Ray Richmond: Notes on a program

Notes on a program:

  • So it was just completely coincidental that the announcement 92-year-old Rupert Murdoch would be marrying for the fifth time (to Ann Lesley Smith, a mere child of 66) came the same week as the fourth season premiere of HBO’s “Succession,” right? RIGHT? I’m sure there are worse excuses to get married.
  • I am finally officially over my obsession that “The Bear” doesn’t have enough comedy in it to accurately qualify for Emmy consideration in the comedy categories. A great show is a great show, and if FX wants to enter it as a musical, or an informational series, or a cartoon, heck, it’s their call. It’s a superb piece of television, mega-intense and beautifully acted, directed and designed. It’s going to deserve whatever the TV academy deems worthy.

  • I’m embarrassed to admit that the first time I laid eyes on a bus bench advertisement for the Disney+ superhero series “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” I thought it was hyping an actual law practice. Maybe it’s due to my suspicion that all attorneys view themselves as sci-fi fantasy figures obsessed with the color green.
  • If I had an Emmy vote, I’d be logging it for Christina Applegate for “Dead to Me” in lead comedy actress. For one, her underappreciated work in comedy has gone unrewarded for far too long. She won an Emmy as guest actress for “Friends,” but that was 20 years ago. Moreover, her affliction with MS and stated inability to have a significant role in another series makes her final year of eligibility on “Dead” decidedly more urgent.

  • The longer I cover awards season, the more convinced I am that being popular with your peers and having the reputation of being a good person is at least as important in the trophy equation (and probably more so) as talent, particularly when it comes to the performing categories. ‘Tis human nature, boys and girls.
  • Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”), Jeremy Allen White (“The Bear”), Bill Hader (“Barry”) and Steve Martin and Martin Short (“Only Murders in the Building”) are looking like early nomination locks for Emmy comedy series actor. But I feel like a couple of other septuagenarians will be competing heavily for nomination real estate before that race is through: Sylvester Stallone for “Tulsa King” and John Larroquette for the reboot of “Night Court.” Larroquette once was such an Emmy juggernaut for the original “Night Court” – taking home four straight comedy supporting actor statues from 1985-88 – that he removed himself from contention.
  • The comedy supporting actress race is shaping up as an “Abbott Elementary”/”Ted Lasso” showdown between last year’s winner Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Abbott”), NAACP Image Award winner Janelle James (“Abbott”), 2021 Emmy winner Hannah Waddingham (“Ted Lasso”), Juno Temple (“Lasso) and Lisa Ann Walter (“Abbott”) – with “The Bear’s” Ayo Edebiri looming as a category spoiler.
  • My greatest challenge between now and summertime will be to learn how to spell “Edebiri” without looking it up.
  • It will be interesting to see how Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan are embraced by Emmy voters for their forthcoming Disney+ series “American Born Chinese” following their Oscar triumphs. In advance of the comedy’s premiere on May 24, Yeoh ranks 13th and Quan 18th in the Gold Derby combined odds in their respective comedy supporting categories.
  • “Succession” vs. “The White Lotus” for Outstanding Drama Series stands to be the heavyweight title main event of this year’s Emmys. In one corner is “Succession,” a 13-time Emmy winner and two-time champ for top drama. In the other corner is “White Lotus,” a 10-time Emmy winner and reigning victor for limited/anthology series. Last year, they took home a combined 14 statuettes in their respective (different) categories. This year, ready or not, they’ll go head to head, mano a mano and woman-o a woman-o.
  • Speaking of which, it’s time to honor Brian Cox for “Succession” over his castmate (and last year’s lead drama actor winner) Jeremy Strong. I know there’s at least one real-life 92-year-old tycoon who would be rooting for him. Right now, Cox ranks first with GD voters at 39/10 odds over Bob Odenkirk.
  • One of the things I love about Cox is that he’s such an I-just-don’t-give-a-shit-anymore curmudgeon who’s not afraid to attack the method acting techniques of Strong and others. “I don’t hold a lot of the American shit, having to have a religious experience every time you play a part. It’s crap,” he recently said. “I don’t hang onto the characters I play. I let them go through me.” That must have been quite the joyous set.
  • In terms of Odenkirk, he could conceivably land nominations for both drama lead (“Better Call Saul”) and comedy lead (“Lucky Hank”) actor this time, which would likely merely double his misery. The man is 0 for 15 to date if you collectively count his showing at the Emmys,  Golden Globes and SAGs for “Saul.” He did win a Critics Choice trophy early this year.
  • After recently streaming Aubrey Plaza’s 2022 indie feature “Emily the Criminal,” I’m more convinced than ever that she’s destined for superstardom. You read it here first. Or maybe second. Or then again, possibly third. In any case, she’s about to be a major player in the drama supporting actress lineup for “White Lotus.”
  • I have yet to see most of the contenders for made-for-TV movie/limited series, but I doubt I’ll see a better lead performance than Bel Powley gives as Miep Gies in the Holocaust-themed NatGeo/Disney+ drama “A Small Light.” And I’m already opening an imaginary envelope that says OLIVIA COLMAN as limited series supporting actress victor for “Great Expectations,” which is a little bit like predicting the sun will rise in the east tomorrow.
  • I’m really excited to see the new Paramount+ musical comedy series prequel “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” that drops April 6, which tells me that I may be in denial about my true sexual orientation.

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