catching up
friday random ten, 1958 edition

emmy nominations

I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about awards, since they so often neglect great talents. So this will be a shorthand version of the Emmy nominations announced today.

Alan Sepinwall made an excellent point:

We are in the middle of a massive glut in quality scripted television. Every other week, it seems, some new channel — or, in the case of Netflix, some new content delivery service — gets into the original programming game, and starts churning out product that at least merits awards consideration.
So you can look across the 2013 Emmy nominations list and be outraged by all the quality performances and series that weren't included. (And, on occasion, by the sorts of people and shows that were.) Or you can look at it as the Emmy voters just trying to keep their head above water and recognize what they could, even as they knew they wouldn't come close to covering everyone who deserved recognition. …

[T]he people who work in television have very little time to actually watch television, and as more and more outlets get into the original series game and do interesting work, it becomes even harder for them to keep up. (My only job is to watch and write about TV, and even I can't keep up with it all right now.)

I am not a professional critic, and it’s not my job to keep up, but as a regular TV viewer, I can vouch for what Alan is saying: there’s so much good-to-great stuff, it’s hard to keep up.

Tim Goodman noted what is my primary reaction to the announcement. “[T]his much remains true: the most outrageous oversight of any category this year remains the absence of Tatiana Maslany. That’s a shame you can’t wash off, Emmy voters.” Here’s what I wrote a couple of months ago:

She isn’t playing one person with multiple personalities, she is playing multiple people with one personality each. And she pulls it off magnificently. Sarah is British and a con artist, Beth is Canadian and a cop, Alison a soccer mom from Canada, Cosima an American PhD student in biology, and then there’s Helena from Ukraine and Katja from Germany. Each of these characters is distinct from the others; you are never lost, you always know who you are watching (makeup and wigs help, of course, but this is largely due to Maslany’s skills).

It gets even more complicated at times. Maslany (who is Canadian) plays Sarah (who is British) pretending to be Beth (Canadian). Alison (Canadian soccer mom) pretends to be Sarah (British petty thief). Helena (Ukranian) pretends to be Sarah. In each case, you know who is behind the mask. It’s like watching Face/Off, with Maslany in both the Nic Cage and John Travolta roles. Most of the time, Maslany is portraying one character, and she inhabits each one. It’s not just the wigs or physical tics … it’s as if you’re watching seven different actresses.

Maslany deserved seven Best Actress nominations; she got none.

And, since I’ve harped on this one for a few years now: “Emmy Rossum … plays every emotion with the exact right touch, from the hard-ass woman forced by poverty and shitty parents into a protective stance to the still-almost-a-kid who tries so hard and can’t help breaking down once in awhile. It’s one of the best performances on television, and if I gave a shit about awards, I’d say it was outrageous that she has never won an Emmy for her work (no pun intended). And Shameless knows what to do with her … while she is often quite glamorous and beautiful when she’s on a talk show, Shameless lets her natural beauty shine through, which somehow that makes her Fiona even more heartbreaking.” Rossum was just as good this season as she was in the past, and she still doesn’t have an Emmy nomination to her name (which is, after all, Emmy).

It’s always possible that Maslany and Rossum were ignored because there were seven other actresses doing even better work. I’ve seen six of the seven who were nominated. The one I’ve missed (Kerry Washington in Scandal), I’ve heard enough to believe she’s very good, indeed. Of the other six: I love Connie Britton, and I only made it through a few episodes of Nashville. From what I saw, Britton was not as good as Rossum or Maslany. I love Claire Danes, and can’t really argue with that one. Vera Farmiga was suitably creepy on the few episodes I saw of Bates Motel, although again, I didn’t think she was better than the two missing actresses. Michelle Dockery is OK, but I don’t think she’s anywhere near as good as the others on the list, much less Maslany/Rossum. Elisabeth Moss was rightly nominated as Best Actress in a miniseries for Top of the Lake, and of course she’s great in Mad Men. I’m not convinced she belongs in the Best Actress in a Drama category … I’d place her alongside Christina Hendricks in the Supporting Actress category, since ultimately it’s a show primarily about Don Draper, not Peggy Olson. Robin Wright is another who deserves recognition (although I am woefully behind on my House of Cards watching), but is she better than Maslany or Rossum? I’d remove any two of Britton, Dockery, and Moss to make room for the two best actresses I saw in TV drama during the last season.

Here are the same two clips I posted earlier in the year:

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