Friday, July 19, 2024

For Your Consideration: 2024 Emmy Contenders

Today marks the beginning of Emmy nomination voting for the Television Academy. Voting runs until June 24th, and final nominations will be announced on July 17th. As always, there are so many shows to consider, both new and returning, but some members of NBP wanted to share which shows and performances we’re hoping voters will consider for their ballots this year. The FYC mentions below are made by Matt Neglia, Dan Bayer, Alyssa Christian, Nadia Dalimonte, Giovanni LagoTom O’Brien, and Ema Sasic.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series – Carrie Coon for “The Gilded Age”
Bertha Russell is quite a piece of work. Born “a potato digger’s daughter” to a poor Irish family, she vowed to make something of herself and, by sheer will and determination, moved her way up in society, finally marrying George Russell, truly the love of her life. George, a determined man himself, soon became a fabulously wealthy railroad tycoon…or, more accurately, a robber baron. Bertha shrewdly took full advantage of their new money and moved the family up to 61st Street, the heart of New York City’s elite class, in 1882, hoping to be accepted by New York society. Instead, doors were slammed in her face. Bertha was mocked and ostracized by the very people whose respect she craved, but she remained determined — if they would not accept her into their circle of friends, she would build her own. To do that, Bertha could be cold, mean, and manipulative, but despite all that, we somehow still root for her to win. How can that possibly be? The answer is Carrie Coon. For fans of HBO’s “The Gilded Age,” Coon’s creation of Bertha provides an endless source of fascination and suspense. She is a character capable of doing whatever is necessary to get what she wants, and, with her enormous skill, Coon brings something to Bertha that is rarely seen in drama series leads — a sense of danger. Bertha knows where she came from and will do anything to make sure she never goes back, and Coon draws upon her acting artistry to bring that determined character to life in all her complexity. For that, I urge Emmy voters to consider her for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

Tom O’Brien

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series – Kristen Wiig for “Palm Royale”
It’s hard to believe that Kristen Wiig, one of the most iconic “Saturday Night Live” cast members, has never won an Emmy. The leggy comedienne never gives less than 150% in every role she plays, and that staunch commitment to even the most ridiculous ideas has lifted many sketches to all-time status. The AppleTV+ series “Palm Royale” is her most challenging assignment yet, leading a series that spoofs a very specific kind of 1960s style while giving the characters the dramatic depth they would never get were the project made in the 60s. As wannabe socialite Maxine Simmons, Wiig uses her modelesque figure and precise knowledge of different acting styles to create a dizzy, dippy version of a pageant queen that we’ve all seen before, imbued with more aching humanity than we’ve ever seen. We may know that her ritzy Palm Royale Country Club membership won’t solve her problems or give her the happiness she thinks it will. Still, we root for her anyway, thanks to Wiig’s exuberant guilelessness and endless positivity (however toxic it may be to the sticks in the mud around her). While perennial Emmy nominee Alison Janney steals nearly every scene she’s in (her line of reading of the single word “cock” is already legendary), Wiig is given a stunner of a monologue in the season finale that represents the best acting she has ever done – dramatic or comedic. As Maxine watches everything she has tried to accomplish crumbling before her eyes, Wiig guides the audience through her very public slow-motion panic attack with flawless attention to detail, picking the exact right moments to go for a laugh and tug at the heartstrings. It’s a knockout of a scene, culminating in every bit of character work Wiig has done throughout the season. Palm Royale’s unique setting and tone make it a niche show, but the eye-popping crafts and nuanced performances deserve awards attention, none more so than Wiig.

Dan Bayer

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series – Tadanobu Asano for “Shogun”
The beauty of a series like Shogun is how it platformed veteran actors such as Hiroyuki Sanada while exposing audiences to newer talents like Anna Sawaii and Cosmo Jarvis. That being said, Tadanobu Asano’s turn as serial schemer Lord Yabushige sweeps the legs under from any screen partner he has to go toe to toe with and the viewers themselves. Asano embodied Yabushige’s brazen nature, with every grunt, smirk, and chuckle, all lending itself to entirely creating a slimy character you’d just have to root for. He enters a caliber of performances that each line delivery elicits the biggest smile from whoever is watching. And just like the series, Asano’s work subverts itself all the way up till the final minutes of the series. It’s devastating to watch Asano bring Yabushige’s foolishly instilled sense of confidence down a notch as each pathetic layer slowly begins to peel off. It is genuinely soul-stirring to watch a man filled with big ambitions for the future end up listening to the future he will never get to witness. Asano’s turn as Yobishoge might be some of the best work of the year, and it’s about time he received his flowers.

