Sunday, October 11, 2020

THE ACTUAL PROBLEM, (Kinda, sorta, maybe, somewhat, not really,- actually it's not a problem at all to be honest) WITH "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE"! Observations on the recent trend of the show's cast members having longer reigns on the legendary series.

So, I watched the season premiere episode of "Saturday Night Live" last week....

I liked it, it was funny. 

(Shrugs) 

I mean, I guess I could go into specifics, but...- look, talking about "SNL" is always a little bit of a hot-button issue that's gonna cause a lot of responses from people, and about half of them are gonna be some variant of how the show isn't as good or as funny as it used to be, or that the "Weekend Update" segments are the only really good parts or- I don't know, there's always somebody saying something negative just to be a dick, and there's also gonna be some from the other side too. Give these people a chance, just because they're not Belushi and Radner doesn't mean they're not funny or just as great. 

Look, I'm not gonna put up with line of argument too long; I will say that, there have been bad eras in "SNL"'s history; I won't blindly say it's always been funny. That said, I think most of those seasons can usually be chalked up to rebuilding years where the cast is still learning to gel and find their voice. If there's a truly bad era, I would argue, the mid-80s seasons, after Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo left were cringy and very few sketches are remembered fondly from that time and that's the era where the cast members were particularly weak and lacked anybody who had significant careers of note after the series ended. (Or were somewhat known before joining the show and weren't really natural fits for sketch comedy) Other then that, I think most supposed bad seasons or eras of "SNL" can either have some sort of legit excuse, and can be dismissed 'cause they inevitably led to great "SNL" eras or people are just relentlessly comparing them to whatever their particular favorite nostalgia era of "SNL" was and any or most modern comedy will just never equal the past. 

In my case, my first great "SNL" era was the late '80-early '90s era, where you had Phil Hartman, Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, young Chris Rock, younger Sarah Silverman for like a month, Chris Farley, David Spade, Dennis Miller, Norm MacDonald, Kevin Nealon, Jon Lovitz, etc. etc. And somehow Adam Sandler became the biggest superstar out of that bunch. And even I'd argue, that's maybe 4th or 5th best era? The late '90s, Tina Fey-era is even stronger to me once that core group of suddenly got comfortable. "SNL" isn't like, a regular series; it's never gonna jump the shark, it's gonna evolve and change with the times and new blood is constantly coming in to challenge and change what we thought of as funny. Whether you think it's the funniest Variety-Sketch out there right now or not, and yeah, some years, I'd argue it hasn't been, even during some of the series' best years, "SNL" remains a pretty good barometer of what comedy was at the time and see how it's change. It's probably the greatest and biggest American television institution. The Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players, the premiere spot for the next biggest stars in comedy to make their first big, major impressions on a national stage. It's a symbol that not only have these guys, and gals have made it, but these guys aren't going to become stars in the future, they're going to become important influential figures in the world of American comedy.


Jesus, how long has Kenan Thompson been on this show?

For those who might not know what this clip above is, this was an episode of "All That", which Nickelodeon, last year, actually rebooted and brought back, but it was Nickelodeon's teenage version of "SNL" back in the early '90s, and yeah, that's Chris Farley, one of his last performances in fact, working with him in a sketch. The reason I'm bringing it up is a couple years ago, Kenan Thompson actually surpassed Carol Burnett's record for most years being a regular cast member of a sketch comedy series. Most of it was from "SNL" where, unless you count Don Pardo or Lorne Michaels, I guess, as cast members, Kenan Thompson is also the longest-running cast member in the show's history, this being his 17th season as a cast member. That, along with his work on "All That" is kinda startling. 

That said he's not the only one. Kate McKinnon is arguably one of the biggest names and stars in comedy, right this moment, and she's entering her ninth season on the show. She's won two Emmys, she's got a pretty good chance of having a major film career if she wants it, and the girl who's helped make Ruth Bader Ginsberg so notorious doesn't seem that interested in leaving anytime soon. And for the other end of the spectrum of before they were on "SNL", here a clip of her getting sexually aroused by Nina Hartley pulling her hair.
 


(Shrugs) People from "SNL" can have weird and differing early starts to their careers.

But they usually didn't end at "SNL". There's been a trend of "SNL" cast members in recent years suddenly having these unusually long runs on the series. Not counting Al Franken who had multiple runs as a regular, (And frankly I think of him more as a writer then a regular performer), of all the cast members who've been on for nine or more seasons of "SNL", only Kevin Nealon's 9-year-run dates back to starting in the '80s. And only Darrell Hammond and Tim Meadows started in the '90s, (And Hammond eventually replaced Pardo as the regular announcer). And, it's not that there aren't people who have shorter runs today and there's definitely people who start on "SNL" and go onto to other major acting projects and become stars in these last couple decades. Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones come to mind right away. Now I could point out that, for the last, hmmm, well, ever since Tina Fey came on as Sarah Palin, this is also interestingly the era where one of the biggest motifs of the series is bringing in regular big times stars for cameo roles and performances as major political figures of the time, something that's still going on today as, this week's cold open began with Alec Baldwin and Jim Carrey parodying the Presidential debate and Maya Rudolph, who's also in the top ten of longest-running cast member btw, also showed up as a cameo. You can say this is somewhat contradictory of them; they've got some of these long-running and constantly returning cast members and they're being overshadowed by people who just come in to do a Trump impression and get out, but regardless of that, I'm just saying, whatever your thoughts on "SNL" at the moment, isn't it a little weird that we've had so many regular cast members lasting this long on the show? 

I'm not saying it's bad necessarily, but-eh, I do think it's gotta be just a little weird, right? 

Well, actually, I don't know come to think. The thing with "SNL" is that it's such an institution at this point that there really isn't anything else to properly compare it to. Most of the shows I can think of that have lasted as long as "SNL" are soap operas and news programs. I guess soap operas kinda have a similar thing where some cast members will be around forever and others will last a short amount of time before moving onto to other things, but that's in the telling of a long-form narrative series; it's something that's expected; there's going to be a Susan Lucci playing an Erica Kane from when she was a selfish teenager brat that forgets that she was raped and conceived a 16-year-old Buffy the Vampire Slayer until 24 years later, until the end of her eleventh marriage has ended, and moves to an exotic location where she still works undercover in the fashion industry and continues to threaten people from her past (Didn't make any of that up) and also have people who just come in for a short run and then head off. Still though, um, that just doesn't feel quite like the correct thing to compare here. 

That said, I might argue it makes a little sense. There was never like, a rule that states that after a certain period of time somebody has to leave the show even thought the series has mostly survived on a tradition of revolving casts, there also was a time when people worried that the show would be canceled once the series started losing some of it's original main stars and creators, but that was back long before "SNL" has the legacy that it has now.

Actually, that's kinda the thing though. "SNL" is such an institution that you can probably argue at this time that it's no longer the stepping stone that it once was, and is now instead, the goal of a lot of actors. I mean, think about Kenan Thompson's career for a second; "All That", was very much, "SNL" for kids, even I remember thinking that as a kid, in fact, I think that's exactly how I described the show to my mother when she saw I was watching it. That also means that when that first started airing, every member of the cast, lived their whole lives in a world where "SNL" was always a thing. As has most people at this point. And when I mentioned that "All That" had a reboot, Thompson was the one producing it. 

That's another thing, while "SNL" is still a major live television production, television itself has changed to the point, where if you didn't want to, you don't actually have to leave "SNL" to then go act or work on a sitcom or two. Aidy Bryant's entering her eighth season of "SNL" as a regular performer, and she's also starring on a cult hit series, "Shrill" on Hulu. It's more easy to have mutliple careers, even on television now then it ever would've been, and not leave "SNL" if a performer didn't want to. 

Essentially, "SNL" has become the goal and for those lucky to get a big spot and can and want to remain on the series, I mean, I guess if Lorne ain't interested in firiing you, why not stay? 

It makes sense actually; every time I use the phrase, "The Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players" anymore with people my age or younger, they don't always know I'm referring to the cast of "SNL", and some of them who do, sometimes argue that that phrase should only refer to the original cast. I never really bought that, but maybe they have a point now. These actors aren't unready for primetime, they are primetime now. They are big time. This is what they wanted, not just a stepping stone to something bigger. "SNL" is a dream job, in fact, arguably it's more the goal of most/more comics then or comedy writers then being as Johnny Carson was for stand-ups once upon a time. I mean, most every other post-"SNL" sketch series I can think of other then "SNL" was either made as a response to "SNL" or essentially by the same people who made "SNL". Or both in the cases of "In Living Color", "Portlandia" and "Documentary Now". among others, and that's a stat that's just gonna keep growing. People keep thinking that "SNL" can be challenged in its role as the king of sketch comedy on television, and yeah, sometimes it can, but its not necessarily gonna be stopped anytime soon. 

So-eh, is it a good thing, or a bad thing that "SNL" actors are lasting forever now? Well, obviously some may disagree but I don't think its hurt the comedy at all. Even with the show coasting on star cameos and nostalgia it's still creating new big names in comedy all the time, hell arguably the show's more acclaimed then ever. And I can't make any claim that it's bad that actors might view being on "SNL" as an iconic dream gig that they would try to keep for as long as they could. You know, actors who do leave successful series, some of them, Jean Smart leaving "Designing Women" comes to mind for me, would talk about how, as actors, they wantted to play as many and as varied characters as they could find and not just play one character forever. Obviously, some people are more fine doing that then others, but if that is your goal as an actor, then being a long-running sting on "SNL" would be that kind of dream job where you'd get to play as many different and varied roles as one could.

So-eh, is this a problem? Not really, but if there is a new stasis or condition for the series, something that actually can be looked at at a major change for the series, something that we can actually pinpoint as a progressive and unique distinction for the series from other eras of the series' past. Maybe we prefer Late Night to Primetime these days anyway.

Friday, October 2, 2020

MOVIE REVIEWS #175: "THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD", "A VIGILANTE", "ECHO IN THE CANYON", "ASK DR. RUTH", "TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG", "MIDNIGHT FAMILY" and "ALL ABOUT NINA"!

Sorry in advance for the slight amount of films, both in number and genre this time; it's been a rough few weeks movie-wise for me. Part of that, was that I was preparing for the Emmys and decided to catch up on more TV whenever I could, but also eh, I'm in a weird spot in my Netflix queue where, like, nothing recent is up next and most of that are documentaries that, admittedly get higher ratings on the Rotten Tomatoes meter then they probably deserve, 'cause they're okay films, so nobody dislikes them, but they're not necessarily great either. That, can get frustrating. 

Hopefully that'll be changing soon. Hell, this is a strange anomaly where I actually watched almost as many shorts as I did features this time around. (Shrugs) I don't review shorts usually, and I won't here, but I guess that's a nice enough change of pace. Actually, if I can showcase one movie that I won't be reviewing, you might want to check out the Polish film, "The Lure". It's the debut feature by Agnieszka Smoczynska, and-eh, it's- it's weird. It's a disco musical about shapeshifting mermaids monsters who become cabaret performers; I'm not kidding, and it's- it's a weird movie. I don't actually know what to make of it, but it caught my attention; kept my interest. 

Anyway, let's get to the films I did write a review for. 


THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD (2020) Director: Armando Iannucci

★★★


I don't know who I would've predicted to be the next filmmaker to do an adaptation of "David Copperfield", but Armando Iannucci was probably nowhere near the top of my list. When it comes to Iannucci, I'm of a few different minds personally, but generally I'm in the minority on him. He's been considered one of the top comedic minds since his cult British TV series and subsequent film "In the Loop" broke through, and especially after he brought his kind of dark political satire with the TV show "Veep". It's not that I don't think funny, I think he's actually quite observant and sharp, but there's always been something a little off about him for me. I can't entirely put my finger on it, but the generally vibe I've always gotten from him is that he's just utterly cynical of government. Not politicians, or workers, although he hasn't looked brightly on them either, but just government in general, and maybe these days, that observation was more prophetic then I ever really gave him credit for, but I still hate that about him. I got through one season of "Veep" and have struggled every time I tried to give it another chance, and I didn't care much for "In the Loop" either. It's not that it's not funny, but the comedy never felt like it came from a human place. Even when he was punching up to power, it felt like he was punching down to the audience and hypothetically, those who would be most effected by their games of politics. 

Ironically, that's why I liked his previous feature film, "The Death of Stalin" so much; that was the first time, his dark cynic perspective on political comedy actually found the story where it worked. As much as we like to tend to think that politicians are just a bunch of hoods and crooks fighting over power, and yeah, saying this during the Trump administration, feels particularly double-speak sardonic at the moment, but the fact that is there are a lot of people who go into politics because of a sense of actual duty and are genuinely trying to help out and do their best to improve the country. and shitting on that's not fun. But shitting on the incompetence of Stalin's government and underlings as they stumble around trying to figure out what and how to do after he drops dead; that's dark, cynical and hilarious. (Also true, that helps as well.) 

