Thursday, July 18, 2013

Official 2013 Emmy Nominations and Analysis: Drama Series

Emmy nominations are official, and so begins the 2-month-long trek to awards night. I failed to follow through with my "promise" to post revised predictions this past week leading up to the reveal of nominations today. As a result, I'll be listing them before each of the categories actual nominations. I did brilliantly on some categories and horrendously on others. Overall, I guess 62% of the nominees correctly in the major categories in Drama, Comedy, Movie/Miniseries, Reality Competition, and Variety. Here we go.

(all of my predictions are listed in order of the probability I thought they had of being nominated)
Drama Series:
I predicted:
  1. Homeland
  2. Breaking Bad
  3. Downton Abbey
  4. Mad Men
  5. Game of Thrones
  6. The Americans
Actual nominees:
Breaking Bad (4th nom)
Downton Abbey (2nd nom)
Game of Thrones (3rd nom)
Homeland (2nd nom)
House of Cards (1st nom)
Mad Men (6th nom)

Result: 5/6
Analysis: My predictions were almost completely correct. All but The Americans were nominated, and House of Cards was the series I thought to be the 7th most likely to be nominated. All of the series are wholly deserving. The only shame is that there can't be 10 or 12 nominees so that more deserving series such as The Americans, Justified, Parenthood, The Good Wife, Boardwalk Empire, and The Newsroom (less so) could get the recognition they deserve.
Likelihood of Winning:
  1. Breaking Bad
  2. Game of Thrones
  3. Homeland
  4. House of Cards
  5. Downton Abbey
  6. Mad Men

I predicted:
  1. Bryan Cranston as Walter White in Breaking Bad
  2. Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in Homeland
  3. Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood in House of Cards
  4. Jon Hamm as Don Draper in Man Men
  5. Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy in The Newsroom
  6. Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire
Actual nominees:
Hugh Bonneville as Lord Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham in Downton Abbey (2nd for role and overall)
Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad (5th for role and 7th overall)
Jeff Daniels in The Newsroom (1st for role and overall)
Jon Hamm in Mad Men (6th for role and 9th overall)
Damian Lewis in Homeland (2nd for role and overall)
Kevin Spacey in House of Cards (1st for role and 2nd overall)

Result: 5/6
Analysis: This category was always 5 solid nominees with an iffy 6th. I haven't seen Boardwalk, so I honestly have no inkling of Buscemi's season, but as an avid lover of Downton Abbey, I can say that Hugh Bonneville did not deserve his nomination at all. This is of no fault of his own as he fulfills his part excellently on the series, but he simply isn't given much of anything to do. If his episode submission is anything but one of the early episodes in which he struggles with his estates finances and the rapidly shifting social norms of the time period, this is an utterly and completely wasted nomination. That being said, I think the relative lack of shift in the nominees is a good thing here. They're all quite strong. Daniels could surprise for the win as he his Sorkin-Daniels speech at the beginning of the series pilot is the stuff that won James Spader 3 Emmys (1 for The Practice's final season and 2 for the first and third (I think) seasons of Boston Legal), albeit Sorkin-written as opposed to David E. Kelley-written. Daniels' best episode of the season was most certainly the season finale, The Greater Fool, which showed fantastic range and could rival the always terrific work of Bryan Cranston, but that's definitely not what he's going to submit. That being said, he's definitely the spoiler.
Likelihood of Winning:
  1. Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad (This would his 4th, which is my only qualm as the Academy's going to have a hard time getting themselves right with equating him to Dennis Franz, which they shouldn't, because Cranston and Breaking Bad are better.)
  2. Jeff Daniels in The Newsroom
  3. Damian Lewis in Homeland
  4. Kevin Spacey in House of Cards
  5. Jon Hamm in Mad Men
  6. Hugh Bonneville in Downton Abbey

I predicted:
  1. Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in Homeland
  2. Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife
  3. Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
  4. Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson in Man Men
  5. Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in Scandal
  6. Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings in The Americans
Actual nominees:
Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes in Nashville (1st for role and 4th overall)
Claire Danes in Homeland (2nd for role and 4th overall)
Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey (2nd for role and overall)
Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates in Bates Motel (1st for role and overall)
Elisabeth Moss in Mad Men (5th for role and 5/6th overall)
Kerry Washington in Scandal (1st for role and overall)
Robin Wright as Claire Underwood in House of Cards (1st for role and overall)

