Sunday, August 8, 2021

'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' leads Outstanding Variety Talk Series nominees at the Emmy Awards for the fifth consecutive year



For today's Sunday entertainment feature, I'm building on yesterday's It's Saturday night, so here are the 21 Emmy nominations for 'Saturday Night Live' by examining variety talk shows.
Outstanding Variety Talk Series

Conan (TBS)
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)
Like last year and the three years before that, "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" leads variety talk series nominees, this year with seven nominations. "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" follows with five, although Stephen's extended franchise earned four more for a total of nine. "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" earned two, while "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" and "Conan" earned one each. "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" got snubbed in this category in favor of "Conan," which just ended its run on TBS. I'm sure it's all the same to TBS, but I'd rather have seen Bee return. Next year.

Since "Last Week Tonight" is the five-time returning winner, it's the favorite. As good as "Live Show Following Capitol Insurrection; Senator Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Performance by Jamila Woods" was, which I featured in Colbert, Kimmel, Meyers, Corden, and Fallon express outrage and offer comfort in response to yesterday's attempted self-coup, I'm not sure it will propel "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" into an upset.

All of the nominations that named an episode recognized John Oliver blows up 2020 after discussing Trump refusing to concede. Surf over there to watch both clips; it's worth it. Until then, here's a preview.



As my wife said after watching it, "that was epic!" It certainly was.

Samantha Bee did earn one Emmy nomination for Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series.

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Presents: Pandemic Video Diaries: Vaxxed and Waxxed (TBS)
Inside Pixar (Disney+)
Pose: Identity, Family, Community (FX)
Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen (Bravo)
Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man (YouTube)
I'd like Bee to win this category, but I just don't know if she will despite being a returning nominee. "Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man" would be the other political choice, while all the rest are about entertainment. My gut says it will be "Inside Pixar" or "Pose: Identity, Family, Community," the first because of Disney's production values, the second because it's a three-time returning nominee in its final season. That alone might give it the Emmy.

Gold Derby interviewed Samantha Bee ('Full Frontal') on Trump's absence: 'Best possible outcome for America, for our show' before the Emmy nominations.

Samantha Bee ('Full Frontal') on Trump's absence: It's the 'best possible outcome for America' and 'for our show.' The Emmy winner chats about her variety talk series with Gold Derby editor Daniel Montgomery.
Despite the discussion of her family being eligible for craft awards like technical direction, the main show earned no nominations. Maybe it helps to have members of the Television Academy do that work for it to be nominated.

Speaking of Stephen's extended franchise earning four more Emmy nominations, here are the show categories featuring them, beginning with Outstanding Variety Special (Live).

Celebrating America — An Inauguration Night Special (Multiple Platforms)
The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards (CBS)
The Oscars (ABC)
The Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show Starring The Weeknd (CBS)
Stephen Colbert's Election Night 2020: Democracy's Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020 (Showtime)
While the two political nominees, "Stephen Colbert's Election Night 2020: Democracy's Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020" has three nominations and "Celebrating America — An Inauguration Night Special" has two, neither leads nor is likely to be favored. Both "The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards" and "The Oscars" have four nominations while "The Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show Starring The Weeknd" has three. Based on the history of the award, I think a live event celebrating show business will win, favoring either "The Oscars" which has been nominated every year since the inception of this version of the award, or the Grammy Awards, which has been nominated for three of the four years of the current category. If all things were equal, I'd give the nod to the Oscars, since movies are closer to television than music, but other than the number of nominations, I'm not sure all things are equal. I found the ceremony a bit underwhelming compared to previous years except for the pre-recorded music segments; those were spectacular. If it wins, it will be because it was a minor miracle that it happened at all.

Now for a category I covered in Quibi's last Emmy nominations are also Roku's first as the network was canceled but the shows were renewed.

