Friday, September 17, 2021

'The Crown' vs. 'The Handmaid's Tale' — politics and government in drama nominees at the Emmy Awards


I opened 'Ted Lasso' vs. 'Hacks' eclipses 'Black-ish' and 'The Flight Attendant' in comedies at the Emmy Awards with "Tragedy (or at least drama) tomorrow" and closed it by telling my readers to "stay tuned for the drama nominees." Without any further ado, here are the seven drama series categories at the Primetime Emmy Awards along with commentary on their chances of winning.
Outstanding Drama Series

The Boys (Prime Video)
Bridgerton (Netflix)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
Lovecraft Country (HBO)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Pose (FX)
This Is Us (NBC)
All of the drama series nominees except the family drama "This Is Us" are about politics and government to some degree. "The Boys" depicts fantastic U.S. poltics with superheroes. The British Royal Family makes cameos in "Bridgerton," while they are the stars of "The Crown." "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Lovecraft Country" make scorching political and social statements about American dystopia, the former about a feared future, the latter about the dreaded past. "The Mandalorian" explores the "Star Wars" universe between the fall of the Galactic Empire and the rise of the First Order. Finally, "Pose" examines society and politics during the AIDS epidemic.

Before I make my commentary, I'm sharing two videos from Gold Derby, beginning with 2021 Emmy predictions slugfest: In drama series, 'The Crown' poised to make history for Netflix.

“'The Crown' has been kind of on a roll," Gold Derby senior editor Daniel Montgomery admits about the Netflix flagship drama winning everything in its path this season. "Through the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, PGA Awards, DGA Awards, Writers Guild, it's been kind of a romp for that show, which would actually make it a first Best Drama Series for Netflix in its history,” he explains. Montgomery is joined by fellow senior editors Marcus James Dixon and Rob Licuria to dish who and what could upset the Netflix prestige drama. It's on course to finally claim its first Best Drama Series trophy for its acclaimed fourth season and finally break the streamer's inexplicable curse at the Emmys, having never won a series trophy in any genre. Watch the Emmy predictions slugfest video above.
Next, Final 2021 Emmy predictions: Expect 'Ted Lasso,' 'The Crown' and 'The Queen's Gambit' domination.

How many Emmys will "Ted Lasso," "The Crown" and "The Queen's Gambit" win? Gold Derby editors and Experts Christopher Rosen and Joyce Eng make their final picks for Sunday's ceremony.
I couldn't resist another video from my favorite critic duo of Eng and Rosen. I concur with them that the contest for Outstanding Drama Series is between "The Crown" and "The Handmaid's Tale," as both have eleven nominations at next Sunday's ceremony. "The Crown" won six Gold Derby TV Awards, Drama Series, Drama Actor for Josh O'Connor, Drama Actress for Emma Corrin, Drama Supporting Actress for Gillian Anderson, Drama Guest Actor for Charles Dance, and Ensemble of the Year. It could win four of those, as Courtney B. Vance as George Freeman from "Lovecraft Country" beat Dance for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series and the Emmys don't have an outstanding ensemble award beyond the casting categories. I'm still rooting for "The Handmaid's Tale."

