Sunday, September 20, 2020

Outstanding Drama Series nominees at the Emmys once again examine politics and government

I told my readers to "stay tuned for the Drama Series nominees tomorrow" at the end of 'Schitt's Creek' vs. 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' — Outstanding Comedy Series nominees that use politics and government for laughs, so, without any further ado, here are the nominations for drama series at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards.

Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul (AMC)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
Killing Eve (BBC America)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Ozark (Netflix)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Succession (HBO)
Watch 72nd Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Drama Series.

The nominees for Outstanding Drama Series are Better Call Saul, The Crown, The Handmaid's Tale, Killing Eve, The Mandalorian, Ozark, Stranger Things, and Succession.
As I have in the past two installments, I begin my commentary by being a good environmentalist and recycling.
The protagonists of "Better Call Saul" are lawyers, not government employees, but they work in courtrooms and deal with law enforcement, so a government function plays an important part in the show...."Succession" concentrate[s] on family dynamics...but politics and government contibute important, if secondary, plot elements...Rupert Murdoch and his children helped inspire the family in "Succession" and the Murdochs are as much about politics as they are about media.
Both the Galactic Republic and the remnants of the Galactic Empire, which will eventually become the First Order, appear in "The Mandalorian" with the agents of the government of the Dark Side promising to play an important part in the second season.
The rest of the nominees all deal with politics and government in some way, some more directly than others. "The Crown" continues its dramatization of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II with a new cast...
The same is true of the remaining nominees in the Emmy field. "Killing Eve" sets its tale of twisted romance inside a spy thriller. So does "Stranger Things," as the horror turns out to be part of a Soviet plot. "The Handmaid's Tale" is one of a dystopian theocratic future. Finally, "Ozark" plays lots of local politics.

I didn't say which nominee would win at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Awards, but I think it will be "Succession." It won Outstanding Achievement in Drama at the TCA Awards and both Drama Series and Drama Episode at the Gold Derby Awards. HBO has found a new awards favorite now that "Game of Thrones" is over.

Follow over the jump for the nominations for acting, directing, and writing.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman as Martin "Marty" Byrde on Ozark (Episode: "Su Casa Es Mi Casa") (Netflix)
Sterling K. Brown as Randall Pearson on This Is Us (Episode: "After the Fire") (NBC)
Steve Carell as Mitch Kessler on The Morning Show (Episode: "Lonely at the Top") (Apple TV+)
Brian Cox as Logan Roy on Succession (Episode: "Hunting") (HBO)
Billy Porter as Pray Tell on Pose (Episode: "Love's in Need of Love Today") (FX)
Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy on Succession (Episode: "This Is Not for Tears") (HBO)
Watch 72nd Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

The nominees for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series are Jason Bateman, Sterling K. Brown, Steve Carell, Brian Cox, Billy Porter, and Jeremy Strong.
I begin by recycling from the TCA Awards.
"The Morning Show"...examine[s] social issues...through the news...but..[has] political issues making cameo appearances..."Pose" explores the politics around the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.
Billy Porter won this award last year, so he's the nominal favorite, but he's competing again against previous winner Sterling K. Brown and potential upset winner Jeremy Strong. Personally, I'm rooting for Jason Bateman, although he may be a better director than an actor. As for the Gold Derby Awards, they're no help. Sam Heughan from "Outlander" won their award and he wasn't even nominated for an Emmy. The fans love "Outlander." The professionals, not so much.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Jennifer Aniston as Alex Levy on The Morning Show (Episode: "In the Dark Night of the Soul It’s Always 3:30 in the Morning") (Apple TV+)
Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II on The Crown (Episode: "Cri de Coeur") (Netflix)
Jodie Comer as Oksana Astankova / Villanelle on Killing Eve (Episode: "Are You From Pinner?") (BBC America)
Laura Linney as Wendy Byrde on Ozark (Episode: "Fire Pink") (Netflix)
Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri on Killing Eve (Episode: "Are You Leading or Am I?") (BBC America)
Zendaya as Rue Bennett on Euphoria (Episode: "Made You Look") (HBO)
Watch 72nd Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

