It’s that time of year when the Television Academy picks the best from their best of the best on the small screen.
No predictions from me; I’m known to not get a true or false question right until the third try, so I’m sure I wouldn’t know.
Interesting is just how many nominations went to shows on Netflix. Also noteworthy is the renewed love for Saturday Night Live, ostensibly due to the comedic opportunities provided by our new President.
*This is just a wish list for selected categories.
Best Drama Series:
*Better Call Saul/AMC
The Handmaid’s Tale/Hulu
House of Cards/Netflix
This Is Us/NBC
Some good picks, but I’d easily choose Better Call Saul for its tight writing, good casting, great character arcs, and overall story. Noteworthy absences are FX’s The Americans, Showtime’s Homeland, and USA’s Mr. Robot. (Twin Peaks didn’t air enough episodes to qualify.)
Best Comedy Series:
Master of None/Netflix
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/Netflix
I have to admit I have not seen Atlanta, but of the others, Silicon Valley is far and away the easy choice here, for it’s tight but wonderfully funny writing, great characters, and farcical look at the tech industry.
Best Actor in a Drama:
Sterling K. Brown/This Is Us
*Bob Odenkirk/Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys/The Americans
Live Schreiber/Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey/House of Cards
Milo Ventimiglia/This Is Us
This is another of the categories where any of the nominees is well-deserving, however, Bob Odenkirk delivers dialog so well as a morally challenged lawyer in Better Call Saul.
Best Actress in a Drama:
Viola Davis/How to Get Away with Murder
Claire Foy/The Crown
Elisabeth Moss/The Handmaid’s Tale
Keri Russell/The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood/Westworld
*Robin Wright/House of Cards
Best Actor in a Comedy:
Aziz Ansari/Master of None
William H. Macy/Shameless
No real favorite here, even though I haven’t seen Atlanta. I consider it a snub Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch and T.J. Miller was omitted.
Best Actress in Comedy:
Pamela Adlon/Better Things
Jane Fonda/Grace and Frankie
Ellie Kemper/Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tracee Ellis Ross/Black-ish
Lily Tomlin/Grace and Frankie
I can’t honestly say any of these are my favorite shows, so I’d just go with Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Veep here.
Best Supporting Actor in Drama:
*Jonathan Banks/Better Call Saul
David Harbour/Stranger Things
Ron Cephas Jones/This Is Us
Michael Kelly/House of Cards
John Lithgow/The Crown
This is an easy pick. All are good shows, but Jonathan Banks was excellent in Breaking Bad, and even better in Better Call Saul. That said, this was the year to honor the contribution of Michael McKean, and his omission is nothing short of negligent.
Best Supporting Actress in Drama:
Uzo Aduba/Orange Is the New Black
Millie Bobby Brown/Stranger Things
Ann Dowd/The Handmaid’s Tale
Chrissy Metz/This Is Us
Samira Wiley/The Handmaid’s Tale
What can I say? No huge favorites for me in this category.
Best Supporting Actor in Comedy:
Alec Baldwin/Saturday Night Live
Tituss Burgess/Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Ty Burrell/Modern Family
Here, I have to confess to just liking Veep.
Best Supporting Actress in Comedy:
Vanessa Bayer/Saturday Night Live
Leslie Jones/Saturday Night Live
Kate McKinnon/Saturday Night Live
Again, I’ll go with Veep.
Best Limited Series:
Big Little Lies/HBO
Feud: Bette and Joan/FX
The Night Of/HBO
Fargo has some great moments, though I confess to liking most anything on Nat Geo. In full disclosure, I never saw Feud: Bette and Joan.
Best Television Movie:
*Black Mirror, “San Junipero”
Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Sherlock: The Lying Detective
The Wizard of Lies
Another easy pick.
Best Actor in Limited Series or TV Movie:
Riz Ahmed/The Night Of
Benedict Cumberbatch/Sherlock: The Lying Detective
*Robert DeNiro/The Wizard of Lies
John Turturro/The Night Of
DeNiro was masterful in this role of Bernie Madoff.
Best Actress in Limited Series or TV Movie:
Felicity Huffman/American Crime
Nicole Kidman/Big Little Lies
Reese Witherspoon/Big Little Lies
True confession, I didn’t see Feud.
Best Supporting Actor in Limited Series or TV Movie:
Bill Camp/The Night Of
Alexander Skarsgard/Big Little Lies
Michael Kenneth Williams/The Night Of
Again, with my disclosure of not seeing Feud, I’d easily pick David Thewlis in Fargo.
Best Supporting Actress in Limited Series or TV Movie:
Laura Dern/Big Little Lies
Regina King/American Crime
Michelle Pfeiffer/The Wizard of Lies
Shailene Woodley/Big Little Lies
No preferences here.
Best Writing for Drama:
Stranger Things, “Chapter One: The Vanishing of WillByers” by The Duffer Brothers
The Americans, “The Soviet Division” by Joel Fields, Joe Weisenberg
Westworld, “The Bicameral Mind” by Lisa Joy, Jonathan Nolan
The Handmaid’s Tale, “Offred (Pilot)” by Bruce Miller
The Crown, “Assassins” by Peter Morgan
*Better Call Saul, “Chicanery” by Gordon Smith
All of these are laudible, but Gordon Smith’s episode really delved into the inner mind of Michael McKean’s character, Charles McGill.
Best Writing for Comedy:
Master of None, “Thanksgiving” by Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe
*Silicon Valley “Success Failure” by Alec Berg
Atlanta, “B.A.N.” by Donald Glover
Atlanta, “Streets on Lock” by Stephen Glover
Veep, “Georgia by Billy Kimball
The scripts in Silicon Valley are exceptional. It’s again my comedy writing pick this year and I’m sticking to it.
Stay tuned to see who wins.