As always one expects quite a lot of award nominations on the road to the Emmys. But a familiar source has once again come to the fray. The Broadcast Critics have traditionally given out awards of films for the ends of the year, and yesterday they announced their nominations in critic and viewer categories that include Best Action Film and Best Comedy. But apparently, in an effort to consolidate the process and perhaps streamline it a little, they decided to give out awards for television, even though they’d given out a series of awards in this category just this June. (One assumes that this is a necessary evil, and that next year, they’ll have a new series of nominations for all of 2016.)
In the meantime, this puts the Broadcast critics in the awkward position of having to give awards for TV for just the past six months. No doubt this will puzzle some who wonder why House of Cards and Game of Thrones aren’t present. On the plus side, this gives a chance for network series to sneak in a couple of extra nominations, and some series that aired full seasons in the interim (such as “Rectify” and “The Leftovers”). What is particularly striking is that there are still some very good choices and a good display of diversity here. So let’s review the nominations, starting with the dramas.
“Rectify” is one of the more undervalued series on TV, so its good to see it nominated. “The Leftovers” was actually a lot better in Season 2 than it was its inaugural season (it improved a lot after it was reviewed here) ‘UnReal’ is a series so good you wouldn’t believe it was on Lifetime. And “The Knick” doesn’t get enough credit probably because of its home. Still haven’t seen ‘Mr. Robot’, but after the Globes and SAG nominations, it would’ve been surprising for it not to be here. “Empire” may still be a phenomenon, but even its fans think Season 2 has been weaker. And really, of all the series on Showtime, they nominate ‘Penny Dreadful’? “Homeland” and “Masters of Sex” were far better.
BEST ACTOR, DRAMA
Rami Malek is making a pretty good case he should be up for an Emmy next year. Aden Young performance on “Rectify” is quietly very moving. Justin Theroux was much more interesting to watch as he slipped towards madness this season on “Leftovers”. And I’ve always admired Clive Owen and have been impressed by his work. I don’t understand what the Broadcast Critics obsession with Hugh Dancy and “Hannibal” is, but that series is over, so I’ll let it go. And seriously, on his best day Liev Schreiber is the fourth best actor in a drama on his own network.
BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA
Shiri Appleby was a revelation on “UnReal”. Carrie Coon was fascinating as her character dealt with even more oddities on “Leftovers”. Taraji P. Henson has a good chance of winning again in this category. And considering the love for Viola Davis generally, it would have been shocking if she wasn’t here. Haven’t seen “Jessica Jones” yet, but Krysten Ritter is a great actress, so it’s good she got nominated. Eva Green? Seriously? She’s probably the fifth best actress on Showtime. And where the heck is Juliana Marguiles?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Christopher Eccleston is one of my favorite actors, so its good to see him nominated. Jonathan Jackson has been one of the few consistently good things about “Nashville”. There are a brace of fine supporting performances on “Rectify”, so Clayne Crawford is a pretty good choice. And considering the level of Christian Slater’s performance ( no spoilers) he deserved a nod. I know less about Andre Holland’s work on “The Knick” and I haven’t seen “Man in the High Castle” yet, so I’ll forego discussion of Rufus Sewell.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Ann Dowd and Regina King both gave memorable stints on “The Leftovers”. Constance Zimmer was the best thing about “UnReal”. Maura Tierney has always been fascinating to watch, so its good that she was nominated. And Hayden Panettiere has always been the go-to for drama on “Nashville”, so she was a good choice.
“Penny Dreadful” again? Where are Abigail Spencer and Christine Baranski? Or for that matter, Calista Flockhart?
BEST GUEST ACTOR/ACTRESS DRAMA
Interesting mix. Best Choice probably Justin Kirk for “‘Manhattan”