So, suddenly he's doing an adaptation of "The Personal History of David Copperfield"?! Umm, look I'll confess that I've never actually read or seen any previous adaptation of "David Copperfield" until now, which admittedly probably isn't great for me, but I know enough about the story to know the broad outline and-eh.... it still seems like a particularly odd choice. Other then the fact that, despite the ethnicity of his name, he's actually born in Scotland and it's Dickens so obviously he's grown up with this story as second nature essentially, but this feels like an odd choice. It's even a particularly interesting idea to try to set this with a bit of a racially blind casting as well. I'm a little concerned with Dev Patel's casting as the adult titular Copperfield in particular; not that he's not great, he's actually a very good choice, but it feels a bit like stunt casting, especially since he played the adult lead character in "Slumdog Millionaire". I know there's a bit of backlash to that movie these days, but I still think it's a masterpiece, even if it is a too much of a British perspective on the poverty-stricken parts of India, a country they used to colonize, but you know, we're pretty global and cultural appropriation will happen both ways and something that gets a little overlooked is that there's a lot of Dickens in "Slumdog....". It kinda feels odd to think of an British-born actor playing all the young Dickensian heroes, that seems like an odd typecasting, but he is good. In fact, nobody's bad here, I particularly like Hugh Laurie's performance as Mr. Dick. They did the common thing where they switched the wine bottling job with him working at a boot blacking factory, which is more reflective of Dicken's real life. I also like that this is basically Dickens's life story, with the focus in on his ability to write and create; I'm not sure that's in the novel proper, but I like it here. That commentary about how he changes events in his writing for how he'd like it to be, that's cool. 

I'll single out a couple other performances Morfydd Clark was good, and I liked seeing Tilda Swinton ham it up like she does, but other then that, I don't really have too many other thoughts at all on this film. I can see a few glimpses of Iannucci's influences, but this mostly could've just been a straightforward adaptation honestly. It could just be me, as much as I love Dickins, I've never had much appreciation for "David Copperfield"; I tend to be more of a "Great Expectations" and "A Tale of Two Cities" guy. It's a hard movie for me to judge, it's a guy who I've been apprehensive-at-best towards doing something different that's not something that I have much of a connection with. The Brits seem to like it. It got a BAFTA nomination for casting, and it did very well at the BiFas. It's still in theaters technically now, assuming theaters are still a thing. Maybe if you like "Veep" and Dickins equally, other then that it's a weird experiment that just did fit into any of my own preconceived narratives of the people involved. Talk about admitting to a huge bias but that's about all I got at the moment. Maybe this movie will make more sense in the future for me, but right now, in the comme ci, comme ca category for me, so eh, marginal recommendation, I guess. 


A VIGILANTE (2019) Director: Sarah Daggar-Nickson

★★


I-ummmm.... I'm gonna do a bad thing by panning this one. 

See this is a movie,...- it's a power fantasy. It's not a bad one either, it's about a domestic abuse survivor, who is herself out there, helping others survive by having them escape and even brutally attacking and threatening the abusers. "A Vigilante" is a generic title, but obviously an accurate one. I've seen a few recent movies like this depict women as victims who turn towards revenge against the men or against all men who, well, hurt women, and in this case children. They use many different skills to do this, this one, Sadie (Olivia Wilde) uses some lethal weapons and fighting tactics, as well as essentially forming her own kind of underground railroad. I think the key to these movies is, obviously the filmmaking style first of all. You can set this in an otherwise realistic, even a hyperrealistic world as it is here, but I have to actually, really care about the main character, and I just didn't find this character remotely compelling. 

I don't know what to tell you, I seem to be in the huge minority on this, but....- I mean, I liked hearing painful stories of survival at the group counseling sessions and whatnot, but this character, and how she's depicted.... I don't know, she's-, she's superwoman for these girls. There's never any threat of danger from her, we mostly see her, either in action or preparing for action through trianing montages. We get hints about her, but I watch this movie and I feel like I'm watching some kind of, fan fiction sequel of what "La Femme Nikita"'s doing now. Or some other more interesting, better female Death Wish character, like the Jodie Foster character in "The Brave One". I don't even like that movie, but the character was compelling. This,- it's so bare minimum, that she barely exists. She's a survivor of abuse, she's helping others survive abuse and that's about it. That, and she's out for "Revenge" which is the title of most of these movies. (Literally, I've seen at least two similar narrative movies from this past year called "Revenge", at least this one has a slightly more original title.) 

There's one disturbing memorable sequence where she saves some kids who were trapped and locked in a room in their home, that disturbs her a bit, 'cause her husband, (Morgan Spector) who doesn't even get a name, killed her kid with his actions apparently, and the ultimate is her hiding out until she can get her ultimate revenge on him. So it's kinda "Death Wish"-y, kinda not. 

I've seen a lot of reviews that praise first-time feature director Sarah Daggar-Nickson, and technically the craft is fine, but it's not compelling to me. Everything is so cold, dark, spare; I had to look up what city the movie took place 'cause it was fairly indescript. Turns out it was Kingston, New York, but it could've been anywhere with an overused "Cold Case"-blue-tinted filter. I don't hate the attempt here, there's a way to do this that can be both a power fantasy that decries the horrors of domestic abuse, praises the victims and still finds a way to create a genuine kick-ass, interesting and complex heroine at the center who seems to be able to circumvent the system and overpower the political and physically powerful in order to get vengeance and justice for those who've been hurt the most and need the help the most, but this isn't it. I don't mind bare bones, but those bones better be great or I'm gonna be looking around, wondering where the meat is. 


ECHO IN THE CANYON (2019) Director: Andrew Slater

★★★★1/2



 

"Echo in the Canyon" feels a bit surreal to me. I don't know quite how to describe it, but essentially the movie is a love letter from one side of my CD case to the other side of my CD case. 

I've discussed a little bit of my music tastes in recent years, I like to think it's more eclectic then it probably is, but being half, post-Grunge Lilith Fair-era pop/rock/adult alternative music/alt rock, and with a lot of wide-ranging classic rock on the other side.... Eh, the thing is, it's not that ecclective, 'cause basically they're the same genre, just from different eras. And it makes sense because those artists I love that I grew up with from this time, were inspired to make music from the artists this era, which anybody who was interested in music at that time, was also listening to. I don't know how much people get this now; I feel like this is a lost thing in the time of Youtube, the downfall of FM radio, and the lack of MTV and VH-1 even trying to be real music channels anymore, but most youths, generally listened to, not just modern music, but also older music, all the time. Classic rock is still one of the biggest radio formats out there, and there's a big reason for that. The music was predominantly better or just as good as whatever was popular, and it was shockingly easier to seek out back then.

It was also easier to find contextualization with the past back then. Something I've noticed when I watch a lot of reaction Youtube clips to old music, many of them listen to these old songs and are usually impressed or amazed or confused or some combination of the three by the old songs, but they don't really have the complete context of the music to understand it, and that is something that really matters. 

Jakob Dylan of The Wallflowers is essentially our humble host as we dive into Laurel Canyon, the famous section of L.A. known for being where the great musicians and artists of the '60s live and create, starting originally in the '60s and probably still exists today to some extent. I always think of Joni Mitchell first, in regards to the area, but everybody was there. Literally, everybody, the Beach Boys influence the Beatles across the pond, who in terms then influenced The Byrds, who then influenced The Beatles, as well as everybody else around at that time. 

The movie is full of interviews and cameos, including opening with one of the last recorded appearances of the late great Tom Petty, as they talk about the idiosyncratic details of the Laurel Canyon scene, specifically from 1965-1967, which is when they basically invented the modern folk rock movement which inspired everybody from the The Beatles to The Beach Boys to Dylan and it all came from this little artists den in L.A. Naturally, there's a lot of great stories from people like Michelle Phillips and Roger McGuinn and David Crosby among, many, many other, but not just stories about the interactions between them, but they also go over many of the songs and how exactly they inspired the songs and trends of other musicians. How The Byrds taking Bob Dylan songs and other folk songs and playing them with electric guitar led to Dylan going electric. They even show Clapton confessing to outright stealing riffs from others, although both sides say that he informed each other about it and both are okay with it. I'm mentioning that revelation in particular though, 'cause I have some friends who hate Clapton for reasons that frankly I don't fully understand, but they'll enjoy that. 

The movie is also basically half-concerts as Jakob Dylan, Beck, Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, Cat Power, Regina Spektor, several other of my favorite artists also hold a concert and recordings of all of these songs, and it's quite lovely. It's a little bit much, admittedly; I've seen a few critics of the movie, correctly point out that this can be construed as a movie about how much these modern artists love these older artists, and sure it is a vanity project, but I like this kind of vanity project. Do you want me to not want to have a Jakob Dylan and Fiona Apple duet of them covering The Beach Boys "In My Room"? C'mon, that's beautiful. The soundtrack is great by the way, and sure I might be bias. They're right that good music is good music, whenever it was made. 

I will say that there is one scene that's kinda, iffy for me. They're going through some of the legendary studios where these artists recording, and they see the photos on the wall of some of the artists there, this one had him showing Norah Jones around, and they come across photos of the African-American artists that later recorded there, like Ray Charles and whatnot, and Jakob jokes about not knowing who they are.... Ehhhh, that was bad. I mean, it's clearly a joke, but yeah, there weren't a lot of African-Americans in this scene, and that's an undercurrent that needs to be looked at more closely, but eh, they don't think to go into that. It's one slip-up while most of it is tales about how John Phillips wrote "Go Where You Wanna Go" was written because of his frustration with how was wife Michelle Phillips would just sleep around with anybody, which, yeah, totally was and that's amazing to hear her talk about it.... (Although, I do wonder a bit what MacKenzie thinks of that...., speaking of things they decided not to look more closely at.... ) 

The movie and concert were apparently inspired by Jacques Demy's "Model Shop" film which documented the tone and feel of the area. I haven't seen that movie, but I get the feeling. One of my all-time favorite films is Lisa Cholodenko's film "Laurel Canyon", which was a modern day story about musicians making and recording music in the area, and getting seduced by the surroundings. I think I'm literally the only person in the world who bought an AC/DC t-shirt, specifically as a reference to that movie, which absolutely nobody got unless I explained that's why I bought it, (And even then, it's an obscure indy film that I'm the only one who still remembers fondly) but that's what I wanted the t-shirt fot. There's clearly something intoxication, seductive, and inducive to creativity and inspiration about the area. So yeah, I'm happy that the area still feels this way and still inspires the artist of today (Or my today at least, since 1998 was the last time popular music was a relevent artform.) as well as the music that was created there.  


ASK DR. RUTH (2019) Director: Ryan White

★★★


I'm about at that age where Dr. Ruth Westheimer has, essentially always been an everpresent part of the pop culture. She's always been around to me, that little old lady who showed up on late night talk shows and talked about sex in, not necessarily the most graphic of terms, but, in very much a straightforward, no b.s. demeanor. Honestly, I've never erally thought to look too much into her though. I've seen her mocked and parodied forever, even by herself. She's basically made a career out of being the little old woman who talked about sex. 

Okay, I guess in hindsight, I should've realized just how shocking and brazen she would've been when she first bursted onto the scene, like even among the major 2nd Wave feminist figures that populated television screens in Middle America, there really wasn't anybody like Dr. Ruth. Hell, according to some, she was one of the first major name or celebrity to go by Dr. and a quick shortened first name, which she probably should get more blame for to be honest, but that's neither here nor there. "Ask Dr. Ruth" a loving biodoc about the now 90-year old sex therapist who still remains active both in her work, and in general. 

Through some animated sequences as well as some personal visits to some of her childhood homes. Her family was killed by the holocaust by the time she was a teenager. She was injured in the Palestine War when the building where she was on rooftop rifle patrol was bombed. She was a tiny little woman who wasn't particularly attractive according to her, but she had found a sex instruction book on the top shelf of her parents room as a kid, and basically, it fascinated her. Not in a sexal way necessarily, and that's what was always fascinating about her, the practical approach she's always had to sex talk. Not just sex talk, relationship talk, 'cause that's really what she talks about on her radio and TV shows and appearances; in many ways, looking back through what and how she talks about it, she reminds me more of someone like a Dan Savage of her times; I wouldn't be shocked if he was influenced as much by her as he was say, influenced by Dear Abby. 

And she has the education and knowledge to back it up, she has psycholgy and soiology degrees on both sides of the Atlantic. She had three husbands, and many children and grandchildren, all of whom seem just as fascinated by her as everyone else, especially when she became famous for her radio show when they were coming-of-age. Dr. Ruth was ahead of the curve on discussing sex and all aspects of sexuality as though it was something that we should just commonly do just like everything else we do, and that's why she's worth a documentary about her. And she's still going and learning to. I like the little scene at the end where she talks about being embarassed about using the word "Cocktease". (Shrugs) She's not wrong, the language oen ever since, partly bn flux as well, now more then ever since, partly because of her, the subject isn't so taboo. It's not like there aren't still people out there concerned that they prefer their vibrators to actual intercourse, but you know, now it can be discussed without real embarassment, or whatever other hangups somebody has. (I'm using that example 'cause it was a problem of a caller to her show that was shown in the movie. Trust me, I have many different and more distressing sexual hangups of my own, fuck you very much.) 

Anyway, "Ask Dr. Ruth" is a delightful and insightful profile of Ms. Westheimer, and I'm even more glas to see this old woman talking about sex then ever before. 
 

TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG (2019) Director: Dominga Sotomayor Castillo

★★★1/2


At a couple times during "Too Late to Die Young" I heard a Spanish-language version of Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You" during "Too Late to Die Young"; which I recognized was a bit anachronistic; the movie takes place before the song came out, but I didn't care that much about that. Partially because I love that song, but mostly because it just fits with the tone and mood of the location and feeling of the film. 