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Sterling K. Brown as Randall Pearson on This Is Us (Episode: "Forty: Part 2") (NBC)
Jonathan Majors as Atticus Freeman on Lovecraft Country (Episode: "Sundown") (HBO)
Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles on The Crown (Episode: "Terra Nullius") (Netflix)
Regé-Jean Page as Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings on Bridgerton (Episode: "Art of the Swoon") (Netflix)
Billy Porter as Pray Tell on Pose (Episode: "Take Me To Church") (FX)
Matthew Rhys as Perry Mason on Perry Mason (Episode: "Chapter 8") (HBO)
This field features three former winners, Sterling K. Brown, Billy Porter, and Matthew Rhys. Of the three of them, I think Porter has the best shot at deposing nominal favorite O'Connor for this award, although I still think it's O'Connor's award to lose.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Uzo Aduba as Dr. Brooke Taylor on In Treatment (Episode: "Brooke – Week 5") (HBO)
Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II on The Crown (Episode: "48:1") (Netflix)
Emma Corrin as Princess Diana on The Crown (Episode: "Fairytale") (Netflix)
Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne / Offred on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Home") (Hulu)
Mj Rodriguez as Blanca Evangelista on Pose (Episode: "Series Finale") (FX)
Jurnee Smollett as Letitia "Leti" Lewis on Lovecraft Country (Episode: "Holy Ghost") (HBO)
This field pits Oscar winner Olivia Colman against Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss. That makes for good headlines, but I doubt either will win, as Emma Corrin has been beating Colman for her portrayal of Princess Diana in "The Crown" and will probably win. Too bad, as I praised Moss's acting this season and voted for her in the Saturn Awards.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon on The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 16: The Rescue") (Disney+)
O-T Fagbenle as Luke Bankole on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Home") (Hulu)
John Lithgow as Elias Birchard "E.B." Jonathan on Perry Mason (Episode: "Chapter 4") (HBO)
Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on The Crown (Episode: "Gold Stick") (Netflix)
Max Minghella as Commander Nick Blaine on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "The Crossing") (Hulu)
Chris Sullivan as Toby Damon on This Is Us (Episode: "In the Room") (NBC)
Bradley Whitford as Commander Joseph Lawrence on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Testimony") (Hulu)
Michael K. Williams as Montrose Freeman on Lovecraft Country (Episode: "Rewind 1921") (HBO) (posthumous)
The late Michael K. Williams won the Gold Derby Award and was alive to accept it, but he died since then. If that had happened during Emmy voting, it might have propelled a sympathy vote in addition to the momentum he earned winning the equivalent Gold Derby and Critics Choice Awards. I'd be fine with that, as Williams was more memorable than any of the nominees from "The Handmaid's Tale" and more intense than Giancarlo Esposito on "The Mandalorian" as much as he chewed the scenery as the main villain. If "Perry Mason" were a better show, then I think John Lithgow would have a good chance of winning, but I think the quality of this season of "The Crown" would more likely give Tobias Menzies the advantage instead. Williams should win, but Menzies probably will. Sigh. I hope I'm wrong.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher on The Crown (Episode: "Favourites") (Netflix)
Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret on The Crown (Episode: "The Hereditary Principle") (Netflix)
Madeline Brewer as Janine Lindo on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Testimony") (Hulu)
Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Progress") (Hulu)
Aunjanue Ellis as Hippolyta Freeman on Lovecraft Country (Episode: "I Am.") (HBO)
Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles on The Crown (Episode: "Fairytale") (Netflix)
Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Home") (Hulu)
Samira Wiley as Moira on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Vows") (Hulu)
I think Gillian Anderson will win this. She beat all of her co-stars from "The Crown" for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series at the SAG Awards and they were in leading roles while she was in a supporting one. Otherwise, it's the clearest matchup between "The Crown" and "The Handmaid's Tale" at next Sunday's awards.

Follow over the jump for the nominees behind the camera and the awards drama series won at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

SpaceX launches all-amateur/tourist crew, a 'Billionaire Space Race' update

I wrote about "Branson's and Bezos's launches two months ago as stages of what Neil DeGrasse Tyson called the "Billionaire Space Race." The third and leading billionaire in the contest fired back yesterday as MSNBC reported in SpaceX Makes History Launching All-Civilian Crew Into Orbit.

