Robert Schenkkan
In an on-going series, Jazz Tangcay makes the Emmy® case for All the Way to win the Outstanding TV Movie Emmy with a little help from writer Robert Schenkkan. Over the next week, the writers of AwardsDaily TV will pour out their hearts and minds to try and convince Emmy voters to follow their expert opinions.

HBO’s All the Way

Metacritic: 78
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Number of Nominations: 8
Major Nominations: Television Movie, Lead Actor in a Limited Series / TV Movie (Bryan Cranston), Supporting Actress in a Limited Series / TV Movie (Melissa Leo), Direction (Jay Roach, who directed Cranston in Trumbo)

Robert Schenkkan grew up in Austin, Texas, close to Lyndon B. Johnson’s ranch. Schenkkan’s father at the time was a key figure in bringing public media, TV, and radio to the southwest. His father sought permission from then Senator Lyndon B. Johnson to bring public media to the area. LBJ backed a bill that created a corporation for public broadcast. He was a respected figure in the Schenkkan household, and Robert felt a connection to LBJ and wrote about him.

All The Way was originally commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012 with Jack Willis originating the role of LBJ. In 2014, All The Way opened on Broadway with Bryan Cranston in the role and won the Tony Award for Outstanding Play and Best Actor.

This past May, Schenkkan adapted the play for television. All The Way premiered on HBO with Cranston reprising his role in as LBJ. Cranston’s on-screen resemblance to President LBJ is uncanny, and his ability to capture the drawl, right down to Johnson’s slump posture, is a sight to be seen. One wonders how much research Cranston did to capture the mood, be it LBJ’s fierce spirit or fury. He gives us a full view of the character.

The HBO drama covers the first year of LBJ’s presidency following John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Writer Schenkkan needed to be selective with what he covered as there wasn’t enough time to cover it all. “I was interested in LBJ’s relationship with the Civil Rights Movement and how they crossed, how they parted and in the end how they were able to achieve that incredible success,” he said.

From the first day, LBJ was thinking ahead, thinking about his election. He wasn’t the one the people had elected and was critical of himself. The arc is geared towards the election, and the path to re-election was critical. What we see in the show is LBJ’s passionate fight for a cause that was polarizing the South as well as a man who wants to move America forward.

We’ve seen representations of LBJ many times, but this incarnation is deserving of an Emmy win. The experts currently have All The Way ahead of the other political biopic, Confirmation starring Kerry Washington, in the Outstanding TV Movie category. Cranston might have won the Tony Award for the role of LBJ, but he’s up against Courtney B. Vance who fully inhabited his portrayal of Johnnie Cochran in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Vance will most likely be taking home the Emmy statue on Emmy night thanks to an equally brilliant performance and the probability of a sweep for the Ryan Murphy-produced limited series.

However, there are many fine moments in All The Way. Some of the best include those where LBJ sits with Lady Bird (Melissa Leo) or when he walks down the hallway of the White House. There’s also an awkward exchange with his daughter. Of that particular scene, Schenkkan said the scene was included for the TV adaptation. What you see is a moment where a father truly loves his children, but he doesn’t know them at all. Steven Spielberg, who also produced the TV movie, had advised Roach that the best way to capture the president in intimate moments was by being the most desperate of places when there was no hope. It shows.

Another fine moment occurs between LBJ and Frank Langella who plays the opposition, Senator Richard Russell. “I love you more than I loved my daddy. But if you get in my way, I’ll crush you,” Johnson says to him.

It’s moments like that where Schenkkan’s script reminds us that politics is a game of chess, but all the moves are clever and politics is war. On these scenes, Schenkkan, who is an executive producer, collaborated with director Jay Roach and said, “I’ve never worked with anyone who was so open. He’s such a generous collaboration and a great director. I learned an enormous amount.”

These scenes are moments you will remember when talking about the movie. All The Way excels at humanizing characters such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and LBJ.

Ultimately, All The Way is a great film packed with history, great performances that show true character filled with compassion and courage. So, with over the 1.1 million who tuned in when the show aired in May, let this be your Emmy choice for Outstanding TV Movie.