The world is 1990, shortly after Pinochet's dictatorial reign has ended, and the country is still rebuilding itself. in Penalonen, a commune in the hills over Santiago. It's one of those movies that seems to take place on those last days of Summer or something, but the last days are the last days of the regime and the tense space that causes within this commune which, not only still exists, but is apparently autobiographical for the film's director, Dominga Sotomayor Castillo. Apparently the movie got stuck on the festival circuit and a little forgotten in that light of "Roma", which, yeah, okay, it isn't in that league, but I'm not sure that would've been the film I'd compare the film too. The movie that came to my mind most when watching this was Olivier Assayas's "Summer Hours"; it's not that good a movie either, that's one of Assayas's very best, but it's about adults and kids struggling with the future of what their lives will be while, but literally and with regard to their childhood home, and whether or not they want to remain or move on from it. The adults are more-or-less meandering around, they're planning a New Years Talent show, and for the event. It's a big gathering as they consider the future of the commune, that was built to be away from the dictatorship, that's suddenly now turning into a democracy. 

It's going through the kids too though. Some are out chasing animals through the woods, the main story involves a tender teenage love triangle centered Sofia (Demian Hernandez). She's best friends with Lucas (Antar Machado). He wants to be closer as they've grown older on the compound, but she's fascinated by a motorcycle-riding older visitor (Matias Oviedo). This isn't too complicated a metaphor, he's from outside the world she's known and now basically wants to go and see the rest of it. Naturally those who stay out of it are fearful for her, but the world is changing.... I think that's the only reason the movie is set during the time period; the movie could technically take place at basically any point, storywise, but it's given more prescience at this point. Chile's one of those countries that's been jumping way ahead on the world cinema stage in recent years, and it makes sense, it's in the middle of it's first generation of filmmakers who've survived and lived through that tradition coming of age, that's the kind of thing that brings about a New Wave, and soon there's gonna be the first generation of Chilean filmmakers who lived only in their modern Democratic rule. This is only Sotomayor Castillo's third feature so she's got a lot left to bring to the table. This feels like a good introduction to her if not a perfect one. I suspect this movie might have some more power in Chile then it does here where I've seen the better versions of these films, but this is a good mood piece and that's all I wanted. I get what it feels like to live and grow up in a place like this, and that was the main objective, so I'm recommending it. 


MIDNIGHT FAMILY (2019) Director: Luke Lorentzen

★★★★


I gotta be honest, I barely realized that "Midnight Family" was a documentary, for a while, this felt like a fascinating albeit disturbing premise for a movie. Apparently in Mexico City, they only employ 45 ambulances, which..., okay if you know how bit Mexico City is, that's ridiculously low. Mexico City is larger in population then New York city, that's basically, an ambulance for every quarter million people, that's just not enough. 

To make up the difference, there's private companies that have basically taken over ambulance services, "Midnight Family" follows the Ochoa family who owns an ambulance and spends their night traveling around Mexico City. They go to the emergency, sometimes it's more of a normal episodic nature, other times there's more trauma and drama around. We get a little sense of their homelife, but mostly we see the horrific work they have. Not horrific in what they do, specifically, but in the whole idea. For one thing, private ambulances seem like a huge crapshoot, and we get it with a lot of discussion they have with their patients over which hospitals to take them too. Honestly, this is something I don't get in America either. There should just not be private hospitals, period. I don't know what to tell people with this, if you're a building and you're a hospital, and you're closest to anything, that's where you should go, and any system that sets up something different is inherently flawed. 

Private ambulances are inherently flawed as well. I'm sure the Ochoas have some medical training; they're not just Uber for gun shot or ambulance victims, but who knows about everybody they're racing to get to the accident first, (Yeah, that's another thing...) they may have people who know what they're doing, they may not. They may take you to a good hospital or to the nearest hospital, or the one they have the deal with.... Honestly, this practice isn't new, even in America, ridiculous arguments happen like this all the time. Don't get in car accident near a county border, that's all I can tell ya there. 

Anyway, "Midnight Family" was shot over a few years and it's at it's best when it paints this mosaic of this surreal late night family riding around, trying to pick up and help those who need it, even if they might not be the best people around to help. It was directed by Luke Lorentzen, and he's pretty cinematic with his camerawork, including some good shots through the windshield of the car. Honestly, I think he could take this premise and make a really good non-documentary feature about this. Hopefully something like that comes in teh future, in the meantime, I enjoyed "Midnight Family", even if it was hard to watch and made me think more then it entertained me.


ALL ABOUT NINA (2018) Director: Eva Vives

★★1/2


I have lots of thoughts on "All About Nina"; trying to organize them succinctly is turning out to be tricky, so excuse me for any undue rants and tangents during this reviews. (I know, from me, that's sounds particularly fresh, trust me, normally they aren't undue.) Perhaps a little bit of this, for me, stems from where somebody knows or recalls an actor from. You may have seen somebody in a million things, but you might think of some actors more for one role or two over another role. For instance, if I ask you to name the first role that comes to your mind if I were to say-eh, Natalie Portman, the answer might say a lot about you. For me, it's shocking that anybody would first say "Star Wars". I would probably go with "Black Swan" or "Jackie" or- well, if I'm being honest, "The Professional". The more well-rounded you are on an actor's work, or the more well-rounded the actor's work, the less this thought crops into head, but I'm still in that space with Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Now, I've seen her in a bunch of films, and I bet if I played this game and asked most people what's the first role you'd think with her, you might not get as many varied answered since she's never been the biggest name out there, but you might get the TV show, "Fargo", you might get, "10 Cloverfield Lane", maybe one or two votes for PBS's short-lived "Mercy Street" series. Unfortunately, most people would probably say "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World", which is really unfortunate because that movie is utter garbage and it shouldn't be nearly as popular as it is. For me though, the first role I think of is "Smashed". 

Yeah, "Smashed"; you've probably not seen it, but you should. In the movie, her and Aaron Paul play an alcoholic couple, who struggle to stay together after she decides she wants to be sober. Her performance is up there with the great list of cinematic drunks of all-time, and it's an amazing performance and a really underrated film. That's unfortunate for this, because essentially she's a character with a similar arc in "All About Nina". She's not a drunk, well-, she is, but that's not the problem with her here. She doesn't try to get better; it's a slice-of-life character piece where we see the main character just going down into their own abyss. Nina Geld is a New York stand-up comic who's got a lot of pent-up frustration and anger. She goes home with, whoever she can find most every night after performing and throwing up sometime after.

She then walks into her apartment and finds Joe (Chace Crawford), one of her one-night mistakes that won't go away, and who she can't seem to get rid of, even when he beats her up. He's also a cop with a family...; (Sigh) her life is definitely not the fun kind of trainwreck. Correctly though, she decides to go out west in L.A. where Comedy Prime is and they're auditioning women stand-up for some opportunity. (I get the sense that it's a Comedy Central stand-in.) as well as her mother Debora (Camryn Manheim) and her nosey longtime neighbor and friend Amy (Mindy Sterling) in that perfect annoyingly cheerful way that Nina clearly can't stand. She's a no fuss, no muss, don't deal with bullshit kind of girl and that's reflected in her act as well. 

She then begins dating Rafe (Common) a nice guy, who apparently has a bad habit of dating trainwrecks. They're two people who are used to dating disasters begin dating each other, and she doesn't know how to handle it. I won't go into too many explicit details of, "The reveal" at the end. Apparently it's based on first-time feature film writer/director Eva Vives's personal experiences, so I don't want to be too hard on this, but this feels a bit like a therapy script. In fact, it is a therapy script; I'll just say that. And that's not inherently a bad thing either, this reveal....- (Sigh)

Okay, full disclosure here, I kinda know what she's doing, 'cause I've written a script that's kinda similar to this, it wasn't done in a therapeutic way, I don't think, but it was about a mysterious female character and you're wondering why the hell she's like this the whole time, and it's not revealed until the end why, and, well, it's not really a good narrative. This is why as great as Winstead's performance is, and it is great btw, eh, I have that other film, "Smashed" in my mind, which not only was a better look at somebody going through a personal change while dealing with a troubled past, but it didn't have this mystery as to what her problem is, and that helped us feel more empathetic to her character. Here, we feel for her, but we're mostly just confused and wondering what-the-hell happened to her as she acts out as she metriculates through place-to-place. There's a time to reveal stuff like this, but I don't think it works with this kind of movie, my old abandoned script included. And I don't even need to go to my work either; James Gardner's "Jellyfish" which was also released in 2018, is also about a young comic struggling to live through the pains of her life and that including some traumatic and distressing homelife and experiences and that movie didn't hide or shy away from what got under her skin. Now that movie was about a teenager, so it's not a perfect comparison, Nina Geld is a thirty-year old who's never dealt directly with her distressing past, but yeah, when you compare the two, "Jellyfish" is far and away the stronger film, and there are other similar character pieces I can name, and in comparison, despite the performance, "All About Nina" is a notch below most of them. I want to recommend this, there's a brave performance in Winstead, as well several good supporting work at the edges of the screen, including some cameos by other stand-ups, including Jay Mohr who it's always nice to see acting, but I don't like the structure of the plot, and ultimately it doesn't entirely feel like a natural story; it feels more like a therapy script that maybe needed one or two more drafts before it was really ready to be filmed, or perhaps shoved in a desk somewhere.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

CANON OF FILM: "GASLIGHT (Cukor)"

GASLIGHT (1944)

Director: George Cukor
Screenplay: John Van Druten, Walter Reisch and John L. Balderston based on the play "Gas Light" by Patrick Hamilton


Among other classic movies, "Gaslight" was finally inducted into the National Film Registry last year. Seems fitting, that word's been omnipresent lately. It's 2020 in America, the word is used constantly in today's political climate. Hell, the band that I still can't get my tongue around to not calling them, the Dixie Chicks, released a song called "Gaslighters" earlier this year. It's,not my favorite of there's, but it's The-eh, Chickssss, so it's still pretty good. (That one gonna take some time getting used to.) Yet, "Gaslight" is one of those terms that, I feel like gets used a lot, usually correctly, but I don't usually hear too many people talking about, the piece of media that the slang came from. (Hell, come to think of it, when's the last time anybody's used a gaslight? At least in the West) Which is kind of a shame, 'cause it's actually a pretty great classic noir-era domestic thriller. One of the first great, as Emanuel Levy calls them, "Don't Trust Your Husband" movies, at least, one of the first great ones that wasn't Hitchcock's. 

Although, it wasn't George Cukor's film either. Actually, this movie has one the strangest and surrealist behind-the-scenes origins I've ever seen. It's actually a remake. The original film "Gaslight" which was based on the hit Patrick Hamilton play "Gas Light", which is usually performed in America under different titles, most notably, "Angel Street", was originally a British film. The 1940 film, from director Therold Dickinson ans starred Alton Wynbrook and Diana Wynyrd and it was a modest hit. MGM bought the remake rights, and it had a weird clause where all the original prints of the British film, were to be destroyed. 

Wait, what?!!!!!

Yeah, they, in order to prevent any confusion or comparison, MGM tried to destroy all copies of the British print, including the negative. They were literally trying to gaslight us into thinking that their "Gaslight" was the only "Gaslight'!!!!

Yeah, it's kinda shocking just how new a concept like film preservation actually is. Could you imagine this happening today, all the "Spider-Man" movies we'd lose everytime they tried to reboot it? (Well, I'd probably in favor of that, but still....) Anyway, it didn't work, we still have the British version if you want to watch it as of this moment, it's available on Youtube, but we're doing the Cukor version, which was originally known in the UK as "The Murder in Thornton Square" (Jees, for a story who's name has become shorthand, it's known by a lot of different names)  'cause it's the one I know best and by most accounts, it's generally accepted that it's the best filmed version of the story.  

It's definitely the most iconic. Ingrid Bergman won her first of three Oscars for this performance and its still listed among her most important signature performances. The movie had seven total nominations and also won for Art Direction, not for Costumes interestingly enough, although I'm fairly positive it would've won if there was a category for it back then. I usually remember Irene's costumes first when thinking of this movie, and not just because they become integral to the plot at one point. (#Spoilers) The costumes were done mainly be Irene Maud, who usually just went by Irene. After starting out as an actress for Mack Sennett, she became one of the biggest costume and fashion designers of the time. She's kinda forgotten as we've basically written the history of Hollywood costume designing as beginning with Edith Head and everybody else for fifty years, but she was one of the biggest and most influential designers for much of the golden age of cinema, creating some of Doris Day, Lana Turner and Ginger Rogers most iconic looks, and Ingrid Bergman's outfits here. She also, jumped out a hotel room window one day and killed herself.., so-eh, that might also be a reason she's kinda forgotten these days.

Anyway, the term gaslight, basically means any kind of any kind of psychological abusive brainwashing in which one person, in this case the new husband Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer) into doubting the sanity of another, in this case, his wife Paula (Bergman). Anton is actually a thief who murder Paula's aunt, a famous opera singer years ago, but what he was really after, that he didn't get was some precious jewelry that's still hidden somewhere in her old home. When the two have a whirlwind marriage and move into her London apartment, Anton begins to make Paula think she's losing her mind. Hearing footsteps in the attic and seeing the gaslights dim inexplicably every night, not realizing that her husband's the one causing all the ghostly antics. He's also making her believe that she's a kleptomaniac by moving items and stealing things and putting them in her possession. All in an effort to find these mythic jewels. 

