The Emmy awards inspire more conflict, shock and outrage than possibly any other major awards show on the circuit. It makes sense; we spend so much time getting to know these characters and their struggles that we become incredibly invested in the show's success. But with so many channels, platforms, programs, stars and prestige dramas on the air right now, it’s going to be impossible to please everyone. Of course, that knowledge doesn’t stop us from waiting impatiently every year, hoping that our favorite performances from the past year will be recognized with an Emmy nomination. And every year, we end up with a new list of nominations that surprise and delight us, or send us into a spiral of rage, heartbreak and Twitter ranting. The 2014 nominations were no different, and these are the biggest shocks of the year.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine Despite its critical acclaim and Golden Globe wins, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is still something of an underdog in terms of ratings and public attention, so we weren’t expecting the Television Academy to take much notice of the Fox show. Which is why we were so delighted to read Braugher’s name on the list of nominees this morning for his work as the magnificently deadpan Captain Ray Holt. Brooklyn Nine-Nine might have only gotten one major nod, but it was for the single best part of the show, and for that we’re endlessly grateful. We know it might be hard to read, but we are... ecstatic.
Best Actress in a Drama: Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex Masters of Sex probably tops the list of brilliant shows that nobody pays enough attention to, but for all of its high points – the costumes, the dialogue, the chemistry between Masters and Johnson, the tense, quiet drama, the brilliant guest starts – much of the show’s excellence can be credited to Caplan’s performance as Virginia Johnson. It’s a complex, layered, funny, sexy, compelling role and it’s thrilling to see her work rightfully acknowledged as one of the best performances of the year.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Allison Janney, Mom Mom is a complicated show. It’s ostensibly a typical Chuck Lorre comedy, with lots of inane jokes and strange plots, but it also devotes a great deal of time to the dramatic, difficult relationship between mother and daughter, both of whom are recovering addicts. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s usually thanks to Janney, who transforms what could have been a stereotypical over-the-top, obnoxious character into a flawed, layered, realistic human being.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Fred Armisen, Portlandia While it’s sad not to see Armisen’s co-star and co-writer Carrie Brownstein on the list of nominees as well, we’re excited to see the Television Academy finally pay attention to this weird, hilarious show and the weird, hilarious characters who inhabit it. Whether he’s learning the history of hip hop before a big concert or playing a feminist hippie who hates the customers in her shop, Armisen’s always original, funny, and just a little strange.
Best Comedy Series: Silicon Valley Another critical favorite that didn’t seem to get a lot of mainstream attention, Silicon Valley had an excellent first season, skewering the tech industry, the people who aspire to be part of it, and the people who make fun of it. Although airing on HBO automatically got the Emmys’ attention, it wasn’t the cultural phenomenon that some of its network-mates have become, and so it was good to see that a show doesn’t necessarily need A-list stars or famous directors in order to get attention.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live This season of SNL got bogged down by an influx of new cast members, the loss of its head writer halfway through the year, and controversy over the diversity of its cast. But there was one cast member who held things together, who was consistently hilarious and able to rescue just about any sketch just by being in it, and that cast member was Kate McKinnon. From Bieber to Ellen to “Dyke and Fats” to doing it on a twin bed, McKinnon was definitely this year’s MVP, and we’re happy to see the Emmys recognize that as well.
Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie: Kristen Wiig, The Spoils of Babylon To be honest, we never expected this weird, awkward and often hilarious miniseries to even be on the TV Academy’s radar, let alone the nominations list, but Wiig’s performance as Cynthia Morehouse, who endures poverty, war, an unhappy marriage, and a forbidden romance with her adopted brother in outrageous, strange and hilarious fashion was one of the funniest things on TV this year. Not quite on the same level as Lady Anne, but we imagine it would be a little awkward to nominate a mannequin for an Emmy.
Best Supporting Actress and Guest Actress(es) in a Comedy: Kate Mulgrew, Laverne Cox, Uzo Aduba, and Natasha Lyonne, Orange is the New Black Orange Is the New Black swept the nominations this year, and while we’re happy to see it get recognized for Best Comedy and Taylor Shilling’s lead performance as Piper Chapman, it’s the supporting cast who we’re really thrilled for. Between Mulgrew’s transformative work as Red being included in the Supporting Actress category and three of the finest, funniest and most heartbreaking actresses (Aduba, Lyonne, and Cox, who is the first transgender Emmy nominee) crowding everyone else out of the Guest Actress category, don’t be surprised if Orange takes home plenty of gold on Emmy night.