American Crime Story

Lead Actress in a Limited Series / TV Movie  

2016 is Sarah Paulson’s year. Fans know it. Critics know it. With two nominations this year, clearly the Television Academy knows it. After four consecutive losses (and two crushing snubs) fans of Sarah Paulson began to question if she would ever win. Then Ryan Murphy granted her (and us all) the gift of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Her performance as Marcia Clark checks off all the right boxes: a buzzed about show, an historical role, and plenty of watercooler moments. Voters know this is her year, and if they gave it two anybody else the online blogosphere will never let them live it down.

As far out ahead as she is, this is the year where she has the strongest competition. Early in the season Kirsten Dunst was the frontrunner for her career renaissance in Fargo, but she will likely suffer from the same snobbery to 1990’s/early 2000’s tabloid stars that cost Christian Slater his first nomination. Lili Taylor gave the most heartwrenching performance of the year (and my personal favorite), but she’ll split the vote with her less deserving costar, Felicity Huffman. Audra McDonald is beloved in the theatre community, but there is no chance that the acting branch is going to award what is essentially a filmed Broadway performance. Plus, she has her arsenal of Tonys to keep her warm at night.

If Emmy voters do decide to ignore Sarah Paulson for a fifth consecutive year, then it will be for Kerry Washington who in any other year would be a lock to win. She’ll pick up some votes for simply starring in a prestige HBO biopic (the network has taken this award 11 of the past 16 years). Washington is also an industry darling, and there are a lot of Scandal fans in the acting branch.

In the end, she likely won’t upset Paulson because no one seemed to love Confirmation as a TV film. Compare that to Sarah Paulson who has been nominated more times than Washington, gave the better performance, and starred in the more well liked program. Voters will be happier to award Paulson.


Current Ranking

Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Kerry Washington, Confirmation

Kirsten Dunst, Fargo

Lili Taylor, American Crime

Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

Felicity Huffman, American Crime

American Crime Story
(Photo: HBO)


Lead Actor in a Limited Series / TV Movie

Every single television journalist and pundit has spent the past six months praising Courtney B. Vance’s performance as Johnnie Cochran, making him the obvious choice to win the Emmy this September. Then just about every one of those pundits decided to predict Bryan Cranston for his portrayal of LBJ in HBO’s All the Way.

Like Kerry Washington, Bryan Cranston checks off all the typical Emmy requirements and to an even higher degree. His work on Breaking Bad has made him quite possibly the most respected actor working in television. Pairing that with HBO’s big biopic of the year based off of the Tony-winning play seems like a done deal in terms of typical voter preferences. Cranston’s only setback is that All The Way isn’t very good. In fact, the TV movie is pretty boring. Courtney B. Vance on the other hand is one of the stars on the biggest television event of the year, and, if last year’s Limited Series/TV movie winners are any indicator, the acting branch might prefer to pick their favorite limited series of the year and just check it off everywhere.

This race has a lot of parallels to the 2014 race when two costars of a major limited series (Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman in Fargo) squared off against the lead of a major HBO film (Mark Ruffalo). In the end, the major upset of the night was from a fan favorite British import (Benedict Cumberbatch). This scenario could play out this year but the three British imports will likely cancel each other out in the end. Idris Elba is coming off a SAG win, and Benedict Cumberbatch is a previous winner. Judging from the overall representation, The Night Manager is probably the most popular amongst the actors this year.

The performance with zero traction this year seems to be the only Oscar winner in the group, Cuba Gooding Jr. Even if he doesn’t have a chance of winning, as the titular character of The People v. O.J. Simpson, there is a risk of him taking votes away from Vance, making it even easier for Cranston to his fifth performance Emmy. So far, Emmy voters in 2016 have proven that they have been paying attention to material and not rewarding people solely on name. Because of that, I am going to cling to Courtney B. Vance.

Current Ranking

Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Bryan Cranston, All the Way

Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager

Idris Elba, Luther

Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

Cuba Gooding Jr., The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Master of None
In an on-going series, Joey Moser makes the Emmy case for Master of None to win the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy. Over the next week, the writers of AwardsDaily TV will pour out their hearts and minds to try and convince Emmy voters to follow their expert opinions.

