Following a disappointingly narrow batch of Oscar nominations, it was refreshing to see a list of Emmy nominees that reflects the diversity of storytelling on television. While the great and good of the film community are congratulating themselves for having Sulu hug a boy or dance to Madonna or something equally Earth-shatteringly homosexual in Star Trek, in TV land we’re busy discussing shows dealing with a wide array of female, queer and racially diverse themes.
Lead Actress in a Drama:
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Keri Russell, The Americans
Robin Wright, House of Cards
T: Homeland is still a thing?
S: Claire Danes, go away. Unless you are hanging out with Aziz in Master of None. That was great.
B: I’m throwing my weight behind Tatiana, for playing 50 different lesbians or something.
S: Tatiana is also pretty incredible with her 18 different roles. Ben, I think she just plays one lesbian, though. She is an amazing actress and woo, Canada!
B: If you watch the show for long enough, a streetcar goes by, and you feel like Toronto is a magical land.
T: Toronto *is* a magical land, Ben. It would be nice to see a Canadian win this. Following on from Viola’s landmark win last year, I feel like this would be equally historic. But this will probably go to Viola Davis for the second year in a row, right? And I’m completely fine with that because she’s a genius.
S: This is tough. I love Viola but I couldn’t do Season two of HTGAWM. (Wow. Long acronym). The mystery was too much of a let down in season one and the amount of time they flashed back to clues because they don’t trust their audience was insufferable. But the best thing about the show is its lead actress, so she is deserving.
Lead Actor in a Drama:
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
T: I find it hard to care about any of these people and their shows. I say give it to Rami Malek, because why not?
B:. I have never seen Mr. Robot. It seems like the new Breaking Bad, in that like four or five straight males told me that I HAVE to check it out. I assume it’s about a robot named Mr. Robot, and that he can’t get wet or he’ll malfunction, but where he lives it’s always raining. Enjoy your Emmy, Mr. Robot!
T: It’s like that show Billions. Straight boys are jizzing over it but gay Twitter says there are no ladies doing lady things so don’t bother. I choose gay Twitter. Mr Robot for the win!
S: Bob Odenkirk! I too ignored the straight boys on Breaking Bad but then watched Better Call Saul in an act of defiance. It was brilliant and I vote for that because I prefer my robots to be Alicia Vikander.
Lead Actor in a Limited Series:
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
Idris Elba, Luther
Cuba Gooding Jr., The People vs. O.J. Simpson
Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
Courtney B. Vance, The People vs. O.J. Simpson
T: Fuck this whole category, because Oscar Isaac was not nominated for Show Me A Hero, which was exceptional.
B: I just googled Show Me a Hero, it looks good. By “it” I mean Oscar Isaac’s moustache.
T: Anything in or around Oscar Isaac’s face is usually 10/10. I have major issues with Tom Hiddleston – he’s a pretty face but I find him completely vacuous, and I’m in the minority that thought The Night Manager was unwatchable.
S: Yes! No more Hiddleswift PR please!
T: This should absolutely go to Courtney B Vance, I thought he was amazing in the show. Also because he was wearing a wig but he was the only person that didn’t look absolutely ridiculous. Plus, he’s married to Angela Fucking Basset.
S: Angela FUCKING Basset.
B: Yes, give it to Vance, who not only acted well, but also grew a moustache.
S: Yes. I’m with you guys. Mostly because of not looking ridiculous in a wig. I’m getting strong images of how terrified I was of John Travolta in this series. Ughhhh.
Lead Actress in a Limited Series:
Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grille
Sarah Paulson, The People vs. O.J. Simpson
Lili Taylor, American Crime
Kerry Washington, Confirmation
T: How long have we been banging on about Sarah Paulson? Three years now? She was utterly brilliant in OJ and she’s usually the best thing in pretty much anything she does. Give her the fucking Emmy already.
B: I’ve been in love with Paulson since Studio 60, in which she was the only good thing. If I could travel time, I would visit zero dinosaurs and instead travel back a mere six years to go see the 2010 Broadway production of “Collected Stories” with her and Linda Lavin. So if she wins, I’ll be happy.
T: You have quite a thing for Lili Taylor too if I remember correctly?
