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Emmy Nom Aftermath Finale: Happy Thoughts

We'll return to the Emmys at a later date (the gap between their nominations and their ceremony is enormous) but for now, one last Emmy post. To end on a happy note I asked Team Experience two final questions:

  1. What's your single favorite acting nomination?
  2. What's your favorite non-acting nomination?

Our answers follow and yours should, too.


Margaret de Larios: I honest-to-god pinched myself when I saw that Constance Zimmer was nominated for UnREAL. The Emmys have been so predictably blind to the sensational programming coming out of the CW these days, it was easy to believe that they would similarly ignore product from the notorious schlock-factory that is Lifetime...

Zimmer's Machiavellian showrunner is as watchable and quotable as any character on television. If this vicious, brilliant, heartless, hilarious, vulnerable and somehow still likable performance were given by a man, in a show about men that aired on premium cable, the TV Academy would already be engraving. It's heartening to see that Emmy voters occasionally pay some attention to what else is out there.

Abstew: For the 5th year in a row, Sarah Paulson has received recognition by the Emmys for creating some of the most fully-realized and wildly diverse characters on television. This year, not only is she a double nominee, but it looks like she'll get to take home the trophy for the first time for what has to be her greatest achievement to date, bringing a humanity, humility, and understanding to OJ Simpson trail prosecutor, Marcia Clark. Each episode she continued to impress even when it seemed that she had already reached unattainable heights the week before. I found myself saying out loud every week, "God, she's so fucking good!"

Chris Feil: Tracee Ellis Ross for black-ish. Ross is the show's silly center, the best of its hilarious (and under nominated) ensemble. Her work is a highwire act of broad comedy and genuine believability without sacrificing the show's incisive topicality. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Julia-Louis Dreyfus can finally abdicate her throne to Ross.

Manuel Betancourt: Aziz Ansari  for Master of None. I have to admit I was never a big fan of Ansari's schtick on Parks and Rec. It was often too grating to be funny but I was blown away by the way he was able to channel his cutesy and spastic comedic persona alongside a welcome naturalism that gave his on-screen alter ego such range.

Eric Blume: Nice to see both Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell finally get in there after those dummy late-to-the-party voters finally took notice.  They should have been up for several seasons now, and instead trusted that they had a good show and just put their heads down and did the good work. 

Dancin DanKeri Russell, The Americans. Turning in one of the best performances on TV for the past four years isn't any guarantee of a nomination, but I am beyond thrilled that Russell finally has one for her complex, layered performance as a suburban mom who just happens to be one half of a Russian spy couple deep undercover in 80s America. The show has used her considerable star power and charisma in increasingly interesting ways over the years, but this past season asked the most interesting questions yet of Russell's Elizabeth, and gave the actress her biggest challenge yet, which she repaid with a performance for the ages.

David Upton:  Supporting Actress: Maura Tierney, The Affair and Constance Zimmer, UnRealI can’t split two of the Best Supporting Actress Drama nominees in answer to this, even if their performances are wildly different: Constance Zimmer’s stubborn, devilish TV exec and Maura Tierney’s wounded, proud, lustful mother are equally outstanding.

Sean Donovan: The race between House of Cards’ bleak self-importance and House of Cards’ mountainous stupidity reached new heights in its most recent season, somehow tying its highest-ever Emmy nomination count (13) in the process. Among those 13 nominations is a shout-out to guest actress Ellen Burstyn, who, playing Robin Wright’s mother, mostly lounged around her palatial Texas estate, cocktail in hand, lamenting how everyone and everything is a disappointment to her. As someone who would watch Ellen Burstyn in anything, as she turns even the most limited of roles in questionable properties to grace and brilliance (The Age of Adaline), I welcomed the distraction. If only Ellen Burstyn could be a part of every masochistic Netflix binge! 

Nathaniel R: Aside from the collective joy for the leads of The Americans, I'm pleased that despite the significant attrition for American Horror Story it did win the nomination it absolutely deserved: Sarah Paulson as "Hypodermic Sally". Every year she crafts such memorable characters and, unlike Bassett and Bates and Lange, who are often given the same general template with one or two exceptions, she's a true chameleon, and always always fascinating in her choices. You can feel Sally's sadism as a channel/reflection for grief and boredom and addiction rather than anything like garden variety sadism (too easy a mark for characters on this show).



Abstew Silence. I've made my decision. After 8 seasons (and an all-star one just for good measure), the Emmy voters FINALLY said Shanté, you stay to RuPaul as Best Reality Show Host. Up against such exemplary talents as Tom Bergeron and...Steve Harvey, RuPaul's mama hen/grande diva hostess with the mostest would win hands down (no lip sync necessary). Although we know that ain't happening. But the fact that she finally got her well-manicured, high-heeled foot in the door is a step in the right direction. Now let the music play!

Manuel BetancourtRuPaul for Outstanding Host in A Reality TV Show Competition It was about damn time the Emmys realized the PERFECTION that is Ru in her own Logo show where she's both an earnest and a winking revision of the "Reality TV Show Host": Ru does everything every other Host does, but backwards, in high heels, and all tucked!

Josh Forward:  Survivor for Best Cinematography in a reality show. “That show’s still on?” people say as though they’re the first to make that joke, but even with a casual accidental momentary viewing as you flick through the channels it’s impossible to miss the impeccable production values of the mother of all reality competition shows. With exotic locations, comes some fantastic cinematography that captures the beauty and brutality of the game. Not to mention those animal metaphor shots of snakes, monkeys and sharks. 32 seasons deep, this show knows what it is doing and is as tightly produced as they come.