The nominees for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series are Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Colman, Jodie Comer, Laura Linney, Sandra Oh, and Zendaya.
For the last time this post, I recycle to begin my analysis.
"Euphoria" is the least overtly political of the nominees, but the setting is East Highland High School, a public institution, so a government facility is the setting. Remember, public eduction, like law enforcement and the military, is part of government.
Jodie Comer won this award last year, much to my surprise, so she's the nominal favorite. Her strongest competition appears to be Laura Linney from "Ozark," who won the equivalent category at the Gold Derby Awards, and Oscar winner Olivia Colman. Of the three of them, I'm hoping for Linney.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Nicholas Braun as Greg Hirsch on Succession (Episode: "This Is Not for Tears") (HBO)
Billy Crudup as Cory Ellison on The Morning Show (Episode: "Chaos Is the New Cocaine") (Apple TV+)
Kieran Culkin as Roman Roy on Succession (Episode: "Tern Haven") (HBO)
Mark Duplass as Charlie "Chip" Black on The Morning Show (Episode: "The Interview") (Apple TV+)
Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring on Better Call Saul (Episode: "JMM") (AMC)
Matthew Macfadyen as Tom Wambsgans on Succession (Episode: "This Is Not for Tears") (HBO)
Bradley Whitford as Commander Joseph Lawrence on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Sacrifice") (Hulu)
Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe on Westworld (Episode: "Crisis Theory") (HBO)
"Westworld" turned political this season, as the hosts left the part to spread their robot revolution worldwide. In the process, they discovered that an AI has been influencing, even coercing, politicians and directing human affairs for decades and have decided to free humanity from it. While I may be rooting for Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe, I don't think the "Westworld" actor will win. Giancarlo Esposito has a better chance, and even he won't win. Instead, I think it will be one of the actors from "Succession" if vote splitting doesn't do them all in. Of them all, my choice would be Kieran Culkin.

By the way, the Gold Derby Awards once again provided no help. The winner in the equivalent category there was Tom Pelphrey of "Ozark," who also wasn't nominated here. What a snub!

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret on The Crown (Episode: "Cri de Coeur") (Netflix)
Laura Dern as Renata Klein on Big Little Lies (Episode: "Tell-Tale Hearts") (HBO)
Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore on Ozark (Episode: "In Case of Emergency") (Netflix)
Thandie Newton as Maeve Millay on Westworld (Episode: "The Winter Line") (HBO)
Fiona Shaw as Carolyn Martens on Killing Eve (Episode: "Management Sucks") (BBC America)
Sarah Snook as Siobhan "Shiv" Roy on Succession (Episode: "The Summer Palace") (HBO)
Meryl Streep as Mary Louise Wright on Big Little Lies (Episode: "I Want to Know") (HBO)
Samira Wiley as Moira Strand on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Sacrifice")
I think this category has an interesting and competitive contest for the trophy. The last two winners of this award, Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore from "Ozark" and Thandie Newton as Maeve Millay from "Westworld," are both nominated. So are previous winners for the same roles in different categories, Laura Dern for Supporting Actress in a Limited Series and Samira Wiley for Guest Actress in a Drama Series. Making things more interesting are multiple-Oscar-winner Meryl Streep, Gold Derby winner Helena Bonham Carter, and likely beneficiary of a "Succession" sweep Sarah Snook. The only nominee I would count out is Fiona Shaw. As for who I want to win, it's Newton, Garner, Wiley, and Carter in that order, but the field is wide open.

Now for the talent behind the camera.
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

The Crown (Episode: "Aberfan"), Directed by Benjamin Caron (Netflix)
The Crown (Episode: "Cri de Coeur"), Directed by Jessica Hobbs (Netflix)
Homeland (Episode: "Prisoners of War"), Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter (Showtime)
The Morning Show (Episode: "The Interview"), Directed by Mimi Leder (Apple TV+)
Ozark (Episode: "Fire Pink"), Directed by Alik Sakharov (Netflix)
Ozark (Episode: "Su Casa Es Mi Casa"), Directed by Ben Semanoff (Netflix)
Succession (Episode: "Hunting"), Directed by Andrij Parekh (HBO)
Succession (Episode: "This Is Not for Tears"), Directed by Mark Mylod (HBO)
"Ozark" won this last year and "The Crown" the year before that, so I would say that they are the nominal favorites. However, those were different directors, so I'm not so sure about that. I wouldn't be surprised if "Succession" pulls off an upset.
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Better Call Saul (Episode: "Bad Choice Road"), Written by Thomas Schnauz (AMC)
Better Call Saul (Episode: "Bagman"), Written by Gordon Smith (AMC)
The Crown (Episode: "Aberfan"), Written by Peter Morgan (Netflix)
Ozark (Episode: "All In"), Written by Chris Mundy (Netflix)
Ozark (Episode: "Boss Fight"), Written by John Shiban (Netflix)
Ozark (Episode: "Fire Pink"), Written by Miki Johnson (Netflix)
Succession (Episode: "This Is Not for Tears"), Written by Jesse Armstrong (HBO)
The "Succession" episode "This Is Not for Tears" won Drama Episode at the Gold Derby Awards, so that puts it in a good position, especially if "Better Call Saul" and "Ozark" suffer from vote splitting. It also helps that "Succession" is the returning winner in this category. That written, I'd prefer one of the "Ozark" episodes winning, but I'm not optimistic.

I'm plan on taking a break from Emmy coverage tomorrow to post the nominees for the Golden Coffee Cups for television. Which shows on the Golden Coffee Cups shortlists made the cut? Stay tuned to find out!

Previous posts about the 2020 Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy Awards

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