Elon Musk's aerospace company SpaceX launched four space tourists into orbit from Kennedy Space Center in Florida reaching a new milestone for the space tourism industry. NBC News Correspondent Cal Perry joins MSNBC's Brian Williams to discuss the history-making moment.
Musk himself didn't fly, but another billionaire did, as the Associated Press in the Detroit News reported.
Leading the flight is Jared Isaacman, 38, who made his fortune with a payment-processing company he started in his teens...Isaacman is the third billionaire to launch this summer, following the brief space-skimming flights by Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson and Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos in July.
Hayley Arceneaux, Chris Sembroski, and Sian Proctor joined Issacman on the flight. Together, they form the first all-tourist crew in orbit with no professional astronauts. While it comes off as a bit of a stunt, I still think that making space profitable, including space tourism, is a good thing for space exploration and exploitation.

MSNBC just showed highlights behind commentary. CBS News showed nearly all the launch in SpaceX makes history with successful launch of first all-civilian crew to orbit Earth.

SpaceX has launched four amateurs on a private flight to circle Earth for three days. It's the first time a rocket has streaked toward orbit with no professional astronauts on board. Former astronaut Garrett Resiman, who is also a senior advisor at SpaceX and a professor of astronautical engineering at USC, joins CBSN's Lana Zak to describe the launch.
The launch went well, so here's to a safe flight and landing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Business Insider looks at the rise and fall of Occupy Wall Street 10 years later

I'm taking a break from entertainment to look back at a major subject during the first year of this blog, Occupy Wall Street. Watch Business Insider's retrospective, Why Occupy Wall Street Failed 10 Years Ago | Rise And Fall.

Ten years ago, it seemed like Occupy Wall Street would change America. The movement that started in New York City's Financial District spread across the nation in weeks. But it died out as quickly as it started. What happened to Occupy Wall Street and did it even make a difference?
I pretty much agree with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, that the movement was good at attracting attention and directing it to the economic, social, and political problems, but didn't have a strategic goal or activists who would work to achieve it. However, it wasn't a waste of effort.

As I wrote on the first anniversary of my blogging about the protests, "One year later, the participants may no longer be camping out in Zuccotti Park, but they did turn economic inequality into a major subject of conversation..." Reich and others pointed out that it made the candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren possible and served as a model for the Black Lives Matter and Climate Strike protests, all of which I supported. So, Occupy Wall Street failed in the short term, but set up other long-term movements that have goals and strategies to achieve them. It also showed what not to do. That's just as important a lesson as its successes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

'Ted Lasso' vs. 'Hacks' eclipses 'Black-ish' and 'The Flight Attendant' in comedies at the Emmy Awards


I told my readers to "Stay tuned for comedy" at the end of 'The Queen's Gambit' leads limited series at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, but can it beat 'Mare of Easttown' and 'WandaVision' on the final night? Tragedy (or at least drama) tomorrow, comedy tonight! Here are the seven comedy series categories at the Primetime Emmy Awards along with commentary on their chances of winning.
Outstanding Comedy Series

Black-ish (ABC)
Cobra Kai (Netflix)
Emily in Paris (Netflix)
The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
Hacks (HBO Max)
The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
PEN15 (Hulu)
Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
This field of comedy nominees has less politics and government content than the nominees in the other scripted series categories at next week's ceremony. "Black-ish" regularly has political commentary, "PEN15" has public school as part of its setting, and "The Flight Attendant" is a crime comedy with a strong police presence that will only become more prominent next season as — spoiler — Kaley Cuoco's Cassie Bowden is recruited as an undercover agent at the end of the first season. That's it, although all of them include social commentary in their comedy.

Before I share my opinion of the nominee's chances, I'm embedding Gold Derby asking Emmy slug[f]est: Will 'Hacks' upset 'Ted Lasso?'

