My 2014 Emmy Predictions

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in “True Detective”

These are my predictions for tomorrow night’s Emmy Awards. It should be a big night for Breaking Bad, True Detective, and Fargo, to say the least. I am not familiar with some of the shows nominated, such as The Good Wife or Orange is the New Black, the latter of which is up for a multitude of awards and will probably win for Best Comedy Series. In cases like that, my predictions/thoughts will be based on the general consensus that I have gathered from friends and family who have watched these shows as well as from reviews and thoughts of critics online.

My predicted winners are in red and any additional thoughts of mine will be underneath each category in green.

Writing for a Comedy

David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes
Louis C.K., Louie
Liz Friedman and Jenji Kohan, Orange Is the New Black
Alec Berg, Silicon Valley
Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche, and Armando Iannucci, Veep

Directing for a Comedy

Iain B. MacDonald, Episodes
Paris Barclay, Glee
Louis C.K., Louie
Gail Mancuso, Modern Family
Jodie Foster, Orange Is the New Black
Mike Judge, Silicon Valley

Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Colin Hanks, Fargo
Jim Parsons, The Normal Heart
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Alfred Molina, The Normal Heart
Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart
Martin Freeman, Sherlock: His Last Vow

Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Frances Conroy, American Horror Story: Coven
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Coven
Allison Tolman, Fargo
Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic
Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart

I would really, really, REALLY like Allison Tolman to win for Fargo. She went head-to-head against Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman and was equal to, if not better than them a majority of the time.

Allison Tolman, Fargo

Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special

Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, American Horror Story: Coven
Noah Hawley, Fargo
Neil Cross, Luther
Larry Kramer, The Normal Heart
Steven Moffat, Sherlock: His Last Vow
David Simon and Eric Overmyer, Treme

Hawley wrote all 10 episodes and completed the absurd task of creating a TV series based on one of the most critically-acclaimed movies of all time that can be called a masterpiece in its own right.

Directing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Dramatic Special

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, American Horror Story: Coven
Adam Bernstein, Fargo
Colin Bucksey, Fargo
Stephen Frears, Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight
Ryan Murphy, The Normal Heart
Nick Hurran, Sherlock: His Last Vow

Fargo‘s pilot was incredible. 

Writing for a Variety Series

The Colbert Report
The Daily Show
Inside Amy Schumer
Key & Peele
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Fallon has been absolutely wonderful since taking over for Jay Leno earlier this year. He is a breath of fresh air in the late night talk show universe.

Guest Actress in a Comedy

Natasha Lyonne, Orange Is the New Black
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Laverne Cox, Orange Is the New Black
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Joan Cusack, Shameless

Guest Actor in a Comedy

Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
Nathan Lane, Modern Family
Steve Buscemi, Portlandia
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Gary Cole, Veep

Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Fred Armisen, Portlandia
Tony Hale, Veep

Directing for a Drama

Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire
Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad
David Evans, Downton Abbey
Neil Marshall, Game of Thrones
Carl Franklin, House of Cards
Cary Joji Fukunaga, True Detective

Gilligan and Fukunaga both did amazing jobs on Breaking Bad and True Detective, respectively, but it is Marshall and his 50-minute Battle of the Wall that served as the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones who deserves this directing award.

Writing for a Drama

Moira Walley-Beckett, Breaking Bad
Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones
Beau Willimon, House of Cards
Nic Pizzolatto, True Detective

Walley-Beckett’s “Ozymandias” is one of THE great TV episodes of all time, and this award is a no-brainer, even considering Vince Gilligan’s ability to tie up all loose ends in one of the neatest series finales of all time, “Felina.” 

Guest Actress in a Drama

Margo Martindale, The Americans
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Kate Mara, House of Cards
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
Jane Fonda, The Newsroom
Kate Burton, Scandal

I mean, she poisoned King Joffrey. Give her ALL the awards.

Guest Actor in a Drama

Paul Giamatti, Downton Abbey
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife
Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards
Robert Morse, Mad Men
Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex
Joe Morton, Scandal


Supporting Actress in a Drama

Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Supporting Actor in a Drama

Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Peter Dinklage’s speech at the end of “The Laws of Gods and Men” is one for the ages.

Television Movie

Killing Kennedy
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight
The Normal Heart
Sherlock: His Last Vow
The Trip to Bountiful


American Horror Story: Coven
Bonnie & Clyde
The White Queen

Variety Series

The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Please not SNL. I’d rather Bill Maher won over SNL.

