by Julian Spivey
The 71st Emmy Awards will air on Sunday, September 22 on Fox at 7 p.m. Below are 10 shows and actors I’d like to most see take home the honors on Sunday night.
Best Drama Series: This Is Us
I must start by saying that “This Is Us” is the only series nominated in the Outstanding Drama Series category I’ve seen. I’ve never seen a single episode of “Better Call Saul,” “Bodyguard,” “Game of Thrones,” “Killing Eve,” “Ozark,” “Pose” or “Succession.” “This Is Us” is one of my favorite shows, period, on television so I’ll be rooting for it on Sunday, even though I believe “Game of Thrones” will win, even if many of the shows fans seemingly despised the final season. If not ‘GOT’ I think “Succession” may surprise people. Critics say it’s currently the best drama on TV, even if it doesn’t seem to be watched by the masses. If “This Is Us” were somehow to win it would be the first time a drama on a network won, the award since “24” on Fox in 2006.
Best Comedy Series: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
I binged both seasons of Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” earlier this summer and I now understand why it was winning so many awards last year and why so many love it. It’s amazing. The series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino is a show that gives its brilliant cast a lot of scenery to chew and the writing staff provides a non-stop laugh riot. There are so many comedies I love in this category with “Barry,” “Fleabag,” “The Good Place” and the final season of “Veep” all worthy, but my vote would go to ‘Mrs. Maisel.’
Best Variety Series Talk: Late Show with Stephen Colbert
It took a few years after the departure of David Letterman, but the ‘Late Show’ is back to being my go-to late night variety talk show after a few years of claiming “Late Night with Seth Meyers” as my favorite. Meyers, who’s show has irritatingly never been nominated in this category, is still terrific but its constant political related humor has simply become something I can’t do as much these days – that’s more Donald Trump’s fault than Meyers’. ‘Late Show’ host Stephen Colbert does a lot of politics, of course, on his show too, but he’s also the best interviewer currently on any variety talk show making his show overall the most appealing. Look for “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” on HBO to win its fourth consecutive award, though.
Best Actor, Drama: Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)
The only other nominee in this category I’ve seen besides Milo Ventimiglia on “This Is Us” is his co-star Sterling K. Brown. Brown won this honor a couple of years ago for the first season of “This Is Us,” so I’m hoping this year is Ventimiglia’s turn. Ventimiglia’s turn as Pearson family patriarch Jack has been one of the most heartwarming and heartbreaking performances on television since the series began. This category seems wide open this year, but if I had to make a bet, I’d go with Billy Porter of FX’s “Pose.”
Best Actress, Drama: Mandy Moore (This Is Us)
I’m thrilled that Mandy Moore has finally been nominated for her performance on “This Is Us” after three terrific seasons and being snubbed for the first two. Her performance as Rebecca Pearson in two different eras, the only major cast member who has to do this on the show, is remarkable and she’s constantly leaving viewers teary-eyed.
Best Actor, Comedy: Ted Danson (The Good Place)
Last year’s winner Bill Hader is freakin’ fantastic in HBO’s “Barry.” It wouldn’t be a shock to see him win this again and I’d say he’s the front-runner. I’d also love to see multiple-time nominee Anthony Anderson win an Emmy for his hilarious role as Andre Johnson on ABC’s “black-ish.” But, the actor I’m most hoping wins this weekend is Ted Danson for his giddy performance of Michael on “The Good Place.” Danson is consistently laugh-out-loud funny on the series.
Best Actress, Comedy: Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won the Emmy for every season of “Veep” thus far and it would be remarkable to see her complete the sweep and do it again for the show’s seventh season. It would be historical and likely never happen again for someone to win that many Emmys for one character. Louis-Dreyfus’ performance as Selina Meyer is one of the top-five all-time great female comedy performances, but if we’re just going by the work in their most recent seasons (as it’s supposed to be) I’m taking Rachel Brosnahan’s turn in season two of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” over Louis-Dreyfus in the final season of “Veep.” I’d likely take Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s performance in the second season of “Fleabag” over it, as well. Brosnahan, last year’s winner when there wasn’t a season of “Veep” eligible, is perfection as Maisel. Louis-Dreyfus vs. Brosnahan is the most interesting competition of the evening for me.
Best Supporting Actor, Comedy: Stephen Root (Barry)
It’s remarkable to me that Stephen Root has never been nominated for an Emmy Award. Hell, he should’ve been nominated more than 20 years ago for his terrific performance in the highly underrated NBC series “NewsRadio.” Root has finally been nominated for his role as Fuches, essentially the devil in Barry’s life, on “Barry.” I hope it’s time one of Hollywood’s finest character actors is honored on the big stage. However, this is always one of the hardest categories to pick from and Root has competition in co-stars Henry Winkler, who won this category last year, and Anthony Carrigan, who’s NoHo Hank is outrageously funny. It wouldn’t surprise me if the three cost each other votes. If that happens, I’d love to see Tony Shalhoub win for his performance on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Best Supporting Actress, Comedy: Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
This one’s hard for me because I think Alex Borstein is the most-worthy for her second season performance as Susie Myerson on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” but she won the award last year and there’s other actresses in the category who I love. Anna Chlumsky has been amazing as Amy Brookheimer on “Veep” for seven seasons and hasn’t won yet. If she loses, she’d go 0-for-6 for the series, which would be a shame. I also love Sarah Goldberg’s performance in “Barry”, and she gave an amazing monologue in a season two episode that I just new would get her nominated. I’m going with Borstein because of worthiness, but I won’t be upset at all if Chlumsky finally takes it.
Best Writing, Comedy: “ronny/lily” (Barry)
The first time I saw the second season “Barry” episode of “ronny/lily,” written by show creators Alec Berg and Bill Hader, I almost hyperventilated by laughing so much and so hard. It’s one of the funniest episodes of television I’ve ever seen and the best episode of TV I’ve seen in 2019. Get to it right now if you haven’t seen it!