Netflix’s Master of None

Metacritic: 91
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Number of Nominations: 4
Nominations: Comedy Series, Lead Actor Comedy Series (Aziz Ansari), Writing (“Parents”), Direction (“Parents”)

When Netflix debuted the comedy Master of None last fall, it seemed that everyone had an idea of what the show might be. Comics have made the transition from big stages to the small screen before with varying success, and the episodes highlight Aziz Ansari’s ease on camera. Not only did Ansari co-create the show with Alan Yang, but the duo wrote all of the episodes in the first season. It’s a quietly ambitious series that recalls the joys of being young and living in New York City. It’s one of the best shows of last year, and it rightfully should be in serious contention for all 4 of the Emmys it’s nominated for.

The most striking thing about Master of None is that it’s not a straightforward comedy. Ansari and Yang could have made this show simpler by focusing on a group of thirtysomethings trying to make it in New York City. Ansari’s Dev is an easygoing actor who is always down for finding the best restaurants in the city. In the first episode, “Plan B,” he explores whether or not he would want to have children after the condom breaks during a late night rendezvous. Dev then spends some time with his friend’s kids and he realizes that the joys of parenthood is probably not something he wants to experience—at least not at this point in his life.

Master of None
(Photo: Netflix0
The second episode of the first season, “Parents,” really gives us an idea of what Ansari and Yang want to do with the show, and that’s when you tipped off that Master has an open ear and heart. Dev and his buddy Brian (played by Kelvin Yu), realize that their relationships with their parents aren’t as strong as they should be. The episode flashes back to highlight both fathers coming to America and starting their new lives in this country, and it allows for Ansari’s real-life parents to shine in their roles. It’s criminal that Shaukath Ansari wasn’t nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.

Master of None
(Photo: Netflix)
The reason why Master of None works better than other similarly themed sitcoms is the thoughtfulness behind it. Dev can be a selfish guy (like when he badgers his girlfriend about keeping “his” apartment clean after she moves in), but he’s more open and considerate than a lot of leading men on television. It’s refreshing to see a male lead of a sitcom that’s not a total douche bag. It also helps that Ansari is a truly capable actor. He’s not self-conscious. He deserves votes just for screaming his head off in a coffee shop for a Skype audition for an alien action drama (“The Sickening…is happening!!!”).

Ansari stands a real chance of winning multiple awards at this year’s ceremony, and I say bring it on. “Parents” was submitted across the board, and it’s the strongest episode of the season. It’s already won the Critics’ Choice for Best Comedy Series (yes, I know that that doesn’t always translate to Emmy gold), and it should be noted that it’s the only nominee for Outstanding Comedy Series that’s nominated for its freshman season. Jeffrey Tambor took Leading Actor last year for Transparent, but his performance in season two was a lot quieter. Ansari’s Dev is lovable, funny, and kinetic. Giving him the trophy for Actor in a Comedy would definitely be an appropriate response to “Indians on TV,” a hilarious condemnation of white actors portraying people of color.

The competition for Outstanding Comedy Series is fierce this year, but Ansari and Yang’s show has the heart along with the laughs. The best, most memorable comedy manages to weave relatable material in with the jokes, and no one does that better in this lineup than Master of None.

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Mr. Robot
In the first of an on-going series, Robin Write makes the Emmy case for Mr. Robot to win the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy. Over the next week and a half, the writers of AwardsDaily TV will pour out their hearts and minds to try and convince Emmy voters to follow their expert opinions.

USA Network’s Mr. Robot

Metacritic: 79
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Number of Nominations: 6
Nominations: Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor Drama Series (Rami Malek), Outstanding Writing (“eps1.0_hellofriend.mov (Pilot)”), Outstanding Music Composition, Outstanding Casting, Outstanding Sound Mixing

It may well be full on corporate drama, but Mad Men this is not. It’s eerie and dark, but it’s not Twin Peaks either. It’s a psychological thriller, sure, but it’s nothing like Hannibal. TV is a continually revitalizing medium. In fact, this is especially true in relation to how the quality is easily out-weighing that of film. We long for what we like, but we also want evolution. We want originality. We want to be knocked out of our socks. We don’t always get what we want, sure, but every now and then something comes close to fitting the bill. Dark drama. Psychological thriller. Whatever your tastes, TV finds a way. Sam Esmail’s creation Mr. Robot can be categorized as the above, but the 10-parter is much more than that. Bringing computer hacking and national security to the forefront as well as the mental, human torments that come with such a relevant, in-our-face source of communication, USA’s Mr. Robot challenges our own paranoia and fears of the modern world.