B: I DO love Lili Taylor, and I am so honoured that you remember that about me. I just want to have brunch with her every once and awhile. Her and Helen Hunt and Embeth Davidtz. And at the start of brunch when we’re all sitting down, we’re like, “No mimosas!” but then one of us orders one anyway, and that gets the ball rolling, and we’re all drinking one mimosa each and talking about how silly we are, so silly, three silly girls and their silly friend Ben.
T: This sounds like a brunch I would turn up to with a really open mind and my heart would sink in like the first three minutes.
S: Why are the mimosas so forbidden, Ben? “No we can’t. We can’t. OMG Helen you are so bad! I’m ordering one too!”
T: Maybe I could convince Embeth to slope off with me? Anyway, I remember you like Lili Taylor because you loved her character on Six Feet Under, who was just the worst.
B: You watched it wrong, she was the best thing about that show.
S: Ben has been on my radar of questionable female actress choices since the inception of his bizarre love for boring Helen Hunt. However, Sarah Paulson bridges the gap finally! To quote Thomas’ drunken voicemail last week, “Pleeeeeease give Sarah Paulson an Emmyyyyyy. She’s a fuuuuuucking genius!”
Lead Actor in a Comedy:
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master Of None
Will Forte, Last Man on Earth
William H. Macy, Shameless
Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
T: I feel like we should really be watching Black-ish. The clips I’ve seen look funny.
B: I watched Black-ish’s Very Special Episode about BLM, which was great, but probably not that emblematic of the show’s comic sensibilities.
T: I’m torn here between Aziz Ansari and Jeffrey Tambor. I’d say Aziz is funnier and the fact that he writes and directs the show is a huge achievement. But this is probably Tambor’s to lose. Transparent season two was excellent and I think he was great in it.
B: Let’s give it to Forte, whose show is not perfect, but neither am I and neither are you.
S: Aziz! I loved season two of Transparent but I’d like to see some other players get wins this year. Can someone give Gaby Hoffman an Emmy? Or perhaps some Jill Soloway love? Tambor was brilliant but I think Aziz has created a Master-ful show that touches on a lot of important topics and is hilarious.
T: Puns are always welcome.
Lead Actress in a Comedy:
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
Laurie Metcalf,Getting On
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
T: Firstly, Maria Bamford got snubbed for the hilarious Lady Dynamite. It was genius. Shocked to see her left off the list. As you said before, Ben, Grace and Frankie is perfect television so Lily Tomlin deserves to be here. And Tracee Ellis Ross is hilarious so I’m not surprised to see her here. Who takes it? JLD, again? In my heart of hearts I would love this to go to Lily Tomlin.
B: I’m OK with anyone here winning. I’m most OK with Tomlin.
S: Tracee Ellis Ross or Amy Schumer. Lily Tomlin can win if there is a write in vote for Grandma.
Master of None
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
T: In terms of the most laughs I got out of a show this year, Kimmy Schmidt takes it for me.
S: Titus Burgess really carried the show for me this season. I wouldn’t say it was the best show of the year but I definitely laughed.
T: In terms of purely artistic achievement, this is between Master of None and Transparent.
B: Transparent was REMARKABLE, but I didn’t laugh – mostly I winced and cringed and almost-cried and thought about how one day we’re all going to die. But yes: for best show, it should be Transparent, but for funniest show, Unbreakable.
S: Transparent is heartbreakingly beautiful but it’s one of those odd ‘should it be in the comedy section?’ nominees. I watched Man on the Land S2E9 three times and just bawled. Hari Nef was INCREDIBLE. She should have received a nod!
B: Master of None didn’t do it for me. I feel broken but it’s true.
S: Ben, I’m starting to doubt you again and after we just reconciled over Sarah Paulson. Master of None was amazing. I’m also like the biggest Aziz Ansari fan so I could be biased…no, it’s great.
B: Yeah, I know I’m in the minority here. I appreciate that Ansari is a man with a mandate, addressing social issues. I’m just not driven wild by his schtick.
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
T: I watch none of these shows. I loathe Downton Abbey. Give it to Mr. Robot. Sure.
B: You don’t watch Game of Thrones? I assume everyone in England does because it’s filmed in the big soccer field across the street from everyone’s house.
T: You know how everyone in Toronto had a walk-on in Being Erica? Everyone in the UK has played a tree on Game of Thrones.
S: I DON’T CARE. ACTUALLY put Transparent in this category and voila! A winner.