As 'Ted Lasso' kicks off its second season, Gold Derby editors Christopher Rosen and Joyce Eng discuss how many Emmys it can win and are very much into a battle of Hannah Einbinder from 'Hacks' and Hannah Waddingham.
I agree with Eng and Rosen that "Ted Lasso" is the prohibitive favorite in this category. Like "The Queen's Gambit," it won all the major end-of-year awards last year as well as the Gold Derby TV Awards. Unlike the limited series about chess, its competitor from HBO hasn't been enough to seriously challenge it for the lead. As for perennial nominee "Black-ish" and newcomers — to this category, at least — "PEN15" and "The Flight Attendant," I'd wish them better luck next year except that "Ted Lasso" will return for its second season, keeping them from winning again. Darn. Here's to hoping "What We Do in the Shadows" doesn't get snubbed again next year.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson as Andre "Dre" Johnson, Sr. on Black-ish (Episode: "What About Gary?") (ABC)
Michael Douglas as Sandy Kominsky on The Kominsky Method (Episode: "Chapter 20. The round toes, of the high shoes") (Netflix)
William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher on Shameless (Episode: "Father Frank, Full of Grace") (Showtime)
Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso on Ted Lasso (Episode: "Pilot") (Apple TV+)
Kenan Thompson as Kenan Williams on Kenan (Episode: "Flirting") (NBC)
This is a very impressive field of nominees, but like his series, this award is Jason Sudeikis's to lose. Next!

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Aidy Bryant as Annie Easton on Shrill (Episode: "Ranchers") (Hulu)
Kaley Cuoco as Cassie Bowden on The Flight Attendant (Episode: "In Case of Emergency") (HBO Max)
Allison Janney as Bonnie Plunkett on Mom (Episode: "My Kinda People and the Big To-Do") (CBS)
Tracee Ellis Ross as Dr. Rainbow "Bow" Johnson on Black-ish (Episode: "Babes in Boyland") (ABC)
Jean Smart as Deborah Vance on Hacks (Episode: "1.69 Million") (HBO Max)
Again, this is a very impressive field of nominees, but it's Jean Smart's award to lose, particularly since she won Performer of the Year at the Gold Derby TV Awards. Too bad, as I really enjoyed Kaley Cuoco's performance.

Follow over the jump for the nominations I already covered in It's Saturday night, so here are the 21 Emmy nominations for 'Saturday Night Live' along with those for people behind the camera.

Monday, September 13, 2021

'The Queen's Gambit' leads limited series at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, but can it beat 'Mare of Easttown' and 'WandaVision' on the final night?


I decided to combine my last two ideas for this year's Emmy Awards coverage, Creative Arts Emmy winners and limited series nominees , both from 'Oslo' earned two nominations at the 2021 Emmy Awards. I begin by noting that "The Queen's Gambit" is currently leading all shows after three Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremonies over two days with nine wins. "WandaVision" is second among limited and anthology series with three, while "I May Destroy You" and "Mare Of Easttown" have one each so far. "The Queen's Gambit" is guaranteed to at least tie fo the most Emmy Awards of any limited series. There are only seven limited series categories at the Primetime Emmy Awards and "WandaVision" and "Mare of Easttown" are each competing in only six of them, so even if "WandaVision" swept its categories next week, and it probably won't, as I think Kate Winslet is favored over Elizabeth Olsen in their acting category, it would at best tie with "The Queen's Gambit" with nine awards each. Meanwhile, if "Mare of Easttown" swept the final night of the Emmys, it would still have only seven awards, two behind "The Queen's Gambit." Congratulations to the series about chess!

That leads to the subject matter of each show. All of the nominees feature strong social commentary and political and government content. While "Mare of Easttown" explores family dynamics inside a crime drama, the latter provides the most realistic portrayal of government, as law enforcement is a function of government. On the other hand, while "WandaVision" is primarily a tragicomic exploration of grief, a fantastic and futuristic government agency, S.W.O.R.D., plays a major part as one of the antagonists. "The Underground Railroad" can't help but be political in its magical realist story of escaping from slavery. Law enforcement plays a secondary part in "I May Destroy You," a story of a journalist who is also a rape survivor, so the police make recurring appearances. "The Queen's Gambit" caps off its story of a woman finding her place in a man's world by going to the U.S.S.R. for its finale, adding an international political angle to its social commentary.

