Friday, October 5, 2018

'The Americans' and 'The Crown' — 20th Century government winners at the Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy Awards

Unlike last year, when 'The Handmaid's Tale' swept the last night of Emmys to win five awards, it didn't win a single award at the Primetime Emmy Awards, although it did repeat its three wins at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.  Instead, four different shows divided up the seven awards for drama series at the final night of the Emmy Awards, "The Americans," "The Crown," "Game of Thrones," and "Westworld."  Instead of writing about all four in one post, I am splitting discussion of them and the other drama winners into historical and contemporary dramas today and fantastic and futuristic drama series tomorrow.

I begin with "The Americans."  Watch 70th Emmy Awards: Matthew Rhys Wins For Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series.

Matthew Rhys wins the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series for The Americans.
In contrast to how well I called "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver" winning four Emmy Awards, I completely blew this category and most of the rest when I forecast them in Diversity and speculative fiction in dramas at the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards.
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.
I did not see this coming at all, as I really thought Sterling K. Brown would repeat.  Instead, "This Is Us" won only one Emmy Award, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, while "The Americans" won two.  Surprise and congratulations!

I completely blew the next category, too.
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.
Nope.  Watch 70th Emmy Awards: Claire Foy Wins For Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series.

Claire Foy wins the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for The Crown.
"This wasn't supposed to happen."  Tell me about it.  Just the same, congratulations.

I blew the next one, too.
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.
Neither won.  Instead, watch 70th Emmy Awards: Stephen Daldry of 'The Crown' Wins For Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series.

Stephen Daldry wins the Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series for The Crown.
Seeing "The Crown" win two awards on the final night reminds me of something I wrote in response to Lowry, Trump and The Handmaid's Tale at Booman Tribune last year: "Which shows and actors did Lowry think deserved the awards more than 'The Handmaid's Tale?'  What would have have liked, winners from 'The Crown' and 'This is Us?'"  As I wrote, "The Handmaid's Tale" didn't win anything on the final night, but "The Crown" sure did, so I hope Lowry is happy.

I did have some inkling of "The Americans" winning the next award.
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.
And that was the upset, as The Americans Wins For Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series.

Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for The Americans.
"Our passionate, die-hard, slightly treasonous fans" — No kidding.  During a year when I wrote Vox explains how Russian trolls weaponized social media, Vox explains how not to get phished (like the DNC), WUSA and CNN report on likely Russian election interference and the Administration's conflicted response, and From Russia to the NRA with love, I think "The Americans" finally winning awards at the Primetime Emmys says something.

Follow over the jump for the awards "The Crown" won at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Here is what I wrote about the categories  in 'Westworld,' 'Game of Thrones,' 'The Handmaid's Tale,' 'Stranger Things,' and other speculative fiction nominees at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
All four of the top speculative fiction drama series earned nominations for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series.
The Crown (Netflix)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Westworld (HBO)
"Stranger Things" won the trophy last year, but that was a television season without "Game of Thrones," which won this category the two years before that.  With both in contention, I would give the edge to the dragons, as much as I'd prefer "Stranger Things" or "Westworld."  With my luck, "The Handmaid's Tale" might pull off the upset.
Nope, it went to "The Crown," the one show I did not mention.  So did the next award.
Four speculative fiction series appear in the field for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour) although "Game of Thrones" isn't among them.  Instead, it's the X-Men spinoff "Legion."
The Crown – Adriano Goldman (Episode: "Beryl") (Netflix)
The Handmaid's Tale - Colin Watkinson (Episode: "June") (Hulu)
Legion – Dana Gonzales (Episode: "Chapter 8") (FX)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – M. David Mullen (Episode: "Pilot") (Amazon)
Ozark – Ben Kutchins (Episode: "The Toll") (Netflix)
Stranger Things – Tim Ives (Episode: "Chapter One: MADMAX") (Netflix)
Westworld – John Grillo (Episode: "The Riddle of the Sphinx") (HBO)
In a game of "one of these things is not like the others," "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" stands out as a comedy.  Just the same, it belongs here, as it was beautifully shot, although I'm not rooting for it.  Instead, my favorites are "Stranger Things" and "Westworld."  Unfortunately for my preferences, "The Handmaid's Tale" won this last year, so I think it has the inside track among the actual voters.
Surprise, "The Crown" again.  At least I wasn't surprised by "The Crown" winning the next category.
Speaking of Outstanding Period Costumes, I also mentioned them in Crime and punishment a major theme of Limited Series nominees at the Emmy Awards for National Wildlife Day for "The Alienist" and "Genius: Picasso" but did not list the nominees, one of which is "Outlander," the sole speculative fiction representative in the category.
The Alienist (Episode: "A Fruitful Partnership") (FX)
The Crown (Episode: "Dear Mrs. Kennedy") (Netflix)
Genius: Picasso (Episode: "Chapter One") (Nat Geo)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Episode: "The Disappointment Of The Dionne Quintuplets") (Amazon)
Outlander (Episode: "Freedom & Whisky") (Starz)
As much as I am rooting for "The Alienist" and "Outlander," I think the contest is between last year's winner "The Crown" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."  I really enjoyed the outfits in the comedy about comedians in 1950s New York City.
And I was right, finally.  I suspect that if I watched TV with my mom, who is an Anglophile, I might have seen enough of "The Crown" to have an idea how good it really is and not been surprised by its wins.  As it is, "The Crown" was the best series on Netflix last season with five awards overall, beating "Black Mirror: USS Callister" with four.  One last time, congratulations!

That's it for historical political dramas.  I'll return with the speculative fiction winners among drama series tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

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