Result: 4/7
Analysis: I freaking hate it when this happens. Every year the Academy thinks it's okay to nominate 6 actors in all of the non-guest acting categories except for one. In that category, they screw you over because you automatically get one wrong. Rant over. New rant beginning. This is a great and horrible category. It's great because a great, but potentially forgotten performance by Vera Farmiga was recognized. The recognition for Robin Wright (formerly Robin Wright Penn, or Princess Buttercup) is somewhat unexpected, but not unfortunate in the least. It's horrible because Margulies isn't here for her always great work and Russell isn't here, unrecognized again for her wonderful TV work (first on Felicity and now here). Also, shoo-in winner Tatiana Maslany on Orphan Black wasn't nominated, making my job of picking a winner that much harder. I greatly dislike Shonda Rhimes (mostly because she threw away the greatness of Grey's Anatomy's first 3 seasons by making it a terrible, melodramatic, redundant nightmare that has no business still being on the airwaves but is), so seeing any recognition for Scandal is atrocious. Seeing Connie Britton get recognition for the unfortunate Nashville is, well, unfortunate, and actually infuriating since she took Maslany's and Russell's spots. That being said, it's not a huge surprise as she is coming off a two-time nominated role as Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights. Danes is the huge frontrunner, with Washington playing spoiler. Having not seen Danes, Dockery is my choice, as she had the best season on Downton. She ceases to be my selection if she fails to submit her best episode, Episode One.
Likelihood of Winning:
  1. Claire Danes in Homeland
  2. Kerry Washington in Scandal
  3. Elisabeth Moss in Mad Men
  4. Vera Farmiga in Bates Motel
  5. Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey
  6. Robin Wright in House of Cards
  7. Connie Britton in Nashville

Supporting Actor-Drama:
I predicted:
  1. Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad
  2. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones
  3. Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson in Homeland
  4. Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut in Breaking Bad
  5. Corey Stoll as Peter Russo in House of Cards
  6. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones
Actual nominees:
Jonathan Banks in Breaking Bad (1st for role and 2nd overall)
Bobby Cannavale as Gyp Rosetti in Boardwalk Empire (1st for role and 3rd overall)
Jim Carter as Mr. Charles Carson in Downton Abbey (2nd for role and overall)
Peter Dinklage (3rd for role and overall)
Mandy Patinkin in Homeland (1st for role and 4th overall)
Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad (4th for role and overall)

Result: 4/6
Analysis: The lack of nomination for Coster-Waldau is incredibly unfortunate, as it means that Thrones has only slightly more than zero chance of winning Best Drama Series, as it shows that the voters weren't really watching the series all that much/closely. I'm ecstatic to see Banks nominated, as he gave (per what I've heard and hope to see soon) the best performance on the series this half-season. I'm beyond bummed to see Jim Carter undeservingly nominated once again for his incredibly warm performance on Downton Abbey, but a performance in which he, like Bonneville, is given next to nothing to do. He is simply taking up a space somebody else, like Coster-Waldau or the great, scene-stealing Corey Stoll, should've received. If the voters wanted to give Downton the acting recognition it deserved here, why not nominate Rob James-Collier (Thomas Barrow on the series), who gave a great performance this season as he was given an excellent storyline about his attempts to conceal his homosexuality and the issues that come when others find out about and react to it. Cannavale's nomination is a jaw-dropping shocker. He has absolutely zero nomination buzz and the lack of recognition for the rest of the series truly makes me wonder about his nomination here. As for  winners, Banks should win, but seeing as how Esposito should've won last year but lost to Paul, I wouldn't be surprised if Dinklage took his 2nd for Thrones or if Patinkin won his 2nd overall (his first was Lead Actor-Drama in 1995 for Chicago Hope) this year.
Likelihood of Winning:
  1. Jonathan Banks in Breaking Bad
  2. Mandy Patinkin in Homeland
  3. Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad
  4. Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones
  5. Bobby Cannavale in Boardwalk Empire
  6. Jim Carter in Downton Abbey

Supporting Actress-Drama:
I predicted:
  1. Maggie Smith as Lady Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey
  2. Anna Gunn as Skyler White in Breaking Bad
  3. Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris in Mad Men
  4. Monica Potter as Kristina Braverman in Parenthood
  5. Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart in The Good Wife
  6. Morena Baccarin as Jessica Brody in Homeland
Actual nominees:
Morena Baccarin in Homeland (1st for role and overall)
Christine Baranski in The Good Wife (3rd for role and 11th overall)
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones (1st for role and overall)
Anna Gunn in Breaking Bad (2nd for role and overall)
Christina Hendricks in Mad Men (4th for role and overall)
Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey (3rd for role and 7th overall)

