Wednesday, September 26, 2018

'Charlottesville: Race and Terror' tied for most nominations at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards


I mentioned that I would write about last August's Weimar moment in Charlottesville in Putin and Trump-Russia at the Emmy Awards last month.  I then forgot about it until I reposted the entry at Booman Tribune and noticed that I had written "'The Wounds of War' and 'Cries from Syria' are probably the toughest competition, as both have four nominations each, tied for the most nominations for any single entry with 'Charlottesville: Race and Terror' by Vice News Tonight" and "I'll be looking more at this category when I examine the nominees about Syria and Charlottesville."  It's time to follow through with an examination of "Charlottesville: Race and Terror" by Vice News Tonight, which is nominated for Outstanding Coverage of a Breaking News Story in a Newscast, Best Story in a Newscast, Outstanding Video Journalism: News, and Outstanding Editing: News.

Competing against "Charlottesville: Race and Terror" for Outstanding Coverage of a Breaking News Story in a Newscast are "BBC World
News: Fierce Fight for Mosul," "CBS News: Las Vegas Massacre," "Live Coverage of Hurricane Harvey" by The Weather Channel, and "NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt: Las Vegas Massacre."  Mass shootings, hurricanes, and Syria dominated the news last year, so it's no surprise they dominate the nominations and I plan on writing about all the nominees about them.  However, this is the only category in which any of the four competing entries earned a nomination, so I think Vice News Tonight did a better job of producing "Charlottesville: Race and Terror."

On the other hand, the nominees for Best Story in a Newscast all have nominations in another category.  "Anderson Cooper 360°: Kids for Sale," "CBS This Morning: U.S. Air Force Academy Sexual Assault," and "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer: Libya Slave Auction" are nominated for Outstanding Investigative Report in a Newscast, while "World News Tonight with David Muir and Nightline: The Unwanted" has a nomination for Outstanding Hard News Feature Story in a Newscast.  Still, none of them also have nominations outside of these two categories other than "Charlottesville: Race and Terror," so I suspect it has the inside track.

"Charlottesville: Race and Terror" finally runs into one of the other entries with four nominations in the field for Outstanding Video Journalism: News, where it is competing against "60 Minutes: The Wounds of War," which is about the Syrian Civil War.  That makes for an intriguing match-up.  The other nominees in this category include "BBC World News America: Fight For Raqqa – Darren Conway," CNN's "Global Warning: Arctic Melt," and "Vox Borders," none of which have other nominations.  Yeah, I think this contest is between Charlottesville and Syria.

The competition for Outstanding Editing: News appears just as stiff, as Al Jazeera International USA's "Fault Lines: Heroin's Children" has two other nominations for Outstanding Science, Medical and Environmental Report and Best Story in a Newsmagazine.  The other nominees, "50 Years of 60 Minutes" and fellow "VICE News Tonight" reports "Battle for Marawi: On the Hunt for ISIS Militants" and "Libya: Intercepting Migrants," only have nominations in this category.  My take is that the contest for this award is between Charlottesville and opiates/opioids.

The entire episode is on YouTube: Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News Tonight on HBO.

On Saturday hundreds of white nationalists, alt-righters, and neo-Nazis traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia to participate in the “Unite the Right” rally. By Saturday evening three people were dead – one protester, and two police officers – and many more injured.

“VICE News Tonight” correspondent Elle Reeve went behind the scenes with white nationalist leaders, including Christopher Cantwell, Robert Ray, David Duke, and Matthew Heimbach — as well as counter-protesters. VICE News Tonight also spoke with residents of Charlottesville, members of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Charlottesville Police.

From the neo-Nazi protests at Emancipation Park to Cantwell’s hideaway outside of Virginia, “VICE News Tonight” provides viewers with exclusive, up close and personal access inside the unrest.
That's a scary look at what a Weimar moment looks like in 21st Century America.

CNN also has a nominee examining Charlottesville.  "The Morning After Charlottesville" from "State of the Union with Jake Tapper" on CNN is contending for Outstanding News Discussion & Analysis.  Competing against it are "Special Counsel Appointed to Oversee Trump-Russia Investigation" from "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC, "All In America: Chicago" from "All In with Chris Hayes" on MSNBC, "NFL Town Hall: Patriotism, The Players and The President" from "Anderson Cooper 360o" on CNN, and "High Alert: North Korea" from "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on ABC.  Here is one of the segments from the show CNN has uploaded to YouTube: Charlottesville mayor's full CNN interview.

Charlottesville, Virginia, Mayor Mike Signer discusses with CNN's Jake Tapper his city's reaction to the violent clashes between white nationalists and counterprotesters.
Good for you, Mayor Signer.

I'll return tomorrow with more about the nominees for the News and Documentary Emmy Awards.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

'Chasing Coral' versus 'Yosemite' — two nominees for Outstanding Nature Documentary both examine climate change


I made an easy prediction in 'Chasing Coral': awards and nominations and looking forward to next year's Emmys 4 last December.
I expect I'll be able to tell my students about "Chasing Coral" earning an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Nature Documentary next summer and its likely win in the fall.  I'm looking forward to that.
That happened, as "Chasing Coral" earned a nomination for Outstanding Nature Documentary at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards along with nominations in two other categories, Best Documentary and Outstanding Music & Sound.  It is competing with "Putin's Revenge" on Frontline, "The Witness" from Independent Lens, "Life, Animated," an Oscar nominee for Documentary Feature in 2017, and "My Love, Don't Cross That River" from POV for Best Documentary.  Out of that field, I'm rooting for "Chasing Coral," but "Life, Animated" is very tough competition.

That written, both "Chasing Coral" and "Last Men in Aleppo" have already won a prestigious award for documentaries, the Peabody Award.  Here is the award profile for "Chasing Coral."
Climate change is often described as a slow-moving catastrophe, a serious yet distant threat. “Chasing Coral,” a Netflix documentary, upends that comfortable premise. As waters warm, coral reefs starve, with massive bleaching events occurring at record pace unseen beneath the waves. Approximately 90 percent of coral reefs may be lost over the coming decades. “Chasing Coral” dramatically illuminates this ongoing disaster, first immersing the audience in the gorgeous and diverse marine world that is the Great Barrier Reef, and then documenting—using underwater time-lapse cameras invented specifically for the project—how vast swaths of it die. The emotional impact is heightened by watching a team of passionate scientists and idealistic young assistants witness the bleaching event, which suggests nothing less than a kind of underwater holocaust. Somehow, in spite of the scope of the tragedy, the documentary nevertheless remains hopeful, calling for engagement and urging action. For bringing climate change and its deadly consequences into sharp and immediate focus, “Chasing Coral” wins a Peabody Award.
And now, director Jeff Orlowski's acceptance speech.

This surprisingly emotional film expertly documents, through time-lapse underwater photographs, the effects of climate change on the rapid decimation of the world’s coral reefs, events known as coral bleaching that affected 29 percent of the shallow-water coral in the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 alone.
"A story that matters because the Earth matters" — indeed, it is.

Follow over the jump for the other nominees competing against "Chasing Coral" in the other two categories.

Monday, September 24, 2018

'Abacus,' 'Edith and Eddie,' 'Heroin(e),' and 'Last Men in Aleppo' — Oscar nominees at the 2018 News and Documentary Emmy Awards


Last March, I predicted that "both 'Jane' and 'Abacus' will be eligible for News and Documentary Emmy Awards this fall, where they will be favored in their categories."  I was right about "Jane," which earned seven nominations two awards at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.  Now it's time to observe that I was right about "Abacus" earning a nomination for Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards.  Joining it are three other Oscar nominees for Best Documentary Feature or Best Documentary Short Subject, "Edith and Eddie," "Heroin(e)," and "Last Men in Aleppo," all of which I have written about before.  Along with "Icarus" and "Strong Island," that means that four of the five nominees for Best Documentary Feature and two of the five nominees for Best Documentary Short Subject have also been nominated for an Emmy.  Both the films and their fellow nominees should be impressed.

