Category Archives: Award Shows

Cultural Learnings’ 2007 Emmy Nominations: Final Predictions

Tomorrow morning at 5:35am PDT, the nominations for the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced. I will now put myself out there on a limb with my own predictions of whose names will be called. I’ll have all the final nomination information as soon as it breaks, as long as my plan to be online at that point in time works out. I will literally stop working to do this for you, remember that.

NOTE: Some of these predictions have changed thanks to the leaked Top 10 lists. Most have not.

Oustanding Drama Series

Lost

I think it’s the best show on television, and I think that its season was certainly worthy of an Emmy nomination. The show is unmatched on network television in terms of writing, production and performances.

Grey’s Anatomy

It’s season was uneven, but its popular support and wide-range of acting talents will be too hard for the ATAS to ignore.

The Sopranos

The show’s final season kept the buzz level high, and the finale basically clinched it: no one will be forgetting The Sopranos this year.

House

It’s the second biggest drama on television, and people just seem to love the show to death. I think that it is a show that has proven itself worthy in the past, unlike Heroes which still hasn’t won that level of respect.

Friday Night Lights

Admittedly, this is a sentimental choice. However, I can’t not believe that Emmy voters will find the heart of this series too endearing to pass up. With Kyle Chandler making the Drama Actor Top 10, I think the show has a shot.

Oustanding Comedy Series

The Office

Last year’s winner had another strong and buzz-worthy season. It was a bit of a dark horse last year, but this time around it’s absolutely a front-runner…but in a category full of them.

Ugly Betty

One-hour comedies have a distinct advantage over half-hour ones, but even ignoring that Ugly Betty was a charming series that features some great performances. With Becki Newton and Vanessa Williams making the Top 10, I also think this show is a shoe-in.

30 Rock

The other new show to make this list, 30 Rock is a show made for the Emmys: prestigious talent (Fey, Baldwin, Krakowski), relevant and relatable theme (Show about a show), and it’s incredibly liberal. Plus, it’s kind of also the best new comedy of the year. Just sayin’.

Two and a Half Men

The only traditional sitcom left in the Emmy race, I think that voters will trend towards it like the sheep they are. That being said, the show is not the worst sitcom ever: it’s just similar to them in every way.

Entourage

While Scrubs did have the musical episode, I think that Entourage is the closest the category has to a hip show that hasn’t quite gotten its due. 30 Rock is actually quite safe, The Office is now almost too popular, so it’s Entourage that best fits the bill. With Kevin Dillon breaking the Top 10 for Supporting Actor, the show has a shot.

Extra Prediction:

The Sopranos will garner the most nominations on the drama side, while 30 Rock and The Office will fight it out for the most comedy nominations with Ugly Betty not far behind.

The rest of the nominations can be found below, with full explanations found here (Drama) and here (Comedy).

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The Leak: Emmy Top 10s in Acting Categories Emerge

Tom O’Neill at The Envelope is teasing readers once again by revealing the Top 10 lists at a ludicrously slow pace that is only dragging this thing out further. With nominations coming on Thursday, who is going to make the cut? Here’s the lists so far.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Conchata Ferrell, “Two and a Half Men”
Jenna Fischer, “The Office”
Ashley Jensen, “Extras”
Kathryn Joosten, “Desperate Housewives”
Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock”
Becki Newton, “Ugly Betty”
Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds”
Jaime Pressly, “My Name Is Earl”
Holland Taylor, “Two and a Half Men”
Vanessa Williams, “Ugly Betty”

My Thoughts: Yay for Becki Newton and Jenna Fischer, who will duel in the battle of the receptionists. The only real suprise is Kathryn Joosten, who is always an Emmy favourite but is only credited as a guest star on DH. Very interesting, Emmy voters.

Lead Actor in a Dramatic Role

Kyle Chandler, “Friday Night Lights”
Patrick Dempsey, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Matthew Fox, “Lost”
James Gandolfini, “The Sopranos”
Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”
Eddie Izzard, “The Riches”
Hugh Laurie, “House”
Denis Leary, “Rescue Me”
James Spader, “Boston Legal”
Kiefer Sutherland, “24”

My Thoughts: Good to see Matthew Fox make it in, and there really aren’t any huge snubs here other than Michael Chiklis for The Shield.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Lorraine Bracco, “The Sopranos”
S. Epatha Merkerson, “Law & Order”
Rachel Griffiths, “Brothers & Sisters”
Katherine Heigl, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Sandra Oh, “Grey’s Anatomy”
CCH Pounder, “The Shield”
Aida Turturro, “The Sopranos”
Kay Walsh, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Patricia Wettig, “Brothers & Sisters”
Chandra Wilson, “Grey’s Anatomy”

My Thoughts: Where the hell is Elizabeth Mitchell for Lost? Her performance as Juliet was the one that was supposed to actually have a chance at a nomination for the series, and she doesn’t make the Top 10 over S. Epatha Merkerson who barely does anything on Law & Order anymore? Le sigh. I’m glad to see Patricia Wettig get her due, and I like that Kate Walsh made it, but not over my beloved Mitchell. Boourns, Emmy voters.

