I follow a lot of critics on Twitter, maybe too many for my own good. Throughout the ceremony and afterwards, criticism of this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony flew by in tweets, blog posts, and published articles. Was Jimmy Kimmel a good host? Did Homeland really deserve its wins? What about Jon Hamm? Or Bryan Cranston? How many more directors are going to cut off the important people but let Kevin Costner run long? The Emmy’s are like most of Hollywood – they will never change.
I felt nothing significant this year with Kimmel hosting. He did his job well by telling jokes that were on point and well written. Some of his bits didn’t go off that well (looking at the In Memoriam montage right about now) while others fell flat. I like Kimmel on his show (which lost to the formidable Daily Show in the Variety Series race) and I thought his roasting of the President was well done, but last night’s hosting didn’t really have a big spectacular moment. The opening had some serious momentum but loss a lot of the audience with a naked Lena Dunham.
However, this year the ceremony did give some big upset moments in both the comedy and dramatic categories. I am not going to list Amy Poehler losing to Julia Louis-Dreyfus to this list because I was okay with either of them winning. Of course I was upset with Poehler’s loss but her handling of it was phenomenal. The Lead Actress in a Comedy race was a very large race with either bets on Poehler or Dreyfus. I hope the Academy continue nominating Amy Poehler just so we can see her hijinks give a little more jazz to a mostly boring awards ceremony.
UPSET #1: Jon Cryer? What?
The Lead Actor in a Comedy category feels extremely different without the presence of Steve Carell. It holds past winners like Jim Parsons and Alec Baldwin who could have easily taken the trophy home. But one of the biggest surprises of the night went to Jon Cryer. His reaction when hearing his name called showed he knew he wasn’t going to win. Ultimately he knows and so do most people who watch television that that this award should’ve gone to either newcomers Louis C.K. or Don Cheadle. I am still at a loss for how this came about. With shows like Louie on the air I can’t even surmount that fact that an actor from Two and a Half Men won in this category.
UPSET #2: Too Many Losses for Mad Men
Mad Men went 0 for 17 last night missing out on chances in the Acting, Writing, and Directing categories. It’s biggest loss was in Outstanding Drama with Homeland taking home the top prize. With wins for both the writers for the Pilot and the lead actors, you could see the chance of Mad Men picking up a 5th win for Drama disappear. It will be in the list with Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, and The West Wing for each of their four wins (L.A. Law being the only non-consecutive winner of the group).
The biggest upset in terms of Mad Men went to Christina Hendricks losing to Maggie Smith in the Supporting Actress category. Yes Emmy voters we understand that Smith is an Academy Award winning actress who is in her late 70s. Her performance on Downton Abbey meanwhile is mostly comedic and doesn’t learn toward drama in any way. In Mad Men‘s fifth season episode The Other Woman Hendricks gives an unforgettable performance in the character of Joan that had Emmy whispers back in the Spring. It was filled with emotion and conflict that had the viewers talking and talking. I hope not to jinx Mad Men but I hope at least one actor can come of the show’s reign holding an Emmy.
UPSET #3: Damin Lewis Upsets Cranston and Hamm
In the same competitiveness as the Lead Actress in a Comedy category, the Lead Actor in a Drama is filled to the brim with outstanding, unforgettable, and talked about performances of the past year by six men. Easily Steve Buscemi, Michael C. Hall and Hugh Bonneville could be throwaways while the other three competitors were analyzed at all lengths. Taking home the prize was newcomer to the category Damian Lewis for his brilliant, breathtaking portrayal of war hero turned terrorist Nicholas Brody in Showtime’s freshman smash hit Homeland. In the past four years Bryan Cranston took home the award three times with most competition coming from Mad Men’s five time nominated Jon Hamm.
Both of these actors transform themselves into characters that makes a viewer grind their teeth with utter frustration. Bryan Cranston’s performance in the episode Crawl Space with his maniacal laughter might just be one the most frightening things I have ever seen on television and Jon Hamm’s saddened looks toward as Don Draper toward Peggy made me heart hurt. But Damian Lewis took a character to the fence with a suicide vest combined with a panic attack that had viewers completely on edge. It was a well deserved win in my opinion.
UPSET #4: Too Much Modern Family
It would be an elephant in the room to not discuss Modern Family‘s large stake in this year’s Emmy awards. Every single one of their leads were nominated in their respective categories which gave not many spots to other actors. It took up no nominations in the Writing awards (thankfully) while winning in the Directing category with utmost disappointment. Both Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen have won previously for their performances (Stonestreet in 2010 and Bown in 2011) as Cameron Tucker and Claire Dunphy, respectively, which easily gave them a nod toward a win. The Emmy voters love people who already have Emmy’s.
I completely understand that Modern Family is a funny show and has done well on ABC but there are other shows with other supporting characters. It was funny in the first season but has lacked the same feelings in its’ other efforts. My main disappointment in Modern Family‘s takeover of the ceremony was its win for Outstanding Comedy Series. Doesn’t the award ceremony usually end with Drama anyway? Was Comedy moved around to give ABC more promotion?
Anyway my biggest issue in the category (which I mentioned in my Emmy Nominations post) was Parks and Recreation not being included. It is one of the leading comedies commented on by critics who have written essays about its characters and plot point while The Big Bang Theory and the never ending Curb Your Enthusiasm takes up spots that aren’t completely well earned. I would’ve loved to see Girls take this award as it really took this category in a different direction but I knew its hopes were nowhere near the top. Modern Family probably deserved its first and second wins but this year I think it could’ve gone to someone with a little more inspiration and imagination.