Giovanni Lago

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series – Paul W. Downs for “Hacks”
Paul W. Downs may be best known for being the co-creator (and writer), but in Season 3, he really shined as a performer. Critics have praised this latest season of the Emmy-winning comedy for being sharp, well-acted, and just fantastic. While both Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder have deservedly received ample praise for their work, it’s also important to acknowledge the strong performances of supporting players like Downs. While his portrayal of Jimmy was a delight in the first two seasons of the Max show, he had numerous standout moments in Season 3 that would make him worthy of Emmy consideration. Perhaps most notable is when he follows Megan Stalter’s Kayla onto a plane and convinces her to stay with him — as a business partner. The scene deliberately satirizes similar moments in rom-coms, and Downs plays this scene so earnestly and hilariously that we love his platonic relationship with Kayla and empathize with his frustration regarding airplane passengers butting into their business. Downs clearly understands the character and his relationships, as seen both in his writing and in his performance.

Alyssa Christian

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie – Sarayu Blue for “Expats”
As Hilary Starr in Lulu Wang’s limited series “Expats,” Sarayu Blue delivers a brilliant portrayal that encompasses how on-screen stories echo real life. Created and directed by Wang, “Expats” follows three women (played by Blue, Ji-young Yoo, and Nicole Kidman) residing in Hong Kong whose lives collide following a tragic incident. In a beguiling non-linear format, the characters face complex encounters that challenge their perspectives, plus the audience’s. The character of Hilary speaks to the thematic ground that the series thoughtfully explores, from identity to womanhood and motherhood. Blue attentively lets the audience into the raw emotion concealed beneath Hilary’s tailored exterior. The character’s marriage, friendship, and family dynamics are in disarray. Blue navigates this terrain with tremendous nuance and intrigue, locking you into her character’s frame of mind. Hilary’s powerhouse monologues throughout the series give several examples of why Blue’s work resonates so deeply. She reverberates long after the end credits roll and leaves you hoping her character will be okay. With Emmy voting just around the corner, Sarayu Blue in “Expats” is a phenomenal performance to remember.

Nadia Dalimonte

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie – Jonathan Bailey for “Fellow Travelers”
Jonathan Bailey’s performance in “Fellow Travelers” earned him a Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries, so why am I advocating for him to be nominated when he should be at the top of everyone’s list for this category? The answer is simple. “Fellow Travelers” premiered back in October 2023 and has quietly lost steam since newer programs showed up during the awards season. Not to mention, rewarding an openly gay man for playing a gay character on-screen is something which, shamefully, large voting bodies still seem to have hesitation toward, although at least the Television Academy tends to be more accepting than others. Either way, Bailey delivers one of the year’s standout performances as a young, idealistic congressional staffer who in 1950s Washington, D.C. during the McCarthy era, becomes romantically entangled with Matt Bomer’s character. His performance captures a level of nuance, depth, and complexity that has lingered with audiences all year and has been the subject of much praise and adoration. His on-screen chemistry with Bomer is compelling and authentic, earning the audience’s emotional investment across a story spanning several decades. Acting as the driving force of the limited series’s thematic power, Bailey’s work culminates in the profoundly rich finale with an incredible monologue that not only brings on tears but finds its way into our hearts, forever ensuring the series’s lasting impact and legacy. Hopefully, the Television Academy will recognize this as well.

Matt Neglia

Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series – Kaitlin Olson for “Hacks”
There’s no denying Kaitlin Olson’s comedic power. She’s been showing off her chops on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” for 16 seasons and somehow manages to outdo herself the longer the show airs. But for whatever reason, she’s never gotten the proper awards recognition for her work. That all changed with her roles in “Flipped” and most recently “Hacks,” for which she received a 2022 Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy nomination for her role as DJ Vance, Deborah’s disgruntled and troubled daughter. Olson’s appearances on the show always bring a smile to viewers’ faces, but she really shined in season three’s third episode, “The Roast of Deborah Vance.” Olson perfectly balanced DJ’s disappointment and frustrations toward her mother at a recovery meeting with an electric comedy set that she delivers at the roast (along with an iconic catchphrase). Few performers can get away with showing these dueling aspects of a character. Still, Olson made it look like a walk in the park, and she helped the audience better understand her struggles and the tumultuous relationships she has with her mother. Olson made that episode her own, and she deserves not only an Emmy nomination but also a win at this year’s ceremony.

Ema Sasic

Who/what are you hoping will be nominated at this year’s Emmy Awards? Please let us know in the comments section below or over on our Twitter account and check out our latest Emmy nomination predictions here.

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Matt Neglia
Matt Neglia
Obsessed about the Oscars, Criterion Collection and all things film 24/7. Critics Choice Member.

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