I begin my review of the nominees with what I wrote about "Abacus" late last year.
"Abacus: Small Enough to Jail," has won four awards from the shows and programs I am using, including Best Political Documentary from the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards.  The Guardian review explains why it belongs here.
Veteran documentary-maker Steve James (Hoop Dreams) is back with an engrossing story: the extraordinary fiasco of the Abacus bank prosecution. It is a tale of hypocrisy, judicial bullying and racism. Abacus was a small neighbourhood bank serving New York’s Chinese community, which discovered a crooked employee falsifying mortgage documents, duly reported the matter to the authorities, but then found itself prosecuted by a district attorney who had sniffed a post-2008 PR opportunity to collar some real live bankers.
"Model minority" or not, Asian-Americans experience systemic racism, too.
Watch Abacus: Small Enough to Jail - Trailer for a preview.

From acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, Life Itself), Academy Award® Nominee Abacus: Small Enough to Jail tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves – and their bank's legacy in the Chinatown community – over the course of a five-year legal battle.
Competing against "Abacus" for Outstanding Business and Economic Documentary are "Farewell Ferris Wheel" and "Vegas Baby" from "America Reframed" on World, "The Bad Kids" from "Independent Lens" on PBS and "Saving Capitalism" on Netflix.  Of all of them, I think "Saving Capitalism" is the strongest competition for "Abacus," as it won Best Political Documentary at the Coffee Party Entertainment Awards for movies.  Looks like my fellow directors and volunteers at Coffee Party USA were on to something when they voted for Robert Reich's film, giving it its first nomination and award.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the double nominees.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

'The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story' is the big winner among limited series at the Emmy Awards


I told my readers to "stay tuned" as I would "return with more Emmy blogging after Talk like a Pirate Day" at the end of 'Black Mirror' USS Callister wins Outstanding Television Movie plus three other Emmy AwardsTalk Like a Pirate Day has passed, followed by an unplanned break for my birthday, so this week's Sunday entertainment feature comes at the perfect time to deliver on my promise by revisiting the predictions I made in Crime and punishment a major theme of Limited Series nominees at the Emmy Awards for National Wildlife Day, where I identified the common thread among nearly all the nominees and its significance when I wrote "stories of crime and punishment usually involve law enforcement and the courts, they tell their own tales about the roles and actions of government."

I begin with the big winner, "The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story."
I consider this season of "American Crime Story" to be the favorite to win Outstanding Limited Series, as it has the most nominations, won Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials at the TCA Awards last month, and its predecessor, "The People v. O. J. Simpson," won this award two years ago.  I also think that Darren Criss has the best chance of winning of all six acting nominees, having been nominated at both the TCA Awards and the MTV Movie and TV Awards, a rare confluence of critical and popular opinion.
"The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" won seven of the thirteen awards it could have, Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Darren Criss, Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special, Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie or Special, Outstanding Contemporary Costumes, Outstanding Hairstyling for a Limited Series or Movie, and Outstanding Makeup for a Limited Series or Movie (Non-Prosthetic).  Watch as The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Wins Outstanding Limited Series on NBC.

Ryan Murphy from The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story accepts the award for Outstanding Limited Series.
Murphy's point about prejudice and hate crimes puts this mini-series into the kind of broader perspective that makes it a worthy examination of American society and history beyond merely an entertaining true story about crime and punishment.

While I called "The Assassination Of Gianni Versace" as the winner of Outstanding Limited Series, I did not actually call Darren Criss winning Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.  True, I did wrote that "Darren Criss [had] the best chance of winning of all six acting nominees," but I actually called for Jeff Daniels instead.  That was not my first instinct, which was Criss, and I should have stuck with it.  On that note, watch as Darren Criss Wins Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie at the 70th Emmy Awards on NBC.

Darren Criss from The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story accepts the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.
I went with Daniels because he grew up here.  If I had known that Criss had gone to the University of Michigan, I would definitely have picked him.  Go Blue!


"Godless" has the distinction of earning the next most Emmy Awards with three.  Here are my predictions.
The strongest nominees are probably Jeff Daniels, who earned acting nominations at the Critics' Choice Awards and SAG Awards, and Scott Frank, who earned a writing nomination from the WGA and a directing nomination from the DGA.  My favorite though, is the main title theme.
"Godless" won Outstanding Main Title Theme Music.  I'm glad, as it was my favorite new theme music this year, too.  As to whether I actually called it, I don't care.  It was the one I was rooting for.  One can catch the tail end of it as Jeff Daniels Wins Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie at the 70th Emmy Awards.

Jeff Daniels from Godless accepts the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.
I did call Daniels winning this award, as I did say he was among the strongest nominees from the mini-series and wrote that it would be between him and Michael Stuhlbarg.  He certainly gave a funny acceptance speech and I'm pleased that he won, but not nearly as pleased as wishing more than calling the next catgory.
I'll go out on a limb and pick Wever, who I enjoyed when she was on "The Walking Dead" and I wish was still there, as she lasted much longer in the comic.  When her character died, I thought, "No!  You idiots just killed off the only character in the show whose performer in the cast who has won an Emmy!"  Winning for "Godless" would make up for that.
I don't know about Wever, but it did for me.  Watch Merritt Wever Wins Outstanding Supporting Actress, Limited Series or Movie at the 70th Emmy Awards.

Merritt Wever from Godless accepts the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.
While I thought she deserved it, I'm not sure she did.  That's O.K., your fans love you.


While the Emmy voters rewarded my hopes for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie, they completely surprised me in the next category.
The nominees in this category [Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie] have the least overlap with those in Outstanding Limited Series, as only "Godless" appears in both, while "The Tale" is a Television Movie nominee.  These are the only nominations for "The Sinner," "Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders," and "Seven Seconds"...I find this another difficult category to pick, as Laura Dern, Edie Falco, and Sarah Paulson are all previous Emmy winners, Michelle Dockery and Regina King have multiple Emmy nominations, and Jessica Biel gave a riveting performance in the first season of "The Sinner."  While Paulson is the only prior winner in this category, Dern won an Emmy last year and probably gave the most compelling performance, so I'll choose her as the favorite.
I completely blew it.  Instead, watch Regina King Win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie at the 70th Emmy Awards.

Regina King from Seven Seconds accepts the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.
While she seems as surprised as I was — she probably expected Dern to win, too — I've seen her work over the years, especially in "The Leftovers," and thought she deserved her award.  He win also highlighted a related theme to that of "The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story," the effect of prejudice and tolerance for expressions of it in our society.

That written, congratulations to you and all the acting winners for limited series!  Follow over the jump for the limited series that won Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Rhinos and gorillas but no elephants at the Detroit Zoo for the Autumnal Equinox


Happy Autumnal Equinox!   Last year, I wrote about national days celebrating elephants, hobbits, and being car free on the equinox, but it turns out that was not even the half of it for this day.  National Day Calendar lists 15 national days for September 22, 2018, quite a few of which are on-topic for this blog.  However, I'm going to begin with one not on their list.


My wife pointed out last month that today is World Rhino Day.
World Rhino Day is celebrated on September 22 every year! This special day provides the opportunity for cause-related organizations, NGOs, zoos, and members of the public to celebrate rhinos in their own unique ways.
We plan on celebrating by going to the Detroit Zoo, which is observing the day, too.