At the core of the techno-noir-TV-business-trip is a multi-layered narrative thrill-ride, both visually and mentally exhausting. And this is nothing if not a plus point. Mr. Robot has plenty of strong, refreshing ideas not just brewing at the surface but over-flowing through the bloodstream. The mind boggles at times as we get lost in online security and the world of computer hot-wiring, a dark world it seems. But there is a real panache about the whole delivery as characters are dropped to the corners of the frames, emphasizing the atmospheric isolation. It’s pretty cinematic in scope too, a sprinkle of Kubrick at times. Director Niels Arden Oplev, who aptly made the Swedish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo imprints some real David-Fincher-esque tones on proceedings. Composer Mac Quayle, too, gives off a whiff of the Trent Reznor / Atticus Ross collaboration.

Mr. Robot
(Photo: USA Network)

Dug out of a mundane yet well-suited job and swept into a new world of potential anarchy a la Neo in The Matrix (only briefly), young computer whiz Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) falls into the F-Society crowd. F-Society is a bunch of underground hackers apparently lead by the title character deftly played by Christian Slater. His big plan is to banish all debts by launching a cyber attack on the super-corporation E Corp. Cautious, Elliot treads the water carefully but still clearly wants to splash around here, danger or not. In fact the hacking makes him something of a savior as we are introduced to him (uncover child pornography hoarder or discovering another man’s infidelity) but also proves a source of immense trouble. Elliot’s early dilemma is whether to cave to peer pressure and the buzz of the score. I mean, this is what drives Elliot. This is why they chose him, right? His own self-medicated social anxiety and depression don’t make things easier. Fight or flight.

Elsewhere, the slime-ball-come-murderer Tyrell Wellick is a Senior VP at E Corp, doing whatever he can to upgrade his career status. When at home we get to share the extraordinary relationship he has with his pregnant wife, they appear to speak to each other in Danish, and she does not bat an eyelid to his chaotic behavior. Elliot’s real-world allies include his work colleague and friend from childhood Angela (Portia Doubleday) whose own storyline steps into the sympathetic. And then there is his therapist Dr. Gordon (Gloria Reuben). Elliot taps into their lives too through the electronic world, though he will play the protection card much stronger than the ethical one here. Fearless Darlene (Carly Chaikin), one of Mr. Robot’s more prominent hackers, seems to be on the very edge of bother, actually has an incredible loyalty and determination.

In the midst of some truly excellent and very different performances, this is Malek’s game. An actor we no doubt recognized at first (Short Term 12 here), he relishes the big lead role, taking center stage with those big eyes on that sullen face. He never appears to be moping about or dragging his feet. There is still something warm in his gravelly, subdued voice-over. We hear near-enough every thought in his head, building an instant intrigue and impact.

Subconsciously, too, you have your own moments of doubting what Elliot presents us with to be possibly imagined, or at least to what extent. The hoodie implies more the natural concealment Elliot craves than the mere appearance of a street thug. And just when you might mistake him for a whiny super-nerd with a drug problem in the first episode, he sinks to the floor in tears, curling up into a ball. His loneliness is a sucker punch to your own heart and credit goes to Malek for making this wide-earned sociopath a sympathetic character, a kind of anti-hero. Or someone we route for regardless of impulses or integrity.