Now, the nominees at next week's ceremony, beginning with the show category.
Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series

I May Destroy You (HBO)
Mare of Easttown (HBO)
The Queen's Gambit (Netflix)
The Underground Railroad (Prime Video)
WandaVision (Disney+)
Before I share my opinions, I'm giving Gold Derby a chance to ask Emmy Experts Slugest: Will 'The Queen's Gambit' hold off 'Mare of Easttown'?

Emmy Experts Slugest: Will 'The Queen's Gambit' hold off 'Mare of Easttown'? For a while, it felt like the three major series awards at the Emmys -- comedy, drama and limited -- had runaway frontrunners, but one of them has lost some ground recently. Gold Derby editors and Experts Christopher Rosen and Joyce Eng are here to take a look at the limited races and if the "Queen" can in fact take the crown.
Based on total nominations, the answer is yes, but Christopher Rosen and Joyce Eng are talking more about the show category than the craft categories, where "The Queen's Gambit" had advantages in subject matter and time period as well as execution. After watching "Mare of Easttown," "The Queen's Gambit," and "WandaVision," I think "Mare of Easttown" told the best story with the best lead actress, so it's my pick to win this category.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

Michaela Coel as Arabella on I May Destroy You (HBO)
Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin on Genius: Aretha (National Geographic)
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch on WandaVision (Disney+)
Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon on The Queen's Gambit (Netflix)
Kate Winslet as Mare Sheehan on Mare of Easttown (HBO)
While I'm glad to see Cynthia Erivo nominated, I think she had the misfortune to be competing against an especially strong field that I think Kate Winslet will win against, just as she did at the Gold Derby TV Awards. Her main competition is Anya Taylor-Joy, who won the equivalent categories at all the major awards shows last year before "Mare of Easttown" came out. The only thing that would help "WandaVision" is that it's a show about television that isn't about show business, but about the importance of television to its viewers, an angle that the Television Academy voters would find flattering. "See, we matter!" I don't think it will be enough in this category.
Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

I May Destroy You, Written by Michaela Coel (HBO)
Mare of Easttown, Written by Brad Ingelsby (HBO)
The Queen's Gambit, Written by Scott Frank (Netflix)
WandaVision (Episode: "All-New Halloween Spooktacular!"), Written by Chuck Hayward and Peter Cameron (Disney+)
WandaVision (Episode: "Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience"), Written by Jac Schaeffer (Disney+)
WandaVision (Episode: "Previously On"), Written by Laura Donney (Disney+)
The good news for "WandaVision" is that it earned three nominations in this category. The bad news is that they are likely to split the vote. Eng and Rosen at Gold Derby think this will help "I May Destroy You." Maybe. I think it will help "Mare of Easttown." We'll see next week.

Follow over the jump for my comments on the rest of the nominations from 'Hamilton' at the Emmy Awards.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

'John Lewis: Good Trouble' earned 3 nominations at the 2021 News and Documentary Emmy Awards


I told my readers to "Stay tuned" as "I plan on looking at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards nominees for tomorrow's Sunday entertainment feature" to conclude Gold Derby predicts the Creative Arts Emmy Awards plus animation and drama guest acting nominees. So, for the first time since Sandy Hook Promise and Discovery Channel's Shark Week win Emmy Awards for commercials, I'm returning to the other Emmy Awards to comment on the three nominations for "John Lewis: Good Trouble," Outstanding Historical Documentary, Outstanding Research: Documentary, and Outstanding Lighting Direction and Scenic Design, in that order.
Outstanding Historical Documentary

Challenger: The Final Flight (Netflix)

CNN Films (CNN)
John Lewis: Good Trouble

FRONTLINE (PBS)
Once Upon A Time In Iraq

HBO Documentary Films (HBO)
The Art of Political Murder

HBO Documentary Films (HBO)
Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn
While "John Lewis: Good Trouble" has the most nominations of any entry in this category, it may not be the favorite. The other nomination for "Once Upon A Time In Iraq" is for Best Documentary, which might give it the edge with voters and therefore makes it my co-favorite to win this category. "Challenger: The Final Flight" also has two nominations, this one and Outstanding Editing: Documentary. The two nominees from HBO Documentary Films, "The Art of Political Murder" and "Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn," only have this one nomination.