Honestly, whenever I think back on the movie, I can't believe this guy went through all this, just for a few expensive pieces of jewelry. Like, even if they are that expensive, as a MaGuffin, just find other jewels that are easier to steal. Or something else that's expensive? There's something diabolical about the logic, but it's not about the logic of the narrative, it's about how crazy he's driving his wife, who does indeed start to exhibit strange and irregular behavior. She starts acting crazy in front of crowds, she begins to become convinced that the young maid, Nancy (Oscar-nominee Angela Lansbury in her first film role) is somehow working against her. The idea is to literally drive her so mad that she'll be institutionalized, forcing him to have power of attorney over him, and he can just have the free reign to search for the jewels. It almost works until a Scotland Yard officer, Brian Cameron (Joseph Cotton) figures out something's off. 

"Gaslight" is one of those great early domestic thrillers, something that probably has more influence over its genre then people realize. I mean, essentially, this is like, the first "Lifetime Movie", you know, the kind where the wife/girlfriend is afraid or scared of what her husband/boyfriend will do but nowadays I don't see too much talk about the film itself. It's become so synonymous that the term is apart of the lexicon, but the movie still holds up. It's one of George Cukor's best thrillers. I tend to frame Cukor's work mostly with his comedies or musicals but the guy could and did direct nearly every genre. His main objective of course, was to simply focus his narratives more on the women then the men, he was the more feminine director of his time, as opposed to Howard Hawks's more masculine director, at least in my mind, (I talked a lot about that theory of mine Canon of FIlm post on "The Philadelphia Story" which definitely makes you understand why "Gaslight" would be a project he'd be able to sink his teeth into, and arguably he led Ingrid Bergman to her best acting performance. That alone makes this a must-watch. It's also just a great classic psychological thriller, one of the best and most influential ones out there. 

It's also one of the few old black & white movies my mother will voluntarily watch, so that's something, although I think a lot of that is just Charles Boyer. (Shrugs) I just thought I'd mention that, apparently he's somebody who has that way with some people. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

72nd ANNUAL PRIMETIME EMMYS AWARDS ANALYSIS: Oh CANADA, "SCHITT'S CREEK" SWEEPS! "WATCHMEN", "SUCCESSION", and a bad night for STREAMING!


"All things considered," is probably an appropriate and common opening for most everybody, including myself, trying to recap and evaluate this years Pandemic-infused Emmys. It's about the best way to describe it. After a fake-out where Jimmy Kimmel performed to a surprisingly believable green screen of old Emmy audience footage (I mean, I know there was CGI, but I thought there was a small audience mixed in with them, obviously I was wrong there.) and Jennifer Aniston putting out a fire in the room of TV screens that seemed like The Architect's lair from "The Matrix Reloaded" we were basically on our way. There were a few presenters at the show, some of them were obvious recorded earlier, although some were live, and then they were giving out awards to "Schitt's Creek". 

And they never stopped. "Schitt's Creek" ran away with all seven Emmys tonight, and eight overall. And I mean, it won everything in Comedy Series, all four acting awards tonight, with Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy taking Leads and Annie Murphy and Dan Levy, who won four Emmys in like, fifteen minutes which ties the record overall and probably won for fastest to win four, taking Supporting Actor, as well as Writing and Directing as well. It's the first show to win all seven of those awards in the same season.

I was little perterbed that the put all the important awards in the beginnings, (Yes, the Comedy Series categories are bigger then the Drama Series ones, don't at me on this, they are.) but since there was such a sweep, I was just happy when they went to categories that weren't always predictable. 

"Watchmen" didn't sweep, but it was the big winner in Miniseries/TV Movie, it won eleven total Emmys, including for Limited Series,  Lead Actress for Regina King, Supporting Actor for Yahya Adbul-Raheem II, and the Writing, but Mark Ruffalo finally got his first Emmy win for "I Know This Much is True" and "The Unorthodox" won Directing. Uzo Aduba won her third total Emmy also, for "Mrs. America".  

"Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" won again for Variety Talk Series, as well as several other awards during the Creative Arts. They moved Variety Sketch as well as all the other Variety categories to the Creative Arts for this year, which is admittedly, probably for the best this year, but it was a big show for "Saturday Night Live", who won Sketch Series and Guest Actor and Actress for both Eddie Murphy and Kamal Maya Rudolph respectively. Rudolph in particular had a really big weekend as she won a Voice-Over Performance award as well. 

Competition Series went again to "RuPaul's Drag Race", and Drama Series, as well as Lead Actor for Jeremy Strong, Writing and Directing went to "Succession", which means HBO managed to hold onto it's streak with that category, winning it's third in a row after "Game of Thrones" won it's last two seasons. Actually, this was not a good Emmys for streaming programs overall, at least not tonight. With "Schitt's Creek" giving PopTV it's first eight of nine ever Emmys this year ("One Day at a Time" won an Editing Emmy at the Creative Arts), and HBO taking most everything else of note, the only Emmys that major streaming services won were Julia Garner repeating for Supporting actress for "Ozark" it's sole win among 18 total nominations, the aforemention "The Unorthodox" Directing win, and Billy Crudup winning Supporting Actor for Apple TV's "The Morning Show", which was their first and only win at these ceremonies. Netflix did win 21 Emmys overall, mostly in the Creative Arts, and that's second behind HBO's 30, but only three tonight. Even Lead Actress in a Drama Series, probably the night's biggest upset went to HBO, with Zendaya winning for "Euphoria", becoming the youngest person to ever win that Emmy at age 24, a record that was set, just last year with Jodie Comer, who was 27...? (Holy God, she's 22 years younger then Sandra Oh! Well that puts some aspects of that show in an odd light.) 

Amazon only won four awards total, all Creative Arts for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", also Guest Actress in a Drama Series went to Cherry Jones for the second year in a row, this time for "Succession" and Ron Cephas Jones won for "This is Us" for Guest Actor, which is interesting 'cause his daughter Jasmine Cephas Jones won an acting award for her Short-Form series for the Quibi show "#FreeRayshawn. That along with Eugene and Dan Levy, it was nice to see parents and kids both winning at the same shows this week. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm a sucker for sentimental Hollywood nepotism. (It's a joke; I know exactly how talented they all are, don't @ me.) 

I can't just make fun of the streaming services for failing though, 2/3 of the awards last night went to like three shows, and that's becoming a bad trend. To me, it's clear this is the new popular vote process running amuck, and I hope this changes soon; we needing to have true screening panels. I know I might be in the minority on that, but seriously 7/7 "Schitt's Creek", that's ridiculous.

I will say that it was very nice to see David Letterman presenting Variety Series, for those my age, it was  a very rare treat to see him at any award show, especially the Emmys, and even now that he's basically half-retired with just his Netflix interview show, it's niece to see him make an appearance, and a he was funny, and had a lovely shoutout to the late Regis Philbin.

The In Memoriam btw, was a wonderful montage with all the iconic images of the shows they worked on, that was great. I wasn't crazy about H.E.R. and her performance, bu... eh.... I seem to be the only one who stills ever fights against having major performers singing during the In Memoriams, but.... other then that,  Jimmy Kimmel was good, and I've been up for too looonnnnn.....

(10 hours later)

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! 

(Alarm rings!) 

Ugh! Oh, shit I forgot to post. 

Well, there goes my claim that i usually am always meet my deadling.... Sorry for that delay, I guess I got tired after live-tweeting the show, which you can see here: 


https://www.facebook.com/david.baruffi/posts/3248361465261149?notif_id=1600675932896834&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic

but still, not an excuse, so-eh here's eh,- here's a montage of John Oliver describing what countries are like. Let's make sure the Emmys and everything else gets back to normal.




Friday, September 18, 2020

72ND PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS PREDICTIONS! The "Oh yeah, that's still happening," Pandemic Edition!


(Sigh) I know I'm supposed to supposed to be doing these predictions. I know I usually wait until the last second, anyway but..., I gotta ask, does anybody actually care about the Emmys this year?

And, no, I don't want to hear the obnoxious, "We never care about award shows!" "They're stupid!" "They're not accurate; it's all political"..., no, none of that obnoxious, I hate award shows bullshit. I get it every year, and not one of their arguments has ever impressed me; people who complain about award shows like that are the same morons that tell pro wrestling fans that it's fake. One, you're not surprising anybody with that revelation, and two, movies and television shows are also made up pieces of bullshit, how exactly is an award show, different?! Ugh!

Anyway, I don't mean, that, don't care about the Emmys; I mean, does anybody really care, this year. 'Cause I know I don't. I'm gonna watch whatever we scrounge together for a program this year, but with everything going on, the pandemic, the moron-in-chief, protesters being attacked by cops, the fucking sky burning to death,- like, has anybody really watched or cared about any of these shows this year? Could you if you even wanted to? 

Look, it's not television's fault, but I'm not gonna stretch this out, this has been a terrible year for television and I'm just tired of it all. There's like, four, maybe five really great shows here, and nothing's awful as far as I can tell, actually, but I can count on one hand the number of great shows out there right now on one hand, and some of them aren't even nominated this year.... ("This is Us" got screwed!) And we've been heading in this direction for awhile, streaming is just now an consumate growing blob of good but short-term planned series that always inevitably feel like they're lacking, even if sComedyomehow they aren't. I like the new rule changes for these Emmys, and hopefully next year's show I'll really be caring about this again, but normally, I would tell the Emmys, "Hey, it's been rough this year, you've all been pretty good, but let's take the year off on this?" 

I mean, if there's ever a year to do that, shouldn't this be the year? 

Oh well, we're going on anyway, and you know what, it's a distraction and we all need hundreds of those now, and better this then the VMAs. (Seriously why did they even bother with that?) And who knows, once we can all actually, mentally take a break from all our worries, perhaps some of these shows will indeed help a lot. 

Alright, we're separating into genre categories, only the big ones, blah, blah, blah, predictions and preferences aren't the same thing, let's go through this:


COMEDY SERIES

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Curb Your Enthusiasm-HBO
Dead to Me-Netflix
The Good Place-NBC
Insecure-HBO
The Kominsky Method-Netflix
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel-Prime Video
Schitt's Creek-PopTV
What We Do in the Shadows-FX Networks

I still haven't caught "What We Do in the Shadows"; I'm still debating whether to jump the movie on my Netflix queue first or watch the TV show first. (If anybody has thoughts on it, I'll put a poll out in a few FB groups.) Gold Derby, who had the inside scoop on "Schitt's Creek" last year, and for this, they're final season, they're apparently the favorites. (Shrugs) Eh, I can't get into this show. Like, it's not bad, best comedy on TV? I think I'd literally put this seventh on the list compared to everything else. I've tried, and I love it's stars, but this is a far more forgettable show then I think people realize. Although I can say that for a few of these series this year. I like "Dead to Me" last year, but this year, but this year it got into series, and frankly, it's...- well, it's used bad ideas I've used in my writing, so I'm little ehhh-, this was a one season-idea and now that they think it's a series, issue. I haven't seen the last season of "The Good Place" yet, but I thought that would've been the favorite especially for it's final season, which was planned ahead of time, thank god, "Schitt's Creek" is the Gold Derby favorite, and I'm just go with that. Not sure what'll replace those shows next year, maybe keep an eye out for "PEN15" out of nowhere next time. Nothing else, feels like it can pull it off, with the exception of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", which in a just world should win this, and probably every Emmy category easily. 

PREDICTION: "Schitt's Creek"

PREFERENCE: "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Anthony Anderson-"black-ish"-ABC
Don Cheadle-"Black Monday"-Showtime
Ted Danson-"The Good Place"-NBC
Michael Douglas-"The Kominsky Method"-Netflix
Eugene Levy-"Schitt's Creek"-PopTV
Ramy Youseff-"Ramy"-Hulu

I don't know what's weirder, that Don Cheadle keeps getting nominated for all these Showtime series that nobody else seems to watch every year, (Even though "House of Lies" was pretty good) or that he's been so busy doing these television shows so often now, that frankly I never see him in movies anymore, and I miss seeing Don Cheadle in movies. I miss that a lot. I don't know, maybe this is his year? Ramy Youseff won the surprise Golden Globe earlier; that show did over-perform, I think he's got a shot, but he's up against three actors from series that are in the Comedy Series race. I guess there is a bit of pressure to award Eugene Levy as well as O'Hara. Weirdly, he's not listed as a producer, so this would be his only shot. I think Ted Danson could play spoiler too here. A lot of people love that performance, it's their last chance to honor and they actually haven't honored him as much as you'd think over the years. Of his 17 acting nominations over the year, fourteen in this category, he's only won one career Emmy, and that was for the last season of "Cheers". 

PREDICTION: Eugene Levy-"Schitt's Creek"

PREFERENCE: Ted Danson-"The Good Place"


OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Christina Applegate-"Dead to Me"-Netflix
Rachel Brosnahan-"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"-Prime Video
Linda Cardellini-"Dead to Me"-Netflix
Catherine O'Hara-"Schitt's Creek"-Prime Video
Issa Rae-"Insecure"-HBO
Tracee Ellis Ross-"black-ish"-ABC

I'm happy to see this bunch of nominees, there's not a bad one in the bunch. Catherine O'Hara seems to be the favorite, both on the odds and on the sentimental market. Admittedly it does feel like if she doesn't win, it's gonna be distressingly like that scene from "For Your Consideration". I think if there is a really interesting spoiler, Linda Cardellini could be this year's Jodie Comer; her role on "Dead to Me" is just as good and important as Applegate's if not moreso. Those are two TV veterans who have long not gotten their due either, so it'd be nice to see one of them win. 