Reality Competition Program

The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The Voice

Lead Actress in a Comedy

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

Lead Actor in a Comedy

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

Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Coven
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor
Minnie Driver, Return to Zero
Kristen Wiig, The Spoils of Babylon
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

Lead Actress in a Drama

Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Claire Danes, Homeland
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex
Kerry Washington, Scandal

Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge
Martin Freeman, Fargo
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo
Idris Elba, Luther
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: His Last Vow

Can there be a tie? Martin and Thorton were both exquisite in Fargo, but if I had to pick one, I’d go with the actor who had to show a much greater range, and that was Martin Freeman as the loser insurance salesman-turned-murderous creep.

Lead Actor in a Drama

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

Hey, if Jeff Daniels won last year, maybe he can upset again this year…right? I think I’d throw my computer at my TV if that happens. While I would love Jon Hamm to FINALLY win an award for playing Don Draper, this race is definitely between Bryan Cranston and Matthew McConaughey. Cranston was perfect in the final 8 episodes of Breaking Bad, especially Ozymandias,” but McConaughey has the story and the hype and the momentum (AND THE OSCAR) behind him. Purely the fact that Craston already has three Emmys for playing Walter White says that McConaughey will get it this time. And poor Woody. He was great in True Detective too, but not existential meltdown-good.

Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
Orange Is the New Black
Silicon Valley

Ah, screw it. I said Orange might win above but I think Louie could manage an upset. Let’s go with that. 

Drama Series

Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men
True Detective

The final award of the night is definitely between Breaking Bad and True DetectiveGame of Thrones was great (and my personal favorite of all the shows nominated), but it wasn’t as good as past seasons and some rare “off moments” (coughincestrapecough) soured its overall taste in my mouth. Mad Man was the same as ever, slow and smoldering with some awesome moments to close out the season, but its time in the Emmy limelight has clearly passed – any chance at another win will have to be next year for its final season. I have not seen Downton Abbey so I cannot say whether it has a chance or not for myself, but I did see House of Cards, and this season was… well, it was quite bad. (Thanks for taking Hannibal‘s spot, dude…)

Last but not least, I would much rather have had True Detective in the Miniseries category as it will not have the same cast next season, just like Fargo and American Horror Story. Also, while I really enjoyed True Detective, especially the performances from its two leads and the long take at the end of Episode 5, I felt it was a lot slower than it should have been, and its ending – which I happened to love – divided a lot of people who had been watching the show from the beginning. Breaking Bad had the more perfect eight-episode block, and I personally have never been more engaged by a show than when its final season aired last summer. The time in between episodes seemed insurmountable!  From Hank confronting Walt early on, to Jesse’s betrayal, to the cut-to-black in the middle of a climactic gunfight in the desert… those cliffhangers caused me heart problems! The final four episodes, “To’hajilee,” “Ozymandias,” “Granite State,” and “Felina,” will be studied by filmmakers and storytellers alike for years to come. THAT is how you end a television show.

Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad’s “Ozymandias”

– Flipp

A Brief Post on Robin Williams

I don’t entirely know what to write on the subject and there has been plenty already written about it over the past two days; all I can say is Robin Williams was truly one of the funniest and most talented actors and comedians around, able to put a smile on people’s faces even when he could not manage one himself. His suicide is a sad, sad thing, and while countless other, smarter people can write about his depression, past addictions, and other demons, I would just like to say thank you to the man who played a large role in my childhood with his manically enthusiastic performances in Aladdin, Jumanji, and Flubber, and who taught me the lessons of perseverance, individuality, and sticking up for what is right in one of the most hauntingly beautiful films of all time, Dead Poets Society.

Now, any line from Dead Poets Society is worth quoting, but I will end this very brief post with this monologue (powerfully used in a recent iPad commercial) from one of Mr. Keating’s English classes:

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

O Captain! My Captain! Rest in peace.

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 7.06.45 PM


A Film Curmudgeon’s Lament: or, How I Saw “Guardians of the Galaxy” and Didn’t Really Care For It

I guess, subconsciously, my goal in life is to become as close to New York Post film critic Kyle Smith as possible.

I saw a little movie called Guardians of the Galaxy yesterday morning, and following my recent trend of completely not caring for a movie that almost everyone else – critics, film buffs, and the average moviegoer alike – has loved and praised, I left the theater neither moved nor disappointed by the film that has a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

There is a point toward the end of the movie where deep-voiced, hooded, staff-wielding supervillain Ronan (which is all I can remember about him) raises his arms mockingly and asks a crowd of scared spectators something along the lines of “This is it? Your guardians of the galaxy?” and I found myself agreeing with him completely.

