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Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

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Emmy Awards: What to Watch For

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This is an installment of a regular thisistheBronX film/TV review series by Bronx film reviewer and writer Adam McPartlan. Check back every Friday for Adam’s film reviews.

TV REVIEW – by Adam McPartlan

September 13, 2019

The Emmys will be awarded next week (Tuesday, September 17), meaning that awards season is officially underway. For me, there’s nothing more interesting and exciting than watching these awards shows. Granted many results piss me off to no end, like Green Book winning Best Picture at the Oscars or Claire Foy winning Best Drama Actress at the Emmys last year, but the event is still immensely fun for me.

Every year since high school, I’ve always put out a list of predictions and other things for the bigger award shows. This is the first time I’m writing them as part of my job, so it’s extra exciting for me now, but also a bit more pressure-filled. With that in mind, let’s dive right in.


The most important part of the night is always the Drama Series fields. This year, I would argue that the Drama field is not even the second most intriguing field, instead behind both Comedy and Limited Series. So, we’ll start here with the bronze medal of Emmy segments. Game of Thrones is somehow favored to win Best Drama Series again, in spite of its almost heathen approach to its final season, disregarding everything said and done in previous seasons for a quick, supposedly bombastic ending. I argue that Ozark, Netflix’s answer to Breaking Bad, is the best in the field. Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, and most of all Julia Garner anchor this series as more than just a rip-off of the AMC classic. It is far calmer, more eerie, and regardless of the stakes not being quite as high, the tension always looms off-screen, adding a layer of suspense not even Breaking Bad possessed. Other nominees in the Drama fields are Bodyguard, Pose, Succession, Killing Eve, Better Call Saul, and This Is Us. Here are my predictions for how the field will play out:

Best Actor: While Sterling K. Brown has won the Emmy before, and both Kit Harrington and Billy Porter have their fans, Jason Bateman’s work in Ozark is hard to ignore. He’s also received multiple Emmy nominations and has yet to win any. The skill of his work on the show coupled with his name recognition and his lack of even a single victory lead me to believe he will finally win the day.

Best Actress: Let’s start by ruling out a bunch of contenders: Robin Wright, Mandy Moore, Viola Davis, and Emilia Clarke. Clarke deserved better than her character got this final season, and while she gave a powerful performance, the women of Killing Eve and Laura Linney were far superior. The reason I am reluctant to crown Sandra Oh or Judie Cormer the victor is because they work on the same show. Very often when you get two strong performances from the same show or movie, they split the vote (Thelma & Louise and On the Waterfront had this happen to them at the Oscars). If I’m picking the winner based on strength of acting, I’m picking Cormer; if it’s based on how these things seem to always go, I’m picking Laura Linney, who brings her own brand of psycho to Ozark.

Best Supporting Actor: I’ll keep this simple: Alfie Allen deserves to win; Peter Dinklage is going to win. Because in spite of vote splitting, Dinklage is just that good and has the name.

Best Supporting Actress: Julia Garner. That’s all.

Writing: Nothing from Game of Thrones deserves to win less than the finale. If it wins, that’s just awards show politics. The Handmaid’s Tale cracked into both this and directing, and since it garnered no other nods, I expect a sweep, but at least a writing win. That said, pilot episodes always do well in these categories, so Bodyguard has a great chance here too.

Directing: Ozark is the best directed show on television. If it wins, that would be shocking, because again, The Handmaid’s Tale is here. That said, Game of Thrones and awards show politics may see the series finale sweep both awards because no one cares less about what the fans think than the Emmys and Oscars.

Series: Ozark is the best drama series on TV, and my pick. Game of Thrones isn’t coming back, and so carries that weight. Pick your poison, or maybe they split and This Is Us gets the win the television audience wants.


Both Comedy and Limited Series are the two biggest fields of the night. Comedy is home to the best show on television; Limited Series hosts the most competitive matchups. Lets get into Comedy.

Best Actor: Ted Danson, Eugene Levy, and Bill Hader face off. Levy has never been nominated for his acting before, and much like last year, when Henry Winkler won based on skill and his lack of an Emmy win, there is a good chance we will see Levy crowned here for the same reasons. Hader was great, but Levy and Danson were better, and The Good Place is the best show on TV. I’m picking Levy, with Danson a close second.