PREDICTION: Catherine O'Hara-"Schitt's Creek"

PREFERENCE: Rachel Brosnahan-"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Mahershala Ali-"Ramy"-Hulu
Alan Arkin-"The Kominsky Method"-Netflix
Andre Braugher-"Brooklyn Nine-Nine"-NBC
Sterling K. Brown-"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"-Prime Video
William Jackson Harper-"The Good Place"-NBC
Daniel Levy-"Schitt's Creek"-PopTV
Tony Shalhoub-"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"-Prime Video
Kenan Thompson-"Saturday Night Live"-NBC

The fact that Andre Braugher found his way back into this category after a few years missing, and nearly no other nomination ever come for "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" feels like a clue to those conspiracy theorists that think that there's like, a already preplanned list out there on who to nominate and win. Or more precisely, there's an audience, they like certain shows and certain people in a certain order and they nominate accordingly regardless of whatever else is out there. There's are a few newcomers otherwise here, Mahershala Ali, Daniel Levy, William Jackson Harper, Sterling K. Brown is particularly shocking for me; I loved him on "...Maisel", but I would've sworn that if Sterling got in, then LeRoy McClain would've gotten into Guest Actor? Oh well, Brown becomes the first person ever nominated for Emmys in Comedy and Drama Series regular recurring role categories in the same year; one more accomplishment for him. Gold Derby has Dan Levy ahead, but he's got other places he can probably win. Tony Shalhoub always sneaks into SAG despite being a Supporting Role, and I think he's the favorite. I wouldn't be too shocked by Kenan Thompson though, pulling off an upset. 

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: Tony Shalhoub-"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel


OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Alex Borstein-"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"-Prime Video
D'Arcy Carden-"The Good Place"-NBC
Betty Gilpin-"GLOW"-Netflix
Marin Hinkle-"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"-Prime Video
Kate McKinnon-"Saturday Night Live"-NBC
Anne Murphy-"Schitt's Creek"-PopTV
Yvonne Orji-"Insecure"-HBO
Cecily Strong-"Saturday Night Live"-NBC

The same way that Andre Braugher constantly being the only person ever honored for "Brooklyn Nine-Nine", I'm constantly confused as to why Betty Gilpin is the only person ever nominated for "GLOW" anymore. (Seriously, how is that show constantly ignored; it's one of like, four shows I genuinely go out of my way for every time. Sorry Alison Brie and Marc Maron keep getting screwed) Anyway, Alex Borstein has won this category two years in a row, and she's the favorite to win it again. Anne Murphy is the 2nd choice according to the odds. Seems really hard to bet against her. I guess I could see Yvonne Orji sneaking in here. Maybe D'Arcy Carden if she picks the right episode; they might want to honor her also for "Barry" since that's not eligible at the moment, but I Alex Borstein's emmy until she doesn't want it anymore.

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: Alex Borstein-"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" 


OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
The Great-Matt Shakman-"The Great (Pilot)"-Hulu
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel-Amy Sherman-Palladino-"It's Comedy or Cabbage"-Prime Video
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel-Daniel Palladino-"Marvelous Radio"-Prime Video
Modern Family-Gail Mancuso-"Finale Part 2"-ABC
Ramy-Ramy Youseff-"Miakhalifa.mov"-Hulu
Schitt's Creek-Daniel Levy-"Happy Ending"-PopTV
Will & Grace-James Burrows-"We Love Lucy"-NBC

This is a tricky category; I'm not sure who's the favorite. I guess I'm leaning towards the Series nominees, but we only got two, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "Schitt's Creek" finale. This might be where they decide to award Daniel Levy. I could see something weird like the "Modern Family" finale sneaking in. James Burrows earned his 848th nomination since they added the minimum one multicam sitcom rule to the category, and it is nice to see "Will & Grace" get something again. When's the last time somebody won this category without a Series nomination? "Pushing Daisies", I think... Hmm, that was Barry Sonnenfeld, that was a big name, and a pilot.... I don't think Matt Shakman is a big enough name to pull that off? He's been around forever though, so maybe....  Eh, I'm just gonna stick with paint. 

PREDICTION: "Schitt's Creek"-"Happy Ending"

PREFERENCE: "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"-"It's Comedy or Cabbage"


OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
The Good Place-Michael Schur-"Whenever You're Ready"-NBC
The Great-Tony McNamara-"The Great"-Hulu
Schitt's Creek-Daniel Levy-"Happy Ending"-PopTV
Schitt's Creek-David West Read-"The Presidential Suite-PopTV
What We Do In The Shadows-Sam Johnson, Chris Marcil-"Collaboration"-FX Networks
What We Do In The Shadows-Paul Simms-"Ghosts"-FX Networks
What We Do In The Shadows-Stefani Robinson-"On the Run"-FX Networks

So, the writers, really like "What We Do In the Shadows". Wow; it's been a long time since a series got that many nominations in this category. I was trying to find the last scenario where a comedy series without any acting nominations, just to give "WWDITS" a little hope; I thought maybe it was "Arrested Development", but no, actually it was "The Wonder Years". Yeah, that long ago, and I was actually shocked by that; I would've at least thought somebody would've been nominated for acting that year, but-eh, it won for it's debut season which was only six episodes long, so the acting noms came the next year. It did get into Writing that year? (Shrugs) Eh, I'm gonna shot here and say that "Schitt's Creek" can't win everything. 

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: "The Good Place"-"Whenever You're Ready"


OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Adam Driver-"Saturday Night Live"-NBC
Luke Kirby-"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"-Prime Video
Eddie Murphy-"Saturday Night Live"-NBC
Dev Patel-"Modern Love"-Prime Video
Brad Pitt-"Saturday Night Live"-NBC
Fred Willard-"Modern Family"-ABC

By the time this blogpost is posted some of these awards, might've already been given out at the Creative Arts Emmys, which you can watch, on Youtube, literally every day, because they're spreading them out over five days this year.... (Shrugs) Whatever, fine, but some of them I think are important and big enough that they should probably be major awards anyway, so I'm gonna keep them here. Don't worry, I won't cheat on these predictions; I filled out a Creative Arts Gold Derby ballot this year to keep me honest. Anyway, Fred Willard's posthumous nomination is kinda the only one here I'm genuinely worried about. It'd be nice to see him win, but against three "SNL" performances, as well as last year's winner Luke Kirby for his wonderful portrayal of Lenny Bruce, I just don't see it. Dev Patel was also really good on "Modern Love", btw; that's a good show too, worth seeking out. It was kind of a modern-day "Love, American Style", and done by the guy that did "Once" and "Sing Street", so, really awesome. But yeah, this is an easy call and if anybody other then Eddie Murphy wins this, I'm gonna call foul.

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: Eddie Murphy-"Saturday Night Live" 


OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Angela Bassett-"A Black Lady Sketch Show"-HBO
Bette Midler-"The Politician"-Netflix
Maya Rudolph-"The Good Place"-NBC
Maya Rudolph-"Saturday Night Live"-NBC
Wanda Sykes-"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"-Prime Video
Phoebe Waller-Bridge-"Saturday Night Live"-NBC

This one is a little more up in the air. Wanda Sykes is listed as the favorite at 3/1 on Gold Derby, which kinda surprised me honestly, she's barely in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", even though she is very good as Moms Mabley; if she had more screen time; I'd be predicting and cheering for her. There's three nominations from the Variety sketch categories, Angela Bassett for "A Black Lady Sketch Show" being the surprise one here. I thought she might've had a better shot at Narrator this year, but she lost that one. Maya Rudolph became the first person to get two nominations in the category, one for "The Good Place" and a second for her performance as Kamala Harris, which honestly I kinda worried about; that was a vicious performance. I haven't seen "The Politician" but I can't imagine that show getting more then the nomination. I'm prediction Rudolph for "The Good Place", but I am worried that I'm predicting her for the wrong show, but.... 

PREDICTION: Maya Rudolph-"The Good Place

PREFERENCE: Angela Bassett-"A Black Lady Sketch Show"


DRAMA SERIES

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul-AMC
The Crown-Netflix
The Handmaid's Tale-Hulu
Killing Eve-BBC America
The Mandalorian-Disney+
Ozark-Netflix
Stranger Things-Netflix
Succession-HBO

I did manage to watch "The Mandalorian"; I wasn't going to, but they decided to nominate the damn thing and I ended up having Disney+ that month, but it is actually pretty good. I don't know why it's nominated though. I liked it more then this season's "The Crown", which I thought was a vast downgrade from the year before. I still have to watch "Ozark" and "Succession", I'm only now getting into "Killing Eve", but I totally get why that's holding on. I'm sure it's gonna get repetitive by now, but let me be clear, this is a very weak year in the category. Even "The Handmaid's Tale", which is really one of the few really great shows on TV, it's just hard-to-watch and more depressing and annoying then it might be good, although this last season was really good, but ehh.... It doesn't seem to matter really, this seems to be "Succession"'s year. Also, why is "Stranger Things" still nominated?! (Sigh) Alright, I'm just come out and say, "Stranger Things" sucks! I'm sorry, this show barely worked it's first season and there's nothing worth watching with this afterwards. Is it this bad '80s aesthetic and nostalgia, 'cause let me tell, most of those '80s movies that they're influenced by, they sucked too, and I don't want to keep seeing it. How did this shit keep getting in, but "This is Us" suddenly falls off!? Terrible drama series year.  

PREDICTION: "Succession"

PREFERENCE: "The Handmaid's Tale"

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jason Bateman-"Ozark"-Netflix
Sterling K. Brown-"This is Us"-NBC
Steve Carell-"The Morning Show"-Apple TV
Brian Cox-"Succession"-HBO
Billy Porter-"Pose"-FX Networks
Jeremy Strong-"Succession"-HBO

I haven't seen "The Morning Show yet, although I definitely want to, and I'm definitely cheering for Steve Carell to finally win something. It's long overdue. Billy Porter's back-, I gotta give "Pose" a second look; I only saw the first episode. (Shrugs) He's good; I just have a low tolerance for Ryan Murphy's bullshit, although honestly I just don't think I completely got it. Jason Bateman won for Directing in a surprise win last year, but "Ozark" is the probably the show that's the second choice for most, but two "Succession" nominees; that feels like a sign that one of them will win.

PREDICTION: Brian Cox-"Succession"

PREFERENCE: Steve Carell-"The Morning Show" 

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jennifer Aniston-"The Morning Show"-Apple TV
Olivia Colman-"The Crown"-Netflix
Jodie Comer-"Killing Eve"-BBC America
Laura Linney-"Ozark"-Netflix
Sandra Oh-"Killing Eve"-BBC America
Zendaya-"Euphoria"-HBO

As much as I was saddened that Sandra Oh has been keeping up her losing streak last year, 'cause I've been following her greatness since "Arli$$" and it's just been long overdue for her to get something, as soon as I started watching "Killing Eve", I totally got why her co-star beat her last year. This is a tricky category and I'm not sure where exactly it's going. Olivia Colman is kinda the obvious pick, 'cause she wins everything, but I'll be straight, I really didn't care for "The Crown" this season. I loved the first two seasons, but I don't know, this still feels like a big downgrade to me. Not because of her, but the series just, well, it mostly just kinda slogged this year. Even the good episodes. (Then again, maybe that's just me and everything kinda did.) BTW, I'm not sure how "The Morning Show" got so many big nominations and yet didn't get into Series, that's- that's weird. I haven't seen it yet, I don't have AppleTV yet, but it looks good. Laura Linney's the favorite for "Ozark"; she does win a lot at the Emmys, even when it's not expected, so perhaps... Honestly, I'm kinda just thinking, why not take the gamble on Zendaya pulling this off, but.... 

PREDICTION: Laura Linney-"Ozark"

PREFERENCE: Jodie Comer-"Killing Eve"

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nicholas Braun-"Succession"-HBO
Kieran Culkin-"Succession"-HBO
Billy Crudup-"The Morning Show"-Apple TV
Mark Duplass-"The Morning Show"-Apple TV
Giancarlo Esposito-"Better Call Saul"-AMC
Matthew McFayden-"Succession"-HBO
Bradley Whitford-"The Handmaid's Tale"-Hulu
Jeffrey Wright-"Westworld"-HBO

I keep trying to figure out where to put a "The Morning Show" win, I feel like there's going be one in some major acting category, but I'll be damned if I can figure out where. Billy Crudup is the Gold Derby favorite, so they have it in this category, which makes sense, but this is a tough, loaded field. There's three "Succession" actors here as well, plus Bradley Whitford, who won Guest Actor for his "The Handmaid's Tale" role last year, which was also this previous season of "The Handmaid's Tale", so I'm not sure they want to give him two Emmys for the same season. 

