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2018 Emmy Nomination Wish List

11 Jul

Emmy nominations are just a day away! But before the cheers and jeers after the names have been read, here is a rundown of who I would love to see among the nominees tomorrow. Some are definite locks, some are long shots; all turned in amazing performances. I have tried to keep it to one pick per show — with some obvious exemptions — and separated them into drama, comedy and mini-series.

Obviously this is my list and so some of your faves might not feature. There is just too much TV. And I’ve probably also forgotten a performance I love. But these are the ones that have stuck with me.

Drama Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys – The Americans

No shocker here. They have been first on the list on my Emmy nomination wish list since I started this annual tradition, there was no way they weren’t going to be first for this one last time. The final season delivered in every single way, right down to the devastating finale.

Both Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys gave a weekly master class in how to say so much, often without barely saying a word. The things these actors do with the silence. Or a gasp. For that moment alone, Keri Russell should be taking home the very pointy trophy. Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer – Killing Eve

Again, I can’t just choose one. There is something so magnetic about Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, both when they are facing off against each other and as part of the cat-and-mouse game. Killing Eve is one of the best new shows of the year; Oh and Comer are integral to keeping the narrative grounded when the action gets a bit more outlandish.Thandie Newton – Westworld

Maeve’s hunt for her daughter gave Thandie Newton the chance to show both vulnerability and fierceness in equal measure. Westworld is a show that I admire more than I love, but anytime Newton is on screen I feel less like the show is holding me at arm’s length. Maeve makes me care about the fate of these beings, more than simply intrigued about the puzzle element of Westworld.  Yvonne Strahovski – The Handmaid’s Tale 

There are many standout moments from Yvonne Strahovski on season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale; the one I can’t stop thinking about isn’t from the roster devastating scenes where her face crumples or she actively partakes in this oppressive system. Instead it is the moment in “Smart Power” as they drive through the streets of Canada; this is the world how it was. A flicker of sadness at how her life used to be. Serena Joy attempts to act defiant while in Canada, to show she is unashamed and yet embarrassment is hard to hide when these reminders lurk at every elevator.

Serena Joy is complicit, but Yvonne Strahovski’s performance makes it hard not to feel some level of empathy. As with Serena Joy in that car, it is hard to look away.  Vanessa Kirby – The Crown 

Withering looks, the perfect put down; I need Vanessa Kirby to show me how to get this level of sardonic perfection. But there is the other side to Margaret, the cracks in the facade. The loneliness and bitter feelings, the desperate desire to be loved. I am going to miss Kirby as the Queen’s little sister (even if I cannot wait to see what HBC brings to the table). No one smokes cigarettes quite as sulkily as Kirby.Sarah Steele – The Good Fight

From the first time I saw Sarah Steele in Please Give it was love. And I am so happy that she made the move from The Good Wife to The Good Fight. The second season perfectly captured the mood of this turbulent political time; Marissa managed to be the voice of reason, humor and major scene-stealer who kept her head when shots were fired.

 

Comedy

Bill Hader – Barry

For the Macbeth moment alone, which I realize should be filed under “quietly devastating” rather than hilarious. But I can’t stop thinking about it. Never has this play made me feel quite like I have been punched in the stomach.

There are many other very funny moments though, in which Bill Hader’s comic timing is pretty much perfection. As he tries to spill his innermost demons and everyone seems to think he is referring to acting. Also the whole wearing an outfit that Barry saw on a J. Crew mannequin is one of the best costume moments of the year.  Zazie Beetz – Atlanta 

Season 2 of Atlanta is a gift. I could pick the entire regular cast, but I am going to single out Zazie Beetz for her work in “Helen.” As with a lot of “Robbin’ Season” there is something disorientating about the episode. They are in an entirely different location, pretty much everyone is in traditional German dress. There are actual demons. But ultimately it is about this central paring; Earn can’t give Van what she desires. He is getting in his own way. To see this relationship disintegrate over the space of half an hour highlights just how good Atlanta is as well as giving Beetz the chance to shine in Van’s disappointment.Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie – GLOW

Emmy voters will be looking at season 1 of GLOW, but it probably doesn’t harm the show’s chances that season 2 has just landed. Both Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie give standout performances as they grapple with their friendship fallout, the betrayal and having to work together. When Ruth asks Debbie if she wants to get a drink after the bitterness has cooled, the response that they might never be back at this place is a gut punch. And one that makes so much sense. It isn’t that easy to fix this.

