This past Thursday the nominations for the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were announced and, to be honest, many of the nominations didn’t really come as any great surprise; but the fact that not one single major network drama was chosen as a Best Drama Series nominee was rewarding to say the least.
The cable shows that received a nomination as Best Drama Series include Boardwalk Empire (HBO), Breaking Bad (AMC), Downton Abbey (PBS), Game of Thrones (HBO), Homeland (Showtime) and Mad Men (AMC). The latter has won the award for the past four consecutive years so it is easy to believe that Mad Men would be the likely winner again this fall; but I have to stand up for the fantastic PBS “series” Downton Abbey. I know I am not alone in this statement because the fervor for this mini-series (sans drama series) took on a life of its own over the last TV season, making fans on both sides of the ocean. [For those unaware, Downton Abbey debuted in the UK first and then made its way to the States thanks to public broadcasting.]
Moving over to the best acting categories for drama series these categories also saw cable dominating with only two major network shows getting a nod. First let’s take a look at the best acting nominees for lead actor, including Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey; Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire; Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; Michael C. Hall, Dexter; Jon Hamm, Mad Men and Damian Lewis, Homeland. Except for last year (when Kyle Chandler won for his role on Friday Night Lights), Bryan Cranston won the statuette three years in a row. While it would stand to reason that he will probably win again this time, I am going to place bets on Damian Lewis walking away with the win. Even if you only saw one episode of the new compelling Showtime drama Homeland, you’ll know that I’m right about that prediction.
In the leading actress category, the nominees are Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law; Glenn Close, Damages; Claire Danes, Homeland; Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey; Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife and Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men. Last year, Julianna Margulies won the award and it would seem she will walk away with the win this year; but I have to put my support behind Michelle Dockery, whose subtle portrayal of Mary Crowley was simply captivating.
Among the nominees for best supporting actress in a drama are Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad; Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey; Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey; Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife; Christine Baranski, The Good Wife and Christina Hendricks, Mad Men. Last year saw Margo Martindale win the award, leaving the category wide open for these ladies. Some will argue that either Archie Panjabi or Christina Hendricks deserves to win, but my choice is Joanne Froggatt. She did a wonderful job in her role of Anna Smith (nee Bates) on Downton Abbey, moving anyone who watched her in the terrific series to tears.
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad; Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad; Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey; Jim Carter, Downton Abbey; Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones and Jared Harris, Mad Men each received a nod for the best supporting actor in a drama. Last year, Peter Dinklage walked away with the award simply because he was pitch-perfect as Tyrion Lannister and I believe he will win again this year too; but I am torn between Peter and Brendan Coyle, who was simply fantastic as John Bates on Downton Abbey.
Then as we move over to the mini-series and/or movie category, first there are the nominees for Best Miniseries or Movie, including American Horror Story (FX), Game Change (HBO), Hatfields & McCoys (History), Hemingway & Gelhorn (HBO), Luther (BBC America) and Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (PBS). This is actually a tougher choice than any other category simply because the Hatfields & McCoys was just incredible; but I will have to go with Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia, which was just amazing to watch especially the introduction of Irene Adler (Lara Pulver).
In the lead actor for the mini-series or movie category, the nominees are Woody Harrelson, Game Change; Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys; Bill Paxton, Hatfields & McCoys; Clive Owen, Hemingway & Gelhorn; Idris Elba, Luther and Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia. As big a fan of Idris Elba as I am, I have to go with Benedict Cumberbatch because he is the epitome of divine in the role, rattling off dialogue better than anyone else and making Sherlock Holmes simply irresistible.
Among the nominees for lead actress in a mini-series or movie are Connie Britton, American Horror Story; Julianne Moore, Game Change; Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gelhorn; Ashley Judd, Missing and Emma Thompson, The Song of Lunch. For one, I have to admit being surprised that Ashley Judd was nominated for the short-lived Missing; but great for her and the under-valued series. But, in this case, I would imagine Connie Britton will win the statuette for American Horror Story because of all the buzz surrounding her performance.
As for the best supporting actor in a mini-series or movie, the nominees include Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story; Ed Harris, Game Change; Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys; David Strathairn, Hemingway & Gelhorn and Martin Freeman, Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia. Tom Berenger was barely recognizable in the Hatfields & McCoys mini, but that really isn’t enough for a win so I’m going with Martin Freeman because he was delightful as Dr. John Watson in Sherlock.
Lastly, Frances Conroy, American Horror Story; Jessica Lange, American Horror Story; Sarah Paulson, Game Change; Mare Winningham, Hatfields & McCoys and Judy Davis, Page Eight are the nominees for the best supporting actress in a mini-series or movie. Once again, this is a tough category to determine, but given the fact Jessica Lange owned her role on American Horror Story, I’m sure she will be walking away with the win.
One more note, I want to congratulate Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones and Once Upon a Time for their nominations for best costumes for a series and Falling Skies, Games of Thrones and Once Upon a Time for their nominations for best special visual effects for a series.
The 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air on Sunday, September 23 on ABC.