Television’s annual salute to itself – better known as the Emmy Awards – unfolds Sunday, Sept. 18, on ABC with Jimmy Kimmel as host. By the end of the evening, the steady stream of well-dressed presenters and winners will have strutted and fretted their way across the stage, many never to be heard from again.
Winning an Emmy is not easy. Ask Angela Lansbury, who was nominated 12 times from her starring role on “Murder She Wrote” and never took home one of the statues. The snub of Lansbury (who has an Oscar and multiple Tonys) shows that what happens on the awards show isn’t always the right choice.
There are plenty of places for blunders this year. Here’s a look at 10 places where the Emmy Awards could go wrong.
1. Sarah Paulson not winning for her performance as Marcia Clark in “The People v. O.J. Simpson”: This is the fifth year in a row that Paulson has been nominated for an Emmy, and she should already have at least one win to her credit. Take a look at her work as conjoined twins in “American Horror Story” that earned her a nod last year.
Paulson says getting nominated is really the honor.
“There is always going to be a part of me that’s a tiny child that used to watch the Emmy Awards and can’t believe that I get to go,” Paulson says. “But having gone and never won … I think I’m in really good company there. Some of the greatest actors in the world have not won that thing. It sounds sort of pat, but it’s really true. It feels incredible to be invited to the party.”
2. Giving an Emmy to Rami Malek for “Mr. Robot:” Don’t get me wrong, this is an incredible series from writing to the way it is put together. And, Malek brings a large amount of creepy to the role. But, when you just look at his performance, it really pales in comparison to all four of the other nominees: Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”; Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”; Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”; and Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards.”
3. Overlooking Tatiana Maslany for her amazing work in “Orphan Black”: It’s easy to look at the over-the-top work Taraji P. Henson does on “Empire” and remember her when it comes to voting. What has plagued Maslany is that she is too good. She’s so convincing in the multiple roles that people forget just how great she is.
4. Expecting Matt LeBlanc to be funny as a presenter: He’s earned his seven Emmy nominations because LeBlanc is at his best when he’s playing a character. That’s the case even if the character is a twisted version of himself as in “Episodes.” Away from a role, he comes across as indifferent.
5. Not honoring Judith Light for her work on “Transparent:” Jeffrey Tambor deservedly gets the majority of attention for his work on the Amazon series, but if you watch the show closely, it’s Light who really makes a lot of the scenes work even better. There was a bathtub scene this past season that pushed her and gave her a chance to shine.
“When I first read it, I looked at it, and I said, ‘Oh, I can’t do this. I just don’t think I can do it.’ My second thought was, ‘I’ll be with Jeffrey, and I have to do it,’ because one of the things that we don’t talk about enough is mature people and their sexuality,” Light says. “We spent a lot of time talking about (how) it wasn’t just a scene about Shelly. It was a scene about Maura and Shelly. And so we spent time sharing with each other what we were nervous about, and that’s also the beauty of this.”
6. Giving Cuba Gooding Jr. an Emmy in the limited series category: The worst part of “The People v. O.J. Simpson” was Gooding’s lame attempt to portray Simpson. He came across more like Homer Simpson that O.J. Simpson. The award should go to Bryan Cranston for “All the Way.” If Gooding wins over Cranston, it would be the another criminal act connected to Simpson.
7. Not giving Peter Dinklage another win: It doesn’t matter he’s been nominated six times for his work on “Game of Thrones” and has won twice. Dinklage is one of the main reasons to watch the series.
8. Failing to send a message with “black-ish”: Network programs are getting bumped out more and more each year from the Emmy ranks. There are seven shows in the comedy series category, and “black-ish” and “Modern Family” are the only network contenders.
“black-ish” deserves to win because it has brought new energy to the network comedy genre. Just because it is on a network should not take away from how good the show has become. The other thing that should be kept in mind is that “black-ish” is more of a pure comedy than any of the cable or streaming offerings.
9. Missing a chance to say farewell: “Downton Abbey” is not the best contender in the drama series category. It really is seventh in a seven-show race. But, this is the last time the show will be up for the honor, and if it is weighed for its quality, plus the extremely positive effect it has had on PBS, then honoring it would be OK.
10. Not taking this opportunity to fix some rules: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler split the Emmy in the outstanding guest actress in a comedy series category for their hosting work on “Saturday Night Live.” The award was presented during the creative Emmy ceremonies. Does this mean an actor can pick a buddy to share the nomination and make the chances better for winning? Pick one or nominate both separately.
The 68th Emmy Awards
- 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, ABC (Channel 30.1)