The Fifth Annual Andy TV Awards

The Andy TV Award looks mysteriously like the actual Emmy

The Emmys are this Sunday, so it’s time for someone who actually watches television (unlike, say, Emmy Award voters) to pick not only who should win, but who should’ve been nominated in the major categories. Too many posts around award time waste time picking from the group of flawed choices that the various award shows present.

I’ll be dividing these posts up into different categories. Those of you who have been paying attention to my infrequent posting schedule will not be surprised to read that I have little hope in finishing this list by Sunday, but I’ll do my best to get a few posts in before the real show. I’ll start here with my nominees in Guest Actor and Actress categories (Comedy and Drama), then move on to the acting awards for Comedy, then for Drama, before closing out with the Best Show categories.

Here’s the ground rules: to qualify for nomination, a show must have aired most of its season, including its season finale, in the 12 months between May 31st, 2009 and May 31st, 2010. Unlike the Emmys, I base my decisions on the entire season of a show, not single episodes. I used the Emmy ballot to decide which category a performer or a show belongs to, so if they submitted themselves for a supporting category even if they’re a co-lead, that’s where I considered them (same goes for the drama/comedy split). And while I watch a whole lot of television, I don’t watch everything so here’s a list of some critically acclaimed shows that I don’t watch, and thus were left off my ballot: Treme (gave up after four episodes), House, Glee, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Damages, and anything from the UK. Shows that aren’t necessarily acclaimed (but did get some Emmy nominations) that I don’t watch include Two and a Half Men, The New Adventures of Old Christine, The Closer, Monk, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
The nominees are…
Louis CK in Parks and Recreation
Steve Guttenberg in Party Down
Jon Hamm in Saturday Night Live
Rob Lowe in Parks and Recreation
Patton Oswalt in United States of Tara
Eli Wallach in Nurse Jackie

The Guest Actor/Actress awards were already handed out last weekend, with Neil Patrick Harris winning for his guest role in Glee (a performance I did not see). I’m sure that makes up for all the snubs he’s gotten for Best Supporting Actor over the years (he also won an Emmy for hosting the Tonys). For the performances I did see, Parks and Recreation was really strong here, with Adam Scott just missing an nomination (I think I actually like his performance better than Rob Lowe’s, but I gave the nod to Lowe for how funny he was in limited time… particularly with his running). Louis CK was a surprise in his role as Leslie’s love interest, bringing more sensitivity and emotion to the role than you’d expect from an acerbic stand-up comedian. I kinda wish he was still on the show (but not really, since his new show Louie is phenomenal). Jon Hamm got a nomination for showing up on 30 Rock again, but should’ve gotten it for hosting SNL a second time (the “Sergio” sketch alone should’ve been enough). Eli Wallach and Patton Oswalt were more dramatic than comedic (odd considering Oswalt’s day job). Party Down was all about guest performers throughout it’s two seasons, and I think Steve Guttenberg was my favourite of them all (which was unexpected).

The award goes to…

Louis CK in Parks and Recreation
The show made a MASSIVE leap forward in its second season (expect to see it often in these posts) and Louis CK’s arc was a big part of it. His everyman performance gave the show a necessary warmth while bringing Leslie Knope a little more down to earth. I was already a fan of his before he was on the show, yet he was still a revelation. For a guy who just did an episode of his own show where his “character” says he doesn’t like acting, he did some deft work here.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
The nominees are…
Elizabeth Banks in 30 Rock
Tina Fey in Saturday Night Live
Judith Ivey in Nurse Jackie
Margo Martindale in Hung
Megan Mullally in Parks and Recreation
Betty White in Saturday Night Live

Betty White won the Emmy, thus completing the Year of Betty White as seemingly everyone remembered how much they liked her. I enjoyed her performance, and it was certainly admirable that a 88-year-old woman was in every sketch (including the cold open, Weekend Update, and the digital short), but she wasn’t amazing. Tina Fey was probably better in her episode (incidentally, I nominated these two and Jon Hamm, which represents the only three good episodes of the season), but the energy White’s mere presence brought everyone involved with the show made it the best episode of the season. I enjoyed Megan Mullaly more in her one episode on P&R than her entire season of Party Down, and am happy that she’ll be reprising her role again this upcoming season. It was a down year for 30 Rock, but I still enjoyed Elizabeth Bank’s role (which was one of the bright spots).

