If you’re regular reader of this blog and column, then you know I’m very happy about many of the Emmy nominations announced Thursday.
Let’s look at my Top 12 takeaways.
FX’s “The Americans” Finally Gets Its Due: Just last Tuesday, in a “You Should Be Watching” feature, I mentioned that the program about Russian spies living as suburbanites near Washington, D.C. has gotten a lot more critical love than Emmy love over its first three seasons. On Thursday, the program was nominated as best drama and the co-leads, Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell, who are in a real-life relationship, were nominated in the best dramatic actor and actress categories. Bravo.
Clarence High Grad Gets Writing Nod: David McMahon, the 1994 Clarence High graduate I wrote about in April, and his wife, Sarah Burns, were nominated for outstanding writing for a nonfiction program for the four-hour documentary, “Jackie Robinson.”
Buffalo-born Actor Nominated: Kyle Chandler, best known as the high school football coach in NBC’s “Friday Night Lights,” was nominated for his role as the responsible son, John Rayburn, in Netflix’s “Bloodline.” Chandler’s grandparents were from Buffalo and he was born here. He left when he was one-year-old. You probably can tell that by his Southern accent. Netflix announced this week there would be a third season of "Bloodline," which ended its second season with several issues up in the air involving the dysfunctional Rayburn family.
Baranski Does Buffalo Proud Again: I was glad to see Buffalo's Christine Baranski get an Emmy nod for a guest starring role on "The Big Bang Theory." More surprising was her failure to get one for her role as an attorney in “The Good Wife,” which ended its run. The Emmy voters weren’t very sentimental. Julianna Margulies didn’t get nominated as the lead for “The Good Wife” and “American Idol” wasn’t nominated as best reality show in its final season. I’m fine with the “Good Wife” slight. I thought the final season was one of its weakest. And the Emmys did nominate creators Robert and Michelle King for their work on the final episode.
“Mr. Robot” Gets Love: Buffalo State graduate Kyle Bradstreet, who is a producer and writer on the show, told me in a column that ran last week that he hoped Mac Quayle would get a nomination for the music on the critically-praised USA Network show. Mission accomplished. The show also was nominated for best drama and writer-creator Sam Esmail was nominated for his pilot script. Rami Malek, the actor playing the hacker who is the series lead, was nominated as best dramatic actor. He was ignored by the Golden Globes, which nominated Christian Slater as Mr. Robot. The Emmys got it right.
A “Master” Stroke: Aziz Ansari, who stars in and writes my favorite comedy, Netflix’s “Master of None,” was nominated in both the acting and writing categories for a series that is autobiographical.
FX’s Simpson Limited Series Honored: I feel for Nathan Lane, who played F. Lee Bailey in “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” He was just about the only name actor in the series who wasn’t nominated. Most stunning was the nomination of Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson. It makes you wonder if the voters have ever seen Simpson, a much bigger man who became an American icon before his fall because of his charisma. Gooding didn’t exhibit an ounce of that. Only slightly less surprising was the nomination of John Travolta as attorney Robert Shapiro. It played like such a parody that Shapiro should consider suing. The one sure thing on Emmy night should be the victory of Courtney B. Vance, who was exceptional as defense attorney Johnnie Cochran. But he is in a category loaded with great actors.
Something to Sing About: James Corden upstaged his CBS teammate Stephen Colbert by getting a nomination for both his “Late, Late Show” in the outstanding variety talk series competition and for a Carpool Karaoke special. The Republican and Democratic Conventions are coming at just the right time for Colbert, who was the only 11:35 p.m. host not to be nominated and needs a big bounce out of them. He has enlisted Jon Stewart to be involved.
Feel the Bern: Bernie Sanders received an Emmy nomination. OK. It really was Larry David as Bernie on “Saturday Night Live.” He was the best part of “SNL” this past season.
What a Category: If ever any category illustrates how ridiculous it is for actors playing different roles to compete against each other, it is the nominees for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie. Courtney B. Vance (“The People v. O.J. Simpson”), Bryan Cranston (“All the Way”), Idris Elba (“Luther”), Benedict Cumberbatch (PBS’ “Sherlock Holmes’) and Taylor Swift’s latest boyfriend, Tom Hiddleston (“The Night Manager”), are all competing. As I said previously, Vance gets my vote.
My Favorite Category: Anyone who knows me knows I love voices. So I love the “outstanding narrator” category of recognizable voices. The nominees include Adrien Brody (“Decoding the Brain”) Keith David (“Jackie Robinson”), Anthony Mendez for an episode of “Jane the Virgin,” David Attenborough (“Life Story, First Steps”’) and Laurence Fishburne (“Roots”). I love all those voices, but I’d vote for David.
Great News, Not a “Catastrophe”: You may have read my “You Should Be Watching” take on the Amazon Prime comedy series “Catastrophe” in late May. I love the show because of its writing by the actors playing the couple in the series, Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan. They earned an Emmy writing nomination. Even better for them, Amazon announced this week that the show has been renewed for at least two more seasons.