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For Your Consideration: Drama Series – “Lost”

Outstanding Drama Series

“Lost” (ABC)

Here at Cultural Learnings, we did a lot of coverage on the post-hiatus portion of Lost’s third season, which is of course considered to be its strongest. As a result, for the purposes of this post, I’m not going to go into that too greatly, and will instead provide links to my reviews at the bottom of the page. I want to instead focus on the season’s first six episodes, the ones that caused millions to abandon the series and the ones that people call “uneven” or “awful”. Because, even if they don’t reach the pinnacles of the show’s final throes in May, I strongly believe in the quality of the prologue to this season.

While there were certainly pacing issues, the intention behind those first six episodes was a smart one, and the work done by Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse and the entire cast of Lost during that period is still worthy of Emmy consideration.

I don’t quite understand the hate for the first quarter of Lost’s third season. The episodes are certainly lacking part of the show’s most personable elements (The disconnect between Jack/Kate/Sawyer and the rest of the characters is responsible), but as six hours of dramatic television there’s some strong stuff here. But after the show was snubbed last year for what I think was also an Emmy worthy season, I think it deserves a nomination even more this year. And, perhaps against popular opinion, I think you can find evidence for that in its opening six episodes.

A Tale of Two Cities, the season premiere, featured the fantastic cold open to Juliet’s book club and the Others’ perspective of the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. The entire episode is basically Jack, Sawyer and Kate, along with us viewers, finding ourselves in a world we’d never seen, and the effect is strong.

YouTube – “A Tale of Two Cities”

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Words and Pictures: Emmy Writing and Directing Contenders (Comedy)

Every year, writers and directors kind of get the short straw, if you will, when it comes to Emmy night. In the past, these categories have served as catch alls for the Academy to recognize series that aren’t getting the same level of attention at higher levels. Two years ago, House won for Best Writing in a Drama Series while Lost swept Directing/Drama Series; last year, My Name is Earl won writing and directing despite being otherwise shut out. This year, these categories will be yet another chance for shows to be recognized.

Today, I want to highlight five comedy episodes in both directing and in writing that, I believe, should be recognized by the Academy and its voters this year. [For my list of Drama candidates, click here]

Oustanding Writing in a Comedy Series

30 Rock“Hard Ball” (Writer: Matthew Hubbard)

It’s hard to believe a former staff writer on Joey was capable of writing such a fantastic episode of 30 Rock, but it happened: this episode made Jenna tolerable, had some great moments from Jack and Liz, and gave Tracy and Kenneth an engaging storyline. It was satirical, it was funny, and while it isn’t perfect I think it’s as close as 30 Rock came to achieving it in its first season.

Entourage“Manic Monday” (Writers: Doug Ellin, Marc Abrams & Michael Benson)

I think that Entourage had a few well-written episodes, but Manic Monday caught me eye for being so focused on Ari. Jeremy Piven knocks all of his material out of the park, but this particular episode showcased a human side, just briefly. The writing allows Ari to progress naturally, and features perhaps the best overall arc of the show’s eligible episode within his character.

Desperate Housewives“Bang” (Writer: Joe Keenan)

Joe Keenan did the impossible: he took a character that was seriously just there to be annoying, and by the end of the episode you actually mourned her death. While Laurie Metcalf and Felicity Huffman certainly elevated the material to a different level, Keenan’s bones were structurally fantastic and resulted in a tense, engaging hour of television.

The Office“Business School” (Writer: Brent Forrester)

A former writer on The Simpsons, I think Forrester absolutely nailed so many characters in this episode that I don’t see how it can’t be nominated. Michael was funny, Pam was crushed, and Jim and Dwight were as ridiculous as ever. It was an episode that has emotional sentiment and a lot of universal themes…and a bat in the office. That’s inspired writing.