Claims that the show’s title might mislead viewers into thinking this is about, well, robots, could be a claim for idiocy too, especially if you have seen the trailers, the posters, the word of mouth, opened your eyes, and your mind. Like walking into an advanced I.T. course, it appears complicated and daunting. You could well get lost. But you want to learn. The anticipation is too much. There is still that longing to be on the right track. The show is executed so well. There is no need for a niche or routine to follow. Your attention is held up high enough throughout, given the acting on display, the stirring music (some outstanding songs), the direction, the writing. And although perhaps we crave a detailed or logical explanation from time to time, it is not like we are being cheated here. I was perfectly happy to get swept up in all the technical drama without being distracted by an overuse of computer jargon.

Mr. Robot‘s paltry six nominations at the Emmys might well signify the lack of favorite status (Golden Globe winner Slater was not even honored), but the nods for Writing, Music, Sound Editing, and Casting are justified, and it could well swoop a couple here. Given the shortlist in the Drama Series category, too, Mr. Robot still remains a contender. Lead Actor nominee Malek, without over-analyzing the other actors in the list, must be a real front-runner. Although Emmy voters are creatures of comfort and like what they know, the breakthrough appeal of Malek, representing this brave new show (already hurtling through Season 2 as we speak), on top of what is an obsessive-compulsive, adventurous, emotive turn of alienation and anxiety from the young actor could force him to the front of the queue. That, or the fact his character’s pet goldfish is named Qwerty. Or greater still, get Emmy voters to re-watch episode six, the best of a very good bunch, as Malek shows us a depth of skill, playing Elliot with a fearless swagger, subtle urgency, and then question in that mesmeric, heat-rending final sequence whether or not he loved Shayla.


FX hosted an Emmys event last night on the Fox lot for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. The event was a Q&A featuring Emmy-nominee Sarah Paulson and Marcia Clark with Ryan Murphy directing the episode.

The show was nominated for 22 Emmy Awards, ranking second only to Game of Thrones, and it is favored to take home a number of Emmys. Sarah Paulson, who has been nominated four times before, is the overwhelming favorite to take home an Emmy for her portrayal of lead prosecutor Marcia Clark.

Here are some highlights from the event:

  • Murphy broke the ice by asking Clark and Paulson what their favorite words were. Paulson answered, “Motherf*****.” Clark replied, “C**T.” Cue audience laughter.
  • Talking about her hair during the trial, Clark said, “I never did understand the obsession with the hair.”
  • On her reaction to finding out that this was being made, Clark said her first reaction was, “Oh God. Horrible and misery, because the trial was misery.” She added that when she found out that Ryan Murphy was behind the project, she thought that it was going to be great but painful.
  • Clark said she thinks about Nicole and Ron every day. “I think about the life and the children that Ron didn’t get to parent.” She added that she thinks about Nicole’s children and their life without their mother, and father.
  • Paulson said, to help get into character, not only did she meet with Clark after Episode 6, as Murphy had instilled the rule that the actors couldn’t meet their characters until after that episode. She also read her book and went so far as to seek out the perfume Clark wore during the trial. She ordered a bottle of Magic Noire by Lancome online.
  • Asked about the toughest scene to shoot, Paulson said the toughest scene to shoot was the closing argument.
  • Paulson said she had named the wigs she wore during shooting the series. She had the “Rick James,” “Winston,” and “Miss Perfect,” for the various styles Clark sported during the trial.
  • Clark on whether she sees herself as a feminist icon,”I don’t feel like an icon, I don’t think of myself as an icon. This is hopefully a benefit to all of us.” She did thank Murphy for sexism that was highlighted during the show.
  • Paulson and Clark were asked what shows they binge. Paulson said she binges, “Game of Thrones.” She’s also started watching Stranger Things, and added, “Long live Winona.”

Check out photos from the event below. AwardsDaily TV was there to cover the event.

Primetime Emmy

The final round of Emmy voting began earlier this week (August 15th), and Television Academy members have two weeks (August 29th at 10PM PST) to complete their ballots online for the top series and program awards of the year as well as the awards within their own branch.

Unlike the Oscars, most Emmy categories are voted on by their peers: only actors vote in the acting categories, only directors vote in the directing categories, and writers vote in the writing categories. The series and program races are exceptions with all 20,000+ national members eligible to vote in the top awards if they wish.