Southern white rhinoceroses Jasiri, 18, and Tamba, 17, will be celebrated – along with their wild counterparts – during World Rhino Day on Saturday, September 22, at the Detroit Zoo. Matt Yurus reports.
Yesterday was my birthday, so this also serves as a birthday party for me.  I've already paid for a joint membership for my wife and me, something I promised I would do four years ago and again three years ago.  Took me long enough.

The Detroit Zoo no longer has elephants, but I can still observe National Elephant Appreciation Day in their absence, as elephants are one of the few animals that longer in the wild than in captivity.  They are better off in either in captivity or in a zoo that can take better care of them.  Also, Monday is World Gorilla Day and the Detroit Zoo has gorillas close by the rhinos.  My wife and I will celebrate that day early today as well.

Normally, I'd write about National Hunting and Fishing Day and National Public Lands Day in addition to recycling Car Free Day and Hobbit Day, but I have a date to go on, which means I definitely will skip Car Free Day.  Buses stop at the Detroit Zoo, but they don't pass by my house, so my wife and I will drive.  Next year.  In the meantime, I wish my readers a happy Autumnal Equinox if they are in the Northern Hemisphere and a happy Vernal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere and hope those of you who can go to your local zoo do so to see the rhinos, gorillas, and elephants.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Vox explains how social media contributes to polarization and promotes trolls, conspiracy theorists, and fake news


In June, Vox explained how Russian trolls weaponized social media.  In July, Vox explained how not to get phished (like the DNC).  Today, Vox followed up on both by explaining Why every social media site is a dumpster fire.

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube exploit our tribalism to keep us watching ads. That makes them a perfect target for trolls, conspiracy theorists, and con artists.
...
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram are built to cater to the base preferences and desires of their users -- figuring out what information people enjoy with and then showing them more of it. That’s a great way to keep people online, but it also makes these platforms prime target for con artists. People are naturally drawn to inflammatory and sensational news stories, regardless of whether or not they're true. So bad actors -- conspiracy theorists, trolls, and fake news writers -- have been tremendously successful in using these platforms to spread false and divisive content that exploit people’s tribal instincts.

In 2016, it was Macedonian teens making thousands of dollars publishing inflammatory fake stories about Hillary Clinton. After the Parkland shooting, it was random YouTubers going viral by accusing students of being crisis actors. Even the Russian trolls who meddled in the presidential election did so by posting low-quality, highly emotional content to social media -- content they knew would go viral.

The problem with these social media sites isn’t that a few bad apples are ruining the fun. It’s that they’re designed to reward bad apples. And as long as con artists can use these platforms to prey on people’s most base desires, social media sites will continue reflecting the worst of human nature back at us.
Promoting engagement is a feature.  So are the partisan media bubbles.  The trolls, conspiracy theorists, and scam artists, along with the fake news they spread, are bugs — I hope.  Seeker explains how television entertainment can shape our political opinions mentioned one of the best ways to fight them — consume a variety of news media in order to get a diversity of viewpoints instead of staying inside a partisan media bubble.  Time for me to follow my own advice and read The Wall Street Journal, the only news source both liberals and conservatives think is unbiased.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Hot Mess explains how climate change makes hurricanes stronger


With Hurricane Florence in the news, flooding Virginia and the Carolinas and killing 37 people so far, it's time to revisit the topic of hurricanes and particularly Hurricane Harvey with Hot Mess asking Why Are Hurricanes Getting Stronger?

It’s impossible to say that climate change is responsible for any individual storm or hurricane, but climate change is making these storms stronger. How much stronger? It turns out, Hurricane Harvey is the ideal test case to measure how a warming planet and warming oceans, amplify our worst storms.
This is not a new observation.  Al Gore made it in "An Inconvenient Truth" when he explained that global warming would make hurricanes stronger.  In my worksheet for the movie, I ask my students to "explain how the 2004-2005 hurricane seasons fit with predictions based on global warming."  A decade later, reality continues to confirm those predictions.

I plan on returning to blogging about the Emmy winners tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Captain vs. The Kraken for Talk Like a Pirate Day


Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!  I have just the drink from Tipsy Bartender for today, The Captain vs The Kraken.

Captain Morgan vs. Kraken!! Bombs away!
Of course, I have a song from The Pirates of the Caribbean movies to go along with this concoction, The Kraken.

The Kraken (Score)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
With a drink and a song, I'm done.  Once again, Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

'Black Mirror: USS Callister' wins Outstanding Television Movie plus three other Emmy Awards


The Primetime Emmy Awards were last night, so it's time to start blogging about the winners, beginning with "Black Mirror: USS Callister," which won Outstanding Television Movie, an award I called.
I begin with the most nominated yet possibly the most distant from actual government, "USS Callister," an episode of the Netflix anthology series "Black Mirror."  Its Wikipedia entry sketches out the scenario for abuse well enough.  The bolding is mine, and shows how "USS Callister" fits the theme of abusive authority shared by all the Television Movie nominees.
The episode follows Robert Daly (Jesse Plemons), a reclusive but gifted programmer and co-founder of a popular massive multiplayer online game who is bitter over the lack of recognition of his position from his coworkers. He takes out his frustrations by simulating a Star Trek-like space adventure within the game, using his co-workers' DNA to create sentient digital clones of them. Acting as the captain of the USS Callister starship, Daly is able to order his co-workers around, submit them to his will, and mistreat them if they get out of line. When Daly brings newly hired Nanette Cole (Cristin Milioti) into his game, she encourages the other copies to revolt against Daly.
Yikes!  I would not want to play this game if it existed.  If the co-founder is willing to do this to his employees, imagine what he'd do to mere players!

I consider "USS Callister" to be the front runner based on its number of Emmy nominations, seven, and "Black Mirror" being what passes for a returning winner, as the episode "San Junipero" won this category last year.  In addition to Outstanding Television Movie, "USS Callister" earned nominations for Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or Movie, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Jesse Plemons as Robert Daly, Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special (Original Dramatic Score), Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie, Outstanding Sound Editing for a Limited Series, Movie or Special, and Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special.  Before I move on, I am reminding my readers that "San Junipero" only had two Emmy nominations, although it won both of them, the other being Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special.  "USS Callister" might be that much better.
Apparently, it is.  Not only was it nominated for eight awards, it won four of them, twice what "San Junipero" did.  It also had more of a political point than I gathered, as Charlie Brooker makes in Emmy winning producers and cast of "USS Callister (Black Mirror)" 2018 Creative Arts Emmys.


"It's quite odd actually that we're in the fiction category, because we're a story about a misogynist bully with a bizarre haircut who is put in a position of authority he shouldn't be in.  Never happen."  Zing!

Brooker talked about being in the room with stars from all six "Star Trek" series, who were there to accept the Governor's Award on behalf of the franchise, and how surreal the experience was.  He did so again in the next clip, 70th Emmy Awards: Backstage LIVE! with William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, in which he cleaned up his language a bit.


This was the award the show's writers won last night, one that I failed to mention in Crime and punishment a major theme of Limited Series nominees at the Emmy Awards for National Wildlife Day, concentrating on the limited series nominated in the category.  I didn't do that for any of the rest of its nominations.  Oops.  I probably should have called this one for "USS Callister," as "San Junipero" won this award last year.

Returning to last week's ceremony, here's the clip for the third award, Emmy winning sound editing team ("USS Callister (Black Mirror)") 2018 Creative Arts Emmys Press Room.


I would have had trouble calling this award, as "USS Callister" was competing against "American Horror Story: Cult," "Fahrenheit 451," "Godless," "Twin Peaks," and "Waco."  I would probably have gone with "Twin Peaks."  Just the same, this award went to a speculative fiction nominee, so I'm happy.

