Emmys 2022

For the most part, I think it was a pretty crowd-pleasing Emmy nomination announcement today, between Abbott Elementary, Yellowjackets, and of course, Squid Game. Does the first-ever nominated Korean show have a chance to repeat the success of Parasite three years ago? Seems unlikely. I have to agree with the Washington Post assessment, because between perennial favorite Succession and two big departures, the smart pick here is Better Call Saul. I’m pretty sure Breaking Bad won only one Outstanding Drama award, and that was for its last season. The Academy, or whatever it is, sure loves pulling that stunt.

But I was heartened today, thinking about how the cast of Squid Game would wake up to this news. Sure, we might all be tired of awards and award shows, but this is probably the best we can do to let those crazy kids know they’re pretty good. And for actors, it’s got to be a good feeling, no matter where the vindication comes from.

Really, my only problem — lessened by its predictability — was Tramell Tillman, who played Seth Milchick in Severance (a show which did garner Adam Scott his first Emmy nomination). No nomination for Best Supporting Actor, despite his eerie and measured villainy as the office henchman. He’s the boss’s go-between, so he has to put on this creepy babysitter persona while dealing with the employees (who are, in a sense, children), but darkens with frightening intensity when they require discipline. It’s a masterful performance, but not “buzzy” enough. Severance was already pretty under-the-radar, so it makes since that its acting nominations went to known quantities like Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, and Christopher Walken — yes, they were all in that show.

But also, really, with Adam Scott? First Emmy nomination? When I think of essential comedy actors of the 21st century, Adam Scott’s up there. Not because he’s one of those comedic geniuses evidenced by specific comedy like sketch or improv but because he’s in everything and he’s always good. Party Down, Parks and Recreation, and a bunch of weird, dramatic indie movies? I think the problem is that, like, Jason Bateman, he’s the perennial straight man. He makes more sense in dramatic roles like Big Little Lies, but for some reason he’s always playing off Amy Pohler and Ken Marino, and that’s when he kind of becomes the MVP. So naturally, it’s a dramatic role that finally lands him awards recognition. Whatever, I’ll take it.

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