Tatiana Maslany Gets Snubbed… Again Apparently, playing eight distinct characters, all of whom are equally complex, interesting, and fully-realized is not enough for the Emmy voters to take notice of Maslany’s incredible performance on Orphan Black, and both she and the show were snubbed for a second year. Since the tension between Helena and Sarah or the complicated relationship between Allison and Donnie or Cosima’s fight through her debilitating illness wasn’t enough, it seems the only way that Maslany will ever a nod is if she plays every single character on True Detective Season 2.
The Emmys Don’t Care About The Americans Despite turning out some of the most compelling, interesting, thrilling drama that has aired on television in the past year, The Americans was almost completely ignored by Emmy voters, earning one nomination for Margo Martindale’s guest spot. And though we pretty much expected the show not to make the Best Drama Series cut, we’re mostly shocked that Matthew Rhys’ incredible performance this season was also completely ignored by the Academy. Clearly the Emmys have a hard time looking past some bad wigs to see the brilliance underneath.
Really, Jeff Daniels Again? Don’t get us wrong, the once and future Harry Dunne does good work on The Newsroom, but it’s nothing special, especially compared to both what his fellow Best Actor in a Drama nominees turned out this year, and the performances of so many other actors who didn’t make the cut. But considering how much the Emmys seem to love him, we think Bryan Cranston and Matthew McConaughey might want to hold off on writing their acceptance speeches.
Ricky Gervais Gets Nominated For… Derek? We loved Gervais’ arrogant, deluded David Brent on The Office. We’re still laughing about his performance as the rude, frustrated and sometimes desperate Andy Millman on Extras, and we’d watch him bicker with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington all day. However, we weren’t as crazy about his work on Derek, the saccharine, gentle-hearted sitcom where he plays the saccharine, gentle-hearted nursing home caretaker Derek, so we’re surprised to see just how vastly the Television Academy’s opinion about the show differed from ours. Still, at least we know we’re guaranteed a hell of a show if he actually wins.
Downton Abbey Keeps Racking Up the Nominations We get it: Maggie Smith is an international treasure. That doesn’t mean that the Emmys have to nominate her every single year, without fail. And just because Downton Abbey is a British period piece, that doesn’t mean it’s better than any number of excellent dramas who continue to be overlooked just because everyone on the show speaks with a British accent. It’s okay not to nominate them, Emmys. Everyone will still think you’re smart and worldly, we promise.
The Wrong People from Shameless Get Nominated, as Per Usual Here’s the good news: Shameless finally got more than one nomination! The bad news, though, is that they went to the actors with the most name recognition – William H. Macy, who is up for Best Actor in a Comedy and Joan Cusack, whose Guest Actress hot streak continues – rather than the ones who carried the show this year – Emmy Rossum, Jeremy Allen White and Noel Fisher, to name just a few. But, hey, it seems like that category switch actually paid off, even if it means nominating the actor whose character was in a coma over the ones who were struggling with jail time, balancing college and caring for his family and coming out and looking after his bipolar boyfriend.
Somehow, House of Cards Got 13 Nominations There are only two possible explanations: either the Emmy voters thought that, like Orange Is the New Black, they were voting based on the first season of the show, or they didn’t actually watch the new season of House of Cards, and they decided to throw a bunch of nominations its way to cover up that fact, since it’s an “important, prestige” drama.
Today is October 11, 2012. It is the 284th day of the year, and according to Wikipedia (and, you know, math) there are 81 more days until we ring in 2013. On this day in 1890, the Daughters of the American Revolution were founded in Washington DC. In 1910, Theodore Roosevelt (who just so happens to be my cousin a few times removed) became the first U.S. president to fly in an airplane. In 1975, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham tied the knot. Also in 1975, Bruce Springsteen scored a massive hit with "Born to Run." And in 2012, Weyland Corp. of Prometheus fame, was founded.
Also, today is 10/11/12. Yep, Consecutive Integer Day. In its honor, we've rounded up our 10 favorite counting videos. So, in 5, 6, 7, 8...