For the second year in a row all Academy members are eligible to vote in every category within their own branch. This means that actors can vote in all 18 performance categories as well as the top series and program awards of the year. Upon voting, participating members are asked to agree to an honor system vowing to watch all of the submitted tapes for each nominee. Each branch has different rules, but generally each nominee usually submits a single episode to be judged while the top series of the year submit six episodes.

In a section of the Emmy’s website only accessible to Television Academy members, voters have access to the necessary episodes for each category to watch before making their final decisions. Those episodes have been available online since August 8th, a week before voting opened. However, there is no system in place to monitor and guarantee that every voter watches all of the necessary tapes before placing their final votes.

In the years leading up to 2015 it had been reported that anywhere from 40-100 branch members made up the peer group juries and the series/program cross-branch juries consisted of hundreds of Emmy members.

In those smaller juried years voters were also restricted to two peer-group categories per year and two program races per year, but as of 2015 all Television Academy members are allowed to vote in any category they desire to as long as they belong to that specific branch.

This year, for the first time, voters have been asked to simply vote for their favorite nominee of the year opposed to preferentially ranking the given nominees like in years past. So if a member wants to vote for Game of Thrones in the Outstanding Drama Series race they simply check off the show and move on. Before 2016, voters were asked to rank their ballots (1. Game of Thrones 2. House of Cards 3. Downton Abbey, etc), and the winner was then determined from those rankings.

The final round of Emmy voting is overseen by the company Everyone Counts (the same company used for the Oscars) and can only be completed online. After the winners are determined they will be announced at either one of the two Creative Arts Ceremonies on September 10th and 11th (broadcast in an edited version on September 17th on FXX) or on the Primetime Emmy Ceremony on September 18th (ABC).


Emmy Supporting Players Riding Coattails?

One of the biggest observations from last year’s crop of Emmy winners was the fact that every supporting actor winner seemed to be riding the coattails of a Series win: Tony Hale in Veep, Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones, and Bill Murray in Olive Kitteridge. None of them had the best tapes of the category, but after voting was opened up to the entire branch tapes didn’t seem to matter so much. Voters instead seemed to gravitate towards likable actors on their favorite programs without paying attention to their material throughout the year.

Game of Thrones and Veep are right on track to win the top awards of the night for the second year in a row, but both Dinklage and Hale have some surprising competition – their own costars. Actors used to benefit from competing against their costars because of the ranked voting system, which is how the Modern Family cast kept on winning. Now that the winner is determined by a simple popular vote it may be harder for people like Tony Hale and Matt Walsh or Peter Dinklage and Kit Harington to compete against each other.

If voters continue down this path will the Television Academy tweak the rules once again to level the playing field? They haven’t been afraid to in the past and that’s one of the things that makes the television academy much more interesting than the AMPAS. And if they don’t tweak the rules? Then we may never see another win like Merritt Wever ever again.

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series  

Only three men have won this supporting race over the past six years. They all came from the major contenders in the comedy race, and if Veep’s popularity growing even stronger is any indicator Tony Hale will have an easy time winning his third Emmy in four years. Last year, Tony Hale didn’t really have the material to win but beat out Tituss Burgess in a breakout role strictly on goodwill. Just like last year, voters are going to see his name on the ballot and check him off without thinking twice unless they instead gravitate towards his costar Matt Walsh. His nomination was one of the biggest surprises of the year, and fans of Veep might want to spread the wealth although it’s more likely that they’ll split the vote than Walsh upsetting.

Keegan-Michael Key is incredibly likable. He can be seen on a lot of shows throughout the year and even starred in a relative hit with Keanu. Because of all this he might be the dark horse of the race this year. Key & Peele has been nominated for 15 Emmys over the past four years and the most telling hint at the show’s strength among actors was a surprise SAG ensemble nomination earlier this year. The show is so popular that I would have him as the frontrunner right now if it weren’t for the fact that sketch comedy actors are never able to win in the acting races (except for guest roles). If there is any year for that curse to be broken it’s 2016.