B: Also, this is where I mention that I have watched Downton Abbey start to finish, and enjoyed every minute. This season was one of the stronger ones. There were car crashes, and the finale was so incredibly CONCLUSIVE. Not a single loose thread. Basically everyone either got married or died, and there was no middle ground, because that’s how aristocracy works.
T: I hate the aristocracy, I hate the crappy writing on this shitty show, and I hate you, Ben.
All the Way
Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
A Very Murray Christmas
T: Umm, weren’t all of these reviewed as bad or mediocre? Unless I’m forgetting something. Give it to Bill Murray for all I care.
B: Confirmation, let’s say.
S: No guys! Did you see the Christmas special? It was like Sofia Coppola does sparse atmospheric Christmas where nothing happens but I put my famous friends in it so it’s fine. Does Black Mirror White Christmas count as a T.V. movie? The one with Jon Hamm. I just watched that and it’s really good. Write in?
T: Steph, with her characteristic finger on the pulse, has singled out a show that was released in 2014.
S: D’oh! … Please disregard Stephanie. *Sneaks in answer* Sherlock because it was probably good.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:
Louie Anderson, Baskets
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
Matt Walsh, Veep
T: First off, three of these nominees are actors of color, well done academy. Tituss Burgess had the most hilarious year on UKS, give it to him. Tony Hale and Matt Walsh are solid – in particular it’s great to see Walsh recognised. What. On Earth. Is. Baskets?
B: Just googled it. On Baskets, Louie apparently plays a nagging old woman, which is probably a very large step back for the trans rights movement. Let’s give it to Braugher for the quality of his role: a gay black man who has grown into a hardass after dealing with years of bullshit in an intolerant work environment. His character is heavily informed, but ultimately not defined by, his queer experience and that, to me, is the best possible future of gays on TV.
T: Are we saying, Ben, that Brooklyn Nine Nine is one of the great queer texts of our time?
B: Yes. Andy Samberg is like ten Gore Vidals.
S: Not only actors of colour but two queer black characters. I think this is definitely proving that Hollywood films need to catch up to TV in terms of diversity. Andre Braugher as Captain Holt is one of my favourite TV characters ever! Not only is Holt a complex queer character, Braugher’s comedic timing and monotone delivery exemplify his supreme acting chops.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie:
Jesse Plemons, Fargo
Bokeem Woodbine, Fargo
Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
Sterling K. Brown, The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
David Schwimmer, The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
John Travolta, The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
T: Who is Bokeem Woodbine, he’s my new favourite person. Like a chipmunk or something got nominated for an Emmy.
B: I got lost at Woodbine subway station once. I was hungover and I took the subway the wrong way and ended up in Scarborough. So I don’t like Bokeem Woodbine.
T: This should definitely go to Sterling K Brown, he was amazing as Darden. John Travolta was hilaire and Ross Kardashian is just no. I really like Jesse Plemons. Generally. That’s all I have to say about him.
B: I agree! Sterling K. Brown.
T: Are you just agreeing for the sake of it? I’m pretty sure you only watched one episode of OJ…
B: I’m agreeing because I trust you Thomas.
S: I will jump in and admit that I am going to blindly agree with Thomas because I don’t like anyone else. I watched three episodes of OJ.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series:
Niecy Nash, Getting On
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon , Saturday Night Live
Judith Light, Transparent
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
T: Janney again? I love her, you know I do, but like come on love you’ve got a wagon of Emmys. Ease up. Would be great to see Kate McKinnon win this, and there’s a possibility as she rides the wave of her Ghostbusters success. See previously: Melissa McCarthy for Mike and Molly. Anna Chlumsky is great, and the Transparent ladies also. Tough one. WHERE THE FUCK IS JANE KRAKOWSKI? I WILL SET THE BUILDING ON FIRE.
B: Yes, she is a notable absence. So is June Diane Raphael, Brianna from Grace & Frankie, whose business scenes with Lily Tomlin were one of the best things about the season. Give it to the ghostbuster.
T: Ladybuster for the win!
S: GABBY HOFFMAN. I love her. Ever since I used to watch Now & Then as a little girl and dream about my future. She was so good in Transparent this season. I’m very proud of her.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:
Maura Tierney, The Affair
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game Of Thrones
Emilia Clarke, Game Of Thrones
Maisie Williams, Game Of Thrones
Constance Zimmer, UnREAL
T: The only person I care about here generally is Maura Tierney. I’ve only just watched The Affair and my God now I remember how great she is. Give this to her immediately.
