he’ll obviously be my personal #1 as well as the one I’ll bet on to win the eventual trophy, but other than him there were great ones given by the likes of Laurence Fishburne and Samuel L. Jackson, so you’ll see some really heavy names trying to take it away from the relative unknown.

My Personal 6 (in specific order)

  1. Édgar Ramírez (Carlos) – His performance is just a tour de force, what he does with this character, the journey he so believably takes us through, it’s really something spectacular to watch, he’s at the top of my personal list without even the slightest doubt.
  2. Idris Elba (Luther) – If Edgar Ramirez somehow loses this prize I’ll be pissed no matter what, but if he loses the trophy to Elba I’ll understand, he’s just incendiary as Luther day in and day out.
  3. Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock: A Study in Pink) – Much like the series itself, I think the guy will have tough time cracking the list of nominees, but he’s certainly top 3 in my personal book.
  4. Samuel L. Jackson (The Sunset Limited) – The movie wasn’t as good as many were it expecting it to be, but there’s just no denying the tremendous level of Jackson’s performance in this Cormac McCarthy adaptation.
  5. Kenneth Branagh (Wallander: The Fifth Woman) – Just another fantastic performance by Branagh in this role, I doubt he’ll actually receive the nod but he certainly gets in my Personal 6.
  6. Jim Broadbent (Any Human Heart) – I’m a big Jim Broadbent fan, so he gets my final personal slot.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Édgar Ramírez (Carlos) – Read Personal 6. He’s just the best in the pack.
  2. Laurence Fishburne (Thurgood) – Something tells me that if Ramirez doesn’t pull it off it’ll be Fishburne who stops him.
  3. Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) – Like Fishburne, Bonneville is another one that didn’t make my Personal 6 but that I put in the Top 3 of eventual nominees. If Downton Abbey starts overperforming come Emmy night then watch out for him
  4. Samuel L. Jackson (The Sunset Limited) – Read Personal 6.
  5. Idris Elba (Luther) – Read Personal 6.
  6. William Hurt (Too Big to Fail) – Picking Hurt over Tommy Lee Jones (for The Sunset Limited) but I think it could really go either way.

ACTRESS IN TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES

This is probably the biggest lock of the night, there is just simply no scenario in which Kate Winslet leaves without a trophy in her hands, and rightfully so. I really don’t know what else to say about this category, there will be four or five other nominees, but they’ll just have to sit pretty and watch the greatest living actress under 60 take the stage.

My Personal 5 (not 6) (in specific order)

  1. Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce) – She’s the greatest, the classiest, just impossible not to love, and she’ll be taking her second step towards an EGOT, there’s just no possibility she won’t win.
  2. Diane Lane (Cinema Verite) – I actually love this performance, and I think that in any other Winslet-less year she would’ve had a genuinely good shot, but alas that just wasn’t the case.
  3. Katie Holmes (The Kennedys) – Yes, that’s right, I have Katie Holmes as my personal #3 over some other probably more deserving contenders, but I just really thought her performance here was stellar and she should get the nod.
  4. Taraji P. Henson (Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story) – This was a very tough story to tell and Henson just made all the right choices with the titular role, a very emotionally touching performance.
  5. Hayley Atwell (The Pillars of the Earth) – Already nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in this one, I thought she was one of the best things about this adaptation of Ken Follett’s work.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce) – Read Personal 6.
  2. Diane Lane (Cinema Verite) – Read Personal 6.
  3. Elizabeth McGovern (Downtown Abbey) – Something tells me she, and not Lane, may be the eventual #2, but it doesn’t matter, it’s not like she’s any real threat to Winslet.
  4. Jean Marsh (Upstairs, Downstairs) – She’s terrific in the role she originated in the 1970’s original, and should definitely score a nomination.
  5. Hayley Atwell (The Pillars of the Earth) – Read Personal 6.
  6. Taraji P. Henson (Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story) – Read Personal 6.

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES

Some big big names will battle it out here, and my guess is that it’ll boil down to a match up between Gandolfini and Giamatti for the trophy, but if someone else picks it up then it wouldn’t be that much of a surprise, I think this one is more open than it seems right now.