Outstanding Short Form Comedy, Drama or Variety Series

Carpool Karaoke: The Series (Apple TV)
Late Night with Seth Meyers: CORRECTIONS (YouTube)
The Randy Rainbow Show (YouTube)
Reno 911! (Quibi)
Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News (Paramount+)
This is a very different looking category from last year because the Television Academy merged Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series with Outstanding Short Form Variety Series to recreate Outstanding Short Form Comedy, Drama or Variety Series. Consequently, more of last year's Short Form Variety Series appear here than the sole returning scripted comedy from last year, "Reno 911!" At least the addition of variety nominees didn't dilute the political and government content, with "Late Night with Seth Meyers: CORRECTIONS," "The Randy Rainbow Show,", and "Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News" providing a lot of political content to go along with the funny cops of "Reno 911!" While I'm rooting for "Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News," I expect "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" will win instead. I've learned not to underestimate James Corden.
Follow over the jump for nominations of the people behind the camera.

First, the craft nominations for "Stephen Colbert's Election Night 2020: Democracy's Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020" and "Celebrating America — An Inauguration Night Special" from Wikipedia.
Outstanding Production Design for a Variety Special

Friends: The Reunion (HBO Max)
78th Annual Golden Globe Awards (NBC)
The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards (CBS)
The Oscars (ABC)
Stephen Colbert's Election Night 2020: Democracy's Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020 (Showtime)
Again, as much as I'm rooting for Stephen, I think his show has an uphill battle against three awards shows and the "Friends" reunion. In particular, "The Oscars" is the returning winner, so it's the nominal favorite over the Grammys and especially the Golden Globes, which only has this one nomination. After writing all that, watch the "Friends" reunion upset everyone in this category.
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special

Bo Burnham: Inside, written by Bo Burnham (Netflix)
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Presents: Jordan Klepper Fingers the Pulse: Into the MAGAverse, written by Devin Delliquanti and Zhubin Parang (Comedy Central)
8:46 - Dave Chappelle, written by Dave Chappelle (Netflix)
John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero, written by Mitchell Marchand (CBS)
Stephen Colbert's Election Night 2020: Democracy's Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020 (Showtime)
While I'm rooting for "Stephen Colbert's Election Night 2020: Democracy's Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020" and "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Presents: Jordan Klepper Fingers the Pulse: Into the MAGAverse," especially since this is the only nomination for the latter and it is well written, I know better than to think either will win. Dave Chappelle won this award last year and I fully expect him to repeat.

Now for a category I overlooked in 'The Social Dilemma' leads documentaries at the Emmy Awards with seven nominations.
Outstanding Music Direction

Aron Forbes for Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry (Apple TV+)
Bo Burnham for Bo Burnham: Inside (Netflix)
Rickey Minor for Celebrating America - An Inauguration Night Special (Multiple Platforms)
Karl Mansfield for David Byrne's American Utopia (HBO)
Harvey Mason Jr. for Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist (Episode: "Zoey's Extraordinary Goodbye") (NBC)
Now I've accounted for all four nominations for the documentary "Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry." The other music film is "David Byrne's American Utopia," which the Television Academy considers a variety special that I will cover when I write about the Emmy nominations for "Hamilton." I'll cover this category more then and again for comedies. As for "Celebrating America - An Inauguration Night Special," I wish it luck but have my doubts it will win.

I continue with the nominations for "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" from It's Saturday night, so here are the 21 Emmy nominations for 'Saturday Night Live'.
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Episode: "Trump & Election Results / F*ck 2020"), Directed by Christopher Werner (HBO)
Late Night with Seth Meyers (Episode: "Episode 1085a"), Directed by Alexander J. Vietmeier (NBC)
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Episode: "Live Show Following Capitol Insurrection; Senator Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Performance by Jamila Woods"), Directed by Jim Hoskinson (CBS)
Real Time with Bill Maher (Episode: "Episode 1835"), Directed by Paul G. Casey (HBO)
Saturday Night Live (Episode: "Host: Dave Chappelle"), Directed by Don Roy King (NBC)
SNL has won this award for the past three years, so I think it will win again.
After opining that the chances for either "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" or "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" to upset SNL are slim to none, I'm noting that this is the only nomination for both "Late Night with Seth Meyers" and "Real Time with Bill Maher," the latter of which hasn't had an Emmy nomination since 2017. To celebrate "Late Night with Seth Meyers" earning its first Emmy nominations for directing and for short form comedy, drama, or variety, I'm sharing Seth Meyers on how it was 'creatively exhilarating' adapting to host 'Late Night' without audience from Gold Derby.

