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Emmy Confidential: The Character Actress

This is the second in our 2017 Emmy® Confidential series. Publishing this week, the Emmy Confidential series allows Emmy voters the opportunity to anonymously discuss what they voted for and why in four major Emmy categories. 

In our second installment of the 2017 Emmy Confidential series, we spoke with another member of the performers branch. Our Character Actress served as a member of the Television Academy for over thirty years. This Emmy voter has earned their membership through various guest appearances in various Emmy favorites and multiple daytime soaps.Emmy Confidential

Having been a member for 30 years, this voter is very privy to the tactics networks use to sway voters and pays attention

Our Character Actress describes herself as a TV addict and always makes sure to watch all of the nominees. She also frequents the various Emmy FYC events throughout the year.

Outstanding Drama Series – Westworld

This year, we had an exceptional amount of good talent and shows to choose from. I approached my ballot by asking myself, “When there is this much great material, what makes them standout?” Well, sometimes it comes down to a party. Whether they respected the Academy voters. Were they friendly? Did they engage us? A lot of voters also care about the food. [Laughs]

Politically speaking, there is even more that goes into it. If you’re aware of a situation going on behind the scenes, it has the potential to influence my vote in a tough category. Westworld had political issues within the show, and that influenced my vote. The issue dealing with Nolan. The series took a while to get off the ground. His style of directing and writing is slower and more methodical.

HBO began to question him. So, there is a lot of support for the show because Jonathan Nolan is such a perfectionist and a vision. He’s introverted and shy, but at the events, he spent two hours in that lobby. There was not one person he did not talk to. He got out of his comfort zone to give the best pitch for Westworld that he absolutely could. I really respected that because he stayed until the end of the event selling his project to the entire industry.

I think This Is Us will win though. Dan Fogelman is an incredible person. I love his directing and writing, and he is another showrunner that will spend hours with voters. But Dan was never in danger of being replaced while Jonathan was. So that is how I made my decision. The Handmaid’s Tale is great but hard to get through. I found it depressing comparing it the way our culture could go. I also enjoyed Stranger Things, but is it really awards material?

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series – Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)

I went with old school Anthony Hopkins. I love him in almost every project he does, and this is the only chance we have to award him for Westworld. As a branch, we do love our revered actors, but we are also snotty. He did not come to a single Emmy event, so I’m not sure if that will affect other voters. If not him, Sterling K. Brown has a really good shot.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series – Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)

This is another incredible group, and I voted for Evan Rachel Wood. Viola Davis has already won, but my peers love her. Robin Wright is also well loved and extremely talented. However, there is a psychology to winning, and Robin never does it properly. Just prior to voting, there was that story about Elisabeth Moss discussing her life as a Scientologist. I’m not sure the article won’t have an effect on the voters, and many of my peers were shocked to find out. This will be the toughest race.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – John Lithgow (The Crown)

I voted for John Lithgow. His transformation into Churchill is like nothing that I have ever seen. At a lot of the events, other Academy members echoed the same sentiment as well. His performance was just impeccable.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Thandie Newton (Westworld)

I went with Thandie because anybody who can be naked that much deserves an award. Ann Dowd gave an incredible performance, and I was torn between the two. In the end, I couldn’t ignore Thandie’s performance and Westworld as a show.

With Millie Bobby Brown, we as a peer group of mostly older actors don’t mind voting for younger actors, but they have to blow us away. She was good but I wasn’t taken to that level. The same for Winona Ryder. She was OK but didn’t blow me away.

Guest Actor in a Drama Series – BD Wong (Mr. Robot)

BD Wong. I enjoyed him immensely, and his entire performance was entertaining. On top of that, there is a political factor to voting for him. Playing a transgender character is a big deal in today’s environment in our country, and it gives greater value to his performance. I don’t understand Mr. Robot being snubbed because it’s a great show. I think it might have been an “out of sight, out of mind” situation because it premiered a long time ago. They sent out screeners early and had their event early on.

Guest Actress in a Drama Series – Cicely Tyson (How to Get Away With Murder)

I voted for Cicely Tyson. She is extremely well loved and respected. There is a lot of talk right now about honoring our great performers. With Cicely specifically, I voted for her because she has never won.

(Photo: HBO)
Outstanding Comedy Series – Veep

I voted for Veep. The show has been successful for the last few years. It’s well written well directed and well-acted. Yes it’s already won before, but I don’t think the other nominees are at its level.

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)  

This category came down to Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Allison Janney. These are two incredibly talented women who have both won multiple times. It used to be that everyone easily voted for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but this year people seem more conflicted between the two.

Chuck Lorre did something incredible this season, and instead of spending money on a party to campaign the show, they donated all of it to Planned Parenthood.  Instead of promoting her, Warner Bros gave that money to Planned Parenthood. Anytime someone tweeted about her, they donated money as well. That information got around very fast in the actors branch seeing as we are all relatively liberal. There is a lot of goodwill for this choice.

In the end I voted for Julia. She’s great. She’s funny. And she’s talented.

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series – Anthony Anderson (black-ish)

Jeffrey Tambor used to be a lock in this category. However, I voted for Anthony Anderson because he is incredibly personable and a delight to be around. His performance is fun, and as a cast the black-ish team is the sweetest group. Anthony also has a long history in this industry as a comedian and actor.

