Television’s annual Emmys show opens

21 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Five noteworthy Emmy possibilities.

In case you hadn’t heard, we’re living in a golden age of television, an era when there are so many high-quality scripted shows from so many outlets that finding the time to watch them all has become the ultimate First World Problem.LOS ANGELES: Will blood-splattered fantasy epic “Game of Thrones” finally take home top television honors, or will voters instead offer sentimental favorite “Mad Men” and its retro-cool advertising execs a golden send-off? But when Jon Hamm sat cross-legged on a yoga mat during our goodbye to Don Draper, it didn’t feel so soothing. “It wasn’t easy,” Hamm said. “My task through all of that was not to fall off the cliff. Thanks to a combination of free-to-air fast tracking, pay TV programming and the introduction of streaming services Presto, Stan and Netflix earlier this year, viewers Down Under are no longer in the dark about the latest hit shows from the US.

But the excitement that has surrounded television for the last decade hasn’t always translated to the Emmy Awards, an institution that tends to honor a handful of favorites — while making the same galling oversights — year after year. Perhaps aware of Emmy’s fuddy-duddy image, the TV Academy instituted new rules this year, clarifying the definition of drama vs. comedy, expanding the series categories to a possible seven nominees and, in the most potentially radical change, opening up the vote from small “blue-ribbon panels” to all the eligible members in each branch of the organization.

One big question on everyone’s minds for this year’s 67th Primetime Emmys, television’s version of the Oscars, is: will Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” finally win on his eighth try for his work as troubled ad man Don Draper? That network seemed like it was struggling, but once they picked up ‘Mad Men,’ which a lot of networks passed on, [AMC] was on fire,” said Rentrak media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. We may not know the outcome yet, but here are a few things to keep in mind while watching Sunday night’s Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Andy Samberg and airing on Fox at 8 p.m. 1.

The nominations announced in July already included some pleasant surprises (hurray, Tatiana Maslany!), and Sunday night’s telecast on Fox could bring still more. It’s different than what he called the box-office bump that Hollywood studios get after winning an Oscar. “The competition, and just the level of quality in production and writing in TV today is unparalleled,” Dergarabedian said. “So if you’re a Netflix or Amazon or Hulu and you want to get into this game, it’s important that you gain this level of recognition.

Game of Thrones is so loved we can’t stop stealing it (it was last year’s most pirated show), and it’s the most-nominated at this year’s Emmys, with 24 nods. And yet, with zero wins to date out of 14 nominations spanning three categories, the “Mad Men” star is one of Emmy’s most famous losers — a distinction he has embraced as the co-host, with another perennial also-ran, Amy Poehler, of a yearly “Losers Only” party. If people are going to play in the sandbox, they want to play with the kid with the best toys.” This year, it seems like Time Warner Inc.’s TWX, -0.87% HBO is that kid.

In a gripping fifth season, Jon Snow carked it (or did he?), kiddies were killed in cold blood and Cersei Lannister took the ultimate nude run of shame. Hamm has missed out on the lead actor in a drama series Emmy a whopping seven times for his masterful portrayal of tortured advertising executive Don Draper, a character as crucial to TV’s current renaissance as Tony Soprano or Walter White. Henson for Fox’s music melodrama “Empire.” “Most of the experts are picking Viola, but Taraji is certainly in the hunt and we will see an overdue milestone happen in that category,” O’Neil said. Henson told Entertainment Weekly that she was praying for a win for either Davis or herself at Sunday’s ceremony, to be hosted by comedian Andy Samberg. “Here we are in 2015, and we’re still saying things like ‘First African-American,’ ‘First woman this’,” Henson said. “I just pray to God … and it’s not even about me. The success of Netflix Inc.’s NFLX, -1.53% “House of Cards” has helped boost the streaming giant’s clout as it delves deeper into original content.

It’s the trio’s last chance to finally win Emmys for their performances as Don Draper, Peggy Olsen, and Joan Holloway, respectively, in AMC’s “Mad Men.” They’ve all been nominated several times, but none have ever won. (Hamm eight times, Moss five times, and Hendricks six.) The show, which ended in May, has won four times. 3.Will Taraji P. Even his behind-the-scenes contributions to “Mad Men” have gotten the shaft: The show hasn’t won a series Emmy since he became a producer in its fifth season. But many are predicting new winners in the comedy categories, and perhaps even a big Emmy win for online retail giant Amazon and its “Transparent,” about a family patriarch who comes out as transgender. “Actor Jeffrey Tambor of ‘Transparent’ delivered a fantastic performance as a transgender woman and really sparked the national conversation long before the name Caitlyn Jenner, so I think he is certainly considered a walk to win in the comedy actor race,” Birnbaum said.

The Emmys luuuuuurve long-running Modern Family, but Best Comedy this year could go to Veep, as the yanks do love a presidential sort, even a bumbling one such as Selina Meyer. Not only has Hamm never won an Emmy for “Mad Men,” which ended its run on AMC in May, neither has anyone from the cast, despite 34 acting nominations. Some are also tipping HBO’s “Veep” — a political satire about a female vice president (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who surprisingly becomes head of state — to ride the buzz of the 2016 White House race and dethrone “Modern Family.” “’Veep’ has been a tremendous hit for HBO and considering that we are going into an election season, everyone is talking about political issues right now,” Birnbaum said. The excellent Christina Hendricks and Elisabeth Moss are both nominated in their respective categories this year, but Hamm looks like the best bet for a “Mad Men” acting win — particularly now that Bryan Cranston is finally out of the running. Henson is nominated for her role as Cookie in Fox’s “Empire,” and Davis for Annalise Keating in ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder.” 4.Or will Jeffery Tambor?

If he wins for Outstanding Lead Actor, Comedy, for his role in Amazon’s “Transparent,” it’ll be the first Emmy ever won for the portrayal of a transgender person. It wasn’t until 1982 that a woman of color (“Fame’s” Debbie Allen) even made the drama actress shortlist, and they’ve been scarce in the decades since. Eighteen years passed between Cicely Tyson’s nomination for “Sweet Justice” in 1995 and Kerry Washington’s first nod for “Scandal” in 2013. (And did we mention that the prize has never gone to an Asian woman or a Latina, either?) This year, it’s a different story, when two Oscar-nominated African American actresses in hot freshman shows are leading the pack in one of the most fiercely competitive races at the Emmys. This is, after all, such a jammed field that 2014 winner, Julianna Margulies of “The Good Wife,” failed to make the cut this year — as did two-time nominee Kerry Washington, the actress many predicted would be the one to make Emmy history.

Christina Hendricks is the firm fave in this strong line-up of ladies, as the final season of Mad Men threw up some stunning storylines for the often objectified and overlooked Joan Harris. This season sparked a backlash from fans and critics alike for its depiction of brutal violence against women and children, and was viewed by some as the show’s weakest to date.

As anyone not living in an underground bunker surely knows — sorry, Kimmy Schmidt — the last two years have brought huge changes to the world of late-night TV. Voters eager to embrace late night’s younger generation could reward Jimmy Fallon for reinvigorating “The Tonight Show,” or critical darling John Oliver for “Last Week Tonight’s” pioneering blend of comedy and muckraking.

Despite plenty of love for Letterman and his “Late Show,” “The Daily Show” would appear to have the edge: The satirical show won the variety series Emmy for 10 years straight from 2003 to 2012, and also scored a writing nomination this year. Or maybe the Emmys will split the difference between old and new and give a third straight Emmy to the departed “Colbert Report,” whose spirit (and host) now lives on at “The Late Show” on CBS.

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