There were two reasons I was moved to turn on “The Kominsky Method,” about an acting teacher and his longtime agent, for the first time. Namely, Oscar owners Michael Douglas, 74, and Alan Arkin, 85. Their marvelous edgy rapport and mastery of their art kept me bingeing as their characters yearn for the old days while fighting the ravages of aging. It was similar to what happened when Jane Fonda, 81, and Lily Tomlin, 79, had me devouring “Grace & Frankie.” The fact that legendary stars of this caliber are streaming through the universe and onto screens of all shapes and sizes seems to be a small miracle. Don’t think that the makers of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” didn’t know they had to top the first season’s killer combo of Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Reese Witherspoon by reeling in the starriest catch of them all for its second season, Meryl Streep, who turns 70 this month.
But it makes sense that Chuck Lorre, “Kominsky’s” creator, would rely on a pair of male icons for his change of venue. Not that Lorre hasn’t created his share of popular sitcoms featuring stand-out female characters in such shows as “Grace Under Fire,” Cybill,” “Dharma & Greg,” “Mike & Molly” and “Mom.” But his longest-running CBS comedies “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory” displayed his command of tapping into certain aspects of 21st-century manhood, with all its inherent behavioral flaws but also endearing traits..
“Two and a Half Men” focused on the disparate Harper brothers. Wealthy Charlie (Charlie Sheen) is a womanizing jingle writer who shares his Malibu digs with his divorced, unlucky-in-love chiropractor brother, Alan (Jon Cryer), whose young son visits on weekends. Despite Sheen’s dismissal following multiple stints in rehab and several interviews that took potshots at Lorre, ratings remained fairly steady when Ashton Kutcher joined the cast for the last four of the show’s 12 seasons. Meanwhile, Cryer was nominated for a supporting actor Emmy six times, winning once, and took a lead trophy home for the series’ final season.
Lorre’s other ratings magnet, “The Big Bang Theory,” just ended its run after 12 seasons. The show trafficked in socially awkward brainiacs who are brilliant when it comes to science but less so when dissecting touchier matters of the heart. At the center were roommates Sheldon (Jim Parsons), a rather aloof genius who exhibits signs of Asperger’s, and Leonard (Johnny Galecki), who is more socially adept and grounded.
According to our prediction site, Arkin as world-class grouser Norman, who suffers a deep loss while dealing with his pill-addicted adult daughter, just might take the supporting actor comedy Emmy. The “Little Miss Sunshine” Oscar winner has been up for the TV trophy four times previously: for his lead role in 1966’s “The Love Song of Barney Kempinski”; as a lead in the 1987 TV movie “Escape From Sobibor”; as a supporting actor in the 2003 movie “The Pentagon Papers”; and as a guest actor in a drama series in a 1997 episode of “Chicago Hope.”
In contrast, Douglas as Sandy is an actor whose flicker of success has been steadily expiring. Norman continues to promote him for parts but what can you do when rapper Ludicrous is hired for a sitcom instead. After three divorces, the silver-mained lothario usually dates his much younger students but lately his prostrate problems have been more on his mind. When shady Sandy and sincere Norman shares luncheon tete-a-tetes at the old school Hollywood staple Musso & Frank’s is when this geezer bromance most comes alive.
An Academy Award winner for “Wall Street” and as a producer on “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Douglas has received five Emmy nominations previously – three as a supporting actor on the ‘70s cop series “The Streets of San Francisco” and one for a guest appearance on “Will & Grace” before winning for his role as Liberace in the HBO’s biopic “Behind the Candelabra.” Right now, “Barry’s” Bill Hader and has an edge on Douglas in the Comedy Actor category among Gold Derby Experts, with only four out of 19 picking him to win – Matt Roush of “TV Guide,” Robert Rorke of the “New York Post,” Glenn Whipp of the “Los Angeles Times” and myself.
As for Arkin as supporting, he currently has the most Experts backing him to win over Henry Winkler in “Barry” and Tony Hale in “Veep” – Anne Thompson of Indiewire, Thelma Adams and Joyce Eng of Gold Derby, Roush, Whipp, Rorke, our fearless leader Tom O’Neil and myself.
Be sure to make your 2019 Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominations are announced on July 16. And join in the fun debate over the 2019 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.