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American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

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  • Riley
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    78 on Metacritic after nine reviews, 6.9 average rating on Rotten Tomatoes after nine reviews (8.8 among six Top Critics).

    I recall two times when people are having sex, both gay and both wide shots.

    That’s surprising for Ryan Murphy. Also you’d think a character like Cunanan who was a prostitute would have a few.

    There are more than two sex scenes, but I was responding to the question about nudity.  Only two progress that far on screen.

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    Riley
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    Ryan Murphy Sidelines Big Names for Rising Stars
    By Riley Chow, Gold Derby

    Premiering January 17 on FX, The Assassination of Gianni Versace is showrunner Ryan Murphy’s follow-up in the American Crime Story true crime anthology series to The People v. O.J. Simpson.  That debut season two years ago won ten Emmys, including three for acting, but not for big names Cuba Gooding Jr., David Schwimmer and John Travolta. It was instead career-redefining work by rising stars Sterling K. Brown, Sarah Paulson and Courtney B. Vance that lit up the awards circuit. The Assassination of Gianni Versace pulls that same bait-and-switch.

    Oscar winner Penelope Cruz features heavily in marketing materials as Gianni Versace’s sister, but appears in just half of the eight episodes made available for the press to preview (out of nine total for the season).  Between the second and seventh episodes, she has only one scene.  Grammy winner Ricky Martin is similarly absent as Gianni’s boyfriend.  Emmy nominee Edgar Ramirez has top billing in the eponymous role, but spends most of the first episode on a gurney and tallies only one more episode than Cruz and Martin—by cameoing in a dream sequence.

    The Assassination of Gianni Versace is really the story of serial killer Andrew Cunanan, played by Darren Criss.  Cunanan is the only character to appear in every episode, with the show working backward from 1997 through his life and murders. The first two episodes explore Cunanan’s connection to Versace, with subsequent episodes expanding on previous victims—with only random and sporadic asides to the Versace clan—and the eighth episode delving into Cunanan himself, going back to 1980 to depict his childhood.

    This procedural approach provides excellent standalone acting showcases for guest stars Jon Jon Briones (episode 8), Mike Farrell (episode 3), Cody Fern (episode 4), Judith Light (episode 3) and Finn Wittrock (episode 5).  Fern and Wittrock are in just as many episodes as main cast members Cruz and Martin, but their appearances fit more organically into the narrative.  Wittrock has already been Emmy-nominated for a standout supporting performance in a Ryan Murphy anthology series: American Horror Story: Freak Show three years ago.

    Criss also got his big break acting in television under Murphy, on Glee, later writing a song for its series finale, earning the musical its sole Emmy nomination for Best Original Music and Lyrics.  A compulsive liar, charming manipulator and homicidal psychopath, Cunanan is the role of a lifetime and Criss is perfect casting, down to his half-Filipino background.

    Emmy nominees for M*A*S*H and Transparent respectively, Mike Farrell and Judith Light play a married couple, but neither will be eligible for Emmy consideration because they do not appear in five percent of the total runtime of the season, a prerequisite for the Best Movie/Limited Supporting Acting categories after Ellen Burstyn was nominated for a fifteen-second cameo in the 2006 movie Mrs. Harris.  Also worthy of recognition, yet ineligible is Max Greenfield, unrecognizable in the opening two Miami-set episodes as Cunanan’s short-term boyfriend.  Greenfield is an Emmy nominee for the sitcom New Girl and was previously directed by Murphy on American Horror Story: Hotel.

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    Royal Night
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    ^
    Riley, are your sure about the screen time of everyone regarding eligibility? I’m going to overestimate and say with nine episodes the run time is 600 minutes (even though it’s probably not that much). With that, actors would only have to be in the whole season for 30 minutes to be in it for 5%.

    I’m sure you are right but I just thought I’d check in case, since to me at least that rule is confusing with miniseries actors.

    • This reply was modified 4 months ago by  Royal Night.
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    17415SzXx
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    Since she’ll be in the same category as Penelope so will be tough, but for the people have seen multiple episodes is Dasha Polanco’s performance a possibility for any awards buzz??

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    Hunter-ish
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    This was very fun an beautiful to look at, but Murphy needs to learn something called subtlety. I really enjoyed this though, and Cruz was fantastic. Criss was a ton of fun in the lead role. I also really enjoyed Martin. He impressed me.

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    Riley
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    Riley, are your sure about the screen time of everyone regarding eligibility? I’m going to overestimate and say with nine episodes the run time is 600 minutes (even though it’s probably not that much). With that, actors would only have to be in the whole season for 30 minutes to be in it for 5%. I’m sure you are right but I just thought I’d check in case, since to me at least that rule is confusing with miniseries actors.

    The nine episodes’ runtime is actually about 490 minutes, so you only need about 24/25 minutes to qualify.  Judith Light and Mike Farrell are only in the third episode, which is about 50 minutes.  As much as it is a Judith Light episode, this is still Darren Criss’s show and Light is limited by never sharing the screen with him, so she is only in it so much.  I did not clock it exactly, but Light was somewhere around 21 minutes and Farrell was around 17.  As for Max Greenfield, you saw how much he was in the first episode.  The second is not so different and he does not appear after that.

    Since she’ll be in the same category as Penelope so will be tough, but for the people have seen multiple episodes is Dasha Polanco’s performance a possibility for any awards buzz??

    Not a chance and do not get too attached to her. She will probably be ineligible.

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    Philip
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    I loved this so much! That opening sequence was so beautifully shot! Can’t wait to see where Darren goes with this role!

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    vinny
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    This had a great opening, ok middle, and great end (from the minute ricky martin was being questioned by the cop it picked up again). I liked it though. My grade: B+

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    unbb24
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    Love the season premiere. The opening was great.

    So, Penelope Cruz has to go supporting right? Ramirez and Martin as well. Then, Criss will be the only leading one.

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    Stegeo
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    So, Penelope Cruz has to go supporting right? Ramirez and Martin as well. Then, Criss will be the only leading one.

    Pretty sure Ramirez will go lead, like Gooding Jr. for The People v OJ Simpson.

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    boss
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    The limited series category seems surprisingly weak this year, so I wonder can this be the first anthology series ever to win more than once?

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    vinny
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    Seemed like Edgar and Penelope are leads based on the preview for the rest of the season

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    Stegeo
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    Seemed like Edgar and Penelope are leads based on the preview for the rest of the season

    I think Edgar appears in all eps even briefly, Penelope appears in 5/9 if I’m not mistaken.

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    Stegeo
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    I call it now; the show is getting nommed for the next GGs for Best Limited Series, Best Actor in a Limited Series (for both Ramirez & Criss; if not both, then only Criss), Best TV Supporting Actor (Ricky Martin) and Best TV Supporting Actress (Cruz; I think she’ll win).

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    Riley
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    Oscar winner Penelope Cruz features heavily in marketing materials as Gianni Versace’s sister, but appears in just half of the eight episodes made available for the press to preview (out of nine total for the season).  Between the second and seventh episodes, she has only one scene.  Grammy winner Ricky Martin is similarly absent as Gianni’s boyfriend.  Emmy nominee Edgar Ramirez has top billing in the eponymous role, but spends most of the first episode on a gurney and tallies only one more episode than Cruz and Martin—by cameoing in a dream sequence.

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