The final award was for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie, Emmy winner Selina MacArthur ("USS Callister (Black Mirror)") 2018 Creative Arts Emmys Press Room.


"USS Callister" was competing with three episodes of "The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" and one of "Twin Peaks," and I might have gone with "Twin Peaks" again.  Good thing I didn't take the opportunity to be wrong.  Just the same, congratulations to the crew of the "USS Callister," both the actors and the actual film crew!

I'll return with more Emmy blogging after Talk like a Pirate Day.  Stay tuned.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Speculative fiction movie and television first-round nominees at the 2018 People's Choice Awards


I told my readers to "stay tuned for an entry about the People's Choice Awards nominees" to conclude Diversity and speculative fiction in dramas at the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards.  Here are the categories that include speculative fiction first-round nominees for movies and television from Wikipedia along with my choices.
The Movie of 2018

Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther
Deadpool 2
Fifty Shades Freed
Incredibles 2
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Ocean's 8
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story
A Wrinkle in Time
It's easier to pick out the non-speculative fiction movies from this field than to list the speculative fiction ones — "Fifty Shades Freed," "Mission: Impossible – Fallout," and "Ocean's 8."  Even the last two are genre films nominated under action, which means I'm likely to see both on the Saturn Awards ballot next May.  This shows how strong speculative fiction movies are, at least for the first nine months of the year, before movies meant for the Oscars show up in theaters.  Speaking of which, I'm voting for the current box office leader, "Black Panther."  I also think it has a good chance of winning with its main competition being "Avengers: Infinity War."

There are no speculative fiction nominees for The Comedy Movie of 2018, but three stand out, "Book Club," "Crazy Rich Asians," and "Game Night."  That last might be nominated for Best Action Movie along with "Mission: Impossible – Fallout" and "Ocean's 8" at the Saturn Awards.  On the other hand, my favorite of the three is "Book Club," so I'm voting for it but I think "Crazy Rich Asians" will win.  Speaking of which, I plan on voting for Awkwafina for The Comedy Movie Star of 2018 even though I think Constance Wu or Tiffany Haddish will likely win.
The Action Movie of 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp
Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther
Deadpool 2
The Equalizer 2
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
The Meg
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Ocean's 8
Rampage
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Again, it's easier to pick out the non-speculative fiction movies from this field than to list the speculative fiction ones — "The Equalizer 2," "Mission: Impossible – Fallout" and "Ocean's 8."  The rest are superhero and science fiction movies, although I suspect "Rampage," a video game movie, might be classified as fantasy at next year's Saturn Awards.  Again, my choice for this award is the same as for The Movie of 2018, "Black Panther."
The Drama Movie of 2018

12 Strong
The 15:17 to Paris
Acrimony
Adrift
Annihilation
BlacKkKlansman
Breaking In
Fifty Shades Freed
The First Purge
Midnight Sun
A Quiet Place
Red Sparrow
Despite this being the most mainstream and "serious" of the categories, three of these movies are still speculative fiction, "Annihilation," "The First Purge," and "A Quiet Place," the latter two of which are horror movies and the first is a science fiction film that plays like a horror film.  My favorite is "A Quiet Place," so I'm voting for it.  I also plan on voting for it next year for Best Horror Film at the Saturn Awards.
The Family Movie of 2018

A.X.L.
A Wrinkle in Time
Christopher Robin
Early Man
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
I Can Only Imagine
Incredibles 2
Paddington 2
Peter Rabbit
Sherlock Gnomes
Show Dogs
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Other than "I Can Only Imagine," all of these movies are speculative fiction, mostly fantasy or animation with the exception of the science fiction film "A.X.L."  Out of all of them, the box office leader and personal favorite is "Incredibles 2," which I think will repeat the accomplishments of "Coco" by winning every award for which it is nominated, including Best Animated Film at the Saturn Awards.  I'm voting for it now and I'll vote for it then.
The Drama Movie Star of 2018

Emily Blunt – A Quiet Place
Jamie Dornan – Fifty Shades Freed
Chris Hemsworth – 12 Strong
John Krasinski – A Quiet Place
Jennifer Lawrence – Red Sparrow
Ewan McGregor – Christopher Robin
Natalie Portman – Annihilation
Gina Rodriguez – Annihilation
John David Washington – BlacKkKlansman
Oprah Winfrey – A Wrinkle in Time
Reese Witherspoon – A Wrinkle in Time
Shailene Woodley – Adrift
Since my favorite "drama" film is "A Quiet Place," I'm voting for my favorite star from the move, which is Emily Blunt.  Sorry, John Krasinski, I liked your wife's performance better.
The Male Movie Star of 2018

Chadwick Boseman – Black Panther
John Boyega – Pacific Rim Uprising
Pierce Brosnan – Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Tom Cruise – Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Robert Downey Jr. – Avengers: Infinity War
Chris Hemsworth – Avengers: Infinity War
Dwayne Johnson – Skyscraper
Michael B. Jordan – Black Panther
Chris Pratt – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool 2
Nick Robinson – Love, Simon
Paul Rudd – Ant-Man and the Wasp
By the logic above that drove me to vote for Emily Blunt, I should vote for Chadwick Boseman.  I'm not.  He will probably still win, but I enjoyed Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool far more, so I'm voting for him.
The Female Movie Star of 2018

Emily Blunt – A Quiet Place
Sandra Bullock – Ocean's 8
Anne Hathaway – Ocean's 8
Bryce Dallas Howard – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Lily James – Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Scarlett Johansson – Avengers: Infinity War
Jennifer Lawrence – Red Sparrow
Evangeline Lilly – Ant-Man and the Wasp
Leslie Mann – Blockers
Melissa McCarthy – Life of the Party
Oprah Winfrey – A Wrinkle in Time
Reese Witherspoon – A Wrinkle in Time
Oprah Winfrey has the biggest name, Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lawrence have both won Oscars, and Scarlett Johansson has the only nomination from the highest grossing movie with a nominee in this category, but I'm not voting for any of them.  Instead, its Emily Blunt.  I hope to see her on the list of nominees for Best Actress in a Film at next year's Saturn Awards, where she's the front runner for my vote so far.
The Action Movie Star of 2018

Chadwick Boseman – Black Panther
Tom Cruise – Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Donald Glover – Solo: A Star Wars Story
Danai Gurira – Black Panther
Chris Hemsworth – Avengers: Infinity War
Scarlett Johansson – Avengers: Infinity War
Dwayne Johnson – Rampage
Michael B. Jordan – Black Panther
Evangeline Lilly – Ant-Man and the Wasp
Chris Pratt – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool 2
Alicia Vikander – Tomb Raider
I'm voting for Ryan Reynolds again here, although I think either Chadwick Boseman or Chris Hemsworth will win.

Follow over the jump for the television nominees.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Diversity and speculative fiction in dramas at the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards


"That's it for comedies.  Stay tuned for a similar post about dramas"  So I ended
Diversity and fantasy in comedy nominees at the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards and so I shall continue today.  I begin with the nominees for Outstanding Drama Series.
The Americans (FX)
The Crown (Netflix)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
This Is Us (NBC)
Westworld (HBO)
As I've already reported in Diversity a winner at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, this is a record year for diverse performing nominees and "The Handmaid's Tale" has already earned an Emmy that recognized a performance by Samira Wiley, an LGBT African-American.  In addition, both "This Is Us" and "Westworld" have nominated actors that added to the diversity of nominees, all of whom I'll write about below.  It's also a better year than last year, when 'Westworld' led drama series with 22 Emmy nominations, followed by 'Stranger Things' with 19 and 'The Handmaid's Tale' with 13 with "Game of Thrones" joining last year's top speculative fiction shows and tying "Saturday Night Live" at 22 nominations.*  I'm also sure that a speculative fiction series will win for the fourth time in a row, as I see this category as a contest between last year's winner "The Handmaid's Tale" and the year before's winner "Game of Thrones."  If all things were equal, I would say that "Game of Thrones" would win, but I'm not sure that they are.  If the anti-Trump zeitgeist that propelled "The Handmaid's Tale" to victory in this category as well as both actress categories plus directing and writing last last year is still as strong, then it will likely repeat.  Either way, it would be fantastic and futuristic politics and government for the win.

