[In Week Two of Cultural Learnings’ 59th Annual Emmy Awards Nominations Preview, we’re looking at possible contenders for the Supporting Actress awards in both drama and comedy. Today, we present our fourth set of candidates. For last week’s Supporting Actor candidates, and an index of all candidates, Click Here]
Supporting Actress in a Drama
Kelly Bishop (Emily Gilmore)
This year, for the first time, Gilmore Girls is submitting in the drama category. This decision will certainly benefit the series, I believe, as it more directly represents the show as a whole. However, at the same time, it will also directly benefit who is arguably the series’ most important supporting player. Kelly Bishop has portrayed the Gilmore matriarch for seven seasons with a sense of grace, but she was rarely given a chance to be “comic” by popular standards. Sure, Emily Gilmore can be hysterical, but it makes more sense for her to be considered as a dramatic performance. As a result, as the series shifts over, so too do Bishop’s chances of finally getting her due. In the show’s final season, Kelly Bishop portrayed Emily Gilmore as a powerful wife, mother and grandmother in a way that was always real despite her wealth and status. As a dramatic performance, Bishop deserves to be considered for an Emmy Award.
This past season has been an opportunity for Emily to come to terms with her own life, as opposed to that of her daughter. Her life changed when her husband suffered a heart attack, and all of a sudden she was alone in many things. That sense of loneliness sent the always on the edge Emily over the cliff, in a sense. Faced with a new reality, a change in her routine, it required a lot of dramatic range from Bishop. At that age, where retirement and everything else kicks in, people are faced with a change of lifestyle, and Bishop portrayed it with a subtlety and vulnerability that was in line with Emily’s past actions.
Perhaps most importantly, however, was that Emily’s journey felt complete. After seven seasons of tense relations with her daughter, the season ended with her attempting to ensure that her connection with Lorelai would continue even as Rory is graduating. Their strained relationship was always important to the core dynamic, and to see it resolved in the finale was perhaps the most important moment from my personal perspective. What Bishop always brought to the role was a sense that Emily held a grudge, but that she also very much loved and cherished her relationship with her family. In her finale season, Bishop lived up to that history and delivered a performance worthy of Emmy consideration.
Episode Selection: “I’d Rather Be In Philadelphia” (Aired February 6th, 2007)
A moment of crisis is always rife with drama: in this case, Emily is faced with her husband’s heart attack and struggles in the hospital to pull together. Her reaction is real, honest, and Bishop portrays her anguish with just the right amount of denial. While I think she had better performances, this is the one where she was placed in a tougher position. Remorse, anger, it’s all there. It wasn’t perhaps the most subtle of her performances, but I think it is certainly the one that might get a good amount of Emmy related attention.
YouTube – “I’d Rather Be In Philadelphia”
Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Cobie Smulders (Robin)
How I Met Your Mother
I watched the first two seasons of How I Met Your Mother in the span of a few weeks, and in the process I warmed up to Cobie Smulders in a big way. I was, for the most part, ambivalent towards her as the seasons progressed, but over time I began to come to terms with her contribution to the series. While Alyson Hannigan is perhaps the bigger star, Smulders often has the more difficult role to play. Her relationship with Ted needed to seem worthwhile, honest, and it always did. She brought to the role a sense of comic timing that was always somewhat offbeat, and she always played the role of the outsider in the right way. And really, I’ll be honest: while I believe that her performance as a whole is deserving of attention, I’m really only listing her for one reason: Robin Sparkles.
Episode Selection: “Slap Bet” (Aired November 20th, 2006)I’m skipping right to this, because Smulders has a tour de force episode that is sure to bring her some level of attention. You see, Robin is from Canada, and her past has often been a mystery. Robin isn’t a lifelong friend like the others seem to be. She was an outsider, a person picked up along the way. As a result, Ted entered into their relationship not quite sure of what her past entailed, and whether it would have an impact on their relationship.
This episode brought that to a head when Robin reveals that she has an aversion to malls. In other words, she refuses to enter one. Everyone is greatly confused about this, and Barney decides to do some digging. Believing that she did something embarrassing in Canada that caused her reaction, he has a friend who sends him a video that he assumes to be pornography. And, well, that’s not what it is at all. In fact, it is something entirely different. It is a video of Robin Sparkles’ #1 Smash Hit “Let’s Go to the Mall”. That’s right: Robin was a teenage pop star in Canada.
This revelation was perhaps the best the show has ever put together, and it’s one of the reasons that Smulders is the selection I’ve made from the show’s cast. They didn’t just reveal something very embarrassing, they had an entire music video to go along with it. This raised the bar for the show’s comedy: they were willing to go above and beyond pretty well anyone’s expectations and create a wonderfully retro throwback that is reverent, sharp and downright funny. Smulders is a huge part of that, going all out on this video with every bit of comedy within her. The beneficiary of good material? Perhaps. But, I cannot help but want to give Robin Sparkles…er, Cobie Smulders, Emmy attention.
YouTube – “Slap Bet”