My Personal 6

  1. Paul Giamatti (Too Big to Fail) – I’m a huge huge Giamatti fan, he’s just a scene stealer always and he was the best part about this one, a TV film that was just full of terrific male supporting performances.
  2. James Gandolfini (Cinema Verite) – My guess is that he’ll actually have the edge when the nominations are announced over Giamatti, but he’s my personal #2.
  3. Guy Pearce (Mildred Pierce) – Kate Winslet is obviously what everyone talks about when referring to this mini, but Guy Pearce alongside her is one of the reasons why she shined so much, he does a truly phenomenal job.
  4. Tom Wilkinson (The Kennedys) – Another guy I’m a huge fan of, and alongside Katie Holmes he was probably the best part about this mini series that had such a hard time getting to air.
  5. Billy Crudup (Too Big to Fail) – If two supporting actors of this one end up in this category I doubt it’ll be Crudup who joins Giamatti, but I just loved him in this one so he gets a slot on my Personal 6.
  6. Tim Robbins (Cinema Verite) – Another one I think will have multiple nominees in this category, Robbins is pretty damn good here.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. James Gandolfini (Cinema Verite) – He has 3 of these already, so this group definitely loves him, and my guess is that he has the edge in this category.
  2. Paul Giamatti (Too Big to Fail) – Read Personal 6.
  3. Guy Pearce (Mildred Pierce) – Read Personal 6.
  4. James Woods (Too Big to Fail) – In my Personal 6 I had Billy Crudup as the co-star that would join Giamatti in this category, but in reality it’ll most likely be Woods, who gives another one of his terrific commanding performances.
  5. Tim Robbins (Cinema Verite) – Read Personal 6.
  6. Tom Wilkinson (The Kennedys) – He won this one a few years ago, so just for that I’m giving him the edge over Downton Abbey’s Brendan Coyle to return to the nominees circle.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES

This one seems to be a likely fight between Maggie Smith and Evan Rachel Wood for the trophy, and I would love nothing more than to see the latter take the stage come Emmy night.

My Personal 6

  1. Evan Rachel Wood (Mildred Pierce) – Yes, Winslet is a mortal lock to win the Leading Actress race, and with good reason because she’s perfect in it, but Guy Pearce in the above discussed category and Evan Rachel Wood here are the two biggest reasons why she shined like she did, they gave the perfect supporting turns.
  2. Gillian Anderson (Any Human Heart) – I love this woman in everything she does, and though she probably won’t end up this high on the actual ballots she gets the slot in my personal list.
  3. Melissa Leo (Mildred Pierce) – Yet another shining piece in the stellar cast of this mini series, she’s terrific here, though not as great as her other female supporting co-star (but then again she wasn’t as good as Amy Adams in The Fighter and she won the Oscar, so who knows…)
  4. Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey) – Yes, she probably is the favorite but she’s just middle of the pack in my opinion.
  5. Cynthia Nixon (Too Big to Fail) – Another woman I really like, plus she’s just an Oscar away from the EGOT so that makes her even cooler.
  6. Betty White (The Lost Valentine) – She’s Betty White, there really isn’t much more to be said here, everyone loves her and she’ll surely get a nod here.

How I think the actual nominations will look like (in specific order)

  1. Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey) – A past winner, I think she’ll eventually have the advantage over my personal favorite…
  2. Evan Rachel Wood (Mildred Pierce) – Read Personal 6… nothing would make me happier than to see her take the stage.
  3. Melissa Leo (Mildred Pierce) – She’s really well liked and might ride the wave of kudos she’s now currently enjoying.
  4. Eileen Atkins (Upstairs, Downstairs) – Another legendary British past winner, she didn’t make my Personal 6 but my guess is that she’ll get in there.
  5. Cynthia Nixon (Too Big to Fail) – Read Personal 6.
  6. Betty White (The Lost Valentine) – Again, she’s Betty White, she’s gotta keep on racking up them nods.