Outstanding Research: Documentary

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (Turner Classic Movies)

Be Water (ESPN)

CNN Films (CNN)
John Lewis: Good Trouble

Independent Lens (PBS)
Feels Good Man

The Last Ice (National Geographic)
I'm glad to see that the News and Documentary Emmy Awards voters thought that "John Lewis: Good Trouble" showed its work. That and its other two nominations might not be enough for it to win this award. "The Last Ice" also has three nominations, including Outstanding Nature Documentary, where I think it's the favorite, and Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary. Three of the other nominees in that category are also nature documentaries, which doesn't surprise me; nature documentaries tend to be beautifully photographed. Finally, while all the rest of the other nominees have only this nomination, I want to brag about one of them. I predicted that "Feels Good Man" will earn at least one nomination for a News and Documentary Emmy Award and that happened in this category. I feel vindicated, even if the nomination wasn't for Outstanding Arts and Culture Documentary as I expected.

Outstanding Lighting Direction and Scenic Design

America’s Hidden Stories (Smithsonian Channel)
Hitler’s US Election Plot

CNN Films (CNN)
John Lewis: Good Trouble

Election Coverage (MSNBC)

HBO Documentary Films (HBO)
Alabama Snake

The News with Shepard Smith (CNBC)
This category recognizes both documentaries and news reports. While "John Lewis: Good Trouble" is the only nominee with multiple nominations, I don't know if it's enough for it to win this category. I was very impressed with MSNBC's Election Coverage and CNBC has worked very hard to make "The News with Shepard Smith" a quality show.

Follow over the jump for bonus coverage of "The Way I See It" thanks to the promotional graphic from Twitter I used as the preview image for this entry.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Gold Derby predicts the Creative Arts Emmy Awards plus animation and drama guest acting nominees

I know that I wrote I "have run out of time" because "the first night of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards" is tonight, so "Creative Arts Emmy winners should be next in the series" at the end of 'Oslo' earned two nominations at the 2021 Emmy Awards, but I realized last night that I really wanted to write this year's version of Star Trek vs. Star Wars — futuristic politics and government at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Fortunately, Gold Derby uploaded Emmy Experts slugfest: Final Creative Arts predictions (and some bonus Oscar chatter) yesterday, which gave me an opportunity to take that bite at the apple without overexerting myself after writing 9/11 memorials on the 20th anniversary. Watch to see if they agreed with all the predictions I made over the past two months.

There's not one, not two but three Emmy ceremonies this weekend, Sept 11-12, with Creative Arts honors being handed out on Saturday (one ceremony) and Sunday (two). Gold Derby editors and Experts Christopher Rosen and Joyce Eng are back to make their final(ish) Creative Arts predictions -- and also discuss the Oscar race!
Those are the expert predictions for tonight and tomorrow, most of which agree with mine, although they disagree with me about "Oslo" being the favorite; they think "Sylvie's Love" is instead. That's reasonable, but I'm not convinced that "Hamilton" will fail as badly as they do, although we won't find out until a week from tomorrow because so many of its categories will be awarded at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards. Follow over the jump for the acting and show nominations for speculative fiction programs that will be awarded at tonight's and tomorrow's ceremonies.

9/11 memorials on the 20th anniversary

Today is the 20th anniversary of 9/11. I could finish my 9/11 story from ten years ago, but I'm not feeling it. This isn't my story. It's the story of the victims and their surviving family and friends. I turn to CNBC's Architect of 9/11 memorial reflects on design 20 years later to tell their stories by proxy.