Chris Feil: Aziz Ansari for Direction of a Comedy Series - Master of None- "Parents" "Parents" was the best episode of television I watched all year, an insightful and funny half hour that's also blisteringly painful. The gimmick is that Ansari is directing his own parents, but he actually gets hilarious performances out of them as well. The show kind of lives in the shadow of this episode, both for quality and character context.

Eric Blume:  Lesli Linka Glatter for Directing Homeland's "The Tradition of Hospitality" episode.  It's astonishing how strong this show is considering it's in its fifth season, and this episode demands Glatter to veer from huge explosions filled with hundreds of extras to the subtle unraveling of Claire Danes' Carrie (yes, unraveling yet again)...and she meets all demands with aplomb.

David UptonWriting, Comedy: Rob Delaney & Sharon Horgan, Catastrophe, “Episode 1" Catastrophe, the painfully honest British comedy, getting a writing nom for its first episode makes my heart burst, because it makes the one night stand cliché sing with the horny awkwardness fiction so rarely understands.

Dancin DanAnthony Morigerato, Best Choreography on So You Think You Can Dance. Full disclosure: Back in my dance competition days, I often came up against Anthony, and he was CRAZY talented even back then. He is one of the most interesting choreographers working today in ANY style of dance, but what he is doing is particularly unique in the tap world - what he hears are sounds and rhythms that have never been heard before, and this routine (embedded above) for Gaby and Zack (in one of SYTYCD's worst seasons), while not wholly original, is just incredible. For the Emmys to recognize him feels like a legitimization, a calling to the big leagues, and I could not be happier for him, or for my tap dance community.

Nathaniel R: Jonathan McKinstry, Jo Riddell, and Philip Murphy for the Production Design of Penny Dreadful. From the Cut Wife's cluttered moldy bookish home, to the waxwork museum, and Sir Malcolm's wallpapered walls (a good place for witches to hide) this series thrived on atmosphere and the Production Design team really brought it every time. Especially when it came to the interior of Madame Kali's home with its spiral stone staircase, and that satanic high ceilinged altar room with the stacked dolls. I shudder thinking about it, both superbly conceived and executed. It's worthy of the Emmy statue despite strong competition (The Man in the High Castle, House of Cards, Game of Thrones, and AHS: Hotel)

Emmy Related 2016 Posts
Comedy Nominees
Drama Nominees
Tracee Ellis Ross for Black•ish
The People vs OJ Simpson
American Crime
Grease! Live
Constance Zimmer for UnREAL
Sterling K Brown for The People vs
Main Title Design Nominees
Snubs & Perplexities 
Happy Thoughts Finale

If I had a ballot, Drama
If I had a ballot, Comedy 

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Reader Comments (13)

was very happy for Sterling K Brown and Matt Walsh.

July 16, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

My favorite acting nom has got to be Laurie Metcalf for Horace and Pete, her monologue was just one of the best performances all year.

My favorite non acting nom was Jill Solloway's nom for that incredible season finale, so haunting and funny...I haven't stopped thinking about it

July 16, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjjablo

Josh Forward- Thank you for citing Survivor. I have been a big fan since season one and the last 2 seasons had some incredible camera work. The scene with Caleb medical emergency and the scene of Kelley Wentworth idol hunting was great.

July 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Favorite Acting Nomination has to be Keri Russell. It's sad that she was so due for a nomination; in truth, she is due for a win but people won't realize that as it is her only nomination. The vicious circle.

July 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

a) Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell, EASILY. Constance Zimmer is next.

b) Hmmm.... Hannibal for best supporting visual effects. The episode it was nominated for, "Primavera" had one visual effects moment that is sheer nightmare terror but also so exquisitely beautiful. And at least it ends is blazingly unique run with one emmy nomination.

July 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Oh, and favorite non-acting nomination, also The Americans in best Drama. About time! It kind of reminds me of when they waited to nominate Friday Night Lights until it's last damn season. Very gratifying. Although once again, in the lineup, it's clearly the best show so it'll be kind of a downer to see Game of Thrones or Better Call Saul come through with the win.

July 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

Louie Anderson is so inspired in Baskets. Such a natural, hilarious, and sometime touching performance.

July 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNate

a. Molly Parker's outstanding performance in House of Cards, which I have been rooting for since season 2.

b. Miguel Sapochnik for directing Battle of the Bastards. This man can give Spielberg a run for his money.

July 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

Acting: Laurie Metcalf and Maura Tierney

Non-acting: Robert King and Michelle King for "End" (The Good Wife Finale)

July 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

A) Paulson

B) All of the noms for Making a Murderer

July 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEz

If Paulson looses for O.J. the emmy will officially looses the tiny bit of credibility they still have. Amy Poehler, Kristin Wiig & Frances Conroy are "emmyless". Need I say more?

July 17, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

Hoping that Paulson can win for People vs OJ, maybe even win both her categories? It's not implausible, and it'd be richly earned. The sudden love for The Americans is so uplifting to see, and I second Arkaan's joy at Hannibal's nomination; That whole crew has deserved so much more love than they've gotten, especially surrounding their rich visual imagery.

July 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNick T

Was anyone else sad that Miranda Otto didn't get anything for Homeland?

July 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDavid S.

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