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.

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