PREDICTION: Billy Crudup-"The Morning Show"

PREFERENCE: Giancarlo Esposito-"Better Call Saul"

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Helena Bonham Carter-"The Crown"-Hulu
Laura Dern-"Big Little Lies"-HBO
Julia Garner-"Ozark"-Netflix
Thandie Newton-"Westworld"
Fiona Shaw-"Killing Eve"-BBC America
Sarah Snook-"Succession"-HBO
Meryl Streep-""Big Little Lies"-HBO
Samara Wiley-"The Handmaid's Tale"-Hulu

Boy, "Big Little Lies" really underperformed. I'm not sure why, but this is a helluva category. Thandie Newton, a past winner, Samara Wiley, won this performance in Guest Actress, two years ago, she's bumped up to regular, so two past winners there. Julia Garner, I think could play spoiler; this seems like one of the categories "Ozark" could win, other then some technical and crafts. Honestly, despite my issues with "The Crown" this year, I love Helena Bonham Carter in the show and she was the best part and the reason I will probably watch it again. Sorry, Meryl. 

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: Helena Bonham Carter-"The Crown"

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
The Crown-Benjamin Caron-"Aberfan"-Netflix
The Crown-Jessica Hobbs-"Cri de Coeur"-Netflix
Homeland-Lesli Linka Glatter-"Prisoners of War"-Showtime
The Morning Show-Mimi Leder-"The Interview"-Apple TV
Ozark-Alik Sakharvo-"Fire Pink"-Netflix
Ozark-Ben Semenoff-"Su Casa Es Mi Casa-Netflix
Succession-Andrij Parekh-"Hunting"-HBO
Succession-Mark Mylod-"This Is Not For Tears"-HBO

Two "The Crown", two "Ozark" and two "Succession". nominees to sort through, plus two non-Best Drama Series nominees, who both could play spoiler. Occasionally finale and pilots always do a little better in these categories and we got the series finale of "Homeland", thank fucking Christ finally,- (Can anybody believe that that actually won Best Series in its debut season anymore; and it beat Season four of "Breaking Bad" to do it? What in the hell were we thinking?!) and curiously the season finale episdoe of "The Morning Show". In the past, when there were required screenings I might've thought "Homeland" or "The Morning Show" could pull off the upset through a split vote, but I think one of the dual nominees will win this. "Ozark" had a surprised win last year and they've always been beloved by the Directors branch and I think that's probably the one that they like more then the other two. Gold Derby has "This is Not for Tears" ahead of "Aberfan" which is the best shot for "The Crown", but I think the Directors go with "Ozark"

PREDICTION: "Ozark"-"Fire Pink"

PREFERENCE: "The Crown"-"Aberfan"

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul-Thomas Schnauz-"Bad Choice Road"-AMC
Better Call Saul-Gordon Smart-"Bagman"-AMC
The Crown-Peter Morgan-"Aberfan"-Netflix
Ozark-Chris Mundy-"All In"-Netflix
Ozark-John Shiban-"Boss Fight'-Netflix
Ozark-Miki Johnson-"Fire Pink"-Netflix
Succession-Jesse Armstrong-"This is Not for Tears"-HBO

Okay, now the writers like "Ozark". It's good to see that they at least still like "Better Call Saul", even if it does seem keep dragging and meandering onto inevitability; it's still one of the best shows on TV. BTW, acting branch, what the hell do you have guys against Rhee Seehorn; she should've won at least one Emmy by now! Anyway, hmm, I guess this is where the split vote would help "Succession". Peter Morgan for "The Crown" could be a spoiler here, that was the best episode of "The Crown", but yeah, I think "Succession"'s the favorite here. 

PREDICTION: "Succession"-"This Is Not for Tears"

PREFERENCE: "Better Call Saul"-"Bagman"

OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Jason Bateman-"The Outsider"-HBO
Ron Cephas Jones-"This is Us"-NBC
James Cromwell-"Succession"-HBO
Giancarlo Esposito-"The Mandalorian"-Disney+
Andrew Scott-"Black Mirror"-Netflix
Martin Short-"The Morning Show"-Apple TV

I'm not sure why Giancarlo Esposito was the performance from "The Mandalorian" that stuck out, but okay, whatever. Most of my thoughts on "The Mandalorian" were that it was pretty good and I would've probably liked it if it wasn't in the "Star Wars" universe, and it honestly didn''t really have to be. I mean, replace Baby Yoda, with, you know, any random MaGuffin and it would've worked fine, even better probably, since I wouldn't have to fucking dive headfirst into a 50-year-old overrated-as-fuck sci-fi franchise that just never fucking dies. (And no, I haven't seen the latest movie yet, that's basically how I've always felt with "Star Wars") Anyway, it was a good story though. I think the sentimental vote will probably go to James Cromwell; "Succession"'s the only Series nominee in the category, which I just realized is weird. What the hell even is "The Outsider"? (IMDB search) Well, good cast and it's- oh dammit, another one of these series based around solving a single mystery?! Goddammit, we don't people get that those don't and have never worked as long-running drama series! (Yes, I am including "Twin Peaks" in that statement; that works the length of a movie, not for a fucking weekly series!)

PREDICTION: James Cromwell-"Succession"

PREFERENCE: Martin Short-"The Morning Show"

OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Alexis Bledel-"The Handmaid's Tale"-Hulu
Laverne Cox-"Orange is the New Black"-Netflix
Cherry Jones-"Succession"-HBO
Phylicia Rashad-"This is Us"-NBC
Cicely Tyson-"How to Get Away with Murder"-ABC
Harriet Walter-"Succssion"-HBO

I've heard reports that Cicely Tyson is campaigning this year, good for her. I really wish that show didn't suck. Gold Derby has Cherry Jones as the favorite among the two "Succession" nominees. She did win the category last year, but that was for "The Handmaid's Tale". Alexis Bledel has also won in this category for the series and she's back, and deservedly so. Laverne Cox has never won, and it's the last year for her too. Honestly though, I think if they're gonna give the sympathy vote to anyone, it's probably Phylicia Rashad; she's such a great beloved actress and now people can't watch most of her best work anymore. That's a real shame. Also, she deserves it anyway.

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: Phylicia Rashad-"This Is Us"


VARIETY

OUTSTANDING VARIETY TALK SERIES
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah-Comedy Central
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee-TBS
Jimmy Kimmel Live!-ABC
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver-HBO
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert-CBS

The new rules cut these categories nominees significantly, which finally means no more James Corden, although I still think Seth Meyers is getting screwed for Jimmy Kimmel. I've softened on him over the years and he's a good host for these things. Anyway, it doesn't matter, even in a top heavy field as everyone else also keeps getting better, that means the best of the best does as well.

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver"

OUTSTANDING VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
A Black Lady Sketch Show-HBO
Drunk History-Comedy Central
Saturday Night Live-NBC

WHOA! Okay, they threw this category down into the Creative Arts. I guess, since there's only three nominees this year, since most of the other ones decided to just quit their runs that makes sense. Eh, I guess I'm kinda hoping "Drunk History" could pull off the upset now, who also got canceled right when I was finally starting to appreciate it more. I doubt it though.

PREDICTION: "Saturday Night LIve"

PREFERENCE: "Drunk History"

WINNER!: "Saturday Night Live"

OUTSTANDING VARIETY SPECIAL (LIVE)
73rd Annual Tony Awards-CBS
77th Annual Golden Globe Awards-NBC
Live In Front Of A Studio Audience: "All In The Family" and "Good Times"-ABC
The Oscars-ABC
Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show Starring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira-FOX

Another category that once upon a time used to make the main show. I remember when the news programs were on the main show. Those "20/20" vs. "60 Minutes" battles were rough back in the day. I think they have their own Emmys now though. What did I predict for this? Eh, decent Halftime show, weak awards shows this year, eh, yeah, what the hell, let's split the vote and give it to Norman Lear.

PREDICTION: Live In Front of a Studio Audience: "All in the Family" and "Good Times"

PREFERENCE: "Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show Starring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira"

WINNER!: "Live In Front of a Studio Audience: "All in the Family" and "Good Times"

OUTSTANDING VARIETY SPECIAL (PRE-RECORDED)
Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones-Netflix
Dave Chappelle: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor-PBS
Hannah Gadsby: Douglas-Netflix
Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill-Netflix
John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch-Netflix
Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah-Netflix

The separtion of Live and Pre-Recorded in the Variety Special category is kinda interesting. It basically makes this category a de facto Best Stand-Up Documentary Special category. Being a stand-up lover, I've actually seen all of these. I'm a little concerned that Dave Chappelle's gonna split his own vote, although I do that the Mark Twain Prize is finally getting recognized. I think "Sticks and Stones" is still the favorite though.

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: "Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones"

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A VARIETY SERIES
A Black Lady Sketch Show-Dime Davis-"Born At Night, But Not Last Night"-HBO
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah-David Paul Meyer-"Dr. Fauci Answers Trevor's Questions About Coronavirus"-Comedy Central
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver-Paul Pennolino, Christopher Werner-"Episode 629"-HBO
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert-Jim Hoskinson-"Live Show; Chris Christie; Nathaniel Rateliff-CBS
Saturday Night Live-Don Roy King-"Host: Eddie Murphy"-NBC
Tiffany Haddish Presents: The Ready-Linda Mendoze-"Flame Monroe"-Netflix

Who did I predict here "SNL"? Probably "SNL". When you're not sure about the Directing Variety category, it's probably a good bet to go with "SNL".Oh, and it's the Eddie Murphy show too? Then yeah, probably that one. 

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: Don Roy King-"Saturday Night Live"-"Host: Eddie Murphy"

WINNER!: Don Roy King-"Saturday Night Live"-"Host: Eddie Murphy"

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A VARIETY SPECIAL
73rd Annual Tony Awards-Glenn Weiss-CBS
82nd Grammy Awards-Louis J. Horvitz-CBS
Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones-Stan Lathan-Netflix
Live In Front of a Studio Audience: "All in the Family" and "Good Times"-Pamela Fryman, Andy Fisher-ABC
Super Bowl LIV Halftime Starring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira-Hamish Hamilton-FOX


OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A VARIETY SERIES
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah-Senior Writers: Lauren Sarver Means, Daniel Radosh, Writers: Trevor Noah, et. al.-Comedy Central
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee-Writer Supervisors: Nicole Silverberg, Joe Grossman; Head Writers: Kristen Bartlett, Mike Drucker, Melinda Taub; Writers: Samantha Bee, et. al.-TBS
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver-Writers: John Oliver, Tim Carvell, Daniel O'Brien, Charlie Redd, Joanna Rothkopf, Ben Silva and Seena Vali-HBO
Late Night with Seth Meyers-Writer Supervisor: Seth Reiss; Writers: Seth Meyes, et. al.-NBC
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert-Head Writers: Ariel Dumas, Jay Katsir; Writers: Stephen Colbert, et. al.-CBS

This is one of those years where this category ends up at the Creative Arts instead of the main show 'cause of a deal made out with the Writers Guild. (Shrugs) I don't get it either. It's mostly the usual suspects but I suspect "Last Week Tonight..." is firmly ahead, but "The Daily Show..." could pull this off. I thought it might go to Seth Meyers for a bit, but he didn't get into Series.

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE; "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver"

WINNER!: "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver"

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A VARIETY SPECIAL
Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones-Dave Chappelle-Netflix
Hannah Gadsby: Douglas-Hannah Gadsby-Netflx
John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch-John Mulaney, Marika Sawyer-Netflix
Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything-Patton Oswalt-Netflix
Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby-Seth Meyers-Netflix


REALITY

OUTSTANDING COMPETITION PROGRAM
The Masked Singer-FOX
Nailed It!-Netflix
RuPaul's Drag Race-VH1
Top Chef-Bravo
The Voice-NBC

It seems a little strange and weird with no "The Amazing Race" in the category. It seems like everyone's got a bit of a clean slate. Yeah, I know, they hadn't been winning in a while, but still, they won for so long and so often that they overshadow the entire category. It means something when another show actually defeats them. And the three shows that have in the past are right here. "RuPaul's Drag Race" has been the leader for the last few years. They're still winning early with some of the technical awards, RuPaul's practically a shoe-in to win for Host again, and they're a dominate 1-3 odds favorite to win the category. And yet..., I don't know, something makes me feel iffy about this favorite. "Top Chef" overperformed, moreso then they should've. The fact Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi snuck into Host for the first time in a over in a decade, and in this year where both the "Queer Eye" guys and the "Shark Tank" crew also got in no less. Also, there's that one newcomer in the category, "The Masked Singer" which caught on the most during the height of the pandemic, but I'm not sure that's a good thing or a bad thing for it. 

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: "Top Chef"

OUTSTANDING STRUCTURED REALITY PROGRAM
Antiques Roadshow-PBS
Love is Blind-Netflix
Queer Eye-Netflix
Shark Tank-ABC
A Very Brady Renovation-HGTV

Apparently, this is the first ever nomination for any program regarding "The Brady Bunch", which, yeah, sounds about right, and it still feels like one, too many. (Alright, "The Brady Brides" wasn't the worst thing. But seriously, "The Brady Bunch" has always sucked; I can't wait 'til were finally done with nostalgia for it.) I'd like to see "Antiques Roadshow" finally win this, but they seem to always be the bridesmaid. I think it's between "Shark Tank", the only previous winner in the category and "Queer Eye"? We've gotta be tired of "Shark Tank" by now, right? 

