By Paula Hendrickson
The least surprising thing about the recent Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards broadcasts? Bryan Cranston winning top acting honors in the TV drama categories for his outstanding final season as math teacher-turned meth kingpin Walter White on AMC’s Breaking Bad.
The Globes pitted Cranston against a slate of actors perhaps best known for their film work: Live Schreiber (Ray Donovan), Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex), James Spader (The Blacklist) and Kevin Spacey (House of Cards). The SAG Awards had him again competing with Spacey along with Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom), Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) for the redundantly named Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series category.
Yep. Male Actor — no doubt to differentiate it from the Female Actor categories. (I’ve never been a big Juliette Lewis fan, but when celebrities shared stories of when and how they first got their SAG cards, ending with, “I’m so-and-so, and I’m an actor,” and she said, “… I’m Juliette Lewis, and I’m an ACTRESS,” I actually cheered.)
While Spacey was also thought to be a top contender in both competitions, you could tell most fellow nominees expected Cranston to win. They were as awed by his performance as Breaking Bad fans — and the awards voters — were. The Globes also named Breaking Bad the best dramatic series, and the entire cast won the SAG award in the TV drama ensemble category.
The most surprising thing on the television side of the Golden Globes had to be former SNL star Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) beating out seasoned sitcom actors Michael J. Fox (The Michael J. Fox Show, Spin City, Family Ties), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) and Don Cheadle (House of Lies) for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Comedy.
The Golden Globes also named Brooklyn Nine-Nine as the top comedy series, despite competition from Girls, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family and Parks and Recreation.
Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler — who co-hosted the Globes ceremony with Tina Fey — received the award for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical over Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Lena Dunham (Girls), Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep).
Poehler wasn’t even nominated in the same category for a SAG award. Nominees for that included Falco, Louis-Dreyfus, Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory), Julie Bowen (Modern Family) and Tina Fey (30 Rock). Louis-Dreyfus won.
In the drama category, the Globes showed great taste in including Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany among nominees for best actress in a television series. Her fellow nominees were Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black), Kerry Washington (Scandal), and Robin Wright, who won for her role in House of Cards.
Washington was the only one of those nominees also vying for the SAG Awards’ Outstanding Performance By a Female Actor in a Drama Series. Her competition there included Claire Danes (Homeland), Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), Jessica Lange (American Horror Story) and Maggie Smith, who won for Downton Abbey.
If nothing else, the nominees and winners on the television side of the Golden Globes and SAG Awards underscore the vast talent working in TV today. Cast members of broadcast network series were represented alongside those of basic cable, pay cable and even Netflix’s new model. In this new era we’ve entered, perhaps TV viewers are the ultimate winners.
Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Follow her on Twitter at P_Hendrickson and send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted Jan. 22, 2014