Best Actress: Kristen Bell should be the winner, but she wasn’t even nominated for her work on The Good Place. Disgusting. So the winner is going to be a hard fought battle between Catherine O’Hara, Natasha Lyonne, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Rachel Brosnahan. Dreyfus’ show just ended and she wins whenever she gets a nomination; Brosnahan won last year; O’Hara is the lead on maybe the funniest show on TV and is finally getting recognition; and Lyonne leads the cast of the best new show on TV. Throw a dart at a dart board; your guess is as good as mine. My money is on Dreyfus.

Best Supporting Actor: Tony Shalhoub is reinventing himself and the types of roles he can do after his career-defining role on Monk that saw him win three Emmys. It’s a battle of Tonys, because it’s between him and Tony Hale for Veep. Stephen Root and Henry Winkler were amazing on Barry, but the presence of a third Barry actor makes it hard for me to believe Winkler’s name will win out. I’m picking Shalhoub, but barely. Hale will be right there.

Best Supporting Actress: Borstein vs. Chlumsky vs. Gilpin. Borstein won last year; Chlumsky can never seem to catch a break; and Gilpin just got a nomination for the first time this year. Chlumsky is my pick for her work on the last season of Veep. But any of them could win.

Writing: Veep, The Good Place, or Russian Doll. Any of the three is deserving, but for me, The Good Place needs to win. If it doesn’t, then Russian Doll.

Directing: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel vs. Barry. No nods for The Good Place irritates me, but what can you do? Maisel won last year; it will probably win again.

Series: The Good Place is the best series on television. Between this, Veep, and Maisel, I legitimately don’t know who will win, but The Good Place deserves it the most. I also wouldn’t be sad to see Schitt’s Creek walk away with a win should all three of these shows split the vote.

Limited Series

Chernobyl vs. When They See Us. Ding ding ding! (If they split every vote and neither wins a single award, you’ll hear my screaming throughout the borough.)

Best Actor: Jharrel Jerome. Jared Harris will come close, and his subtle, powerful performance was wonderful, but Jerome was just better and required a different, more heartbreaking type of acting.

Best Actress: I literally have no idea. Probably neither of the women from When They See Us, even though Aunjanue Ellis was phenomenal, because vote splitting. My guess is for Patricia Arquette, mainly because she’s won every award so far for her work on Escape at Dannemora.

Best Supporting Actor: Stellan Skarsgard was the best. Three men from When They See Us will split the vote, but also, none of the three were as good as Skarsgard (though Leguizamo and WIlliams came close). Ben Whishaw is supposedly the favorite, but I cannot see Skarsgard losing or Chernobyl getting shutout of the acting awards.

Best Supporting Actress: Emily Watson vs. Marsha Stephanie Blake vs. Vera Farmiga vs. Patricia Clarkson. This is one category where vote splitting might not hurt When They See Us. Clarkson is somehow the favorite, even though Sharp Objects was nowhere near as good as either Chernobyl or WTSU. The fact that we all viscerally hated Farmiga’s character is enough for her to warrant a win. Blake was simply great; nothing else needs to be said. But Watson’s performance in Chernobyl was strong for many reasons, mainly because she was the lone female voice in a world dominated by men, and she was heard and respected. I loved Chernobyl, and so I would vote for Watson. As an outside observer, Watson, Farmiga, and Blake could all win. My guess is Farmiga.

Writing: Chernobyl is nominated here as the entire series; When They See Us is only nominated for the finale. I don’t know if they will go for the consistently beautiful writing of an entire series or if they’ll pick the best written single episode of out of the two best limited series’ of the year. I’m picking When They See Us here, but only slightly.

Directing: Chernobyl was the best show on TV this year, and the directing was the biggest reason for it. If it loses, that’s the way it goes, but Chernobyl earned this win.

Limited Series: Chernobyl. When They See Us. Chernobyl. When They See Us. Chernobyl. When They See Us. I’ve said from the start Chernobyl was the best piece of television in the past year; I will stand firm and say it wins Limited Series. What other show can you name that so pissed off the country it was about (Russia) that they started developing a response series to shift blame to America?


Adam McPartlan is a graduate student in the Sports Broadcasting Program at Sacred Heart University. He’s a life-long Bronxite with a deep love of film, television, and writing.

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