PREDICTION: "Queer Eye"

PREFERENCE: "Antiques Roadshow"

WINNER!: "Queer Eye"

OUTSTANDING UNSTRUCTURED REALITY PROGRAM
Amy Schumer Learns to Cook: Lunch Break and Pasta Night-Food Network
Cheer-Netflix
Kevin Hart: Don't Fuck This Up-Netflix
RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked-VH1
We're Here-HBO

I don't know what to make of this category this year. A bunch of first year nominees, and a side-reality show to the bigger reality-competition show. There's some celebrity stuff, there's a docuseries on cheerleaders that seems ot be popular and two series about drag, oddly. You know, I gotta be honest, I don't really entirely RuPaul's Drag Race. Like, I don't hate it, but, I feel like I'm missing something with it. Like, it seems like a talent show? Is it, like beauty show, or whichever has the best story.... Maybe I should jump to later seasons to try to decipher it, but it just seemed like too odd a set of criteria to be interested in, but I'm probably missing a greater context.... As to this category, eh, the one I know and like is Amy Schumer's show, I guess I'll predict that one as well.

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: "Amy Schumer Learns to Cook: Lunch Break and Pasta Night"

OUTSTANDING HOST FOR A REALITY OR COMPETITION PROGRAM
Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness-"Queer Eye"-Netflix
Nicole Byer-"Nailed It!"-Netflix
Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, Kevin O'Leary-"Shark Tank"-ABC
Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio-"Top Chef"-Bravo
Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman-"Making It"-NBC
Rupaul-"RuPaul's Drag Race"-VH1

How did seventeen people end up nominated in this category! The "Queer Eye" crew got in for the first time; the big shock is that the "Shark Tank" crew, who had never submitted as host before, getting in. Good for them, it's not like they're rich multi-billionaire entrepreneurs who own everything; it's nice to see them get a break. (Sigh, yeah, I am so done with "Shark Tank" at this point. I mean, it's a good show, but I"m just done with it.) The only singular nominees are Nicole Byer for "Nailed It" and of course RuPaul who's tied the record with Jeff Probst for most wins in the category. I think she's gonna get it.

PREDICTION: Rupaul-"Rupaul's Drag Race"

PREFERENCE: Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio-"Top Chef" 


LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE

OUTSTANDING LIMITED SERIES
Little Fires Everywhere-Hulu
Mrs. America-FX Networks
Unbelievable-Netflix
Unorthodox-Netflix
Watchmen-HBO

"Watchmen" is the biggest show at the Emmys this year. It has the most nominations, it's arguably the most popular program this past year, as well as the most influential and arguably the one wth the most cultural impact and importance among the nominees. I'll get to it eventually, but per my usualy modus operandi, I don't usually watch or have too many opinions on these categories so no preferences with these picks here, just going by patterns, odds, and any other hunches and information I can get ahold of for these. That said, this feels like an easy call. 

PREDICTION: "Watchmen" 

OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE
American Son-Netflix
Bad Education-HBO
Dolly Parton's Heartstrings: These Old Bones-Netflix
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie-Netflix
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend-Netflix

Well, we got a couple actual television movies and not movies that were streaming because that's just how movies are now, and then a couple movie sequels to television movies, including that's actually an interactive feature film. I actually did watch that one, and it was pretty funny-as-hell, actually. "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" is generally underrated by the public and the Emmys; I never understood why it never got more love. Also, there's- whatever the hell the Dolly Parton thing is. "Bad Education" is the minor favorite, mainly because it was probably the most promoted as a TV movie, but I don't know, it got as many nominations as anything else in the category. (Shrugs) Eh, I'll just go with the one I watch, probably the best of the bunch anyway. 

PREDICTION: "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend"

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Jeremy Irons-"Watchmen"-HBO
Hugh Jackman-"Bad Education"-HBO
Jeremy Pope-"Hollywood"-Netflix
Mark Ruffalo-"I Know This Much Is True"-HBO
Paul Mescal-"Normal People"-Hulu

Mark Ruffalo is listed as the favorite at Gold Derby, which makes sense, he's long overdue, but that's also sorta exactly why I don't think he's wins, again. (Shrugs) I mean, why change tradition now. Now, who does win? Jeremy Irons seems like a safe pick here, but I don't know, he wasn't the center of "Watchmen" the way Regina King's performance is. Hmmm, I'm not sure the Academy saw "Normal People" or "I Know This Much is True", but I do think they all saw "Hollywood".

PREDICTION: Jeremy Pope-"Hollywood"

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Cate Blanchett-"Mrs. America"-FX Networks
Shira Haas-"Unorthodoz"-Netflix
Regina King-"Watchmen"-HBO
Octavia Spencer-"Self Made: Inspired By the Life of Madam C.J. Walker"-Netflix
Kerry Washington-"Little Fires Everywhere"-Hulu

For those a little frustrated at this, Kerry Washington did indeed win an Emmy this year as a producer for "Live in Front of a Studio Audience...." so-eh, don't be too sad at her not winning this. (Sorry) Sorry, Regina King's a nominee, she wins everything automatically, and now everybody actually wants her to win.

PREDICTION: Regina King-"Watchmen"

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Yahya Abdul-Mateen-"Watchmen"-HBO
Jovan Adepo-"Watchmen"-HBO
Tituss Burgess-"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend"-Netflix
Louis Gossett Jr.-"Watchmen"-HBO
Dylan McDermott-"Hollywood"-Netflix
Jim Parsons-"Hollywood'-Netflix

BTW, I'm not exactly sure how "Hollywood" missed Series; it got twelve nominations including a lot of big ones. Even in a five-series field, it looks weird, but oh well. I guess the series branches are as sick of Ryan Murphy as I am, but everybody did see it. Jim Parsons has been labeled since the minute it hit on Netflix. Even in a loaded field against a lot of great actors, most of them from "Watchmen", plus his co-star Dylan McDermott, and surprisingly and happily-for-me, Tituss Burgess. If I had a preference for these, I'd be picking him; he's gotten robbed, but I'm not convinced enough to predict him.

PREDICTION: Jim Parsons-"Hollywood"

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Uzo Aduba-"Mrs. America"-FX Networks
Toni Collette-"Unbelievable"-Netflix
Margo Martindale-"Mrs. America"-FX Networks
Jean Smart-"Watchmen"-HBO
Holland Taylor-"Hollywood"-Netflix
Tracey Ullman-"Mrs. America"-FX Networks

This is a very interesting category, if for no other reason then the fact that there's multiple Emmy standbys who usually win by default most of the time, competing against each other. There's three from "Mrs. America" up, but it seems like Jean Smart is the favorite according to the odds. Eh, I'm just gonna go with it. 

PREDICTION: Jean Smart-"Watchmen"

OUTSTANDING DIRECTING FOR A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Lenny Abrahamson-"Normal People"-"Episode 5"-Hulu
Steph Green-"Watchmen"-"Little Fear of Lightning"-HBO
Nicole Kassell-"Watchmen"-"It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice"-HBO
Marta Schrader-"Unorthodox"-Netflix
Lynn Shelton-"Little Fires Everywhere"-"Find a Way"-Hulu
Stephen Williams-"Watchmen"-"This Extraordinary Being"-HBO

Oh boy, three nominees for "Watchmen", but that's actually not a great sign for Directing Limited Series or Movie categories. Not only do the votes get split, but your up against other nominees like Maria Schrader who directed the whole miniseries. As well as, the sentimental vote going to the late Lynn Shelton who can spoiler here. Lenny Abrahamson is also a major film director, most known for "Room" a couple years ago, so he's also a possibility. I think "Watchmen"'s gonna falter here.

PREDICTION: Lynn Shelton-"Little Fires Everywhere"

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Mrs. America-Tanya Barfield-"Shirley"-FX Networks
Normal People-Sally Rooney, Alice Birch-"Episode 3"-Hulu
Unbelievable-Susannah Grant, Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman-"Episode 1"-Netflix
Unorthodox-Anna Winger-"Part 1"-Netflix
Watchmen-Damon Lindelof, Cord Jefferson-"This Extraordinary Being"-HBO

Hmmm. Well, no complete miniseries up against episodes here, so need to worry about that here. There's a few big names here, but I'm just gonna presume "Watchmen''s the heavy favorite and go with it. Besides the biggest name is Damon Lindelof, so....

PREDICTION: "Watchmen"-"This Everyordinary Being"


ANIMATION

OUTSTANDING ANIMATED PROGRAM
Big Mouth-"Disclosure The Movie: The Musical!"-Netflix
Bob's Burgers-"Pig Trouble In Little Tina"-FOX
BoJack Horseman-"The View From Halfway Down"-Netflix
Rick and Morty-"The Vat of Acid Episodes"-Adult Swim
The Simpsons-"Friinkcoin"-FOX

This was the final season for "Bojack Horseman" which I think makes that the preferred favorite at the moment. I'll be honest, unlike most, I think I'm the one person who could just never fully endorse that show. I don't hate it, but I've struggled to get through it; it's genuinely difficult for me to sit down and watch it sometimes. Not as frustrating as I think "Rick & Morty" is, which I actually find much more idiosyncratic and annoying but yeah, "Bojack...", I'll get through it one day. I appreciate it, but it's never been my favorite. 

PREDICTION: "Bojack Horseman"

PREFERENCE: "Bob's Burgers"

OUTSTANDING SHORT-FORM ANIMATED PROGRAM
Forky Asks a Question: What is Love?-DisneyXD
Robot Chicken-"Santa's Dead (Spoiler Alert) Holiday Murder Thing Special"-Adult Swim
Steven Universe Future-"Fragments"-Cartoon Network

Category cut to three due to rule changed. "Forky Asks a Question: What is Love?" is purportedly the favorite at the moment. I guess it'd be nice to see the "Toy Story" related short get in here; I think I would've preferred such a short show up, like before a film like "Mulan" in theaters, and I'm certain Disney felt that way too. I think this is "Steven Universe"'s last year though, and I'm betting the sentimental vote gets it through.

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: "Steven Universe Future"

WINNER!: "Forky Asks a Question: What is Love?"

OUTSTANDING CHARACTER VOICE-OVER PERFORMANCE
Hank Azaria-"The Simpsons"-"Frinkcoin"-FOX
Nancy Cartwright-"The Simpsons"-"Better Off Ned"-FOX
Leslie Odom, Jr.-"Central Park"-"Episode One"-Apple TV
Maya Rudolph-"Big Mouth"-"How To Have An Orgasm"-Netflix
Wanda Sykes-"Crank Yankers"-"Bobby Brown, Wanda Sykes & Kathy Griffin"-Comedy Central
Taika Waititi-"The Mandalorian"-"Chapter 8: Redemption"-Disney+

Tricky category this year. The way "The Mandalorian" is taking all the technical awards, this feels like its best shot to win any kind of performance awards and Waititi is the odds-on favorite. Part of me also suspects this might be the best spot to award Maya Rudolph as well; it's hard for me to say if the Academy's actually watching "Big Mouth" or not, but I feel like it's either that, or they honor somebody from "The Simpsons" again. 

PREDICTION: Taika Waititi-"The Mandalorian"

PREFERENCE: Maya Rudolph-"Bog Mouth"

WINNER!: Maya Rudolph-"Big Mouth"

DOCUMENTARY/NON-FICTION

OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY OR NONFICTION SERIES
American Masters-PBS
Hillary-Hulu
The Last Dance-ESPN
McMillion$-HBO
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness-Netflix

Well, in the suddenly-everybody-cares-about-this-category department, the documentary or nonfiction series category is shockingly interesting now. Believe it or not, I'm the one person who hasn't gotten around to "Tiger King..." or "The Last Dance", so I strangely don't have too much of an opinion here. But as to make a prediction, I feel like "Tiger King..." is probably the odds on favorite.

PREDICTION: "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness"

PREFERENCE: "American Masters"

OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY OR NONFICTION SPECIAL
The Apollo-HBO
Beastie Boys Story-Apple TV+
Becoming-Netflix
The Great Hack-Netflix
Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time-EPIX

Not sure what to say about all these doc categories. I just saw "Echo of the Canyon" literally yesterday, so I'm definitely interested in seeing "Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time" at the moment. I don't really have a preference nor have I seen any of these; I just went with the one that I heard the most about. 

PREDICTION: "The Apollo"

WINNER!: "The Apollo"

OUTSTANDING HOSTED NONFICTION SERIES OR SPECIAL
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee-Netflix
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath-A&E
Ugly Delicious-Netflix
Vice-Showtime
The World According to Jeff Goldblum-Disney+

This used to be called the "Informational Series or Special" category; I guess they wanted more clarification so these or those kinds of programs that are led by or guided by a host. "Inside the Actors' Studio" was the perennial past nominee that I always think of with this category. It's always a tough and tricky category, and one that I apparently already got wrong on my Gold Derby predictions. (Sigh) Apparently, I went with "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee"; I don't know why I did that in hindsight. That was stupid of me, I guess I thought they were trying to give it something. Oh well.

PREDICTION: "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee"

PREFERENCE: "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath"

WINNER!: "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath"

EXCEPTIONAL MERIT IN DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING
The Cave-National Geographic
Chasing the Moon (American Experience)-PBS
Moonlight Sonata: Deafness In Three Movements-HBO
One Child Nation-PBS

I've seen two of these, "The Cave" and "One Child Nation" are both amazing. This is a juried prize that's honors the technical craft of documentary filmmaking that expands the craft of it, which makes this category a little tricky. but just base on my own instincts....