Really? This is the best blockbuster of the summer? What I’ve seen in headlines referred to as “Marvel’s Most Important Movie”?

I just don’t get it.


Now, I didn’t hate Guardians of the Galaxy. I can’t even say I disliked it. I laughed at some of Rocket’s lines, and generally appreciated Drax the Destroyer and his inability to understand metaphors, and immensely enjoyed that one Jackson Pollock reference…

But I did not care about the plot. About the race of Xandarians or whatever that Ronan was supposedly going to wipe out. I didn’t care about Benicio Del Toro’s cameo as The Collector, which tied into Thor 2 and I’m guessing ties into The Avengers 2 and other upcoming Marvel movies, and I didn’t care about the forced love story between Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill/Star Lord and Zoe Saldana’s Gamora. And then, once the film erupted into an excess of explosions and lasers and CGI ships and dizzying maneuvers in the climactic battle to board Ronan’s ship, my brain kinda-sorta just checked out.

In this regard, Guardians of the Galaxy might as well have been titled Star Trek 3, as it felt exactly like J. J. Abrams’ reimagined, spectacle-filled, and ultimately soulless Star Trek, only this time with some Star Wars-esque clothing and sets. Chris Pine- I mean, Pratt’s womanizing, goofy scoundrel, Zoe Saldana as a hard-ass with a soft spot for said roguish space adventurers, an alien whose humor comes from not being able to understand human emotions and insinuations, and the growling, brooding, cookie-cutter alien of a supervillain out to disintegrate planets for some unknown or boring reason…need I go on? I can only PRAY Star Wars VII is not this generic.

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy ties into my slight (and I mean slight) disdain with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, which, while having a remarkable track record of producing a string of decent-to-good films without any major bombs, is all about the end game rather than the movies being made and released “in the moment.” Because Marvel has mapped out its movies for the next ten or so years, each movie released is somehow meant to tie into one, two, or five movies down the road. While admittedly cool to see coherence and a broad sense of continuity between films, as well as all the character crossovers and inside jokes and references to other films, it gets a little tiresome when you realize that none of the films can really stand on their own, and that when you do watch, say, The Avengers in the objective context that five or six other films had built up to this point, you’re almost guaranteed to think “Wait, that’s it? After ALL that?” Yes, these movies are all enjoyable on a superficial level, but think how much deeper they would be if focus were put on each individual film that together naturally build to a crossover film. This crossover would then serve as a compliment to the films that preceded it rather than the end goal of the franchise. Maybe DC can do what Marvel has been unable to– Oh wait. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.


As for my dwindling taste in movies, let me not stop with Guardians of the Galaxy. Just so people reading this post are even more upset with me, I will admit that this is the third highly-praised film that I have felt “meh” about in the last month alone. Guardians follows in the footsteps of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Boyhood (both also over 90% fresh on RT), but I would honestly say that I enjoyed Guardians a lot more than the latter two.

So… Am I just wrong? Or is everyone else wrong? Either way, I feel cursed, like I somehow found a chest full of Aztec gold that makes me indifferent to current universally-acclaimed movies.

All I know is that next time I decide to go to the movies, before I step foot into the theater, I need someone to ask me, ” Is spending $12 or $7 or even $1 worth it for a movie that will most likely disappoint you?” and then hit me if I answer “Yes.” Please and thank you. You will forever have my gratitude.

– Flipp


Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams in 2008’s Doubt

I’ve been debating what my first ACTUAL movie review for this blog should be: I could follow up my Disney Challenge Intro with my promised review of the Disney “Classical Era” films, or I could hold off on that for a little while longer and write about one of this year’s movies, such as Boyhood, The Lego MovieSnowpiercer, or Life Itself, all of which I’ve seen over the last month.

Instead, I shall do neither.

Instead, I am going to write about a 6-year-old movie that I just saw for the first time last week.

2008’s Doubt, self-adapted from John Patrick Shanley’s 2004 play of the same name, combines two things near and dear to me: great acting and Catholicism. Surprisingly, the Catholic nature of Doubt is treated objectively and respectfully, even amid its heavy subject matter, which is quite rare in a mainstream Hollywood movie. As an added bonus, Doubt features the late, great, and sorely-missed Philip Seymour Hoffman in a supporting role just morally ambiguous enough to leave the audience’s sympathies conflicted, resulting in a very tense and powerful movie experience.

