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July 22, 2014

Should 'Mad Men' Really Chase After More Emmy Noms?

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 2nd 2010 11:02AM
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Yesterday, Brad told you about how the 'Mad Men' powers that be are figuring out how to improve their chances at the Emmys. It was strange to think that a show as successful as 'Mad Men' was angling for a way to get more awards, but there is a reasoning behind the strategy. You see, even though 'Mad Men' has consistently been honored for the show and the writing and direction, the actors -- Jon Hamm, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, etc. -- have been shut out. That's irksome. Not one Emmy for acting. Plenty of nominations, but no wins.

With that in mind, this year January Jones will be offered up in the Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series category and Elisabeth Moss will be slotted in Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. The idea is that spreading them out will increase the chances that they'll both get nominated, and -- perhaps -- both win. Similarly, Jon Hamm will be the lone Outstanding Actor offering and John Slattery, Robert Morse, Bryan Batt and Vincent Kartheiser (among others!) can vie for Supporting Actor recognition.

Here's the problem: the fact that the 'Mad Men' folks are so anxious for nominations might have a boomerang effect, resulting in a backlash. Are they really doing Elisabeth Moss a favor by sticking her in the supporting category? She has episodes in which she is the lead actress, as much as January Jones is. The same holds true for Christina Hendricks.

The 'Mad Men' cast is a brilliant ensemble, so it's more difficult to fit them into the standard Emmy categories. Seriously, it's no surprise that at the SAG awards, the entire cast has been honored in back to back years, 2009 and 2010. The Screen Actors Guild recognizes the ensemble, as well as the individuals.

Regarding January Jones in particular, her situation is tough. She has done amazing work as Betty, but compare her status on 'Mad Men' to Glenn Close on 'Damages,' Sally Field on 'Brother & Sisters,' Mariska Hargitay on 'Law & Order: SVU.' Those actresses are all Emmy winners, stars who have the clout and experience that warrants a respect January Jones has yet to achieve. And unlike Kyra Sedgwick in 'The Closer' or Julianna Margulies in 'The Good Wife,' there is no way that 'Mad Men' could be considered 'The January Jones Show' the way you could with the other two ladies, is there?

The competition is just as tough in supporting actress land. Elisabeth Moss will be nominated, and Christina Hendriks should be as well, but there are many great supporting actresses currently employed, like Chloe Sevigny on 'Big Love' -- and her sister-wives -- '24's' Cherry Jones, Christine Baranski on 'The Good Wife,' the 'Grey's Anatomy' ladies, et. al. And if Anna Gunn doesn't get nominated for 'Breaking Bad,' it'll be a sin.

The way it looks, 'Mad Men' is likely to win a plethora of nominations. There's little doubt about that. Winning, however, is really something that cannot be planned. It's all up to the voters and every group that judges has their own criteria. The worst thing that Matt Weiner and company could do is try to change what they're doing in an attempt to get January Jones or Elisabeth Moss an Emmy. Please, no 'very special episodes' for Emmy consideration. That would be the kiss of death for a show like 'Mad Men.'

By the way, the nominations for the 62nd Primetime Emmys won't be announced until Thursday, July 8. The ceremony will take place Sunday, August 29 on NBC.

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I think the industry perceives Mad Men as a writer's show more than an acting showcase. In their eyes, the play > the cast. I disagree-the writing and acting are equally lackluster.

The only stellar acting I see on Mad Men comes from Elizabeth Moss and John Slattery. And Moss, too often, seems like she's watched too many Sandy Dennis movies. Jon Hamm has charisma in spades, but charisma is not acting. He's an adequate actor, but not a great one. The same can be said about Vincent Kartheiser. January Jones cannot act. Period. And contrary to popular opinion, I don't think Christina Hendricks is much better than Jones. I'm sorry, but Hendricks has failed to raise Joan above the stereotype that she is portrayed as.