How I Met Your Mother “Slap Bet” (Writer: Kourtney Kang)

From the episode ending 80s-inspired Robin Sparkles reveal to the initiation of the Slap Bet, this episode is a slow build to a conclusion that is basically just a music video…but it works. We spend the entire episode wondering what Robin’s secret it, and its reveal is about as perfect as you could imagine. This is the episode that could have garnered the series an Emmy nod; it’s also a strong writing candidate.

Outstanding Direction in a Comedy Series

The Office“Business School” (Director: Joss Whedon)

The Buffy/Angel/Firefly creator was one of two guest directors in the month of February, and I think that he personally nailed the comic timing of the series for me. The show felt the same, but the angles were really a lot of fun. He had the classroom, the art show and the office to play with, and he used some dynamic camera moves and really cool angles to get the most out of them. Listening to commentaries that he does shows he has an eye for direction, and it was proven here.

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Words and Pictures: Emmy Writing and Directing Contenders (Drama)

Every year, writers and directors kind of get the short straw, if you will, when it comes to Emmy night. In the past, these categories have served as catch alls for the Academy to recognize series that aren’t getting the same level of attention at higher levels. Two years ago, House won for Best Writing in a Drama Series while Lost swept Directing/Drama Series; last year, My Name is Earl won writing and directing despite being otherwise shut out. This year, these categories will be yet another chance for shows to be recognized.

Today, I want to highlight five drama episodes in both directing and in writing that, I believe, should be recognized by the Academy and its voters this year.

Oustanding Writing in a Drama Series 

Lost“Through the Looking Glass” (Writers: Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse)

Taking over as full-time co-showrunners, Lindelof and Cuse were behind some great episodes this season. Nothing, however, lives up to this beautifully plotted and mind-bending finale that incorporates action, drama, romance and of course the season-ending twist that was eloquently foreshadowed throughout. It’s a great piece of script work, and deserves to be considered for an Emmy award.

Lost“Expose” (Writers: Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz)

This is perhaps a surprising choice, as the episode was quite divisive. However, in terms of single episodes, this was a wondrous throwback to Twilight Zone storytelling with an amazing slow reveal to the buried alive conclusion. It was a tragedy and a morality tale all wrapped in one, and I think it was an achievement that the writing came together in such a sharp fashion on what could have been (And may have been, for some) a complete disaster.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip“Pilot” (Writer: Aaron Sorkin)

Say what you will about what the series became over the span of its twenty-two episodes, but this pilot is still a fast-paced rollercoaster that does a brilliant job of setting up a series with a lot of potential. It’s contrived, but so is just about everything else on television: Sorkin’s work on the pilot was his best in the series, and I think it is the show’s only chance at garnering a nomination. And, well, it kind of deserves it.

Heroes “Company Man” (Writer: Bryan Fuller)

Rumour has it that Tim Kring might have a better chance with the series’ pilot, and if that is nominated but Company Man is not I will personally hunt down Bryan Fuller and apologize to him on behalf of the Academy. The single best piece of writing to come out of the series if not the season, Company Man shined a magnifying glass on the world of Heroes to find stories, people, development and subtle qualities I didn’t know the show had. Fuller elevated the material, without a doubt, and deserves recognition for the amazing achievement.

Battlestar Galactica“Occupation / Precipice” (Writer: Ronald D. Moore)

As the show’s third season began, BSG turned into a post-colonial study of people being oppressed, and their only hope losing hope that they could do something about it. Having flashed forward over a year, Moore had a lot of pieces to pick up and did it well. The introduction of the resistance and its plight was real, relevant to today’s politics, and felt like the series was finding a new ground. It is almost unfortunate that they left New Caprica so soon, because the material to be mined there was very solid. And Moore knew it.

Oustanding Direction in a Drama Series

Friday Night Lights“Pilot” (Director: Peter Berg)

Some people are turned off by the show’s handheld style, but without it I think this pilot may have been just a pedestrian football drama. So much of the show’s heart comes from our intimate location during both the football games and conversations: being able to capture that allowed his characters to grow, and Berg’s touch made sure that happened.

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Cultural Learnings’ 2007 Emmy Nominations – Predictions: Part Two

With the Emmy nominations just nine days away, I figure it’s time I complete the existing predictions that I had set forward. Here’s part two of my Emmy nomination predictions, covering the dramatic acting categories. Next Wednesday, I hope to finalize everything with series nominations and some discussion on Guest Actor/Actress as well.

[NOTE: Each category will feature a “Dark Horse” selection that, while it might well be wrong, needs to be made for the sake of my sanity. When the nominations are announced, I am going to give myself meaningless kudos should any of them come to fruition]

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos)

I don’t watch the Sopranos, but I know better than to bet against a past winner who submitted a strong episode, according to viewers. His name alone is likely to get him into the nominees, and he stands to benefit from the Sopranos hype building from its finale.