Result: 5/6
Analysis: I'm happy I predicted this correctly, but I'm unhappy that I had to include Baranski in order to do so. It's a great category, and I'm especially glad they included Clarke, even though her inclusion and the exclusion of Coster-Waldau is beyond strange. Potter gave one of the best performances on television this season with her excellently done cancer storyline on Parenthood, the most underrated network show on the air. I'm also sad not to see Elizabeth McGovern on there for Downton Abbey. She wholly deserved recognition this season for her storyline involving the loss of a child, which was also Bonneville's best episode, but which featured her more than anybody and was a spectacular showcase. Maggie Smith is great and I wouldn't be disappointed if she won a 3rd time for the role this year, but she just didn't have as much to do, which is really saying something since Maggie Smith and the things she can add to the role are the reason it's so good. Without those two, Gunn takes this easily with her beyond incredible performance in Fifty-One.
Likelihood of Winning:
  1. Anna Gunn in Breaking Bad
  2. Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
  3. Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
  4. Morena Baccarin in Homeland
  5. Christina Hendricks in Mad Men
  6. Christine Baranski in The Good Wife

Guest Actor-Drama:
I predicted:
  1. Nathan Lane as Clarke Hayden in The Good Wife
  2. Michael J. Fox as Louis Canning in The Good Wife
  3. Ray Romano as Hank Rizzoli in Parenthood
  4. Dylan Baker as Colin Sweeney in The Good Wife
  5. Jimmy Smits as Nero Padilla in Sons of Anarchy
  6. Jim Beaver as Sheriff Shelby Parlow/Drew Thompson in Justified
Actual nominees:
Dan Bucatinsky as James Novak in Scandal (1st for role and overall)
Michael J. Fox in The Good Wife (3rd for role and 15th overall)
Rupert Friend as Peter Quinn in Homeland (1st for role and overall)
Harry Hamlin as Jim Cutler in Mad Men (1st for role and overall)
Nathan Lane in The Good Wife (1st for role and 4/5th overall)
Robert Morse as Bert Cooper in Mad Men (4th for role and 6th overall)

Result: 2/6
Analysis: Guest categories are always by far the hardest to predict, but this is ridiculous. While Beaver being snubbed isn't surprising, especially considering they snubbed the series as a whole in general, and especially the episode Decoy and easily the best male guest cast on television (Beaver, Mike O'Malley, and even Patton Oswalt). Robert Morse deserves absolutely nothing for his recurring guest role on Mad Men, especially not the now 4 nominations her has received. He does literally nothing. I'm happy to see Harry Hamlin on there, but he was obviously nominated for who he is, which is unfortunate, since who he is is an actor who should have been nominated 3 or 4 times for Best Lead Actor-Drama in from 1987-89 or 90 for L.A. Law but was nominated not one time. The lack of recognition and respect for Parenthood is disgusting and unfortunate. I thought Ray Romano would definitely get on even if Potter didn't, simply because of who he is, but even he can't get over whatever stigma surrounds the show. Rupert Friend is a nice nomination. I'm a little surprised that Smits didn't get nominated, seeing as how he's received 12 Emmy nominations throughout his career, but I'm also unsurprised because of the complete and utter lack of recognition Sons of Anarchy as a whole, but especially Katey Sagal, has received over the years. I really can't say anything about Bucatinsky except that I really do hate Shonda Rhimes.
Likelihood of Winning:
  1. Nathan Lane in The Good Wife
  2. Rupert Friend in Homeland
  3. Michael J. Fox in The Good Wife
  4. Dan Bucatinsky in Scandal
  5. Harry Hamlin in Mad Men
  6. Robert Morse in Mad Men

Guest Actress-Drama:
I predicted:
  1. Shirley MacLaine as Mrs. Martha Levinson in Downton Abbey
  2. Jane Fonda as Leona Lansing in The Newsroom
  3. Stockard Channing as Veronica Loy in The Good Wife
  4. Martha Plimpton as Patti Nyholm in The Good Wife
  5. Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones
  6. Margo Martindale as Claudia in The Americans
Actual nominees:
Linda Cardellini as Sylvia Rosen in Mad Men (1st for role and overall)
Joan Cusack as Sheila Jackson in Shameless (3rd for role and overall)
Jane Fonda in The Newsroom (1st for role and 2nd overall)
Margo Martindale in The Americans (1st for role and 2nd overall)
Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni in The Good Wife (1st for role and overall)
Diana Rigg in Game of Thrones (1st for role and 6th overall)