As for the winner, it was between Margo Martindale and Judith Ivey for their single episode contributions to the two non-comedic comedies on the list. It’s a little unfortunate, since neither role is comedic in any way. But, the award isn’t “Best Comedic Guest Actress”, it’s for the most outstanding performance in a comedy, so if Hung and Nurse Jackie want to call themselves comedies, then this is where they are. As for the performances themselves, Martindale and Ivey both provided the best moments in short histories of their respective shows, highlighting the potential each debut show had. Jackie has been close to that potential a few times since, while Hung has never been as good as it was in Martindale’s episode.

The award goes to…

Judith Ivey in Nurse Jackie
After her episode, where she portrayed a former nurse dying of cancer who visits her old friends looking to die, I was convinced for the first time that this show could be great. It’s still not there, but it could be. (First step? Just be a drama already).

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
The nominees are…
Adam Arkin in Sons of Anarchy
David Costabile in Breaking Bad
Alan Cumming in The Good Wife
Zach Gilford in Friday Night Lights
Jared Harris in Mad Men
John Lithgow in Dexter

This category is the reason why I’m even doing guest stars this year. John Lithgow and Zach Gilford gave two of the absolute best performances of the year, no matter what their billing was. Of course, neither was actually a guest star, and shouldn’t be in this category, but this is where they submitted (and where Lithgow already won the Emmy), so here we are. In fact, all the actors in this category were multi-episode characters, with Lithgow and Adam Arkin being the major villains of their seasons, while Jared Harris is now part of the main cast of Mad Men. Alan Cumming and David Costabile are the genuine guest stars, with Cumming stealing all his scenes in The Good Wife while Costabile found a way to bring pathos to his character with a minimal amount of time while staying within his nebbish wheelhouse.

The award goes to…

John Lithgow in Dexter
Gilford has been breaking viewers hearts since the first season of Friday Night Lights, but was never more devastating than his work in “The Son”. Any other year, he’d be cinch in this category, but Lithgow gave perhaps the most dynamic performance of any performer on television this year. People are exaggerating what a revelation he was as the Trinity Killer, given that it was similar to other villain performances Lithgow has given in his career (which is probably the reason he was cast), but it did inject life into what has become a stale show. Without Lithgow, I’m not sure I’d still be watching Dexter any more. Now, I’m genuinely looking forward to the fifth season.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
The nominees are…
Allison Janney in Lost
Elizabeth Mitchell in Lost
Mary Kay Place in Big Love
Martha Plimpton in The Good Wife
Kiernan Shipka in Mad Men
Sissy Spacek in Big Love

This was the hardest category of any to fill out, as there weren’t a lot of memorable dramatic guest turns for women this past season (the Emmy winner was Anne-Margaret, for a show I don’t watch). I’m still not sure how I felt about Janney’s performance in the Jacob/Man in Black origin story episode, but she gets here almost by default. Mary Kay Place has always been great on Big Love and Sissy Spacek gave the season some much needed gravitas, but I’m not convinced that the season wouldn’t have been better if neither were in it, as their storylines were some of the ones that derailed the season. Martha Plimpton’s appearances as a cantankerous rival lawyer adept at gamesmanship was solid, but standard procedural guest work. So it comes down to little Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka) for her improved acting in season three of Mad Men (making her the best child actor on TV right now) and Elizabeth Mitchell for her two appearances on the final season of Lost (incidentally, Shipka won’t be eligible for this fake award next year, as she’s been upgraded to main cast status).

The award goes to…

Elizabeth Mitchell in Lost
This is a bit of cheat, since all the affection for Mitchell’s appearances was built up over her previous seasons as a full-time cast member. Still, the moment between Juliet and Sawyer at the vending machine in the hospital was probably the best of the finale (which I enjoyed, for the record) and will be remembered as one of the best of the series. So, yeah, I’m giving her a fake internet award largely for one scene. I hope it doesn’t ruin the prestige.

Up next: Acting in a Comedy Series

Related Reviews:
The Fourth Annual Andy TV Awards (2009)
The Third Annual Andy TV Awards (2008)
The Second Annual Andy TV Awards (2007)
Andy’s TV Awards (2006)
Best TV Shows of 2009

6 thoughts on “The Fifth Annual Andy TV Awards

  1. Pingback: The Fifth Annual Andy TV Awards – Comedy Series Acting « Critically Speaking

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  3. Pingback: The Fifth Annual Andy TV Awards – Outstanding Comedy Series « Critically Speaking

  4. Pingback: The Fifth Annual Andy TV Awards – Outstanding Drama Series « Critically Speaking

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