The freshman season is Emmy nominated, but Pose‘s second season should shower the drama in even more nominations. And deservedly so.
As the voting window closes today, it’s nice to remember how historic Pose‘s freshman Emmy nomination haul is. In addition to Billy Porter becoming the first opening gay black man to be nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, both Janet Mock and Our Lady J became the first transgender people to be nominated as producers of an Outstanding Drama Series. With its second season set in the 90’s, Pose is poised to nab multiple below the line nominations again. While the first season may pick up a few wins at this year’s ceremony, be prepared for season two to make an even bigger showing when next year revs back up.
Billy Porter could very well receive the E in his EGOT if he triumphs for his performance as Pray Tell (he already has a Tony and a Grammy for performing in Kinky Boots), but his biggest competition comes from Jason Bateman and Kit Harington. If he walks away empty handed this year (a lot of people are predicting him to win, including ADTV’s own Gold Derby contributor, Jazz!), he has the perfect submission in “Love’s in Need of Love Today”–a powerful, borderline one man show where Porter showcases all of his strengths as a performer.
Porter’s Pray Tell is hospitalized for complications with his AZT medication, and he has visions of Candy (more on her later) tempting him to join her in the afterlife. She tells him that she exists with no pain, and she spends time with people like Alvin Ailey and Liberace. As Pray Tell tries to rest in his room, Blanca takes on the responsibility of finalizing an AIDS cabaret at the hospital, and she encourages a reluctant Pray to attend even if he can’t assist in the planning.
Porter’s big moment comes in the middle of the episode. He wakes up and his former lover, Costas, is in his room and tells Pray that he needs to go to the cabaret in honor of the hundreds of men who have died in the hospital. Porter sings the legendary “The Man That Got Away” to a crowd of sick men, and it’s the emotional highlight of the season. He walks to the cabaret in a glimmering tuxedo and hat tilted on his head. The men who watch him touch him like a god or an angel and we see how his voice gives everyone hope. Porter’s almighty voice is one of the best in the business, but the way he builds the torch song shows us so much of Pray’s heart. It’s a knockout episode, and if Porter loses Lead Actor this year, he should be a shoo-in with this episode submission.
Second Time’s a Charm?
One of the disappointing omissions from this year’s Emmy nominations came in both the Lead and Supporting Actress in a Drama Series races as Mj Rodriguez and Indya Moore were both not mentioned this year, as Blanca and Angel, respectively. Many were hoping that both women would have made history as the first transgender performers to be nominated in a major acting category, but the juggernaut known as Game of Thrones surely got in the way–especially for Moore in the Supporting category.
Rodriguez is the heart of Pose, and the end of the second season is especially strong for her. There is a lot of serious business handled on the show, but the penultimate episode is what I hope Rodriguez submits for consideration. Blanca’s toughness is always at the forefront–whether she’s defending her children or going toe-to-toe with bigots like Patti LuPone. The insecure side of Blanca is shown when she, Elektra, Angel, Lulu and take a mini vacation and Blanca is rescued by Adrian on the beach. Blanca is allowed to have a brief romance that most trans actors don’t get to perform, and Rodriguez infuses those moments with shyness and grace. Rodriguez could also submit the finale, and probably garner a nomination.
Moore has some joyous moments in the middle of the second season, but its book-ended by some hard to watch, powerful scenes. When Angel’s modeling begins to take off, she is taken advantage of by a photographer, and she receives a devastating blow when she is released from her contracts after her past is revealed to bigoted people in the business. Her relationship with Papi only bolsters her chances. Moore and Angel Bismark Curiel has adorable chemistry together, and we all need someone to believe in us like Papi believes in Angel. A Supporting Actor in a Drama Series nomination would be inspired.
It was a surprise that co-creator Ryan Murphy wasn’t nominated for Directing or Writing since he’s such an Emmy darling. Game of Thrones‘ dominance is probably responsible for his omission in the Directing category since the fantasy series picked up 3 nominations. Murphy and his writers emphasize the history of the community with each episode. Since the first half of the season features Madonna’s “Vogue” so heavily and Damon and Ricky land a gig dancing on Solid Gold 90, it could get a nomination for Music Supervision.
I Want Candy
The most shocking episode of the entire second season was when Candy was murdered, and “Never Knew Love Like This Before” is a beautiful showcase for Angelica Ross. She needs to be nominated in the Guest Actress in a Drama Series category. Pose isn’t just about houses voguing the house down–it’s about family, and the episode dedicated to Candy’s memory is a reminder of how far the world has to go in terms of accepting the trans community. Casting in the latest American Horror Story entry (1984) should increase her profile to help secure that Guest nomination. If Ross is nominated, she can easily win–the ending of the episode alone could win her an Emmy.
In addition to Ross, another person who could benefit in the Guest Actress is Patti LuPone. As an adversary for Blanca (and the community at large), LuPone delivers an acid tongue and a haughty presence. LuPone was nominated for an Emmy in 1998 for Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for Frasier, but she hasn’t been nominated since. If the Television Academy goes berserk for Pose next year, LuPone could benefit.
Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series – Billy Porter
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Outstanding Period Costumes
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series – Mj Rodriguez
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Indya Moore
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series – Angelica Ross
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series – Patti LuPone
Outstanding Music Supervision
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Angel Bismark Curiel