Movies, Miniseries Make Way for HBO's 'Mildred Pierce'
Drama could well dominate in the newly combined category
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/1/2011 12:01:00 AM
Stats: Nine nominations, including one for lead actress Diane Lane
Strengths: HBO revisited the original reality show, PBS’ American Family, in a surprisingly original telefilm.
Weaknesses: Even though the cast was stellar—Lane, Tim Robbins and HBO favorite James Gandolfini—this show remained mostly off the radar.
PBS’ Downtown Abbey
Stats: 11 nominations, including acting nods for Elizabeth McGovern and Maggie Smith
Strengths: ITV’s serialized version of Gosford Park. All Anglophile TV critics, which is most of them, fell immediately in love with this British import.
Weaknesses: British plus PBS might make this miniseries too upper crust even for Emmy voters.
ReelzChannel’s The Kennedys
Stats: 10 nominations, including nods for lead actors Greg Kinnear and Barry Pepper
Strengths: Surprising the heck out of everyone after being controversially dropped by The History Channel.
Weaknesses: That controversy could cause voters to not see it as a serious contender.
HBO’s Mildred Pierce
Stats: 21 nominations, the most of any single show this year. Acting noms for Kate Winslet, Mare Winningham, Evan Rachel Wood, Melissa Leo, Guy Pierce and Brian F. O’Byrne, and a directing nod for Todd Haynes.
Strengths: After notching the most nominations of any program, Mildred Pierce should own Emmy night.
Weaknesses: It’s possible, but unlikely, that being such the strong favorite will work against it.
Starz’ The Pillars of the Earth
Stats: Seven nominations
Strengths: Most of this show’s nominations came in the technical categories, such as hairstyling and costumes.
Weaknesses: Nowhere near as good as the book, making this miniseries a disappointment for fans of Ken Follett’s epic novel.
HBO’s Too Big to Fail
Stats: 11 nominations, including acting nods for Paul Giamatti, William Hurt and James Woods; a directing nod for Curtis Hanson; and a writing nod for Peter Gould.
Strengths: A well-done scripted examination of a very recent national crisis.
Weaknesses: May hit a little too close to home.
The movie and minis categories are packed with talent. Oscar nominee Todd Haynes directed Oscar winners Kate Winslet and Melissa Leo and Oscar nominee Mare Winningham in HBO’s most-nominated Mildred Pierce. Another Oscar winner, William Hurt, starred in HBO’s Too Big to Fail, while the legendary Maggie Smith is nominated for her role in PBS’ Downtown Abbey. Many of this year’s nominated actors also are Oscar nominees, including Cinema Verite’s Diane Lane, Thurgood’s Laurence Fishburne, The Kennedys’ Greg Kinnear and Tom Wilkinson, Too Big to Fail’s Paul Giamatti, Downtown Abbey’s Elizabeth McGovern and Taken From Me’s Taraji P. Henson.
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