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And with that, another awards show ends.
Feel free to check out my predictions here.
Breaking Bad Behind the Candelabra
In the least surprising awards of all, Breaking Bad and Bryan Cranston won for best TV drama and lead actor in a drama. The Golden Globes were judging Breaking Bad on its final season, the one that aired this past summer/fall, and thus will no longer be up for any awards – unlike for the next EMMY Awards. What many critics hailed as the best ending/final season of a TV show ever now has validation in the form of a Golden Globe. Likewise, Bryan Cranston, who played the show’s lead, is also rewarded for the last time playing Walter White. The show is so focused on White’s character that, really, Breaking Bad depended on Bryan Cranston to perpetually achieve greatness on screen for it to become the hit it has become. Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad’s only other nominee, lost out to Jon Voigt of Ray Donovan for best supporting actor, with Voigt’s win being a surprise over the aforementioned Paul and House of Cards’ excellent Corey Stoll.
Meanwhile, in even more of a sure thing, Behind the Candelabra won for best TV movie/mini-series. Behind the Candelabra has been, arguably, the biggest release on TV to date. Featuring relevant Hollywood actors in Michael Douglas – who won best lead in a TV movie/mini-series for his portrayal of Liberace – and Matt Damon, as well as fairly big name director Steven Soderbergh, Behind the Candelabra is perhaps the first “Hollywood” movie to be released solely on TV. Behind the Candelabra was critically acclaimed upon its release and may best be known for its Hollywood pedigree that couldn’t find a distributor because of the worry that it couldn’t be marketed. While it shouldn’t become commonplace to find many more movies of its caliber releasing on TV, it does lend TV some more legitimacy that it didn’t have. Feel free to read my review of Behind the Candelabra for a more in-depth analysis.
House of Cards was, to me, Breaking Bad’s main competition and it did not go home empty handed as Robin Wright won for lead actress in a drama. Her performance as the cold and fierce Claire Underwood, who is tired of being overshadowed by her husband, the speaker of the house, was often intense and well performed. Elisabeth Moss, famous for her role as Peggy Olson on the excellent but left completely out of any category for nominations Mad Men, won lead actress for a TV movie/mini-series for her role on Top of the Lake. She beat out heavy hitters Helen Mirren and Helena Bonham Carter. And finally, Sofia Vergara goes wanting yet again losing out to Jacqueline Bisset for supporting actress in a series, mini-series, or TV movie. Bisset was in the multiple categories nominated Dancing on the Edge.
Saturday Night Live Alums Win Big
On the comedy side of the TV spectrum, there were surprises abound, the least of which was Amy Poehler winning for lead actress in a comedy. Poehler gets a deserved win for playing the very sweet and lovable Lesley Knope on Parks and Recreation. The bigger surprises come from Brooklyn Nine-Nine as it won both best comedy series and Andy Samberg won lead actor for a comedy series for his role in it.
For me, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has definitely had a very solid debut season but it still took the show a little while to gel. I think many of the later episodes have shown the writers and actors gaining a grasp on their characters but it is a surprise that best comedy series went to the first season show. It is not as though Brooklyn Nine-Nine has reinvented the wheel. In fact, it is the same tried and true formula that Michael Schur, the show’s creator, learned on The Office as a writer and then rolled over to Parks and Recreation – another show he created.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a tad more jokey than its predecessors, however, and trades the talking to the camera “confessionals” for the flashback style jokiness on which many of Fox’s animated shows rely. Samberg does a very good job in his lead role as goofy detective Jake Peralta and it is his competence, instead of the complete lack thereof, that makes his character all the better to watch grow each week. Perhaps Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s win isn’t as much about the greatness of the show as it is about the lack of high quality comedy currently on TV. Not to diminish Brooklyn Nine-Nine, as it is pretty funny and continues to improve, but by no means is it a show worthy of the comedy pantheon at the moment.