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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Predicting the 2014 Emmy Winners: Best Direction



* Cary Joji Fukunaga "Who Goes There" (True Detective)
* Carl Franklin "Chapter 14" (House of Cards)
* David Evans "Episode 1" (Downton Abbey)
* Neil Marshall "The Watchers on The Wall" (Game of Thrones)
* Tim Van Patten "Farewell Daddy Blues" (Boardwalk Empire)
* Vince Gilligan "Felina" (Breaking Bad)

SURPRISED HE'S NOT NOMINATED: Rian Johnson "Ozymandias" (Breaking Bad)


James Whitmore Jr. for "Hitting The Fan" & Josh Charles for "Tying The Knot" would also be acceptable choices to be considered snubs if The Good Wife were smart and made each director eligible. However, CBS made a grave mistake, and there's a reason the show didn't earn a nomination here. That just leaves Rian Johnson as the biggest Emmy snub of 2014


* As much as I strongly disliked and did not enjoy watching True Detective, that had to do with the writing, and little to do with Cary Joji Fukunaga's directing. The visuals were gorgeous and the performances he pulled from Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were excellent. What elevated Fukunaga's level to greatness and why he's going to win this award is because of his incredible oner at the end of "Who Goes There".

* Neil Marshall directed the very best Game of Thrones episode ever, Season 2's "Blackwater". He came back to essentially film Blackwater 2: The Blackening this season. Season 4's penultimate episode, like "Blackwater", was a huge hour long action sequence set in one location. For some unknown and frustrating reason, Neil Marshall wasn't nominated in this category two years ago, but Emmy voters made it up to him this year by nominating him for his work on "The Watchers On The Wall". The episode was an adrenaline rush and better than most summer movie Blockbusters. His nomination here is long overdue and well deserved.

* Vince Gilligan will always hold a special place in my heart for creating the greatest television show ever in the history of mankind, and since Breaking Bad recently aired its last 8 episodes, you knew Gilligan was going to be nominated for every award possible. While Gilligan is a fine director who directed the fan favorite series finale "Felina", I would have much rather seen Rian Johnson for "Ozymandias", Michelle MacLaren for "To'hajiilee", or even Bryan Cranston for "Blood Money" get nominated here as opposed to Gilligan. I know why he earned this nomination and I fully expected this nomination, but I don't know that he necessarily deserves this nomination.

* The Emmy's absolutely love Tim Van Patten and he earned his 10th directing Primetime Emmy nomination in 2014 for directing the Boardwalk Empire series finale "Farewell Daddy Blues". I love Van Patten's visual styling and his incredible story telling, and the action packed finale was one of the best episodes in an up and down 4th season of the HBO prohibition drama.

* House of Cards is the reigning champion of his category as Oscar-nominee David Fincher won this award in 2013 for directing the pilot episode. Carl Franklin gets a nomination this year for directing the first episode of Season 2 of House of Cards. While that first episode was one of, if not THE, best episode during the terrible second season, that's damning with faint praise. There was nothing memorable or special about Franklin's directing, and I'd rather see this spot go to directors from Mad Men, Breaking Bad, or Game of Thrones.

* It's insulting to say anything Davis Evans did on Downton Abbey is even close to anything done by almost every other drama series director from the past 12 months. This nomination is both a joke and an insult.

WHO WILL WIN: Cary Joji Fukunaga "Who Goes There" (True Detective)

WHO SHOULD WIN (ACTUAL NOMINEES): Cary Joji Fukunaga "Who Goes There" (True Detective)

WHO SHOULD WIN (ENTIRE ELIGIBLE FIELD): Rian Johnson "Ozymandias" (Breaking Bad)



* Iain B. MacDonald "Episode Nine" (Episodes)
* Gail Mancuso "Las Vegas" (Modern Family)
* Jodie Foster "Lesbian Request Denied" (Orange Is The New Black)
* Louie C.K. "Elevator, Part 6" (Louie)
* Mike Judge "Minimum Viable Product" (Silicon Valley)
* Paris Barclay "100" (Glee)

SURPRISED SHE'S NOT NOMINATED: Beth McCarthy-Miller "The Late Show" (Modern Family)

SHOULD BE NOMINATED: Tristram Shapeero "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics" (Community)


* Normally, I have no idea what makes for a good comedy director because comedy directors generally don't use lighting or Mise En Scene or framing like drama directors do. However, comedy directors probably have the hardest job, because it's their job to make sure jokes land. Obviously jokes are all about timing, and how the director chooses to portray the joke can make a show funny or not. However, the one example of obvious great comedy direction is "Las Vegas" by Gail Mancuso. The second half of the episode is extremely busy that requires a lot of difficulty and finesse, and the prior Emmy winner's nomination in this category is extremely well deserved.

* Usually I would bash on Glee, but considering how subtle comedy directing is, I imagine that Paris Barclay directing huge musical numbers is pretty difficult and would appeal to Emmy voters. While Glee may not technically be a comedy (although very few shows in this category now are a comedy), I'd bet you can squeeze your eyes real close to see the justification for a Glee nomination in 2014.

* When I wrote my Emmy Questions post on Orange Is The New Black, I thought Michael Trim would earn a nomination here and a nomination for Jodie Foster would come later. Michael Trim was the show's main director, and since Foster was just starting to dipping her toe into the TV directorial waters, I thought her nomination was a year or two away. Well, as it turns out, her time is now as she was nominated for Orange Is The New Black's third episode "Lesbian Request Denied". Maybe smarter people than I can explain how phenomenal this episode is, but me personally, I think it's one of those "just-happy-to-be-nominated" type episodes. I think Foster's best chance to win is next year when she gets nominated OITNB's season 2 opener "Thirsty Bird".

* The opening scene of Silicon Valley is a Kid Rock concert. After a minute or two into the song, the camera pans away and we see the concert is at some tech start up nerd's house, and nobody is even at the party, nevertheless paying attention to the concert. It's the first example of many of why Mike Judge is a legend in this business and why he's nominated for "Minimum Viable Product".

* I may not enjoy the work Louie C.K. is doing on Louie, but I respect the shit out of him for what he's doing. He's been experimenting with short films since the early 90's, and his hard work and dedication shows in each episode.

* The surprise nomination in this category is Iain B. MacDonald for his work on the Showtime show Episodes. I guess watching all that tape to judge Matt LeBlanc finally earned the show another nomination.

WHO WILL WIN: Gail Mancuso "Las Vegas" (Modern Family)

WHO SHOULD WIN (ACTUAL NOMINEES): Louie C.K. "Elevator, Part 6" (Louie)

WHO SHOULD WIN (ENTIRE ELIGIBLE FIELD): Both eligible Community episodes



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