Joey Moser offers up some winning alternatives that would surprise and delight an unsuspecting awards show crowd.
One of the Television Academy’s biggest and most constant criticisms is that they award the same shows and performers over and over again. Name-checking is big with this huge awards body. This year, however, it feels like the Emmy Awards have the potential to be really fun and exciting. The Comedy Series categories in particular are baffling pundits and prognosticators as they gear up for this weekend’s festivities.
There are some inspiriting names in this year’s batch of nominees, so what would make you cheer with surprise and glee? What would be a big WTF moment come Emmy night? Here are 8 that would make me personally very happy.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale
This might actually happen this year, so I have all of my fingers and toes crossed for Strahovski to take the stage on Monday night. Her Serena Joy remains the most complicated character on the Hulu drama. Every time she’s on screen, you don’t know whether your heart is going to go out to her or if you are going to hurl your glass of wine at your television screen. Serena’s loneliness and anger are intensified throughout season 2, and she takes it out on Elisabeth Moss’ Offred. It’s an insular, beautiful performance, and needs to win this season.
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special – Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady
Netflix should be ashamed of themselves for cancelling The Break with Michelle Wolf while it keeps garbage like Insatiable on the air. Before Wolf became an infamous household name for her performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner, her HBO special, Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady, debuted on HBO. Her special dishes on Hillary Clinton, politics, and why more people should be taking birth control (“Every time you push a door when it should be pulled…birth control should pop out”). A win for Samantha Bee (who won last year in this category for her Not Corespondents Dinner) would also be great, but she has her new voting app to keep her busy (seriously, you should download it). Wolf is unapologetic, hilarious, and unlike anyone else listed here. Shake up this category! And, seriously, Netflix. You suck.
Outstanding Drama Series – The Crown
The Netflix period drama is on the cusp of a shakeup, but the attention to detail in its sophomore season shouldn’t go unnoticed. Claire Foy is having one helluva year with her controlled performance as Queen Elizabeth II, and Matt Smith and Vanessa Kirby turned in strong enough performances to land their first Emmy nominations, respectively. I think The Crown might surprise somewhere in a big way (that Casting Emmy has me wondering…), but its biggest reward should be for pulling off a meticulous, dramatic, and thrilling season of well produced television. Sure, The Handmaid’s Tale is great, but The Crown reminds us that we must always keep an eye on the past to anticipate the future.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live
No disrespect to Alec Baldwin fans and Kate McKinnon obsessives, but Kenan Thompson should be the only acting winner from Saturday Night Live this season. Not only did he become the longest running cast member in the show’s history, but he’s one of the most dependable actors the show has had in years. There is always a slyness to Thompson’s performances that makes you feel you’re in on the joke. Even if the skit is awful, he manages to make you enjoy it. Also, he gets bonus points for fully pulling of a Les Miserables musical number dressed as a doomed lobster. He’s brilliant.
Outstanding Reality Competition – RuPaul’s Drag Race
Yes, we talk a lot about RuPaul’s Drag Race a lot at ADTV, and that’s because it’s one of the best shows on television. Last year, the drag reality shows elbowed its way into the main categories, but it lost to NBC’s The Voice. This year, however, Drag Race feels bigger than ever. Mama Ru snatched her third consecutive win as Reality Competition Host, and it even took Directing for a Reality Series. Does that mean it will sashay all the way to the reality division’s top award? Season 10 was a divisive one for fans, and I have a theory that some people disliking it will propel it to win.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Matt Smith, The Crown
This could actually happen, and it would be a phenomenal win. Matt Smith’s Prince Philip is restless and frustrated at the beginning of season 2 of The Crown. He constantly feels adrift in his position at Buckingham Palace, and his marriage to Claire Foy’s Queen Elizabeth is truly tested at both the beginning and end of the sophomore season. Smith’s Philip is always quietly observing, and though me may not be vocal about what he is witnessing, it feels like Philip is trying to decide to chime in with his opinions. The scene between Foy and Smith when they confront the next step of their relationship in the finale is the definition of stately high drama. The Crown snagged a surprise win at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards last week, and it may lead to Smith taking the stage. Supporting Actor doesn’t feel entirely locked up (in one of the many up in the air categories this year). Loyal Doctor Who fans would go bananas, and it would be a great send off before the casting shift of season 3.
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series – Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Killing Eve – “Nice Face”
Killing Eve was a massive sensation right around the time of the voting window, so it’d be delicious if Waller-Bridge sneaked in and won for the first episode. The best thing about the show is how Waller-Bridge fuses her own humor in with a detective series. That voice is the reason that Fleabag was such a masterpiece. She pushes your buttons and dares you to giggle at certain lines, and it’s even more enhanced by actors who know how to deliver her words. A win for her would also validate her tireless work on Fleabag (which should have been nominated in the Comedy races last year). In the last 10 years, only 2 women have been nominated for writing episodes solo (Veena Sud was nominated for The Killing in 2011 and Moira Walley-Beckett won for writing “Ozymandias” for Breaking Bad in 2014), and she’s the only woman nominated in this entire category this year.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie – Letitia Wright, Black Museum (Black Mirror)
This category is absolutely stacked, and each nominee would make a worthy winner. Wright does a lot of listening and observing in Museum as Douglas Hodge’s sleazy Rolo Haynes tells her stories of some of the items in his possession. When the final twist comes, you feel the sweat pouring off your brow almost as much as the two in the hot museum. When Wright’s Nisa reveals herself and her connection to Haynes, it’s a riveting moment. Wright’s face feels on the edge of crumbling, and the moments she spends looking at her father are heartbreaking. This episode only has more relevance due to the people feeling they can be racist because our current administration looks the other way. Wright is having a banner year, and this would be a nice bookend.