Seth Meyers on how it was 'creatively exhilarating' adapting to host 'Late Night' without an audience. The Emmy winner chats about favorite guests, how the show will add an audience in a few months and his live show following the January 6 insurrection with Gold Derby editor Chris Beachum.
I'm glad the Television Academy recognized the challenges for Seth Meyers with a nomination, but I'm a bit disappointed that it didn't recognize "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah," who I think responded with more innovation to producing his show during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series

The Amber Ruffin Show (Peacock)
A Black Lady Sketch Show (HBO)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)
Saturday Night Live (NBC)
...[A]s good as the writing has been for SNL and "A Black Lady Sketch Show," Last Week Tonight has won five years in a row, so I think it's the favorite again.
The same can be said for "The Amber Ruffin Show" and "the Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

Now for three categories where I've already handicapped the likely winners.
Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Programming

A Black Lady Sketch Show – Daysha Broadway, Stephanie Filo and Jessica Hern├índez (Episode: "Sister, May I Call You Oshun?") (HBO)
Bo Burnham: Inside – Bo Burnham (Netflix)
Hamilton – Jonah Moran (Disney+)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – Ryan Barger and Anthony Miale (Episode: "Trump & Election Results / F*ck 2020") (HBO)
Saturday Night Live – Ryan Spears (Segment: "Murder Show") (NBC)
Saturday Night Live – Ryan McIlraith (Segment: "Stu") (NBC)
"Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" has won this five years in a row, so it's the favorite. While this installment is about variety sketch nominees, neither SNL or "A Black Lady Sketch Show" are my picks to upset it. Instead, I think that would be "Hamilton." I'm planning on writing a post featuring the filmed play later.
Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Reality or Competition Series

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Episode: "Trump & Election Results / F*ck 2020") (HBO)
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Episode: "Dr. Jon Lapook / Performance by Maroon 5") (CBS)
The Masked Singer (Episode: "The Season Premiere - The Masks Return") (Fox)
RuPaul's Drag Race (Episodes: "Condragulations", "Bossy Rossy Ruboot") (VH1)
Saturday Night Live (Episode: "Host: Kristen Wiig") (NBC)
SNL has won this the past four years, so it's the favorite. While "Last Week Tonight" has been nominated four times, I'm not sure it's my pick to upset. I think those are "The Masked Singer" and especially "RuPaul's Drag Race."
"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" earned a nomination in this category as well.
Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Series

America's Got Talent (Episode: "Episode 1523") (NBC)
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Episode: "Jimmy Kimmel Live - Sacha Baron Cohen, Wesley Snipes, and Music from Charlotte Lawrence") (ABC)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Episode: "Trump & Election Results / F*ck 2020") (HBO)
Saturday Night Live (Episode: "Host: Dan Levy") (NBC)
The Voice (Episode: "Live Finale (Part 2)") (NBC)
While "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" won this category the past two years, so I consider it the favorite, I still either think SNL or "The Voice" could sneak past it.
This is the second category in which "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" earned a nomination.

Since I've said I would cover "Hamilton" twice in this entry, watch for that to be the subject of the next installment of the series. That won't be until Thursday at the earliest, as tomorrow is Veep Day, Tuesday I'm planning on covering fire and drought, and Wednesday is Presidential Joke Day. Stay tuned.

Previous posts in this series

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