Friday, September 17, 2021

'The Crown' vs. 'The Handmaid's Tale' — politics and government in drama nominees at the Emmy Awards

I opened 'Ted Lasso' vs. 'Hacks' eclipses 'Black-ish' and 'The Flight Attendant' in comedies at the Emmy Awards with "Tragedy (or at least drama) tomorrow" and closed it by telling my readers to "stay tuned for the drama nominees." Without any further ado, here are the seven drama series categories at the Primetime Emmy Awards along with commentary on their chances of winning.
Outstanding Drama Series

The Boys (Prime Video)
Bridgerton (Netflix)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
Lovecraft Country (HBO)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Pose (FX)
This Is Us (NBC)
All of the drama series nominees except the family drama "This Is Us" are about politics and government to some degree. "The Boys" depicts fantastic U.S. poltics with superheroes. The British Royal Family makes cameos in "Bridgerton," while they are the stars of "The Crown." "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Lovecraft Country" make scorching political and social statements about American dystopia, the former about a feared future, the latter about the dreaded past. "The Mandalorian" explores the "Star Wars" universe between the fall of the Galactic Empire and the rise of the First Order. Finally, "Pose" examines society and politics during the AIDS epidemic.

Before I make my commentary, I'm sharing two videos from Gold Derby, beginning with 2021 Emmy predictions slugfest: In drama series, 'The Crown' poised to make history for Netflix.

“'The Crown' has been kind of on a roll," Gold Derby senior editor Daniel Montgomery admits about the Netflix flagship drama winning everything in its path this season. "Through the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, PGA Awards, DGA Awards, Writers Guild, it's been kind of a romp for that show, which would actually make it a first Best Drama Series for Netflix in its history,” he explains. Montgomery is joined by fellow senior editors Marcus James Dixon and Rob Licuria to dish who and what could upset the Netflix prestige drama. It's on course to finally claim its first Best Drama Series trophy for its acclaimed fourth season and finally break the streamer's inexplicable curse at the Emmys, having never won a series trophy in any genre. Watch the Emmy predictions slugfest video above.
Next, Final 2021 Emmy predictions: Expect 'Ted Lasso,' 'The Crown' and 'The Queen's Gambit' domination.

How many Emmys will "Ted Lasso," "The Crown" and "The Queen's Gambit" win? Gold Derby editors and Experts Christopher Rosen and Joyce Eng make their final picks for Sunday's ceremony.
I couldn't resist another video from my favorite critic duo of Eng and Rosen. I concur with them that the contest for Outstanding Drama Series is between "The Crown" and "The Handmaid's Tale," as both have eleven nominations at next Sunday's ceremony. "The Crown" won six Gold Derby TV Awards, Drama Series, Drama Actor for Josh O'Connor, Drama Actress for Emma Corrin, Drama Supporting Actress for Gillian Anderson, Drama Guest Actor for Charles Dance, and Ensemble of the Year. It could win four of those, as Courtney B. Vance as George Freeman from "Lovecraft Country" beat Dance for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series and the Emmys don't have an outstanding ensemble award beyond the casting categories. I'm still rooting for "The Handmaid's Tale."

