[In Week Three of Cultural Learnings’ 59th Annual Emmy Awards Nominations Preview, we’re looking at possible contenders for the Lead Actor awards in both drama and comedy. Today, we present our fourth set of candidates. For complete listings for the Supporting candidates from the past two weeks, check out our For Your Consideration index]
Lead Actor in a Drama
Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama)
Emmy voters like to pretend that Battlestar Galactica doesn’t exist, but I don’t really understand this perspective. The show is incredibly powerful television, and while its writing can be uneven I believe that its cast is always its strongest asset. And, as the pivotal figure at the center of it all, Edward James Olmos’ Bill Adama is the show’s rock if you will. This past season has seen Adama face a wide variety of different emotions, struggling to come to terms with his abandonment of his own crew on New Caprica and once again the betrayal of his son in a time of need. What Olmos brings to Adama, and to the show, is a sense of maturity; while the rest of the characters around him fall into various turmoil he is left to reassure and comfort all of them while also struggling with his own inner demons. That portrayal, voter ignorance or no voter ignorance, is worthy of Emmy consideration.
What makes Olmos so powerful in this role is that he has to wear so many hats (Note: none of these hats are literal, but I’d picture him in a nice fedora). He has to be admiral to the crew of the Battlestar Galactica. He has to be shrewd negotiator (And romantic tension partner) with President Roslin. He has to be father to Lee, and to more or less his adopted daughter Starbuck, but at the same time they are crew members and need to be treated accordingly. He needs to be friend and AA sponsor for Col. Tigh, and he also has to, you know, protect the entire flight from the pursuing Cylons. And, at season’s end, he sits on a tribunal which judges the guilt of Gaius Baltar in the mass murder of numerous humans on New Caprica.
And through it all Olmos is equal parts fatherly, orderly, strong, vulnerable, empowering, inspiring and just plain fantastic. There are parts of the show that we may criticize, but there can be no one who speaks ill of the performance from Edward James Olmos. Plus, he had a kickass moustache for a while this season. And all of those qualities, especially the moustache, make him worthy of Emmy consideration.
Episode Selection: “A Day in the Life” (Aired February 18th, 2007)
I don’t like this selection for one main reason: I didn’t particularly enjoy the episode. What frustrated me about this episode was that its gimmick, Adama’s wife comes back to haunt him in the present, just isn’t that engaging and seemed to be airing at a time when I really wanted the series to return to its more entertaining elements. However, I can’t deny that it perhaps contains the most dramatic and central performance that Olmos was able to give all season. It shows his tough life, having to balance all of those various roles while also struggling to come to terms with his past. It might not be my favourite episode (definitely isn’t), but I think that it has a decent chance with Emmy voters.
However, my selection would be “Unfinished Business”, where a series of boxing matches and flashbacks tell multiple stories, including Adama’s. Since so many BSG YouTube videos are fan shipper videos, I have to settle for a YouTube clip of this episode. Which is awesome.
YouTube – “Unfinished Business”
Lead Actor in a Comedy
Andy Richter (Andy Barker)
Andy Barker P.I.
It may have only lasted for six episodes, but Andy Barker P.I. was yet another perfect vehicle for Andy Richter that just didn’t catch on with audiences. While some may take this as final proof of his irrelevance, I like to view it as yet another example of society not quite “getting” Andy Richter. I don’t understand it: here, he plays an everyman, a simple accountant who finds himself wrapped up in criminal investigations that could not be more over his head. Watching him find delight in how he can connect accounting to the case (Being a P.I. isn’t so hard after all) is incredibly engaging, and Richter plays the perfect straight man. Straight men are often not appreciated enough within television comedy, and I think that this needs to change: as the innocent and yet incredibly intelligent Andy Barker, Andy Richter shines in a fashion worthy of Emmy consideration.