Result: 3/6
Analysis: I'm disappointed MacLaine wasn't nominated, but more because I had her as the most likely nominee. I thought she was entertaining enough in Downton Abbey, but I didn't find her remarkable in any way. She was hurt by surprisingly weak writing and a definite lack of witty verbal jousting with Maggie Smith. That being said, her lack of nomination based on name alone is surprising. I like seeing Rigg there. I put too much faith in Channing's name alone and assumed that Plimpton would get in again after winning the award last year. I love seeing Martindale there. Cusack's nominations for that role are getting a bit old. Fonda was brilliant and most definitely deserves the award. I'd heard Preston had her best shot yet to get in for the role but simply didn't listen or take it into account. Cardellini is also nice to see. Without MacLaine, Fonda is an extremely easy winner here. Her name alone makes her a threat, and her absolutely spectacular performance cements it.
Likelihood of Winning:
  1. Jane Fonda in The Newsroom
  2. Carrie Preston in The Good Wife
  3. Margo Martindale in The Americans
  4. Diana Rigg in Game of Thrones
  5. Linda Cardellini in Mad Men
  6. Joan Cusack in Shameless

There was no way to predict this, so here are the nominees:
Breaking Bad--Dead Freight, written by George Mastras
Breaking Bad--Say My Name, written by Thomas Schnauz
Downton Abbey--Episode Four, written by Julian Fellowes
Game of Thrones--The Rains of Castamere, written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Homeland--Q&A, written by Henry Bromell

Analysis: This is a great set of nominees. I was hoping that Breaking Bad might get a third for something like Fifty-One, but you can't win them all. Breaking Bad as a whole making it in for writing is brilliant. This is their first nominations ever in the category, and as I view the series as the best written, directed, acted, and every else on TV, this is beyond wonderful. I'm dreadfully disappointed in the episode selection from Downton, however. Episode Four was a perfectly fine episode, but it was the third-best written of the season at best, behind Episode One and Episode Five. Nevertheless, I'm happy as always to see Fellowes and Downton make it onto the list. I've also heard really good things about Q&A. It is somewhat strange not to see Mad Men in for writing, however. Now Game of Thrones and its nomination is easily the most talked about episode of TV from this past year. It's the Red Wedding, and for that, it lands at number one in my predictions right now, though that could change in the future.
Likelihood of Winning:
  1. The Rains of Castamere from Game of Thrones
  2. Dead Freight from Breaking Bad
  3. Say My Name from Breaking Bad
  4. Episode Four from Downton Abbey
  5. Q&A from Homeland

Just like Writing-Drama, there were no predictions here, so I'm just going to go ahead with this just fine, but far from great, category.
Boardwalk Empire--Margate Sands, directed by Tim Van Patten
Breaking Bad--Gliding Over All, directed by Michelle MacLaren
Downton Abbey--Episode 4, directed by Jeremy Webb
Homeland--Q&A, directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
House of Cards--Chapter 1 (Pilot), directed by David Fincher

Analysis: This is still a great category, but it is missing a few obvious things. Gliding Over All, while great, is absolutely no match for Rian Johnson's perfect direction of Fifty-One. The bedroom scene alone should have not just garnered him a nomination, but a win. Also, where the hell is The Rains of Castamere? The writing of the episode is excellent and wholly deserved recognition, but the real strength of the episode, aside from its startling conclusion, was David Nutter's brilliant direction, which is what made the episode finale so startling. I will again say how strange Boardwalk Empire's nominations are and how much I struggle with Downton's odd episode submission choices, as Episode Five was leaps and bounds ahead of Episode Four in terms of its direction (there was simply far more to do). Plus, Brian Percival is far and away consistently the best director the series has, and not submitting his work as the representative sample of the season is an insult. Fincher's nomination is something I completely forgot about when considering what might be nominated, but I am wholly unsurprised now that it has happened. Boardwalk gets last, but it could pull a complete surprise just as the Tim Van Patten-directed episode To the Lost did last year (Face Off most definitely should have won).
Likelihood of Winning:
  1. Gliding Over All from Breaking Bad
  2. Chapter 1 (Pilot) from House of Cards
  3. Q&A from Homeland
  4. Episode Four from Downton Abbey
  5. Margate Sands from Boardwalk Empire

Top Series by Total Nominations:
17-Game of Thrones (5 in major categories)
13-Breaking Bad (8 in major categories)
12-Downton Abbey (7 in major categories)
12-Homeland (8 in major categories)
12-Mad Men (7 in major categories)

I am leaving for Italy on Saturday evening and most likely will not be posting again until I return on August 6th. Once I return, I will do my best to post my predictions, results, analysis, etc. about the Comedy Series categories, the Movie/Miniseries categories, and the Reality Series and Variety Series categories as soon as I can. Though quite late in terms of time elapsed since the announcement of nominations, there will still be more than a month and a half before the actual awards show. I hope you enjoyed.