If one is looking for an upset, I expect it would be "The Americans," which won Program of the Year at the 2018 Television Critics Association Awards.  That would still be a program about politics and government, although it wouldn't be my choice.  I'm rooting for "Westworld," although I think I will be disappointed.


Now for the acting categories, beginning with Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde on Ozark (Episode: "The Toll") (Netflix)
Sterling K. Brown as Randall Pearson on This Is Us (Episode: "Number Three") (NBC)
Ed Harris as The Man in Black / William on Westworld (Episode: "Vanishing Point") (HBO)
Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings on The Americans (Episode: "START") (FX)
Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson on This Is Us (Episode: "The Car") (NBC)
Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe on Westworld (Episode: "The Passenger") (HBO)
Well, look at that, a rematch of Ed Harris versus Jeffrey Wright, who contended against each other for Best Supporting Actor on Television for these same roles at the 2017 Saturn Awards, a contest Ed Harris won.  I don't think that will happen here for two reasons.  First, Jeffrey Wright delivered the more nuanced and complex performance, which would be rewarded by the voters of the Television Academy, unlike the Saturn Award voters, who are not about subtle.  Second, Sterling K. Brown is the returning winner, so I expect he's favored.  Either would be a win for diversity as well as great acting.

My choice for an upset would be Jason Bateman.  My wife and I are in the middle of binge-watching "Ozark" and we are really impressed with Bateman's performance.  So might the Emmy voters.


Speculative fiction also has strong representation among the nominees for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II on The Crown (Episode: "Dear Mrs. Kennedy") (Netflix)
Tatiana Maslany as Various Characters on Orphan Black (Episode: "To Right the Wrongs of Many") (BBC America)
Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne / Offred on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "The Last Ceremony") (Hulu)
Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri on Killing Eve (Episode: "I Have a Thing About Bathrooms") (BBC America)
Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings on The Americans (Episode: "The Summit") (FX)
Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy on Westworld (Episode: "Reunion") (HBO)
While I'm rooting for Evan Rachel Wood, I doubt she'll win.  Instead, I think it's another contest between the past two winners, Tatiana Maslany, who won two years ago, and Elisabeth Moss, who won last year.  While neither would be a win for diversity — that would be Sandra Oh, who is the first actress of Asian ancestry to be nominated for this category — both would be wins for speculative fiction, which would make me happy.  Finally, my choice for an upset would be Keri Russell, who won Individual Achievement in Drama at the TCA Awards.  That would be a fitting send-off for the final season of the spy drama as well as a different way to make an anti-Trump and anti-Putin statement.


Every nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series represents speculative fiction show or a series that examines politics and government with some examining both — more fantastic and futuristic politics and government!
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones (Episode: "The Spoils of War") (HBO)
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones (Episode: "The Dragon and the Wolf") (HBO)
Joseph Fiennes as Commander Fred Waterford on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "First Blood") (Hulu)
David Harbour as Jim Hopper on Stranger Things (Episode: "Chapter Four: Will the Wise") (Netflix)
Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson on Homeland (Episode: "Species Jump") (Showtime)
Matt Smith as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on The Crown (Episode: "Mystery Man") (Netflix)
I asked what if the entertainment professionals voted on the television acting nominations at the Saturn Awards?  The answer for this category was that Peter Dinklage would replace Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as a nominee.  It turns out that the Saturn Award nominating committee got Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's nomination right, just as they did for Adina Porter in "American Horror Story: Cult."  On the other hand, I was right to think that Peter Dinklage deserved a nomination as well.  Sorry, Kit Harington.  I also called that the professionals would pick David Harbour, who the Saturn Awards snubbed.  All of them, plus Joseph Fiennes from "The Handmaid's Tale," performed in series that potray fantastic and futuristic politics and government, so any of them winning would satisfy me.  As for who would win, I'm personally rooting for Harbour, who won a Critics' Choice Award, but I think the trophy will go to Dinklage, who is the only one of the nominees to win this category, which he did twice, most recently in 2015.  My hope for an upset would be Mandy Patinkin, but watch it be Matt Smith.  At least both have speculative fiction credentials, Patinkin for "The Princess Bride" and Smith for "Doctor Who."

By the way, this is the least diverse acting category, where the best one could do is point out how many of the nominees are European.  *Snort!*


All four top speculative fiction series have nominees for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
Alexis Bledel as Emily / Ofsteven on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Unwomen") (Hulu)
Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven on Stranger Things (Episode: "Chapter Three: The Pollywog") (Netflix)
Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "June") (Hulu)
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones (Episode: "The Dragon and the Wolf") (HBO)
Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret on The Crown (Episode: "Beryl") (Netflix)
Thandie Newton as Maeve Millay on Westworld (Episode: "Akane no Mai") (HBO)
Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Women's Work") (Hulu)
My personal favorite is Thandie Newton, who I liked better than Evan Rachel Wood in this season of "Westworld," followed by Millie Bobby Brown.  Unfortunately, I don't think either will win.  Instead, this category features a match-up between two of last year's winners, Ann Dowd, who won this award last year, and Alexis Bledel, who won Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for the same role last year.  Between the two of them, I think Dowd has the inside track.  My choice for upset would be either Newton or Vanessa Kirby.  The first would at least be a win for diversity as well as great acting, while the latter would be an example of a great role elevating a performance.

"Westworld" has no nominations in the next two categories, which is why I think it will not win Outstanding Drama Series.  On the other hand, "Game of Thrones," "The Handmaid's Tale," and "Stranger Things" do, so all of them have a shot, the first two especially so.

Here are the nominees for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.
The Crown (Episode: "Paterfamilias"), directed by Stephen Daldry (Netflix)
Game of Thrones (Episode: "Beyond the Wall"), directed by Alan Taylor (HBO)
Game of Thrones (Episode: "The Dragon and the Wolf"), directed by Jeremy Podeswa (HBO)
The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "After"), directed by Kari Skogland (Hulu)
Ozark (Episode: "The Toll"), directed by Jason Bateman (Netflix)
Ozark (Episode: "Tonight We Improvise"), directed by Daniel Sackheim (Netflix)
Stranger Things (Episode: "Chapter Nine: The Gate"), directed by the Duffer Brothers (Netflix)
This is the strongest category for "Ozark," so I think this is the category in which it has the best shot for a win.  Even so, I would consider it an upset, as "The Handmaid's Tale" won last year and "Game of Thrones" the two years before that.  Between the two, I give the advantage to "The Handmaid's Tale" based on its win at the DGA Awards.

The same is true for my opinion of the nominees for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.
The Americans (Episode: "START"), written by Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg (FX)
The Crown (Episode: "Mystery Man"), written by Peter Morgan (Netflix)
Game of Thrones (Episode: "The Dragon and the Wolf"), written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss (HBO)
The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "June"), written by Bruce Miller (Hulu)
Killing Eve (Episode: "Nice Face"), written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (BBC America)
Stranger Things (Episode: "Chapter Nine: The Gate"), written by the Duffer Brothers (Netflix)
Again, "The Handmaid's Tale" won last year and "Game of Thrones" the two years before that, so I think the contest is between them with the advantage going to "The Handmaid's Tale" based on its win at the WGA Awards.  I give a slim chance of an upset to "The Americans" for its final season.

