Critics’ Choice TV Awards: Shocking wins and surprisingly good speeches

The 4th edition of the Critics Choice TV Awards kept it low on ties but high on upsets. While most of the evening went according to our predictions, the members of the Broadcast Television Journalists Assn. still brought us six shockers but only one tie – down from four last year.

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While “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany repeated as Best Drama Actress, that still came as a surprise. We had been backing the bid by “House of Cards” First Lady Robin Wright, who had been predicted to reign with odds of 7/5. She and Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife“) at 3/1 were ahead of Maslany who came in to the evening at 7/12. A lesson to be learned here, kids: never underestimate the power of seven clones.

Another jaw-dropper: Jessica Lange winning Best Movie/Miniseries Actress for “American Horror Story: Coven.” Collectively, we had figured Cicely Tyson had this category locked up for the telefilm  “The Trip to Bountiful.” After all, Tyson was at odds of 4/9 to add this award to the Tony she picked up last year for the stage version of this Horton Foote classic. Lange was ranked third with odds of 10/1; Minnie Driver” (“Return to Zero“) was at 5/1. Is it time to rethink Lange’s chances at the Emmys?

Predicted rankings of Critics’ Choice TV Awards winners 

The other four surprises:

Best Comedy Actor: Third-ranked Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory“) at 9/1 prevailed over clear frontrunner Louis C.K. (“Louie“) with odds of 4/11 as well as potential spoiler Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley#”) who had odds of 8/1; 

Best Drama Supporting Actress: Bellamy Young (“Scandal“) at 11/2 won over overwhelming frontrunner Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad“) who enjoyed odds of 8/15

Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress: Second-ranked Allison Tolman (“Fargo“) at 17/10 claimed this prize over Julia Roberts (“The Normal Heart“) who had odds of 10/11.  

Best Reality Competition Series: “Shark Tank” at 6/1 took a bite out of “The Voice,” which had been predicted to prevail with odds of 8/15. 

The only tie this year came in the Best Comedy Supporting Actress category: Third-ranked Kate Mulgrew (“Orange is the New Black“) shared the award with with frontrunner Allison Janney for “Mom” (she also claimed Best Drama Guest Performer for “Masters of Sex“).

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As for the acceptance speeches, the critics must be pretty darn happy – and shocked – that all their picks were also winners at the mike. That is a rarity for any/every awards show. Highlights included: 

Emotional speeches from newcomers Uzo Aduba (Best Comedy Guest Performer: “Orange is the New Black”) and Allison Tolman (Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress: “Fargo);

Allison Janney exuding excitement twice in one night; and

Matthew McConaughey (Best Drama Actor: “True Detective“) giving a movie star stamp of approval on the quality of TV today,

If there was one quibble it’d be that not a single castmember from  Best Drama Series champ “Breaking Bad” was on hand to accept that prize; executive producer Mark Johnson did the honors.  During our recent chat, Anna Gunn had told us that she and Bryan Cranston would not be able to attend, but couldn’t we have at least seen Betsy Brandt, RJ Mittie, or Bob Odenkirk help Johnson out? Next time they’d better call Saul.

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