BEST ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES
The four principle cast members finally got their due, each picking up an acting Emmy. But the show had a full bench of brilliant performers, including the always hilarious Chris Elliott as Mayor Roland Schitt. Most sitcoms would kill for a cast of characters this deep: Patrick (Noah Reid), the consummate straight man to David’s antics; Stevie (Emily Hampshire), the deadpan counterweight to the Roses’ eccentricities; and Ronnie (Karen Robinson) and Bob (John Hemphill), popping in with a gut-busting one-liner just when the show needs it.
BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso
Sudeikis’ ads as the titular character were charming enough. But as the lead of this show, he’s finally found a role that fits him like a glove. His indefatigable spirit made believers out of his team, his owner and the viewers.
BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Alia Shawkat, Search Party
We already knew through two seasons of this show that Dory was not a good person. But she goes to a new level of disassociation in Season 3 when she convinces herself that she shouldn’t face any consequences for her actions. She became so borderline sociopathic, it left the rest of the ensemble to pick up the comedic slack. But no one on-screen was quite as compelling as Shawkat.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Mark Proksch, What We Do in the Shadows
The perfect embodiment of the troll, the “energy vampire” Colin is one of the greatest expansions of the mythology established by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement. In the season’s fifth episode, Proksch gets the spotlight, going mad with power as he drains so much energy from his coworkers the company goes belly up.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Phoebe Fox, The Great
The entire cast of Hulu’s revisionist history series does excellent work. But I was most taken with Fox, playing Marial, a former lady reduced to the role of servant. She doesn’t have much else to lose, but manages to maintain a “fuck it” attitude while still remaining fiercely loyal to her people, whatever the cost.
BEST ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES
Ben Mendelsohn and Cynthia Erivo were great as expected, but this Stephen King adaptation assembled the Avengers of “That Guys,” who have popped up in any number of crime movies, Netflix shows and indie dramas. While the show probably could have lost an episode or two, that just gave us more time to hang out with a bunch of average dudes about to walk straight into the buzzsaw of supernatural evil.
BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
With his transformation from Jimmy to Saul forged in the desert, Odenkirk somehow found another level to go up in his performance. The persona was built for scheming, now it’s there for survival.
BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Laura Linney, Ozark
She’d already become Lady Macbeth in the second season, now she’s coming for the whole of the empire. This of course led to even more absurdity than the show normally has. But Linney crushed it as usual.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Tom Pelphrey, Ozark
Even though I consume far more movies and television than the average person, it’s always nice to be surprised by an actor you’ve never seen before. Pelphrey wasn’t even on my radar, but he was absolutely riveting this season as Wendy’s bipolar brother. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Rhea Seehorn, Better Call Saul
What else is there to say? Seehorn has been magnificent every season, and was at her absolute best here. And she still can’t get a goddamn Emmy nomination. It’s unacceptable!
BEST ENSEMBLE IN A LIMITED SERIES
We’ll get to some more specific stars in a moment, but the enormous ensemble must be praised as well. While Rose Byrne and Cate Blanchett anchored the warring factions, the miniseries allowed plenty of room for characters loud and quiet to speak up, even when their warnings went unheeded. Its wide canvas showed the wide spectrum of opinions on women’s liberation and how, at least in the ’70s, the political lines didn’t seem so rigid.
BEST ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES
David Thewlis, Barkskins
National Geographic’s adaptation of Annie Proulx’s novel never quite achieved liftoff, but it sure was pretty to look at. Thewlis was by far the most mesmerizing actor on-screen throughout all eight episodes, playing a megalomaniacal settler out to build his own Shangri-La in the Canadian wilderness.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES
Cate Blanchett, Mrs. America
If I had to rank all the performances on TV this year, Rhea Seehorn would be at the top, but Blanchett would be a very close second. It’s not easy to play a monster. It’s even more of a challenge to make a monster a three-dimensional character instead of a punching bag for all the wrong ideas. The riveting contradiction at the heart of her portrayal of activist Phyllis Schlafly is the conservative philosophy in microcosm: I’m satisfied with my position, so why shouldn’t you be? I “earned” my position, so why do you belong here if you didn’t? I made it to the top, so why should I help you up? I believe God made us “equal,” so why does the law need to reflect that? Blanchett holds all of these within her, and remains horrifyingly focused on her goal, rationalizing a team-up with white supremacists in order to reach it.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES
Alan Cumming, Briarpatch
When I read Ross Thomas’ novel, I certainly didn’t envision Alan Cumming playing the role of arms dealer Clyde Brattle. (But I also didn’t picture Rosario Dawson as the male lead either.) But Cumming makes a four-course meal out of the small-time Bond villain, who’s out of moves but still deliciously evil.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES
Uzo Aduba, Mrs. America
Is there anything she can’t do? Aduba was often the standout of Orange Is the New Black‘s impressive ensemble, picking up two Emmy awards. She did the same here, playing Shirley Chisolm, the New York Congresswoman and the first woman to run for President of a major party. But this was no mere history lesson, as she experiences the barrage of misogyny and racism – even from the supposedly more progressive party – with an amazing grace.