A lot of people voted for Aziz which I don’t quite get. His performance is not my type of comedy. Donald Glover probably hasn’t paid his dues which I know isn’t fair because he has been on TV for a while on shows like Community. I don’t think Zach Galifinakis has a shot. In the past I would have considered William H. Macy but not this year.

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Alec Baldwin (Saturday Night Live)

This was not a hard category to decide. There is no competition here, and I easily voted for Alec Baldwin. His Trump is phenomenal, and everyone enjoyed it. He’s just too good. We weren’t looking at Baldwin. We were looking at an interesting portrayal into Trump land.

I love Burgess’s work. I think he is fascinating and interesting, but I don’t think he stands out against some of these TV actors because he’s from Broadway.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Judith Light (Transparent)

This category was tough for me, but I voted for Judith Light. She has been around for a long time and is one of the most humble charming women you will ever meet. Judith attended every Transparent event and stayed the entire time. She entertained Emmy voters with pictures and spoke with everyone. I worked with her years ago, and she was and still is an amazing actress. Throughout her career, she has been so underrated, so hopefully this is her year.

Kathryn Hahn is delightful and charming, and there seems to be buzz around her. I debated voting for Kate McKinnon because she is incredible as Hillary. I really want to vote for Anna Chlumsky, but in the end I could not deny Judith.

Guest Actor in a Comedy Series – Hugh Laurie (Veep)

I voted for Hugh Laurie. He is decent on Veep, but I really thought he should have been nominated for his leading role on Chance, the Hulu show. This was my little way of making up for his snub in the other race.

(Photo: Netflix)
Guest Actress in a Comedy Series – Angela Bassett (Master of None)

Everyone I’ve talked to has voted for Angela Bassett, myself included. I feel strongly she should win. Angela came with the Master of None party and stayed late and was personable and approachable. She is delightful and charming in the show as well as in person. I also felt the woman who played her sister (Kym Whitley) should have been nominated as well.

There is talk about Carrie Fisher, but we don’t always give posthumous Emmys. This was tough because my heart wanted to vote for Carrie, but Angela was incredible.

(Photo: HBO)
Outstanding TV Movie – Sherlock

I went with Sherlock because I didn’t care about any of the other nominees. This was the only TV movie I knew would be nominated, but the other stuff was just up in the air. Who knew that Dolly Parton would make it in? Sherlock is well-written and charming. Something about it excited audiences, and our group at the Television Academy that just makes us flock to the TV whenever there are new episodes.

Black Mirror and Netflix did a major push and spent a lot of money on PR. Personally, I was irritated by Black Mirror submitting in the TV movie category. They took a single episode of their series and submitted it, but then submitted aspects of other episodes in the other categories. All of a sudden, the entire series had the opportunity to be recognized.

Something didn’t work with The Wizard of Lies. I couldn’t tell if it felt rushed or if it was a writing problem.

Outstanding Limited Series – The Night Of

I thought The Night Of was incredibly well-written. The show had a message on what could happen to someone and the theme of the night. It was definitely the strongest of the nominees. I really respect it as a whole and want to see it win multiple awards.

I liked Big Little Lies, but am still not sure if it’s worthy of winning the big award. Fargo is always charming and delightful, but this season was very weird. With Feud, I got caught up in the Olivia de Havilland debacle. It bothered me that their team didn’t have the decency to speak with her first. They represented her in a certain way while she was still alive. It was very disrespectful.

Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie – John Turturro (The Night Manager)

I voted for Turturro. His performance was intriguing, and the role was atypical for him. He portrayed this weird lawyer with such charm, and it made me want to see him win. The other guys are great, but Turturro’s performance was my favorite.

The young fella from The Night Of  [Riz Ahmed] was good, but he is too new to the scene. Ewan McGregor played two people which is always a plus. However, at his Q&A, I found him to be very pompous and unexciting. Geoffrey Rush is a good actor, but I have yet to meet someone who actually liked Genius. De Niro was only nominated because he is De Niro.

(Photo: FX)
Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie – Carrie Coon (Fargo)

This is such an interesting category because of all of the love for Big Little Lies and Feud. I went off the grid and voted for Carrie Coon. I could have gone the way everyone else is going, but those were impossible decisions. How was I supposed to pick Nicole over Reese or Jessica over Susan? I chose not to do any of that. I also found Coon to be charming and an overall fun experience to watch her in a season I didn’t so much care for. She was a delightful force within this horrific group of people. I thought, why not?

Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie – Bill Camp (The Night Of)

I voted for the retired cop from The Night Of [Bill Camp]. I was totally mesmerized by his work. It’s hard to explain. I believed him as an exhausted cop that was torn between being done and doing the right thing. The subtext was beautifully done. At The Night Of party, everyone went crazy for him. There is a sense of honoring him with his first major award, and I hope he wins.

I think Alfred Molina is an incredible actor as well as Stanley Tucci. I am pretty dismissive of Alexander Skarsgaard. There is something about him that rubs me the wrong way. It might be the character, but I’m not sure.

Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie – Laura Dern (Big Little Lies)

This was another tough race. I think Shailene Woodley is a little too new to the television world. Michelle Pfeiffer only was nominated because she is the wonderful Michelle Pfeiffer. Regina King is well loved. Judy Davis is great. For me it came down to Laura, Regina, and Judy.

In the end I voted for Laura Dern. Her character was fun, crazy, and wacky. I try to compare them to the actors own personalities, and there was no comparison between herself and the performance.