My main problem with Mad Men is Matt Weiner's simplistic and nihilistic take on the 60's. Granted, I did not live through the 60's (born in 73). But I feel like my parents have filled me in adequately enough to confidently state these opinions. The tragedy of the 60's, to echo Dickens, was that it was the best and worst of times. You had the tumult and tragedies, but there were some legitimately wonderful and inspiring things that happened. Mad Men wants everyone to think the 60's were a total drag, that the Kennedy years were a meaningless illusion, and that Americans' emotional suppression was ultimately what led to Nixon getting elected. Too easy.

I think the secret to Mad Men's broad appeal lies in something David Mamet once wrote. Mamet said the Conservative's desire was to sentimentalize and the Liberal's desire was to reform. Conservatives like Mad Men because that's how they secretly view the 60's. They want to go back to that world (fictional as it may be). Liberals like Mad Men because they want to take credit for all the changes that occured-they watch it and say: "Oh, look how bad things were before we did what we did!" A lot of Liberals nowdays don't want to give Kennedy or Johnson their due-only THEY, alone, were responsible for changing America. Not entirely true.

April 03 2010 at 8:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony DIMeo

I think Anna Gunn of Breaking Bad should be a lead actress although if she were nominated Im sure Glenn Close would win but supporting or lead Anna Gunn is amazing as Skyler and deserves and emmy like Bryan Cranston

April 03 2010 at 7:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Judy

When a show is on ABC, CBS, NBC or FOX network they tape shows about 24 shows. The HBO and AMC networks only tape 8 shows and then you have to wait months for another show. What do the actors and writers do during hiatis? You are unable to really get interested in these characters. Deadwood never did come back and we waited for ever to see these people again. Soprano's ended stupidly, and Big Love does seem to have more episodes, but not enough. I'm thinking of cancelling HBO as there is now only "The Pacific" WWII to watch for a few more weeks? When Frazier was on network station's, we had that show to watch all during the winter months, and we never missed one, LIVE OR RERUN. So we don't really get the idea AMC and HBO have with all these different programs, can't get interested and don't have the patients for it. Vote-M-Out Nancy

April 03 2010 at 3:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

This is the best drama on TV, including cable and network stations. For those who do not like it, there is an endless supply of cheap, fake "reality" programs that do not bother with pesky expenses, like actors and writers.

April 03 2010 at 2:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
HN

I have seen this program 3 times and stopped watching. It is preposterous. It's depiction of the 1950's-1960's era is bogus. For a more accurate depiction see the film "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit." The vast majority of folks did not act that way. I gave up when the main character supposedly changed his identity after he came home from the Korean War. Again an unbelievable twist that destroys any credibility or authenticity.

April 03 2010 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pat L.

For how wonderful the show is we must remember it is produced by AMC and a lot of people don't watch. The ratings are OK but not great and I know that has something to do with the gifted awards. If it were on HBO I'm sure the whole cast would of won by now.

April 03 2010 at 11:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LizDee

They don't need to "chase" any Emmy nominations IMO.
The performances of Jon Hamm and January Jones in the last 3 episodes were fantastic, and deserve to be rewarded.

April 03 2010 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
O'neil

There are some recurring characters who deserve Emmy consideration as well, on MadMen. Like actress Audrey Wasilewski who plays Peggy's sister, Anita. Her confessional scene with Colin Hanks in '09 was awesome. Also, Melinda McGraw who played Bobbi was also superb.

April 03 2010 at 6:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rosie

["Regarding January Jones in particular, her situation is tough. She has done amazing work as Betty, but compare her status on 'Mad Men' to Glenn Close on 'Damages,' Sally Field on 'Brother & Sisters,' Mariska Hargitay on 'Law & Order: SVU.' Those actresses are all Emmy winners, stars who have the clout and experience that warrants a respect January Jones has yet to achieve."]


Who cares about clout and experience? If January Jones' performance was good enough for an Emmy nomination, then she deserves one. And frankly, I believe that she does. She is doing an exceptional job in portraying a very complex character - regardless of whether her character is likeable or not.

April 02 2010 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeramy

People can argue about what character/actress they prefer, but no one can look at this past season and say Peggy played larger role than Betty. Peggy was practically a non-entity in the second half of the season.

January Jones is lead and Moss is supporting. It was the right/smart thing to do.

April 02 2010 at 4:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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