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Sterling K. Brown as Randall Pearson on This Is Us (Episode: "Forty: Part 2") (NBC)
Jonathan Majors as Atticus Freeman on Lovecraft Country (Episode: "Sundown") (HBO)
Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles on The Crown (Episode: "Terra Nullius") (Netflix)
Regé-Jean Page as Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings on Bridgerton (Episode: "Art of the Swoon") (Netflix)
Billy Porter as Pray Tell on Pose (Episode: "Take Me To Church") (FX)
Matthew Rhys as Perry Mason on Perry Mason (Episode: "Chapter 8") (HBO)
This field features three former winners, Sterling K. Brown, Billy Porter, and Matthew Rhys. Of the three of them, I think Porter has the best shot at deposing nominal favorite O'Connor for this award, although I still think it's O'Connor's award to lose.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Uzo Aduba as Dr. Brooke Taylor on In Treatment (Episode: "Brooke – Week 5") (HBO)
Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II on The Crown (Episode: "48:1") (Netflix)
Emma Corrin as Princess Diana on The Crown (Episode: "Fairytale") (Netflix)
Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne / Offred on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Home") (Hulu)
Mj Rodriguez as Blanca Evangelista on Pose (Episode: "Series Finale") (FX)
Jurnee Smollett as Letitia "Leti" Lewis on Lovecraft Country (Episode: "Holy Ghost") (HBO)
This field pits Oscar winner Olivia Colman against Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss. That makes for good headlines, but I doubt either will win, as Emma Corrin has been beating Colman for her portrayal of Princess Diana in "The Crown" and will probably win. Too bad, as I praised Moss's acting this season and voted for her in the Saturn Awards.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon on The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 16: The Rescue") (Disney+)
O-T Fagbenle as Luke Bankole on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Home") (Hulu)
John Lithgow as Elias Birchard "E.B." Jonathan on Perry Mason (Episode: "Chapter 4") (HBO)
Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on The Crown (Episode: "Gold Stick") (Netflix)
Max Minghella as Commander Nick Blaine on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "The Crossing") (Hulu)
Chris Sullivan as Toby Damon on This Is Us (Episode: "In the Room") (NBC)
Bradley Whitford as Commander Joseph Lawrence on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Testimony") (Hulu)
Michael K. Williams as Montrose Freeman on Lovecraft Country (Episode: "Rewind 1921") (HBO) (posthumous)
The late Michael K. Williams won the Gold Derby Award and was alive to accept it, but he died since then. If that had happened during Emmy voting, it might have propelled a sympathy vote in addition to the momentum he earned winning the equivalent Gold Derby and Critics Choice Awards. I'd be fine with that, as Williams was more memorable than any of the nominees from "The Handmaid's Tale" and more intense than Giancarlo Esposito on "The Mandalorian" as much as he chewed the scenery as the main villain. If "Perry Mason" were a better show, then I think John Lithgow would have a good chance of winning, but I think the quality of this season of "The Crown" would more likely give Tobias Menzies the advantage instead. Williams should win, but Menzies probably will. Sigh. I hope I'm wrong.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher on The Crown (Episode: "Favourites") (Netflix)
Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret on The Crown (Episode: "The Hereditary Principle") (Netflix)
Madeline Brewer as Janine Lindo on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Testimony") (Hulu)
Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Progress") (Hulu)
Aunjanue Ellis as Hippolyta Freeman on Lovecraft Country (Episode: "I Am.") (HBO)
Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles on The Crown (Episode: "Fairytale") (Netflix)
Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Home") (Hulu)
Samira Wiley as Moira on The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Vows") (Hulu)
I think Gillian Anderson will win this. She beat all of her co-stars from "The Crown" for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series at the SAG Awards and they were in leading roles while she was in a supporting one. Otherwise, it's the clearest matchup between "The Crown" and "The Handmaid's Tale" at next Sunday's awards.

Follow over the jump for the nominees behind the camera and the awards drama series won at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Bridgerton (Episode: "Diamond of the First Water"), Directed by Julie Anne Robinson (Netflix)
The Crown (Episode: "Fairytale"), Directed by Benjamin Caron (Netflix)
The Crown (Episode: "War"), Directed by Jessica Hobbs (Netflix)
The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "The Wilderness"), Directed by Liz Garbus (Hulu)
The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 9: The Marshal"), Directed by Jon Favreau (Disney+)
Pose (Episode: "Series Finale"), Directed by Steven Canals (FX)
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

The Boys (Episode: "What I Know"), Written by Rebecca Sonnenshine (Prime Video)
The Crown (Episode: "War"), Written by Peter Morgan (Netflix)
The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Home"), Written by Yahlin Chang (Hulu)
Lovecraft Country (Episode: "Sundown"), Written by Misha Green (HBO)
The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 13: The Jedi"), Written by Dave Filoni (Disney+)
The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 16: The Rescue"), Written by Jon Favreau (Disney+)
Pose (Episode: "Series Finale"), Written by Steven Canals, Brad Falchuk, Our Lady J, Janet Mock, and Ryan Murphy (FX)
Both Eng and Rosen think "The Crown" will win both of these awards. They're the experts, so I'm not going to disagree.

Now the awards drama series have already won.

"The Mandalorian" leads drama series with seven Emmy Awards for Music Composition, Prosthetic Makeup, Cinematography, Stunt Performance, Stunt Coordination, Special Visual Effects in a Season, and Sound Mixing.

"The Crown" is in second so far with four Emmy Awards. In addition to Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, which I thought could happen, "The Crown" won Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series, Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour), and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series.

Three pictures are worth 1000 words for "Pose."

In addition to Courtney B. Vance as George Freeman winning Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, "Lovecraft Country" won Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One-Hour).

"Star Trek: Discovery" won Special Visual Effects in a Single Episode.

Congratulations to all the winners and good luck to the remaining nominees!

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