Megan McLachlan takes a look at Apple TV+’s The Morning Show and how it might fit into the awards conversation.
Apple TV+’s The Morning Show exists in the same universe as Harvey Weinstein, but not in the same one as other “canceled” #MeToo figures. And there’s a huge reason for that.
Steve Carell’s disgraced Morning Show anchor Mitch Kessler has a magic button in his office that locks the door, like another infamous anchor who hosted a morning show and was unceremoniously fired for “sexual misconduct.” But American Crime Story: Matt Lauer this is not. The Morning Show examines the gender politics of show business, which isn’t necessarily new terrain, but it does so in a way that feels fresh. Maybe it’s because of a key star.
Jennifer Aniston might have found the role of her career in Alex Levy—a culmination of celebrity, being America’s sweetheart, and dealing with the scathing eye of the press (the series even pokes fun at this idea when it claims that Alex has been pregnant in the tabloids so many times). This is the role I always hoped for for Aniston, something that would allow her to show off her dramatic acting chops as well as comedic prowess. Although there is no Rachel Green in this performance. Aniston has been accused of never being able to shed her Friends character, but she truly comes into her own in this role. It’s hard to imagine anyone else in it.
Going toe to toe with Aniston is Reese Witherspoon, who in the first episode comes on a little too strong, but softens into more than a cliche in the subsequent episodes for review. In their scenes together, Witherspoon and Aniston have a great chemistry (Jill and Rachel Green reunited!), and when you think it’s going to veer into All About Eve territory, the show surprises you, which may be why it seems fresher than other shows about television. Off-screen “diva” behavior isn’t really so diva-ish when your job/life is on the line. The series feels a little like The Newsroom, only without its head up its ass, something director Mimi Leder seems conscious of steering clear of.
The show also wisely keeps Steve Carell’s character in the narrative, instead of whisking him away into pariah obscurity in a glorified cameo. The Morning Show might be the first series to explore what happens to all parties after #MeToo moments explode, and what it looks like going forward. It’s exciting because there’s no real-life precedent in our current culture, so what we’re seeing on the small screen is anything but a rerun.
Expect The Morning Show to pick up some nominations at the Golden Globes. Last year, every Drama Series nominee was new, except for The Americans (which strangely enough ended up winning). Since the Globes like to honor new series, this could be a great opportunity for TMS to propel awards buzz toward the 2020 Emmy season.
2018’s Drama Series Nominees
The Americans (will not return)
Bodyguard (will not return)
Homecoming (will not return)
Killing Eve (possible return)
Pose (possible return)
If Killing Eve and Pose repeat nominations with their second seasons, that leaves three open spots. Game of Thrones will probably take a spot (The Americans‘ “final season” one), and other past nominees like The Handmaid’s Tale, The Crown, and Stranger Things could also fill the other two spots. Or maybe favorites like Succession and Big Little Lies (a drama contender this year as opposed to limited series). But since the Globes like to shout-out new shows, I think there’s a strong chance that The Morning Show gets in (think: Homecoming‘s spot, since it stars another America’s Sweetheart).
2018’s Globes Drama Series Actress Nominees
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve (winner – should return)
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander (shouldn’t return since Outlander doesn’t come back until February)
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale (should return)
Julia Roberts, Homecoming (will not return)
Keri Russell, The Americans (will not return)
So that leaves actresses from Big Little Lies (Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon), recent Emmy award winner Jodie Comer for Killing Eve, Laura Linney for Ozark, Regina King for Watchmen, Sarah Snook for Succession, Mandy Moore for This is Us. However, since the Globes like to reward newcomers, Jennifer Aniston or Reese Witherspoon could sneak in for TMS.
Steve Carell and the Globes
The Golden Globes love Carell, as he’s been nominated eight times—five times for The Office and three times for films (The Battle of the Sexes, Foxcatcher, and The Big Short). The supporting TV categories are a hodgepodge of genres, but given his history, he could certainly show up in Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries, or Television Film.
2018’s Supporting Actor Globes TV Nominees
Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal (will not return)
Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method (could return)
Kieran Culkin, Succession (could return)
Edgar Ramirez, ACS: Gianni Versace (will not return)
Henry Winkler, Barry (could return)
Two spots are available if the other three repeat. Other possibles are Jonathan Banks (Better Call Saul), Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul), Chris Sullivan (This is Us), Christian Slater (Mr. Robot), and David Harbor (Stranger Things). But since these are all older shows, Steve Carell stands a chance of sneaking in.
Emmy Consideration in 2020
With Game of Thrones over, this leaves some room in all of the 2020 races.
Predicting 2020 Outstanding Drama Series Nominees
Better Call Saul
This Is Us
Bodyguard Season 2 probably won’t return in time, and with eight nominees last year, that means there are two more spots available. Could it be TMS?
Outstanding Actress Drama 2019
Laura Linney, Ozark (should return)
Mandy Moore, This Is Us (could return)
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve (should return)
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve (winner, should return)
Viola Davis, HTGAWM (could return)
Emilia Clarke, GOT (will not return)
Robin Wright, House of Cards (will not return)
Other Possibles for 2020
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld; Elisabeth Moss, Handmaid’s Tale; Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies; Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies; Regina King, Watchmen; Sarah Snook, Succession; Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show; and Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show.
The Morning Show ladies could shake up the Big Little Lies women in this race, which could mean it’s Team Reese against Team Reese. It might come down to which show is the freshest in people’s minds.
The Morning Show streams on Apple TV+ November 1.