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.

It's time for me to be a good environmentalist and recycle from 'Saturday Night Live' leads Outstanding Variety Sketch Series nominations, again.

Just as "Jesus Christ Superstar Live" earned nominations in acting to compete with the actors and actresses in limited series categories, SNL earned multiple acting nominations in the comedy categories, just like last year.  Two of them are for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
Louie Anderson as Christine Baskets on Baskets (Episode: "Thanksgiving") (FX)
Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live (Episode: "Host: Donald Glover") (NBC)
Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Episode: "Kimmy and the Beest!") (Netflix)
Brian Tyree Henry as Alfred "Paper Boi" Miles on Atlanta (Episode: "Woods") (FX)
Tony Shalhoub as Abraham "Abe" Weissman on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Episode: "Thank You and Good Night") (Amazon)
Kenan Thompson as Various Characters on Saturday Night Live (Episode: "Host: John Mulaney") (NBC)
Henry Winkler as Gene Cousineau on Barry (Episode: "Chapter Four: Commit ... to YOU") (HBO)
Alec Baldwin won last year for his Donald Trump impressions on SNL, so I wouldn't be surprised if he wins again, but I also wouldn't be surprised if Tony Shalhoub upsets him for his role as the father in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."  That show should win for Outstanding Comedy Series and its star Rachel Brosnahan should win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, so Shalhoub might get caught up with them.
African-Americans are even better represented in this category than in the Lead Actor category with Tituss Burgess from "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," Brian Tyree Henry from "Atlanta," and Kenan Thompson from SNL.  Out of all of them, I suspect, Thompson has the best shot at beating Baldwin or fending off Shalhoub.

Three performers from SNL earned nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Zazie Beetz as Vanessa "Van" Keefer on Atlanta (Episode: "Helen") (FX)
Alex Borstein as Susie Myerson on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Episode: "Doink") (Amazon)
Aidy Bryant as Various Characters on Saturday Night Live (Episode: "Host: Chadwick Boseman") (NBC)
Betty Gilpin as Debbie "Liberty Belle" Eagan on GLOW (Episode: "Debbie Does Something") (Netflix)
Leslie Jones as Various Characters on Saturday Night Live (Episode: "Host: Donald Glover") (NBC)
Kate McKinnon as Various Characters on Saturday Night Live (Episode: "Host: Bill Hader") (NBC)
Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris on Roseanne (Episode: "No Country for Old Women") (ABC)
Megan Mullally as Karen Walker on Will & Grace (Episode: "Rosario's Quinceanera") (NBC)
Once again, the returning winner is from SNL, Kate McKinnon.  It's likely that she will earn a three-peat, but I also think it's as likely that Alex Borstein from "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" will take the trophy home as well with an outside chance that Betty Gilpin of "GLOW" will upset both.  Nothing like a good story about show business to get Hollywood professionals to vote for you and both "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "GLOW" are about show business.
I was impressed with Zazie Beetz as Domino in "Deadpool 2" and always enjoy Leslie Jones in SNL, so I'm glad to see both of them nominated.

Now for the people behind the camera, beginning with Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series.
Atlanta (Episode: "FUBU"), directed by Donald Glover (FX)
Atlanta (Episode: "Teddy Perkins"), directed by Hiro Murai (FX)
Barry (Episode: "Chapter One: Make Your Mark"), directed by Bill Hader (HBO)
The Big Bang Theory (Episode: "The Bow Tie Asymmetry"), directed by Mark Cendrowski (CBS)
GLOW (Episode: "Pilot"), directed by Jesse Peretz (Netflix)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Episode: "Pilot"), directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino (Amazon)
Silicon Valley (Episode: "Initial Coin Offering"), directed by Mike Judge (HBO)
Glover is the returning winner, so he's likely the favorite.  However, I would not be surprised if he was upset by Amy Sherman-Palladino for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," who represents a different dimension of diversity behind the camera.  By the way, the other entry for "Atlanta" is Hiro Murai, another diverse nominee.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.
Atlanta (Episode: "Alligator Man"), written by Donald Glover (FX)
Atlanta (Episode: "Barbershop"), written by Stefani Robinson (FX)
Barry (Episode: "Chapter One: Make Your Mark"), written by Alec Berg and Bill Hader (HBO)
Barry (Episode: "Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast and Keep Going"), written by Liz Sarnoff (HBO)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Episode: "Pilot"), written by Amy Sherman-Palladino (Amazon)
Silicon Valley (Episode: "Fifty-One Percent"), written by Alec Berg (HBO)
Lena Waithe and Aziz Ansari, who won last year for "Master of None," did not return as nominees last year, so the field is open.  Out of the rest, I think "Atlanta" has the inside track, as it won two WGA Awards for last season, while my personal favorite, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," did not even earn a WGA nomination this year.

That's it for comedies.  Stay tuned for a similar post about dramas after I observe the 10th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, when we were partying like it was 1929.

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