Michael Arad, Handel Architects Partner and architect of the 9/11 memorial, joins 'Power Lunch' to discuss the design of the 9/11 memorial 20 years after the attacks.
That was very moving and a fitting successor to the original 9/11 memorial in New York City, the twin towers of light.


A somber Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance to all my readers.

Friday, September 10, 2021

'Oslo' earned two nominations at the 2021 Emmy Awards


I finished 'RuPaul's Drag Race' leads competition program nominees at the 2021 Emmy Awards while modeling diversity and acceptance by telling my readers "Stay tuned for the television movie nominees as the next installment of the series." Here are the three categories at the 73rd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards with television movie nominees.
Outstanding Television Movie

Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square (Netflix)
Oslo (HBO)
Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia (Lifetime)
Sylvie's Love (Prime Video)
Uncle Frank (Prime Video)
The leading nominee is "Oslo," an adaptation of a Tony-winning play about the Oslo Peace Accords and one of only two nominees with another nomination. Watch Oslo: Official Trailer | HBO.

Adapted from the Tony Award-winning play of the same name, Oslo follows the secret back-channel talks, unlikely friendships, and quiet heroics of a small but committed group of Israelis and Palestinians, plus one Norwegian couple, that led to the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords. Oslo stars Ruth Wilson as Mona Juul, a Norwegian foreign minister, and Andrew Scott as Terje Rod-Larsen, a Norwegian sociologist and Mona’s husband. The film is written by Tony-winning writer of the stage play J.T. Rogers and will be directed by Barlett Sher (Tony winner for South Pacific).
Of all the nominees, "Oslo" has the strongest politics and government themes. For an inside view of the project, watch Gold Derby's interview, Emmy nominee Bartlett Sher ('Oslo' director) on bringing legendary peace negotiations to the screen.

Emmy nominee Bartlett Sher ('Oslo' director, producer) on bringing the legendary peace negotiations to the screen. The Tony winner chats with Gold Derby's Sam Eckmann about the HBO TV movie.
Bartlett Sher described both the genesis of the play and the process of adapting the play into a movie. I found his explanation of the differences of using space in the two media particularly interesting.

Now the second nominated category for "Oslo."
Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited or Anthology Series, Movie or Special (Original Dramatic Score)

Jeff Russo for Fargo (Episode: "East/West") (FX)
Jeff Russo and Zoë Keating for Oslo (HBO)
Carlos Rafael Rivera for The Queen's Gambit (Episode: "End Game") (Netflix)
Nicholas Britell for The Underground Railroad (Episode: "Chapter 2: South Carolina") (Prime Video)
Christophe Beck for WandaVision (Episode: "Previously On") (Disney+)
I present Oslo End Credits as a sample of the nominated work.



Oslo End Credits · Jeff Russo · Zoë Keating
Oslo (HBO® Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Gold Derby interviewed double nominee Jeff Russo ('Fargo,' 'Oslo,' 'Star Trek: Discovery' composer) talks 'visually evocative' scripts.

"That may actually be the longest piece of music I've ever written," reveals composer Jeff Russo about the nearly 12-minute track that he composed for the season four premiere of FX's Fargo. Set in Kansas City in 1950, the fourth installment of the anthology series used Russo's "opus" to tell the backstory of 50 years of mob family warfare, and Russo drew on the city's "jazz and blues flare" to situate the audience in the show's particular time and place. Watch Russo's full chat with Gold Derby's David Buchanan.
Russo certainly has the track record to win the award along with two chances to win, but he has stiff competition in 2019 Emmy winner Nicholas Britell, 2018 Emmy winner Carlos Rafael Rivera, and 1998 Emmy winner Christophe Beck. While I was personally impressed with Rivera's music for "The Queen's Gambit," I have a feeling that the groundswell will be for "WandaVision," a show about television that isn't about show business, but about the viewer experience. As I reiterate whenever I write about awards shows, electorates matter, and the Emmy electorate loves a good story about itself. "WandaVision" isn't really that, but it's close enough and I think that, all things being equal and they are with all nominated scores having an Emmy winner as one of its composers, that will influence the members of the Television Academy to vote for it, including in this category.