Two months ago Tituss Burgess seemed like he could easily be the dark horse of the race, but after Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt completely underperformed in acting nominations this year I have a feeling voters weren’t a fan of the second season. Tituss didn’t have anything as striking as Peeno Noir this year, but he did have some moments that voters should pay attention to: the subway scene with his estranged wife, his boyfriend coming out to his family, and even his questionably offensive one-man play. Ty Burrell is a two time winner and Andre Braugher is a perennial nominee but neither performer nor their show has the momentum to win this year. One of the actors screwed over the most by the new voting rules is Louie Anderson who probably has a winning tape, but Baskets isn’t popular enough to gain the attention of a majority of voters.

Current Ranking

Tony Hale, Veep

Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele

Matt Walsh, Veep

Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Louie Anderson, Baskets

Ty Burrell, Modern Family

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine



Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Peter Dinklage had nothing to do last season, but he won anyways, proving that when Emmy voters like you they really really like you. He surprisingly won when Game of Thrones had their most successful night yet at the Emmys and now with the show even stronger creatively he seems poised to win a third Emmy. As popular as Dinklage is, he hasn’t had the standout year that Kit Harington had. His domination of the headlines started in the Season 5 finale and continued nonstop throughout the year, including a surprise hilarious performance in the ADTV favorite 7 Days in Hell. Unfortunately for Kit, the Emmys have been known to snub handsome young actors, and a lot of voters might dismiss him because of that.

Christian Slater was primed to be the dark horse contender after Critics Choice and Golden Globe wins and beat out the Game of Thrones men until voters surprisingly left him out. The rest of the category is filled with slightly underwhelming nominees including Michael Kelly and Ben Mendelsohn who were interesting contenders last year but weren’t able to overcome Game of Thrones goodwill and don’t have the material this year to gain any momentum. After years of snubbing him for a win, voters have the chance to award Jonathan Banks, but Better Call Saul might be old news compared to the other nominees.

As boring of an option as he seems, Jon Voight might have the best chance at upsetting one of the Game of Thrones men. Ray Donovan clearly has the support within the academy and with Showtime airing the new season during the voting season the veteran actor could easily become the biggest headscratcher of the night.

Current Ranking

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Kit Harington, Game of Thrones

Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Michael Kelly, House of Cards

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul

Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline

The 2016 TCA Awards winners are in and People v. O.J. Simpson holds court

In a potential preview of September’s Primetime Emmy Awards, the 2016 TCA Awards announced their winners tonight with FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story taking home three major awards. That may seem underwhelming, but keep in mind that the Television Critics Association awards don’t have as many categories as your standard awards show. For example, they combine the performance categories into Drama and Comedy, allowing both genders to compete against each other.

Ryan Murphy’s critically acclaimed limited series won Program of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials, and Individual Achievement in Drama for Sarah Paulson. Paulson’s Marcia Clark reinvention stands as the biggest story of the limited series, and the actress is a heavy front-runner to take home Emmy gold in September after several nominations. Paulson beat out such heavyweights as Bryan Cranston (All the Way), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), and Rami Malek (Mr. Robot).

In an overall celebration of women, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s Rachel Bloom and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee matched Paulson’s win with wins of their own. Both wins are well-deserved but somewhat bittersweet as they missed Emmy nominations.

“This was truly a landmark season — not just for television, but for women in television,” said Amber Dowling, TCA President. “We had an unprecedented amount of female winners this year, which is a testament to both the talented actresses who were honored tonight, as well as to the growing number of high-quality roles being created for and by women. It’s extremely encouraging to see this growing trend being embraced, accepted, and expanded upon, and I look forward to seeing even more of it in the future.”

ABC’s black-ish and FX’s The Americans received wins in the Comedy and Drama categories, respectively. Both series will compete at the 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards in September.

Here is a complete list of tonight’s 2016 TCA Awards winners.

  • Program of the Year: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
  • Individual Achievement in Drama: Sarah Paulson (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, FX)
  • Individual Achievement in Comedy: Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The CW)
  • Outstanding Achievement in News and Information: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming: Making a Murderer (Netflix)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (PBS)
  • Outstanding New Program: Mr. Robot (USA)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Drama: The Americans (FX)
  • Outstanding Achievement in Comedy: black-ish (ABC)
  • Career Achievement Award: Lily Tomlin
  • Heritage Award: The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS)

2006 Emmy Drama
This look at the 2006 Emmy Drama race is the first in a series of new posts exploring past Emmy races and how they have held up over time. Throughout the season we’ll explore various races from over the years including series, acting, and craft categories.