Brian McKnight, "Back At One"
Laverne and Shirley Opening Credits
Counting with Bruce Springsteen, from The Ben Stiller Show
Feist on Sesame Street
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant Discuss Time Zones on Extras
Lou Bega, "Mambo No. 5"
Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg, "Dick in a Box"
Coolio, "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)"
The Man Himself, The Count (and a Special Guest)
Oh yeah, and there's this too.
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[Photo Credit: Theo Wargo/PBS]
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Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
I’m not going to say Jason Sudeikis is about to blow up. After years on SNL and appearances in many movies (not to mention months of a relationship with a bombshell girlfriend), the dude is finally getting his dues. So no, Jason Sudeikis is not on the cusp of greater things. He’s been there, done that; the only difference is that people are starting to pay attention. And it’s about damn time.
Sudeikis cut his teeth in the improv world during the early 90’s, performing in his homestate of Kansas, studying in Chicago and eventually helping found the Second City Las Vegas theater. Another cool random fact? He auditioned to be a Blue Man in the Blue Man Group. Just imagine how different life would be had he gotten that gig. Weird, right?
Anyway, you probably know him best for his work on SNL. Lately Sudeikis has become one of the standouts on the long running sketch show in their post-Will Ferrell years, constantly getting laughs even in the weirdest sketches. He joined the program as a writer in 2003 before becoming a performer in 2005. Along with Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg and Bill Hader, he’s risen to become one of the funniest members of the cast and arguably the most handsome. While SNL has struggled to come up with a good joke on Obama, Sudeikis has got our lovable VP Joe Biden down pat. Then he goes and absolutely destroys a Wolf Blitzer impression that’s more realistic than those weird holograph machine things. And he also manages to deliver a damn good crying Glenn Beck. Combine those impressions with a shit-eating grin and the ability to just melt into any scene and it’s really easy to see why he’s a constant on the inconsistent show.
But SNL will only get you so famous. Movies are where the big bucks are. Actually, let’s hold off on his film career for just a second more. Sudeikis has managed to wring up steady work by appearing in pretty much every great television show currently airing. He’ll also probably be the first person to travel back in time and insert himself in to every great television show ever, but that’s only a guess. He was Liz Lemon’s perfect boyfriend on 30 Rock that had to unfortunately move to Cleveland. He was the gang’s former best friend Shmitty in It’s Always Sunny and has appeared in Children’s Hospital, Portlandia, and The Cleveland Show. Not too shabby a resume.
Ah, here’s where we get to the films! Did you see The Rocker? Of course not. No one did. Well, I saw The Rocker and it’s rather unfortunate that no one else saw it because it’s really not that bad of a movie. Sudeikis plays the evil music corporation guy that every movie like that has and he absolutely kills it. My favorite line in the film he borrowed from fellow SNL cast mate Kenan Thompson: “You’re going to get so much pussy you’ll need two dicks.” It immediately cuts away from the scene for probably two reasons: a) he probably improvised the line and b) his scene partner probably cracked up and ruined the shot. He’s that good.
Remember Hall Pass? Of course not. Sudeikis ran the laughs around supposed funny man Owen Wilson and is really the only reason to watch that movie. Well, him and Stephen Merchant. I mean, even Jenna Fisher looks bad in it! Wow, it’s really starting to seem like Sudeikis is the best part of crappy films and, unfortunately, that’s pretty much true. For example: The Bounty Hunter, What Happens in Vegas and Going the Distance. Seriously, he’s the only reason to watch those films.
But luckily that is starting to change and Sudeikis is getting better roles. In two of the most anticipated comedies of 2011, he’ll star in A Good Old Fashioned Orgy and Horrible Bosses. Again, he’s the not absolute star since Hollywood hasn’t deemed him big enough to carry an entire film on his own, but he still manages to stand out in a crowded field. But while he might not be big enough to top line a blockbuster, he was deemed big enough to host the MTV Movie Awards this weekend and that’s always a good sign.
So no, Jason Sudeikis is not blowing up. Blowing up implies a sudden burst after an explosive catalyst. Sudeikis has been getting bigger and bigger but people are finally starting to notice. And as his many, many funny appearances on TV and film have proven, that handsome bastard deserves it.