B: Constance Zimmer! Nobody watches UnREAL except for me, I think, but it’s fantastic, and Zimmer is especially good. Great to see UnREAL get one nod.
T: I hear it’s good, I should probably watch it. Also you should watch The Affair, it has the edgy yet solidly Mom sensibility that I think you would really dig.
B: On it.
S: Actually Ben, I have also watched UnReal and know about Constance Zimmer. She is quite good. However, I think I have to go with Thomas on this one. SPOILER ALERT: Helen gets high in Season two and says she queefed at the hairdressers and her hair gets accidentally bleached and it’s ridiculous. Season two is all about Helen and she delivers a complex performance. Plus she’s the mom from Liar Liar, so…
T: Maura Tierney has been a genius since ER which I was watching way before Liar Liar because I’m a Mum/Mom.
S: Yes I’m your bratty daughter who caught on to all your ladies in the 90s and you keep trying to “show me where they got their start” and I’m like “mommmm you don’t understand me, Maura Tierney is married to Jim Carey and they have a kid with a mushroom cut. That’s it!”
T: I know, I’m just a Maura Tierney completist.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie:
Melissa Leo, All The Way
Regina King, American Crime
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Hotel
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Hotel
Jean Smart, Fargo
Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
T: This is very strong. Paulson again?
B: Sarah Paulson could win two this way! That’s always fun.
T: Remember when Elisabeth Moss was up for two and we were like “SHE COULD WIN BOTH” and we held hands during her categories during the ceremony and we were disappointed x2?
B: I’ve done my best to forget that moment, but yes, I remember all too well.
S: I’m just going to throw my hat in for Kathy Bates. “It’s your men out there!”
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series:
Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
Tracy Morgan, Saturday Night Live
Larry David, Saturday Night Live
Bradley Whitford, Transparent
Martin Mull, Veep
Peter MacNicol, Veep
T: Give it to Principal Kraft.
B: Where is the rest of the Sabrina The Teenage Witch cast in today’s entertainment milieu? If you had told me, back then, it would be Principal Kraft still doing stuff, I’d have been, I guess, a somewhat bummed-out eleven-year-old. Where’s Libby, Aunt Zelda, Jenny, Harvey? (For her part, Melissa Joan Hart is the trainwreck nobody is talking about. You’ll all be quoting me on this one day.)
T: She recently starred in God’s Not Dead 2, so she’s doing fine. I guess. Fun fact: Beth Broderick retrained in psychology and is now Steph Coffey’s psychologist. True story.
S: Melissa Joan Hart is clinging on to the cliff of success in Melissa and Joey with Joey “Woah” Lawrence. They also did an ABC movie called Holiday in Handcuffs that’s on Netflix. I watched it when I shame spiralled at Christmas a few years back. Let’s all write in a vote for Beth Broderick!
B: Zelda Spellman! Yes!
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series:
Laurie Metcalf, The Big Bang Theory
Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory
Tina Fey & Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Amy Schumer, Saturday Night Live
Melora Hardin, Transparent
T: Ladies. A joint Emmy for Tina & Amy.
B: Happy with any of these.
T: Could it be any cuter that Tina & Amy get nominated as one person?
S: Can that happen? I mean I’m happy for Tina and Amy but is that a thing? A joint nom? Also, clearly if they are nominated as a pair then I’m voting for them.
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series:
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Carrie Preston, The Good Wife
Laurie Metcalf, Horace And Pete
Ellen Burstyn, House Of Cards
Molly Parker, House Of Cards
Allison Janney, Masters Of Sex
B: Molly Parker is Canadian. She played a necrophiliac in a 90s movie. Who hasn’t, though.
S: Lol to playing 90s necrophiliacs.
T: We’ve all had a bash. Did you know Raynor and co’s drama teacher in High School played the dead blonde lady in Murder at 1600?
S: Thanks, Tom. Now I want to ignore the work I have to do to today and watch some 90s Welsey Snipes. Murder at 1600, Passenger 57, can’t wait.
Thanks guys! Check back in for our post-Emmys round-up after the ceremony takes place on September 18.