William Shatner (Boston Legal)

With fellow thesp (Look at me, going all Variety) Candice Bergen not submitting, and with James Spader shut out last year, a lot of Boston Legal’s hopes lie on Shatner. His celebrity and strong performance as Denny Crane should be enough to get him a nomination, and maybe even his second win in the category.

Terry O’Quinn (Lost)

This is a tough prediction to make, if only because O’Quinn hasn’t been nominated since the show’s first season for anything. However, unlike castmate Naveen Andrews who could also take this spot, I believe that Locke played an integral role this season and has a baity episode featuring substantial acting both on and off island. Plus, if voters liked the reveal of Locke’s wheelchair, they might want to know how he got into it.

Henry Ian Cusick (Lost)

Admittedly, I am betting on some Lost domination here, but I really stand by this particular decision. Nominated for a Guest Actor Emmy last year, I think that Cusick could pull a Shatner (Who won for a guest role on The Practice before moving to Boston Legal) and break into this category after being added as a series regular this past season. His episode is confusing, but his grounded and powerful performance therein can’t be ignored.

[Dark Horse] Jack Coleman (Heroes)

All the hype seems to be around Masi Oka (Hiro), but Jack Coleman deserves the real kudos for his grounded and well-developed portrayal of Noah Bennet. This is a character introduced as the epitome of “The Man” trying to bring down heroes, but he turned into an empathetic character gradually thanks to Coleman’s subtle work. He might not have the name recognition or the cool superpowers, but he is the best actor the show has and I hope Emmy voters see that.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost)

This category cannot exist without Elizabeth Mitchell in it. As Juliet on Lost, she has brought emotion and resonance to a character we didn’t know a season earlier, and has integrated into the show’s ensemble in a big way. Her two powerhouse episodes, “Not in Portland” and “One of Us” show such range and power that it is hard to believe Emmy voters will ignore her.

Aida Turturro (The Sopranos)

Consider this my bandwagon selection: I don’t even know what character Turturro plays, but she’s the most popular pick in Supporting Actress for the series. And since I expect it to be recognized in all categories, I think she’ll be making the cut.

Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy)

The most decorated of the show’s supporting players, Oh is the most likely to benefit from the popular vote portion of the proceedings. She’s made a name for herself playing Christina, and this season saw her garner some dramatic storylines and she never quite fell by the wayside like some others did.

Katherine Heigl OR Chandra Wilson (Grey’s Anatomy)

These two operate on opposite ends of the spectrum. Heigl saw a Golden Globe nod earlier this year, while her co-stars did not, but Izzie was an insufferable bitch this season. Meanwhile, Wilson’s Bailey was as good as ever, but she’s been recognized before (She won a SAG award this year) and Bailey was marginalized this season. I think only one of them makes it in…my money’s on Heigl, but I’m still featuring both.

[Dark Horse] Patricia Wettig (Brothers & Sisters)

With the series lacking in love from the ATAS in the series category, I think that Emmy darling Patricia Wettig might have trouble making herself known. However, I find her to be a highlight of the series as the adulteress Holly Harper, and I think she deserves recognition for keeping the role grounded amongst what can only be described as soap opera trappings.

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[Not] For Your Consideration: Drama Series – “Heroes”

[As part of Cultural Learnings’ For Your Consideration Emmy Nominations Preview, the next two weeks will feature 7 Drama Series and 7 Comedy Series worthy of Emmy consideration. However, invariably, we don’t like all of them. Even some shows we watch, well, aren’t exactly Emmy worthy. So, [Not] For Your Consideration was born. For all of Cultural Learnings’ Emmy Coverage featuring Supporting and Lead Acting candidates, check out our For Your Consideration Index.]

Outstanding Drama Series

Heroes (NBC)

In preparing to write these pieces, I knew that I was going to have a problem with Heroes. I have a lot of opinions about this series, and admittedly not all of them are positive: despite enjoying the series immensely at certain points, at others I cringed and wondered just why I was watching it. So, knowing that I would likely end up writing an article about its season as a whole, I tried to distill my thoughts into something positive, but tentative. But then I realized that would not work, and that I needed to be honest. And so, here we are, with what is my first venture into this territory. Because, you see, even though it officially made the Drama Series Top 10…I don’t think that Heroes should be considered for an Emmy award for Outstanding Drama Series.

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