First thing’s first. The Americans is FINALLY getting the awards attention it deserves. For the past three years, FX must’ve forgotten to submit it, because that’s the only explanation for all the snubbing. Finally, Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell, and their show have been rewarded.
Unfortunately for Rhys, I think his award is earmarked for Bob Odenkirk, but Russell’s another story. Her biggest competition might be Claire Danes as she’s won before so the voters like her, but I think Russell has a chance of winning. She brings out convincing emotions torn between her two loves: her daughter and communism. If anyone deserves the award, it’s her.
It’s up against past winners Game of Thrones and Homeland for Outstanding Drama Series, as well as Better Call Saul, spun off from a past winner, which means it certainly has an advantage with the Academy.
Speaking of Better Call Saul, there seem to be a few noms missing. Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks have been (deservedly) nominated, but what about Michael McKean? He didn’t pull any punches playing Chuck. We’re supposed to hate that character, and he played it that way.
And what about Rhea Seehorn? Kim, the mere love interest of season one, became a well-rounded, emotionally layered character in season two, and that deserves to be rewarded. She had all kinds to deal with – from romance with Jimmy to being demoted because of his misdoings, causing her to feel devalued and underutilised, and her moral struggles – and she handled it all masterfully.
Also, why wouldn’t they nominate the writing of one of the best-written shows on TV? Cobbler was a brilliantly written ep. Three scenes come to mind; three reasons it should’ve been nommed. Jimmy tells the police a long, detailed, made-up story and sells it so well that the cops buy it. Jimmy tells Kim as an anecdote, but it turns serious as she realises he fabricated evidence, asks him why he was willing to do that, and he can’t answer. This is Saul Goodman’s core: breaking rules for the thrill. Mike decides to help Dan get his stolen cards back after he says some were his dad’s, linking it to Mike’s tragic backstory. Scenes like this separate good writers from great ones.
And what did get nominated? Game of Thrones’ Battle of the Bastards. Visually stunning, but the script was so predictable. Everyone called every turn in the plot half an hour in advance.
The People v. O.J. Simpson is swimming in nominations: thirteen total. It’s understandable: the nuanced acting from Cuba Gooding Jr, David Schwimmer, Sarah Paulson et al is as award-worthy as it gets. But John Travolta’s goofy performance as Robert Shapiro doesn’t quite match up with his co-stars. I’m surprised the Academy nominated him – maybe they felt it’d be unfair to nominate the others and leave him out. Or they like his name and want it in the ceremony before someone else is announced as the winner.
I’m so glad Matt Walsh was nommed. Everyone on Veep is hilarious, but Mike is the most relatable character. He’s not a politician, he’s a regular joe. And this year, he was more than just a lovable goof. The moment when he’s standing before the press, in the midst of plans to adopt a Chinese baby, he announces that China’s banned Americans from adopting their babies, and we see in his eyes that he’s hearing this for the first time as he’s saying it, devastated. That moment on its own was enough to earn Walsh his nomination.
What’s the Academy got against comics-based shows? Daredevil stumbled this year, but what about Jessica Jones? Krysten Ritter and David Tennant were fantastic. It’s not just a superhero show – it’s as dark as The Wire (although they snubbed that too, because the cast was black). It’s no surprise that TWD was snubbed again. It didn’t help that this season was pretty weak anyway, but Greg Nicotero’s cinematic directing was worthy of at least a nomination.