August 23, 2014

Who should & will win Emmy awards...

Monday night is the 827th Primetime Emmy Awards, honouring what the television academy thinks is the best in prime time TV from the 2013-2014 school year.

On the upside, my secret boyfriend Seth Meyers is hosting this year. On the downside, the show tends to be somewhat dull.

While I do watch more than my share of TV, with time shifting (hey, we get Jimmy Fallon at 9.30 PM), and Netflix, and PVR and VOD, I tend to miss or avoid most of the real prime time programming.

Here are the nominees and my picks for the major awards.... what are your faves?

Best Comedy Series
Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
Orange Is The New Black
Silicon Valley
Should win: I love Big Bang, and also loving Veep in binge sessions on airplanes
Will win: the buzzy Orange Is The New Black, which I don't love and don't think of as a comedy 

Best Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men
True Detective
Should win: The not even nominated The Good Wife, so then the terrific season 2 of House Of Cards
Will win: The buzzy final season of Breaking Bad (which granted I have not seen)

Best Actor, Drama
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Woody Harrelson, True Detective

Should win: Spacey for House of Cards (especially as James Spader wasn't even nominated for The Black List)
Will win: McConaughey for True Detective (haven't seen, this is his year for Oscar and Emmy and the world)

Best Actress, Drama
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Claire Danes, Homeland
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex
Should and will win: Robin Wright for her masterful work in House of Cards

Best Actor, Comedy
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
William H. Macy, Shameless
Ricky Gervais, Derek

Should and will win: among a weak list, Big Bang's Parsons will get his 4th win in this category 

Best Actress, Comedy
Lena Dunham, Girls 
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black 

Should win: Poehler for the subtle and very funny Parks
Will win: Emmy record holder and repeat winner Louis-Dreyfus

Other "Best" TV: There are lots of other categories and nominees, I am hoping for these winners...
The Normal Heart for best TV movie
Christine Baranski, best supporting actress in a drama for The Good Wife
Jim Carter, best supporting actor in a drama for Downton Abbey
Allison Janney, best supporting actress in a comedy for Mom
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, best supporting actor in a comedy for Modern Family
Actors from The Normal Heart: Matt Bomer, Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts

Some call-outs to the amazingly overlooked at nomination time: Bellamy Young for Scandal, James Spader for The Blacklist, The Good Wife for best drama series. and the cast and total show of The Mindy Project.

What were your faves of the year?

August 16, 2014

Remembering Robin Williams...

Oscar winning actor and legendary stand-up comedian Robin Williams died last week, at his own hand after struggling with depression, addiction, and other health issues.

His death was shocking and sad, and has in the media and online worlds brought out the best and the worst ... look at Jimmy Fallon's touching tribute as an example of the best, and the venom spewed at Williams' daughter Zelda by internet trolls as the worst.

Maybe people will learn something about depression, or just about kindness, from all of this?

I loved Williams in everything from Mork and Mindy to Aladdin and Good Will Hunting and Mrs Doubtfire and The Birdcage and so many more...

To see his range, check out little seen gems like Insomnia and One-Hour Photo... the man was an incredible actor.

He also was by all accounts a kind and decent human being who did tons of charity and community work.

Here is a fun performance by Williams at the 2000 Academy Awards, when he was a surprise performer of best song nominee "Blame Canada" from the South Park movie...

Nanu Nanu, Mr Williams.

August 3, 2014

How To Survive A Normal Heart...

Much as I love escapist fluff entertainment -- hell, I am re-watching chick flick Confessions of A Shopaholic as I write this -- once in a blue moon a smart substantial film wows me.

Or sometimes twice in a blue moon.

I recently watched two AIDS-themed dramas that dazzled me, and caused me to shed some tears: How To Survive A Plague and The Normal Heart.

How To Survive A Plague is the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary about the early days of the AIDS crisis and the beginning of activist groups like "Act Up" and their struggle to get recognition, assistance, caring or respect from the government, the media, and the medical establishment.

Plague is culled from hundreds of hours of arrived footage and is brilliantly woven together into a personal story. It is emotionally brutal and absolutely breathtaking.

It is available on demand, on Netflix and on DVD... gear yourself up and watch it.

The Normal Heart is the long-delayed film version (made for HBO this year) of Larry Kramer's seminal 1985 play on AIDS in the 80s, based on his own life. It's star studded cast includes Matt Bomer, Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts and Jim Parsons, and it is up for 16 Emmy awards at next month's ceremony.

Ruffalo is Ned Weeks, the Kramer-ish activist who rails against the politicians, reporters, doctors, and closeted gay men who ignore 'the gay cancer' in the early 80s while all his friends are dying...  and all while he is falling in love with a fashion reporter (Bomer) who will be struck by the disease. Their charming love story among all the suffering is amazing.

The Normal Heart is the anti-Philadelphia... it shows the disease, and the anger, and also the love and lust among the gay men at is centre. It is loud, lusty, messy, angry, and yes sometimes preachy.  And it works as a drama and as a history lesson.

Both films ask the question shouted by Weeks in The Normal Heart --- "Who cares if a faggot dies?" -- and both are mesmerizing. Watch them... but I do not recommend a double feature.