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: "The Cave"


LIVE-ACTION SHORT-FORM

OUTSTANDING SHORT FORM COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES
Better Call Saul Employee Training: Legal Ethics With Kim Wexler-AMC.com
The Good Place Presents: The Selection-NBC
Most Dangerous Game-Quibi
Reno 911!-Quibi
Star Trek: Short Treks-CBS All Access

Gold Derby didn't put odds on these categories, but I'm gonna mention the Short-Forms; I think they're competitive and there's some interest in them. At least there would be if anybody bought Quibi. They pop up here, with "Most Dangerous Game" and "Reno 911!", which is actually the first time that show's ever been nominated. I suspect "Better Call Saul" is the favorite though, would be nice to see Rhea Seehorn finally get appreciated for something. 

PREDICTION: "Better Call Saul Employee Training: Legal Ethics With Kim Wexler"

PREFERENCE: "Reno 911!"

WINNER!: "Better Call Saul Employee Training: Legal Ethics with Kim Wexler"

OUTSTANDING SHORT-FORM VARIETY SERIES
Beeing At Home with Samantha Bee-TBS
Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: The Movie, Sorta, Uncut Interviews-Netflix
Carpool Kareoke: The Series-Apple Music
Jimmy Kimmel's Quarantine Minilogues-YouTube/JimmyKimmelLive
The Randy Rainbow Show-YoutTube

This category got way more compelling, especially now that it's mostly just, the variety show category in pandemic quarantine mode. "Carpool Kareoke"'s back threatening to win again, and something called "The Randy Rainbow Show". It's been nominated before, it's this weird guy who does satire song parodies.... (Shrugs) He's fine; I don't quite get why he's getting in with the rest of these nominees, but he's fine and he paid the submission fee, so sure. Gold Derby didn't put out a line on this category; I'm not sure how to rate it myself. I'm just gonna predict the one I want to win here.

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: "Being At Home with Samantha Bee

WINNER!: "Carpool Kareoke: The Series"

OUTSTANDING SHORT-FORM NONFICTION OR REALITY SERIES
Between The Scenes-"The Daily Show"-Comedy Central
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee Presents: Pandemic Video Diaries-TBS
National Geographic Presents Cosmos: Creating Possible Worlds-National Geographic
Pose: Identity, Family, Community-FX Networks
RuPaul's Drag Race Out of the Closet-VH1

Man, "RuPaul's Drag Race" has a lot of side shows. Then again, some of these are just-, I mean, I like "Between the Scenes" too, but it's just Trevor Noah talking during commercial breaks and somebody leaving the camera on. I guess if any of them feel relevent, then Samantha Bee's pandemic show might have the best shot here. 

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Presents: Pandemic Video Diaries"

WINNER!: "National Geographic Presents Cosmos: Creating Possible Worlds"

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A SHORT FORM COMEDY OR DRAMA SERIES
Laurence Fishburne-"#FreeRayshawn"-Quibi
Stephan James-"#FreeRayshawn"-Quibi
Christoph Waltz-"Most Dangerous Game"-Quibi
Mamoudou Athie-"Oh Jerome, No (Cake)"-FX Networks
Corey Hawkins-"Survive"-Quibi

Eh, I'lls ay this, Quibi did attract the biggest and best actors. It's a cheap to win an Emmy, but they probably do deserve it. 8/10 acting nominations in the Short-Form Comedy or Drama Series category are for this new upstart network that still people will watching "The Fugitive" on your phone is the key to that franchise's fifth or sixth attemtped TV reboot to finally succeed. I will make fun of this network until all its programming is finally bought out by Netflix, I swear. Anyway, tough call for me between Laurence Fishburne and Christoph Waltz; I think it's a toss-up between the show with the Series nomination and the biggest name from the show with the most acting nominations. I'm just gonna flip a coin on this one.

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: Laurence Fishburne-"#FreeRayshawn" 

WINNER!: Laurence Fishburne-"#FreeRayshawn"

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A SHORT-FORM COMEDY OR DRAMA
Anna Kendrick-"Dummy"-Quibi
Kaitlin Olson-"Flipped"-Quibi
Jasmine Cephas Jones-"#FreeRayshawn"-Quibi
Rain Valdez-"Razor Tongue"-YouTube Now
Kerri Kenney-Silver-"Reno 911!"-Quibi

I can't believe is when they finally decide to nominate Kaitlin Olson for something. Anyway, I think its between Kendrick and Kenney-Silver, with Jasmine Cephas Jones possibly playing spoiler. I did manage to see an episode of "Razor Tongue", it's pretty funny; I'm not sure how many voters bothered to see it though. Or see any of these, but I think they'll recognize "Reno 911!"

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE: Kerri Kenney-Silver-"Reno 911!"

WINNER!: Jasmine Cephas Jones-"#FreeRayshawn"


MISCELLANEOUS

OUTSTANDING CHILDREN'S PROGRAM
Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance-Netflix
Star Wars Resistance-Disney Channel
We Are The Dreams: The Kids of The Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest-HBO

God, how many "Star Wars" shows are there? (Sigh) Eh, no real preference here and Gold Derby didn't put up a line on it, but it's a series category, and kind of a big one, normally but, hmmm.... (Shrugs) It's adults voting on kids programs, I'm just gonna take a shot on the one that kids will probably least likely want to see. No preference here.

PREDICTION: "We Are The Dreams: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest"

OUTSTANDING COMMERCIAL
Back-to-School Essentials-Sandy Hook Promise
Before Alexa-Amazon
Bounce-Apple AirPods
Groundhog Day-Jeep (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [FCA])
The Look-P&G

You know, I mentioned that I liked the "Before Alexa" commerical originally, but now that I look at, it's actually quite disturbing. "What did we do Before Alexa?" People! Who are now unemployed, or were slaves of some kind. Doesn't help either that Ellen and Portia are the centerpiece of it either, why do I get the eerie feeling this was her idea. Anyway, I liked the rest to varying degree. I think it's between "The Look" and "Back-to-School Essentials", the two clearly political commercials. They're both essential; I think the Sandy Hood Promise one is too powerful to ignore, and "The Look", is good, but I'm not crazy about how it filmed to a degree. The steadicam reveal shot in particular just kinda annoyed me; I also kinda just felt it was a bit, ehhh. There was something off about it for me. 

PREDICTION: "Back-to-School Essentials"-Sandy Hook Promise

PREFERRENCE: "Bounce"-Apple AirPods

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL MUSIC AND LYRICS
"Letter To My Godfather"-The Black Godfather-Music & Lyrics: Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo-Netflix
"All For Us"-Euphoria-Music & Lyrics: Labrinth-HBO
"Eat Shit, Bob"-Last Week Tonight with John Oliver-Music: David Dabbon; Lyrics: Joanna Rothkopf, Jill Twiss, Senna Vali-HBO
"Build It Up"-Little Fires Everywhere-Music & Lyrics: Ingrid Michaelson-Hulu
"One Less Angel"-The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel-Music & Lyrics: Thomas Mizer, Curtis Moore
"Memorized"-This Is Us"-Music & Lyrics: Siddhartha Khosta, Taylor Goldsmith-NBC
"The Way It Used To be"-Watchmen-Music & Lyrics: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross-HBO

A record seven nomination in this category, that's continuously gotten more and more competitive over the years. When I made my Gold Derby ballot, I predicted what I thought would be the most memorable and notable of the nominees, but for this I decided to listen to all the songs outright, and if possible in context to the program they were apart of, and for the most part, these are great songs. I'm not crazy about Pharrell's use of autotune on his song; I think that made it worst, but other then that, these are good songs. I gotta watch "Euphoria" at some point just ot see what the hell is going on in that thing, Anyway, despite a loaded field, I think I still made the right call on this one.

PREDICTION/PREFERENCE-"Eat Shit, Bob"-"Last Week Tonight with John Oliver"

WINNER!: "All for Us"-"Euphoria"

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL MAIN TITLE THEME SONG
Carnival Row-Nathan Barr-Prime Video
Defending Jacob-Olafur Arnalds-Apple TV+
Hollywood-Nathan Barr-Netflix
Unorthodox-Antonio Gambale-Netflix
Why We Hate-Laura Karpman-Discovery Channel
Wu-Tang: An American Saga-The Rza-Hulu

This one, I really regret voting before I heard all the nominees. It's not the greatest batch either, only "Wu-Tang..." has a song with actual lyrics, and the most of the rest are fairly classical little themes and the only one that's indistinguishable from the rest is "Hollywood". (Well, "Why We Hate" is pretty good too.) Unfortunately, I somehow picked the shortest and worst of the bunch in my opinion to win, so-eh, don't follow me on this one. 

PREDICTION: "Unorthodox"

PREFERENCE: "Hollywood"

WINNER!:"Hollywood"

OUTSTANDING MAIN TITLE DESIGN
Abstract: The Art of Design-Netflix
Carnival Row-Prime Video
Godfather of Harlem-EPIX
The Morning Show-Apple TV+
The Politician-Netflix
Watchmen-HBO
Westworld-HBO

Honestly, I would've skipped this category here if not for Gold Derby putting a line on it. It is a favorite category of mine though. When it came to the prediction, I just went with "Watchmen", odds-on favorite. I didn't actually love it that much, but I think it will win. "The Morning Show"'s was clever, it kinda reminded me of the old Chuck Jones short, "The Dot and the Line", and anything that reminds me of that in a positive light is a good thing to me. Personally, I preferred "The Politican" and "Godfather of Harlem"'s opening the most, and if I have to narrow it down, I'd go with "The Politician" because it required more original footage to be created. I suspect it's a battle between "Watchmen" and "The Morning Show" though.

PREDICTION: "Watchmen"

PREFERENCE: "The Politician"

OUTSTANDING MUSIC COMPOSITION FOR A SERIES (ORIGINAL DRAMATIC SCORE)
The Crown-Martin Phipps-Netflix
Euphoria-Labrinth-HBO
The Mandalorian-Ludwig Goransson-Disney+
Ozark-Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans-Netflix
Succession-Nicholas Britell-HBO

Again, I wouldn't normally predict this category without a Gold Derby ballot being around and now one I even have much of an opinion on; this is mostly a category that's for the GOT followers. Also, I'm not having a preference, since I'm not gonna go through and listen to the whole scores. Ummm, that said, "The Mandalorian" and "Succession" are the favorite, mainly 'cause they're the bigger named composers. I have no preference, so I'm taking a shot wiht the new kid. I'm gonna take a shot with the new kid.

PREDICTION: "Euphoria"

OUTSTANDING MUSIC COMPOSITION FOR A LIMITED SERIES, MOVIE OR SPECIAL (ORIGINAL DRAMATIC SCORE)
Hollywood-Nathan Barr-Netflix
Little Fires Everywhere-Mark Isham, Isabella Summer-Hulu
Mrs. America-Kris Bowers-FX Networks
Unorthodox-Antonio Gambele-Netflix

Watchmen-Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross-HBO

Eh, this is where I predicted Trent & Atticus winning. I think Nathan Barr, could spoil this for "Hollywood", but I think he's more likely to win in Theme Song. Boy Trent Reznor and Ross are suddenly shockingly close to an EGOT; he could be the first person to have an EGOT and be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Oh, btw, congrats on Nine Inch Nails finally getting inducted into that. So-eh, I hope they're getting a Broadway show going soon enough. If you're my age, that just feels so surreal.

PREDICTION: "Watchmen"

WINNER!: "Watchmen"

OUTSTANDING MUSIC SUPERVISION
Better Call Saul-Thomas Golubic-AMC
Euphoria-Jen Malone, Adam Leber-HBO
Insecure-Kier Lehman-HBO
Killing Eve-Catherine Grieves, David Holmes-BBC America
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel-Robin Urdang, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Daniel Palladino-Prime Video
Stranger Things-Nora Felder-Netflix
Watchmen-Liza Richardson-HBO

I didn't even include this category in my original rundown of the nominees when they were announced; I'm genuinely a bit surprised Gold Derby put a line out on this one. Like, it is an underrated craft that should get more recognition; the Emmy category itself has only existed since 2017, so I guess I should focus on it, but I'm probably about this craft then I know about most music categories and I'm not a music guy. Basically this is when you're constructing the music to go with images, but not necessarily original music. So, mostly this is soundtrack and score essentially, and how they're used with the visuals. I think.... Something like that. Anyway, eh, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" is the slight odds-on favorite over "Watchmen", which makes sense, this was a big music year for that show. I still took a shot on "Euphoria" instead. (Shrugs) I don't know why.

PREDICTION: "Euphoria" 

WINNER!: "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

Alright, I think that's the last one that's worth really discussing. Alright, let's all try to-eh, well, kinda enjoy these Emmys. Anything that hasn't been announced yet, will be announced either on the main show on Sunday, or on the rest of the Creative Arts, Saturday night on FXX, and if you want to use the and-eh, if you guys want to use these predictions for Gold Derby or some other Emmys pool of yours, go right ahead, but don't predict exactly how I do; always take one or two risks chances, even the experts rarely get everything right at these. 

Oh, and if you want to catch up on all the previously-announced awards. the Academy posted parts 1-4 of the Creative Arts Emmys on their website; you can watch them there: