Hey Emmy voters! Consider Southland's Michael Cudlitz, Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany and BBC's The Fall
For proof of how insular and restrictive Hollywood’s TV A-list can be, consider this:
When The Hollywood Reporter gathered six men considered hot contenders for Emmy nominations in drama for a roundtable interview, just one – House of Cards star Corey Stoll – was under the age of 50. (other names included Kevin Bacon, 54; Mandy Patinkin, 60; and Dennis Quaid, 59.)
But when the same industry magazine assembled actresses who had the same Emmy buzz, not one – including Kerry Washington, 36; Connie Britton, 46 and Elisabeth Moss, 30 – were OVER the age of 50.
Which means, to my mind, that Emmy could use a few mind-opening suggestions.
Voting for this year's Emmy awards ends at 5 p.m. Friday. And I remain hopeful that a few Emmy voters might be vacationing in Clearwater Beach, pick up the Tampa Bay Times on an airport layover or read the Feed online -- considering my suggestions for a few worthy performers who might not be on everyone's lips these days.
So, members of the Emmy academy, here are my names presented “for your consideration.”
Michael Cudlitz, Southland, Best Supporting Actor, Drama: Cudlitz had the mixed blessing of turning in some of his most impressive, affecting work on a TNT show that got canceled despite blowing the doors off every other cop drama now on the air. As troubled, closeted gay cop John Cooper, this past season he was kidnapped by a pair of tweaking methheads, saw his (possibly) closeted partner killed by those same tweakers and then seemingly committed suicide by cop — refusing to back down during a fight with a neighbor until he was shot down. On a show that seemed to nail the realities of a patrolman's life more than any other, he brought the most vivid, tragic story to the screen as the series’ perfect swan song.
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black, Best Actress, Drama: As a Canadian series aired on BBC America, this show might not be on every U.S. viewer's radar screen. But Maslany shines as Sarah Manning, a British street urchin who sees a woman looking just like her commit suicide on a subway platform. After assuming her doppelganger's identity to steal her money, Manning soon realizes there are many other women who seem to be her twins — and someone is trying to kill all of them. Along the way, Maslany takes on characters with American, British and German accents, playing a succession of clones born to different mothers.
The Fall, Best Drama: This BBC series debuted stateside on Netflix days before Emmy's May 31 eligibility cutoff, starring X-Files alum Gillian Anderson as a British police officer brought to Belfast, Northern Ireland, to help with a complicated murder. She soon discovers there is a man who is systematically stalking and strangling young professional women, sneaking into their homes and taking items as trophies. The series moves slowly, allowing viewers to see the murderer's methods — as well as his dead-end job and surprisingly healthy family — while observing a supremely dysfunctional police force struggling to keep up. Star Anderson, co-star Jamie Dornan (as the killer) and The Good Wife alum Archie Panjabi all deserve nods, so just nominate the series overall and be done with it.
Kerry Washington, Scandal, Best Actress, Drama: Everyone expects Washington to nab a nomination as ABC's drama has become the buzzed-about nighttime soap of the season. That’s because Scandal rests largely on the strength of Washington's performance as Olivia Pope, a powerful D.C.-area fixer who also happens to be cheating with the president of the United States. Stil, if nominated, she would be only the fifth black woman in history to earn a Best Actress nod; she's already only the second African-American female to star in a drama series on network television. And because Hollywood is notorious for making obvious mistakes where these things are concerned, here’s my reminder to the Emmy academy that it’s time to make some more history.
Rob Lowe and Debbie Reynolds, Behind the Candelabra, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Miniseries: Regular readers of this space know I wasn't the biggest fan of this film, but Lowe and Reynolds were among the best performers in a movie packed with ace supporting roles. Reynolds, nearly unrecognizable through layers of prosthetics, played mother to Michael Douglas' Liberace, leveraging a thick German accent and loads of guilt. Lowe was reptilian and freakish-looking as Dr. Jack Startz, donning a fair amount of appliances himself to simulate the look of several facelifts. Lowe and Reynolds got way too little screentime in HBO's film about Liberace's romance with boy toy Scott Thorson, but they both made the most of every second.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Exceptional Merit in Non-Fiction Filmmaking: Based on a jolting book co-authored by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, this documentary from PBS' Independent Lens series featured the writer accompanying stars such as Diane Lane and America Ferrera to countries where activists fight crushing oppression against women. After watching Kristof push police in Sierra Leone to arrest a pastor accused of raping his niece — only to find that the father of the assaulted girl kicked her and her mother out of their home to avoid shame — you realize how deep the problem goes in some cultures. And how courageous some people have to be, just to get these stories told.