Also the physicality of their work on GLOW is incredible.Yael Grobglas – Jane the Virgin 

Mid-way through writing these comedy dream Emmy noms and I realize every single one has made me cry. But those are my fave kinds of comedies; the ones that make you feel all the feelings. Petra has been on a journey; on this season of Jane the Virgin she has softened, let herself be vulnerable and found love with JR (Rosario Dawson). This is one of several very good bisexuality storylines on TV this year and this essay by Caroline Framke on how bisexuality is no longer a TV punchline is very good.Rachel Brosnahan – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel 

Again, I love a comedy performance that also makes me weep. I recently rewatched the finale of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and these were tears of joy. Rachel Brosnahan talks at one hundred miles per hour, but every word is worth paying attention to. And she is damn hilarious. Oh, and I would very much like all of her coats. Please and thank youThe Alvarez Family – One Day at a Time

Don’t make me pick one member of the Alvarez family, instead Rita Moreno, Justina Machado, Isabella Gomez and Marcel Ruiz are all here. Again, this show makes me cry a lot. And laugh. It is the perfect show for these times; it gets to the heart of working class issues as well as immigration, depression and sexuality. It is also hilarious.

 

Mini-SeriesCody Fern – American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

There are a number of standouts in the second American Crime Story; Darren Criss dazzled, Queen Judith Light broke me in two as she took her makeup off, but it is relative newcomer Cody Fern that I want to single out. Over just a few episodes Fern crafted a performance that gave so much life to David Madson before his tragic death. Often in true crime it is the killer that gets the spotlight, the victims are just a footnote (see People v. OJ) and while this is clearly Andrew’s story, the time spent with Andrew coupled with Fern’s nuanced turn means David is more than just a name on a list.

A lot of it is conjecture as we’ll never know what happened in those days, but thankfully the show reinforces Madson’s innocence after the initial police investigation did the opposite. Sarah Gadon – Alias Grace 

Sarah Gadon gives a captivating and magnetic turn as Grace Marks. Nothing is quite as it seems and I am in awe of everything Gadon does in this mini-series that wasn’t talked about as much as it should have been. Instead it is another Margaret Atwood adaptation that gets all the plaudits. There is enough awards love to share between the two. Taylor Kitsch – Waco 

So it turns out I have been getting Waco and Jonestown mixed up, so while this wasn’t about drinking the Kool-Aid (or its cheaper alternative) there is something about Taylor Kitsch as David Koresh that has me buying into the whole thing. Was Waco too sympathetic toward the cult leader? Perhaps. But Kitsch delivered on the magnetic charm of things and the show made sure that neither side was painted as the innocent party. He also somehow makes serial killer specs and that mullet work.Kyle MacLachlan – Twin Peaks: The Return

This time last year was spent obsessing over Twin Peaks. Part of that was trying to figure out when the real Agent Dale Cooper would show up. Kyle MacLachlan had several different characters to play throughout the return of Twin Peaks; all completely different from the other. Give this guy the Emmy he deserves.

 

Emmy nominations will be announced tomorrow by Samira Wiley and Ryan Eggold at 11.30 am EST. The Emmy Awards will be hosted Monday, September 17.

 

 

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One Response to “2018 Emmy Nomination Wish List”

  1. Jodi Fisher August 7, 2018 at 5:10 am #

    Loved your article! I found it a bit late as the nominations already came out awhile ago now, LoL. I totally loved your picks! I was such a fan of The Americans and that finale is definitely one of my all time favorites. I also really loved Barry as well. It was such an interesting show and Bill Hader just gave such an amazing performance all around. And GLOW, OMG! What a great series. Super bummed Alison Brie and Jodie Cromer didn’t get nominations. Especially Jodie Cromer. I mean her performance was award worthy. Can’t wait for the Emmys!

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