Follow over the jump for my discussion of the nominees I consider to be serious contenders for Emmys.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

'RuPaul's Drag Race' leads competition program nominees at the 2021 Emmy Awards while modeling diversity and acceptance


I told my readers "Stay tuned for competition nominees at the Emmy Awards for the next installment of this series" at the conclusion of 'RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked' vs. 'Below Deck' for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program at the Emmy Awards so it's time to move on to the main show and its competitors. Here are the nominees from the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards.
Outstanding Competition Program

The Amazing Race (CBS)
Nailed It! (Netflix)
RuPaul's Drag Race (VH1)
Top Chef (Bravo)
The Voice (NBC)
I called the series "a good show for inclusion and mutual respect, to say nothing of great fashion and grooming tips." In an interview with Gold Derby, 'RuPaul's Drag Race' director Nick Murray called it 'The most culturally significant show of the past decade.'

'RuPaul's Drag Race' director Nick Murray on being part of 'the most culturally significant show of the past decade.' The director won his first Emmy in 2018 and has submitted the Season 13 episode "Gettin' Lucky" for consideration this year. Gold Derby's Denton Davidson hosts this interview.
Murray also credited the show being in tune with the culture's increasing diversity and acceptance for its success. I agree, which is why I made the decision years ago to blog about the program.

Now for the likely runner-up, Audrey Morrissey ('The Voice' executive producer) teases new coach Ariana Grande, Emmy nominations.

Audrey Morrissey ('The Voice' executive producer) teases new coach Ariana Grande and 7 'incredible' Emmy nominations with Gold Derby's Denton Davidson.
"RuPaul's Drag Race" has won this award three years in a row, so I consider it the favorite on that criterion as well as its leading in nominations among competition programs with nine for the main show as well as two for "RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked." Its closest competition is "The Voice" with seven nominations, followed by "Dancing with the Stars" with six, "Top Chef" with five, "The Amazing Race" with four, and "Nailed It!" with two. The reality programming peer group snubbed "The Masked Singer" for this category, but it has three nominations in craft categories. Speaking of which, here's one of them at the 73rd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Programming (Juried)

Black Is King (Disney+)
The Masked Singer (Episode: "Super 8 - The Plot Chickens! Part 2") (Fox)
Sherman's Showcase Black History Month Spectacular (IFC)
Watch Gold Derby interview Marina Toybina ('The Masked Singer' costume designer) on her 'artistically explosive' characters.

"Season 4 and 5 we really tried to push our limits," says five-time Emmy winner Marina Toybina, the costume designer on Fox's reality TV competition series "The Masked Singer." "Of course we went into the pandemic mode so it was really being artistically explosive and trying anything and everything we could." Watch her exclusive video interview with Gold Derby's Denton Davidson.
If this category were up for the vote of the entire Television Academy, "The Masked Singer" would probably win, but it's not. My intuition says "Black Is King" has the advantage, but I have no good evidence or reasoning beyond that.

Now for another category with a nominated competition program I haven't blogged about before.
Outstanding Choreography for Variety and Reality Programming

Sergio Trujillo for Christmas in Rockefeller Center (NBC)
Artem Chigvintsev for Dancing with the Stars (ABC)
Derek Hough for Dancing with the Stars (ABC)
Derek Hough for The Disney Holiday Singalong (ABC)
Parris Goebel for Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 (Prime Video)
Marie Haince Lebel for World of Dance (NBC)
Last year's winner "So You Think You Can Dance" did not return, so I'm turning to the two remaining previous winners, "World of Dance" and "Dancing with the Stars" for this year's favorites. Between the two of them, I think "World of Dance" has the better chance.

Follow over the jump for the categories in which competition shows earned nominations that I've already written about.