No network drama has competed for the top award since 2011 (unless you count Downton Abbey), so it’s crazy to think that ten years ago – way back in the 2006 Emmy Drama race – the biggest award of the night was between two wildly popular network shows and that network TV represented 80 percent of the nominees in the race. Plus, it’s even more surprising that the one premium cable nominee, The Sopranos, played second fiddle to genre shows and nighttime soaps.

The five nominees in 2006 were 24 (FOX), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), House (FOX), The Sopranos (HBO), and The West Wing (NBC).  Looking back, 24 seems like an obvious choice, but in 2006 pundits and critics were pretty much split evenly between 24 and Grey’s Anatomy with the final season of The West Wing as the dark horse. 24 led the pack with twelve nominations and Grey’s Anatomy was right on its tail with eleven, although Grey’s actually had more major nominations with eight (compared to 24’s five). Even with the major support for the two frontrunners, there was a lot of room for old Emmy favorites to continue racking up awards.

(Photo: FOX)


After five years of building momentum 24 finally won its first Outstanding Drama statue after years of racking up support in the tech categories. In addition to winning the top award, 24 was nominated in twelve categories including wins for its lead actor Kiefer Sutherland, directing, editing, and music composition. The excitement around the fifth season should come to no surprise after it kicked off the year by shockingly killing off beloved characters like President Palmer, Michelle, and Tony. Personally I remember season five best for its fierce showdown between President and First Lady. To this day, I’m shocked Gregory Itzen and Jean Smart were snubbed in the supporting races.

Grey’s Anatomy

The primetime soap that made Shonda Rhimes a household name was nominated for its second season after a year of endless water cooler moments: the saga of Izzy & Denny, McDreamy, the infamous post-Super Bowl bomb episode (which earned Kyle Chandler his first Emmy nod). After overstaying its welcome and many inconsistent seasons, a lot of fans and critics have forgotten just how good Grey’s Anatomy was in its prime. Long before mainstream America began to notice the lack of diversity on television, Shonda Rhimes created a workplace that reflected what the country actually looks like while giving fans countless twists that rivaled anything cable dishes out today.


Similar to Grey’s Anatomy, House was the other massively popular network medical drama nominated for the first time in its second season. Unfortunately for House, the show seemed to fall into a sophomore slump with voters after receiving only four nominations and a surprising snub of the show’s titular star, Hugh Laurie.

The Sopranos  

In 2004 The Sopranos became the first cable drama to win the top award, but after a near two year hiatus the Television Academy reacted tepidly to the penultimate season of the show critics champion as the start of The Golden Age of TV. A fraction of fans and critics were bored with the short season (for similar reasons they criticized the split final season of Mad Men) and Gandolfini and Falco were even shockingly left out of the lead races, although that could be credited to a change in the nomination process.

West Wing

Unfortunately for the four time Outstanding Drama Series winner, the final season went out with a whimper with voters after the show struggled in its new timeslot. In its final season, The West Wing earned six nominations and even won a sound mixing award and supporting actor win for Alan Alda, proving the final season was satisfying for the fans that stuck around. Voters moving on from the one-time Emmy juggernaut also signaled a change in desire towards what types of political shows voters wanted to root for. Ten years later voters have completely dismissed Sorkin’s political enthusiasm for a more pessimistic and conniving version of D.C. in House of Cards and Veep.

the west wing
(Photo: NBC)

One thing is for sure, we may never see a top race between two massively popular network shows again, but ten years later network executives are still trying to recreate the magic of the 2006 Emmy Drama race. HBO counted on Terence Winter to recreate the success of The Sopranos with Vinyl (to poor results), 24 is once again being revived by FOX, Grey’s Anatomy is still going strong in its 13th season, and Shonda Rhimes is able to get just about any idea greenlit.

Readers, what drama were you rooting for back in 2006? Do the five nominees hold up ten years later?

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