Set at a Bronx Catholic church and school in 1964, Doubt tells the story of an alleged case of sexual abuse, although this serves as a plot point rather than the underlying theme of the film. Crotchety, strict Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep) warns her younger, more liberal nuns to watch out for any misdoings around the parish or school after warm-hearted Father Brendan Flynn (Hoffman) gives a particularly striking sermon on the nature of doubt. Young, naive Sister James (Amy Adams) notices Father Flynn’s distinct attachment to new student Donald Miller, the only black boy in the school. After catching the boy with alcohol on his breath after a private meeting with the priest, she goes to her superior, who then makes it her “though-I-be-damned-to-hell” mission to find out the truth behind Father Flynn’s relationship with the boy. The battle of wills that ensues between Streep and Hoffman yields results and changes at the church, but not necessarily those one would expect. It also brings into question the film’s main theme, clearly outlined in the film’s opening minutes (oh, yes, and by its title), doubt, as well as the consequences of being resilient to the point of intolerance.


The four main leads, Streep, Hoffman, Adams, and Viola Davis as Mrs. Miller, the alleged victim’s mother, are outstanding, and all deservedly received Oscar nominations at the 2009 Academy Awards. Amy Adams exudes an innocence that struggles with the strictness of her surroundings, especially the overbearing, miserable presence of Sister Aloysius. She loves her students and is optimistic to the point where she cannot believe that Father Flynn would be a pedophile, let alone lie about it, even though she subconsciously must have had misgivings as she brought Flynn’s suspicious activity to the attention of Streep’s character. When she finally breaks under the pressure of the events encircling her and lashes out at a talkative, but innocent, student in her class, we can see the pain in her eyes as she realizes that she has gone too far. She is not ready for a cynical world where pain and suffering are very real.

Viola Davis, in a single 11-minute scene (her only other appearance is a single, silent shot of her face near the film’s end) is devastating as a mother caught between a rock and a hard place, suffering in a marriage to a violent husband who disapproves of his son while holding onto the hope that graduating from a good Catholic school will lead to better high school placement for Donald and a chance at college after that. Streep’s look of incredulousness at Davis’s tear-stained refusal of help is haunting. Streep, in what was her 15th Oscar nominated-role, is formidable, bitter, and stern, but after Adams’ revelation about the possibility of abuse, we as the audience begin to see her human side, and – without spoiling anything – by the film’s end, she is very human. Her quest for the truth is insatiable after this point, and she drives the remainder of the movie as she moves to take down Father Flynn.

Hoffman, especially now, 6 months after his untimely and unfortunate death, is a sight to be seen, even in the subdued, mostly-background role of Father Flynn. The seemingly-boisterous and friendly Father Flynn remains a mystery for most of the movie, only taking the forefront early on in the film in a few brief scenes revolving around his cryptic homilies at Mass; the only instances we gleam of him elsewhere are through the eyes of the two suspicious sisters, and his (admittedly suspicious) actions, such as showing the boys’ basketball team his long fingernails during a practice that he is coaching, or giving Donald a hug of reassurance in the hallway after a bully knocks his books out of his hands, can be construed to be entirely innocent or subtly malevolent. It is during the climactic confrontational scene in which he goes head to head with Streep that Hoffman finally has enough to do and say to warrant his Oscar nomination. His incredulity at Sister Aloysius’ allegations and her refusal to believe in his innocence, contrasted with his look of terror when she claims to have unearthed information regarding his last assignment at another parish, solidifies Father Flynn’s ambiguous nature, and ultimately leads to the fulfillment of the film’s treatise on the idea of doubt.

Is Father Flynn guilty? Does Sister Aloysius have proof of past misconduct? Is it enough to force Father Flynn out of his church? Or is she committing a witch hunt based on personal misgivings for change, the Church’s patriarchy, and Frosty the Snowman? Again, I don’t want to spoil Doubt’s ending because I highly recommend it to anyone who respects a fine Meryl Streep performance, misses Philip Seymour Hoffman, enjoys seeing Amy Adams in a wimple, or has a knack for old-school Catholicism like me. It is definitely worth the watch.

(And thank you, Google, for informing me that wimple is the correct term for “nun hat.” You learn something new every day.)

– Flipp