I conclude with Season 2 Opening Credits for "Westworld," which earned a nomination for Outstanding Main Title Design.

Chaos takes control. Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright and James Marsden.
It did not win, but I was pleased to see it nominated anyway.

I plan on returning with posts about the winners on Tuesday.  In the meantime, stay tuned for an entry about the People's Choice Awards nominees.

*While "Game of Thrones" had the most overall Emmy Awards as of two years ago, the title now belongs to SNL with 54.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Ten years ago, we were partying like it was 1929. Are we about to do it again?


I concluded Diversity and fantasy in comedy nominees at the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards by telling my readers that I would "observe the 10th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, when we were partying like it was 1929."

I begin with an examination of the collapse of Lehmann Brothers a decade ago from VOA News reporting Ten Years After the Financial Crisis: What Happened, What We've Learned.

It will be 10 years this week since the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers, one of the casualties of the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis. The ripple effects sent the global economy into a tailspin and brought on the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. VOA correspondent Mariama Diallo takes a look at the impact of that turbulent economic period and the lessons learned a decade later.
That's actually a pretty good summary of the crisis from an elite perspective.  For what it looked like at ground level, I recommend US: Pains of the financial crisis still felt 10 years on by Al Jazeera English.

Saturday will have been a decade since the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank triggered a global recession. While the crisis played out on Wall Street and in government ministries, its roots lay in small towns and cities across the US, where families pursuing the so-called "American Dream" of home ownership fell victim to unscrupulous banks and predatory lending schemes. While Wall Street and the banks may have recovered, many Americans are finding their road to recovery longer and more difficult. Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds reports from Perris, California.
Thirty years ago, I lived just over the county line to the west of Perris, so this story literally hits close to home.  Speaking of which, I was fortunate to have gotten out of the housing market just in time, as I wrote in 2014.
The news on the radio in June 2005 trumpeted record home sales and prices.  I took it as a sign of the market top I'd been looking for since 2001 and immediately drove to the nearest real estate office to my home in the Irish Hills of Michigan and listed my house for sale.  The house sold in April 2006 and closed in May 2006, just as the bottom was about to fall out.
...
The result was that I got out of the market just in time...then rented from 2006 until now, eight years of riding the real estate market down by staying out of it.
It wasn't all luck.  I knew the housing bubble would pop, but I had no idea how big the explosion would be.  It ended up being far worse than I expected.

Both of the above looked back at the start of the Great Recession and how it led up to today.  What about the future?  MSNBC did that in 10 Years After The Lehman Brothers Collapse, Here’s Where We Stand | Velshi & Ruhle.

10 years ago this week, Lehman Brothers collapsed, marking the largest domino to fall leading to the financial disaster of 2008. Stephanie Ruhle discusses whether or not anything has changed and if we could end up making the same mistake. Weighing in: Axios Chief Financial Correspondent Felix Salmon, Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude and the Editor-and-Chief of American Consequences, PJ O’Rourke.
Student loan debt is indeed a problem, one that I've mentioned only once on this blog thanks to Benie Sanders campaigning on the issue in Ann Arbor two years ago.  However, I doubt it will send the economy into recession the way the housing bust did in 2007-2008, as the value of housing declining contributed to reduced consumption then caused a financial crisis, which made the recession worse.  That's because the value of a college education will not decline before a recession, so that won't drag down the valuation of the debt as an asset, putting strain on the financial system and causing a panic to start a recession.  Instead, the causality will go the other way; the recession will hit first, causing people to lose their jobs and make them unable to pay.  That will cause a debt crisis in the financial system.  At least banks can't foreclose on and repossess people's educations, so the students will still have them, unlike all the people who lost their homes, although that's small consolation to the graduate whose increased earnings from their education have gone to paying off the debt to get their education.  That alone is reducing consumption and home ownership, slowing down the economy.

I conclude by observing that this is a good time to update the recession call I made in The tax bill and the U.S. economy in 2018 and beyond.  I thought then that the U.S. would go into recession by the end of this year.  That's not going to happen.  It looks like the tax bill has stimulated the economy enough that it will continue expanding into next year.  However, the next recession is still coming.  Based on New Deal Democrat's analysis at Seeking Alpha, that should happen in the second half of next year, so I'm moving my recession call to between July and December 2019.  The bad news is that my readers and I may not know until the middle of 2020.  The good news is that it would be perfectly timed to screw up Trump's re-election, should he last that long, or Pence's should he not.  I can live with that.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Diversity and fantasy in comedy nominees at the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards

I am now done with stand-alone entries about the Creative Arts Emmy winners.  I'll save the rest for prediction and analysis entries about the comedies and dramas and final winners entries about the categories being awarded next Monday, when the Primetime Emmy Awards will be aired.  Stay tuned.
That's how I ended 'Jane,' 'Strong Island,' 'Wild Wild Country,' 'Blue Planet II,' and 'March of the Penguins 2' all winners at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, so I'll resume by combining the topics of Diversity a winner at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards and 'Westworld,' 'Game of Thrones,' 'The Handmaid's Tale,' 'Stranger Things,' and other speculative fiction nominees at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards for the comedy nominees.

I begin with the nominees for Outstanding Comedy Series.
Atlanta (FX)
Barry (HBO)
Black-ish (ABC)
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
GLOW (Netflix)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
There are no speculative fiction nominees here, not even "Big Bang Theory," so I'll go directly to diversity.  The nominees that most directly address diversity are "Atlanta" and "Black-ish."  The first has the better chance of winning an Emmy, but the second is more explictly political.  "GLOW" also has a diverse cast and deals with depictions of race in the 1980s in addition to issues of women on the fringe of Hollywood.  However, I don't think any of them will win.  Instead, as I wrote in 'Saturday Night Live' leads Outstanding Variety Sketch Series nominations, again, "'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel'...should win for Outstanding Comedy Series."  It's a very well done, funny, and insightful show and it's about entertainment, albeit stand-up in New York City during the 1950s, not Hollywood, but all that should be enough for victory.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
Anthony Anderson as Andre "Dre" Johnson, Sr. on Black-ish (Episode: "Advance to Go (Collect $200)") (ABC)
Ted Danson as Michael on The Good Place (Episode: "Dance Dance Resolution") (NBC)
Larry David as Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm (Episode: "Fatwa!") (HBO)
Donald Glover as Earnest "Earn" Marks / Teddy Perkins on Atlanta (Episode: "Teddy Perkins") (FX)
Bill Hader as Barry Berkman / Barry Block on Barry (Episode: "Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast, and Keep Going") (HBO)
William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher on Shameless (Episode: "Sleepwalking") (Showtime)
Once again, it's "Atlanta" and "Black-ish" representing diversity with Donald Glover as the returning winner for "Atlanta."  His strongest competition might be Ted Danson of "The Good Place," who won the comparable award at the Critics' Choice Television Awards, and William H. Macy, who won the comparable SAG Award.  As much as I'm rooting for Danson, I think Glover is likely to repeat.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Pamela Adlon as Sam Fox on Better Things (Episode: "Eulogy") (FX)
Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam "Midge" Maisel on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Episode: "Thank You and Good Night") (Amazon)
Allison Janney as Bonnie Plunkett on Mom (Episode: "Phone Confetti and a Wee Dingle") (CBS)
Issa Rae as Issa Dee on Insecure (Episode: "Hella Great") (HBO)
Tracee Ellis Ross as Dr. Rainbow "Bow" Johnson on Black-ish (Episode: "Elder. Scam.") (ABC)
Lily Tomlin as Frankie Bergstein on Grace and Frankie (Episode: "The Home") (Netflix)
Issa Rae from "Insecure" and Tracee Ellis Ross from "Black-ish" are the nominees increasing the diversity of the field, but I'm sure that Rachel Brosnahan as the title character of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" will win.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the nominees.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

'Jane,' 'Strong Island,' 'Wild Wild Country,' 'Blue Planet II,' and 'March of the Penguins 2' all winners at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards


I told my readers to "Stay tuned for the winners of awards for documentary movies, specials, and series." to conclude 'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown' wins six posthumous Creative Arts Emmy Awards.  I begin with what I wrote yesterday about the first of two statuettes won by "Jane."Here are my predictions from 'Jane,' 'Icarus,' and 'Blue Planet II' — Nature, science, and politics in documentaries at the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmy Awards.
The nominees for Outstanding Cinematography For A Nonfiction Program pit nature against cuisine with "Jane" and two episodes of "Blue Planet II" representing nature, while one episode each of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" and "Chef's Table" competing for cuisine.  What a tough category!  I think "Blue Planet II" is the favorite based on the win for "Planet Earth II" in this category last year, but I wouldn't be surprised if "Jane" pulls out an upset.
"Jane" got this one.  I'll have more to say about that and its other Emmy tomorrow.
This partially makes up for "Jane" being the best documentary not nominated at the 2018 Oscars.  So does its win in the next category, which I handicapped in 'Jane,' 'Icarus,' and 'Blue Planet II' — Nature, science, and politics in documentaries at the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmy Awards.
Episode 8 of "The Vietnam War" by Ken Burns joins "Icarus," "Jane," "Wild Wild Country," and "The Zen Diaries of Gary Shandling" in competing for Outstanding Directing For A Documentary/Nonfiction Program.  So far, "The Vietnam War" is the only work I've seen nominated both at the Creative Arts/Primetime Emmy Awards, where it has four nominations, and at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, where it has two nominations.  Because of that, it might deserve an entry all by itself.  Tallying its wins and nominations at its IMDB page then adding the missing Emmy nominations from both television academies gives it 15 points.  That would put it behind "Jane" with 42 and "Icarus" with 17, but that might not matter, as Ken Burns is legendary and so might even be favored.  Out of the entire field, only "Icarus" earned a nomination at the DGA Awards, so I think it's the next best bet, the highest score for "Jane" not withstanding.
My head with with "The Vietnam War" and "Icarus," but my heart and the numbers were with "Jane."  I should have gone with them for a second win well deserved.  Speaking of which, Deadline Hollywood blogged part of director Brett Morgen's acceptance speech.
“You’re all in my dream right now,” says director Morgen, winning with his eighth nomination. “I have nothing prepared.” He says his team went two months over in their sound mix and other aspects of production, and Nat Geo “never called me,” saying he was grateful they let him get on with his work uninterrupted.
I wished it had won Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, but I'm still happy that "Jane" finally got the recognition from a major awards show that it deserves.  I can now recommend the film to my students as an Emmy winner.  Congratulations!


Speaking of Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, here is what I wrote about the nominees in that category last month.
Competing against "Jane" for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking are "City of Ghosts," "Strong Island," and "What Haunts Us."  I ranked both "City of Ghosts" and "Strong Island" as the top two political documentaries of 2017 while this seems to be the first nomination for "What Haunts Us," one that IMDB hasn't even bothered to list yet.  While "City of Ghosts" and "Jane" earned earned nominations at the BAFTA Awards and "City of Ghosts" won a Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award, both were snubbed for Best Documentary at the 2018 Academy Awards, while only "Strong Island" earned an Oscar nod.  I'm thrilled to see all three recognized together, even if it took the Television Academy to do so.

As for which will win, note that only "Jane" has more than one nomination at the Emmy Awards; all the rest only earned single nominations for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking.  To establish a ranking, I'll let the points system I've used before tell the tale.  Adding one point for each of the seven nominations and two points for the EMA Award to the 29 points "Jane" had as of March 3rd yields 38 points, while adding the EMA Award and four missing nominations to the awards I count listed on the documentary's IMDB page yields 42 points.  Before this nomination, "City of Ghosts" had 25 points from awards programs other than film festivals.  With the Emmy nomination, it has 26.  "Strong Island" had 16 points in March; it now has 21.  "What Haunts Us" only has one, although I suspect this will change, as the film was released in 2018 and is eligible for awards for this year's documentaries.  Just the same, the numbers support my personal preference, which is for "Jane" to win.
The Oscar nominee won, so the Motion Picture Academy's opinion ended up counting.  Besides, out of all the nominees, it was the one that could be interpreted as having the most anti-Trump theme with its Black Lives Matter (or at least one African-American's life mattered) message.  That helped propel "Icarus" to an Oscar for Best Documentary and I think it helped "Strong Island" at the Emmy Awards.  That couldn't be said about "Jane," as I doubt its environmental theme would have sent the same message.  That written, congratulations to "Strong Island" and Yance Ford, who "made history as the first openly trans man to be nominated for an Academy Award and tonight he made history once again for being the first openly trans man — a trans man of color for that matter — to win Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking."


Unfortunately for "Icarus," that same anti-Putin and anti-Trump sentiment did not transfer its Oscar win into an Emmy, which didn't surprise me.
"Icarus" has already won Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards.  Now the movie has a chance at three Emmy Awards — Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special, Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program, and Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program, the latter two in direct competition with "Jane."  Despite its winning an Oscar, I'm not sure that "Icarus" is the favorite to win Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special, as its competition consists of "Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond - Featuring A Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention Of Tony Clifton," "Mister Rogers: It's You I Like," "Spielberg," and "The Zen Diaries Of Garry Shandling," four nominees about show business, three of them about Hollywood.  As I mentioned for "Birdman" and Meryl Streep narrating "Five Came Back" last year and "Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405," a film about Hollywood "is enough to get the Motion Picture Academy members to vote for it if all other factors are equal" and "Never underestimate the power of Hollywood voting for a good film or show about itself."  The best hope for "Icarus" lies in the films about Hollywood splitting the vote and the same anti-Trump sentiment that led to "The Handmaid's Tale" sweeping the last night of the Emmys to win five awards last year combines with the continued anti-Russian sentiment that helped it win an Oscar inducing people to vote for it instead of "Mister Rogers: It's You I Like," the other nominee that anti-Trump sentiment in Hollwood might rally around.  I'm not optimistic, but then I didn't think "Icarus" would win the Academy Award, either.

The number of Emmy nominations for each nominee supports my uncertainty about "Icarus" winning.  "The Zen Diaries Of Garry Shandling" ties "Icarus" with three nominations, "Mister Rogers: It's You I Like" has two nominations, while "Spielberg" and "Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond - Featuring A Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention Of Tony Clifton" appear to be the weakest competition with just the one nomination each for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special.  On the other hand, the point system I use awards "Icarus" 17 points for its wins and nominations, "Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond - Featuring A Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention Of Tony Clifton" six, "The Zen Diaries Of Garry Shandling" and "Spielberg" tie at three each, and "Mister Rogers: It's You I Like" has only two.  "Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond - Featuring A Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention Of Tony Clifton" and "The Zen Diaries Of Garry Shandling" seem like the best Hollywood choices to win.
I was right to not be optimistic about the likelihood of "Icarus" and think that "The Zen Diaries Of Garry Shandling" had one of the best chances of winning, as the former ended up being one of the also-rans while that latter won the award.  Not only was it about Hollywood, it was about a beloved dead celebrity.  That worked really well for Anthony Bourdain and it worked for Garry Shandling, something Deadline Hollywood noted.
This is turning into a night of tributes with the victory for the documentary about the late and great Garry Shandling. “I’d like to thank my wife Leslie,” director Judd Apatow says. “I’d like to not thank my two children Maude and Iris,” he added, after chiding them earlier in the show for not coming with him tonight. “I won — it would have been fun to be here. Never again.”
Congratulations!

Follow over the jump for the winners in the rest of the categories where documentaries were nominated.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown' wins six posthumous Creative Arts Emmy Awards


Yesterday, I told my readers to "stay tuned for me following up on 'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown' earns seven posthumous Emmy nominations; the series won six of them!"  I expected a sympathy vote would earn him and his show two, maybe three, awards.  I had no idea Bourdain and "Parts Unknown" would win six.  I vastly underestimated the effect his death would have on the Emmy voters.  I begin the discussion with Wochit Entertainment's Anthony Bourdain Honored With Posthumous Emmy Awards.

CNN reported that the Television Academy honored late host Anthony Bourdain on Sunday with multiple wins at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Bourdain and his series, "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," which airs on CNN, won six awards. They included two individual awards for Bourdain, one for outstanding writing for a nonfiction program and another for outstanding informational series. CNN will premiere the first of eight final episodes of "Parts Unknown" on September 23.
Time to compare my predictions with reality, beginning with one I made in Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and NASA all nominees at the 70th Emmy Awards about the nominees for Outstanding Informational Series or Special, including "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown."
I doubt either "StarTalk" or "Vice" will win.  Instead, I think it will be either “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” which won this category last year, or Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, which won the category the four years before that.  Because of Bourdain's recent suicide, I suspect his show has the inside track.
I was right; it won.  I later predicted "that the same sympathy vote will make "Anthony Bourdain: Explore Parts Unknown" the major rival to "Jay Leno's Garage" for Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction Or Reality Series."  It was and it won as well.

Follow over the jump for the other four wins and one loss.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

'United Shades of America' and 'Life Below Zero' both win at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards


I'm making a small down payment on the promise to blog about the non-fiction winners at the Emmy Awards I made at the end of 'The Americans' wins Program of the Year plus other winning shows about politics and government at the 2018 Television Critics Association Awards by following up on 'Born This Way,' 'Deadliest Catch,' and 'United Shades of America' — society and nature in reality TV programs at the Emmy Awards."
The returning winner for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program, as I mentioned above, is "United Shades of America With W. Kamau Bell," which  also earned nominations for Outstanding Host For A Reality Program and Outstanding Picture Editing For An Unstructured Reality Program.  I watched two episodes of this show the weekends after Anthony Bourdain died.  I found it fascinating, and not just for its humorous take on race and race relations.  I had no idea Bell was three-time Hugo winner N.K. Jemisin's cousin until I saw Bell interview her on his show.  I also saw little distinction between "United Shades of America" and "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" even though they are in different categories; the line between an informational nonfiction show and a reality show must be very fine.  I'm sure it also helps that they are promoted in different categories so that they don't step on each other at awards time.
...
Competing against "Born This Way," "United Shades of America," "Deadliest Catch," and "Naked And Afraid" for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program are "Intervention" and "RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked."  I doubt either of the latter two have much a chance at winning this category, although both examine serious social issues with the last doing so obliquely and light-heartedly.  Instead, I'm rooting for "United Shades of America" to win again.
I called this outcome, as Deadline reported that "United Shades of America" won Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program a second year in a row.  Congratulations!

Even in winning, "United Shades of America" couldn't escape the shadow of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, as Deadline blogged: "A shoutout to fellow CNNer Bourdain from senior show producer Geraldine Porras: 'This award is dedicated to the memory of Anthony Bourdain, who continues to inspire us every day.'"

While W. Kamau Bell lost Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program to RuPaul Charles, which I expected, "United Shades of America" won Outstanding Picture Editing For An Unstructured Reality Program for the first time, which I didn't.

ETA: The episode that won Outstanding Picture Editing For An Unstructured Reality Program was about Sikhs.  A friend of mine sent me the following email about what the episode meant for the Sikh community after I posted this entry:
Dear Friends,
We are excited to announce that the United Shades of America episode we worked on with W. Kamau Bell just won an Emmy! It is the first cable episode on Sikhs in America -- the first time the nation has seen Sikhs tell our own stories, in our own voices, for an hour on television. And now it has received the highest honor in the industry!
Let this win be a little beacon of light.
Today, as we mark seventeen years since 9/11, we believe that the best way to honor the thousands who died on this day and in its aftermath is to hear the STORIES that help us reckon with the past. The most brutal policies and rhetoric that drive hate in America today were first forged in the wake of 9/11. Our stories help us understand how to stand in solidarity with Muslims, Sikhs, and immigrants -- and how to birth a new future.
So on this anniversary, we invite you to hear a story you have never heard before.
Watch the Emmy-award winning "Sikhs in America" on DIRECTV hereThen scroll down for a list of films, books, and toolkits that help us understand 9/11 and hate in America today. Some we produced, others we curated, all center Sikh American stories the nation needs to hear. Starting with this episode of United Shades:
United Shades episode on Sikhs in America
Watch the United Shades episode on DIRECTV
Go to 27:11 to hear Valarie tell the story of Balbir Singh Sodhi, the first person killed in the wake of 9/11, and how his family shows us how to practice Revolutionary Love in an era of hate.
Thank you W. Kamau Bell, Donny Jackson, and team for producing this episode with vision and care, and the Sikh Coalition for dedicated support from start to finish. (Send them some love here: @wkamaubell  @sikh_coalition). 
And thank YOU for journeying with us. We curated the resources below for educators, parents, students, and all of you. Host a screening. Start a book club. Spark a dialogue. Share these resources far and wide. They are yours to light the way.
In Chardi Kala, ever-rising high spirits, even in the dark —
Valarie, Deeptej, Amy & the Revolutionary Love Fellows
That was inspiring.  Now back to the original post.

"Life Below Zero" did not earn a nomination for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program, but it did garner nominations for Outstanding Cinematography For A Reality Program and Outstanding Picture Editing For An Unstructured Reality Program.  It is competing against both "Born This Way" and "Deadliest Catch" in the first category along with competition reality shows "The Amazing Race" and "RuPaul's Drag Race" and structured reality show "Queer Eye."  As I mentioned above, "Born This Way" won Outstanding Cinematography For A Reality Program last year, so I expect it will win again.  In the second category, it faces all three of "Born This Way," "United Shades of America," and "Deadliest Catch" along with "RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked."  Here, "Life Below Zero" holds the trophy and would be my choice to win.
However, "Life Below Zero" did not go away empty-handed, as it won Outstanding Cinematography For A Reality Program.  Congratulations!  In the case of both "United Shades of America" and "Life Below Zero," I was glad to be wrong.  On the other hand, "Born This Way" did, as it not only lost Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program and Outstanding Picture Editing For An Unstructured Reality Program and Outstanding Casting For A Reality Program to "United Shades of America" and Outstanding Cinematography For A Reality Program to "Life Below Zero", it lost its fourth nomination, Outstanding Casting For A Reality Program, to "Queer Eye."  In contrast, the latter had a good night, also winning Outstanding a Structured Reality Program and Outstanding Picture Editing for a Structured or Competition Reality Program for a total of three.  Congratulations to "Queer Eye!"

I might have more to say about reality shows after the Primetime Emmy Awards, when Outstanding Reality-Competition Program will be awarded, especially if "RuPaul's Drag Race" wins.  In the meantime, stay tuned for me following up on 'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown' earns seven posthumous Emmy nominations; the series won six of them!