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Mrs America (Cate Blanchett in FX limited series)

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    Potatohead
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    Apr 6th, 2019
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    #1203391943

    Apparently Mrs. America screeners just went out so…

    Do we know when the review embargo will be lifted?

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    thedemonhog
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    #1203406687

    I am here to set the record straight about supporting actress (not that this is necessarily possible), so strap in!  The episode titles make it very easy to tell who would submit what because most are simply the name of their spotlight character:
    1. “Phyllis” (Cate Blanchett)
    2. “Gloria” (Rose Byrne)
    3. “Shirley” (Uzo Aduba)
    4. “Betty” (Tracey Ullman)
    5. “Phyllis & Fred & Brenda & Marc” (Ari Graynor)
    6. “Jill” (Elizabeth Banks)
    7. “Bella” (Margo Martindale)
    8. “Houston”
    9. “Reagan”
    So even before watching, I could tell who was going to have material when.  “Phyllis & Fred & Brenda & Marc” is just a cute title that they do because those four are together (with Byrne’s real-life husband) at the episode’s climax; it should just be called “Brenda”.  The titles suggested that the last two episodes would be ensemble pieces, but more on that later.

    This show is about a battle of two sides, led by Blanchett and Byrne.  Byrne’s side does not first appear until the end of the first episode, but then the next six episodes spotlight characters from her side.  The premiere is all about Blanchett, whereas the next six episodes put greater emphasis on their eponymous character, but still find plenty of time to check in with Blanchett’s side and various other subplots.  It is more Orange is the New Black than The Leftovers.  Whereas The Leftovers was prone to drop everything to focus on a certain character for an episode, I often came out of Orange is the New Black episodes (back when I watched it) disappointed that the spotlight character did not get a proper tape out because they were not actually in it that much or there was not much bait.

    Given that Byrne has the second episode and is the leader of her half of the story, she should be an obvious supporting nominee.  There is a stretch near the early/middle of the season where she is on equal footing with Blanchett, on track to be a co-lead for the season overall.  But then she misses an episode in the middle entirely, plus she only shows up at the end in the first and penultimate episodes.  That is three out of nine episodes in which she is basically not a factor, so the screen time advantage that she has over her co-stars is less decisive.  Further problematic is that Byrne is obviously a more limited actress than Blanchett; she cannot command the screen like her and they are kind of supposed to be equals.  Then there is the issue of the writing.  Byrne does not really get a chance to command because the material is not there.  Whereas we see Blanchett giving speeches, getting interviewed and wrestling with emotions that she will never reveal, Byrne is kind of just there.  She sits on the side of a lot of scenes and never really feels like the leader, nor does she yell or cry or anything like that, even in her spotlight episode as far as I can remember.  I still have her nominated because she is playing Gloria Steinem, has the most screen time of the supporting actresses and is prominent in the early episodes, which will be the most seen by the academy.

    Margo Martindale is the Maggie Smith of the show.  She largely sits on the side and throws out racy one-liners.  Like Byrne, she benefits from having a more consistent presence than most of the cast.  Everyone else on their side comes in and out of focus, but if there is a group scene, Byrne and Martindale are good bets to be there.  This extends to the finale, in which Martindale is one of the few to get a big moment in it.  She would be an easy nominee if she were the focus of the third episode instead of the seventh and it is arguable that she leaves more of an impression than Uzo Aduba in that episode anyway.  Like Byrne, Martindale’s tape is just okay.

    I am basically only considering Uzo Aduba because she has the third episode.  Hulu is releasing the first three episodes together, so there is going to be a sizable chunk of voters who watch those three and never come back.  Aduba has little to do outside her episode and her tape is also just okay, but having front-loaded screen time might be all that she needs, especially since she is a recent two-time Emmy winner.

    Tracey Ullman is playing the loudest character, her outbursts are a lot of fun to watch and she has a proper tape with an arc, range and sympathy.  It helps that it is the fourth episode, which is still quite early (coming out just a week after the premiere).  I was quick to rank her ahead of Byrne, Martindale and Aduba, so she should be an easy nominee if not for my one concern, which is her name recognition and stature.  Ullman is of course a legend, but among the current academy that is younger and newly diversified, I do not consider her a favourite like Aduba, Martindale and Paulson.

    The Ari Graynor episode is actually the best of the first seven and is also a strong tape for her with an arc, range and sympathy.  I would definitely nominate her (ahead of the likes of Aduba, Banks, Byrne, Martindale and others), but she stands no chance with her lack of name recognition.  Shout-out to Adam Brody for his solid performance as her husband Marc, but he does not have enough screen time to qualify.  Elizabeth Banks barely appears outside her own episode, which was probably the least memorable anyway, so she can easily be dismissed, especially with her episode being relatively late in the season.

    For the first seven episodes, I could not figure out why Sarah Paulson was in the show.  Being a sidekick of Blanchett, she was actually in the first episode and had a minor subplot soon after, but she disappeared in the middle of the season and unlike pretty much everyone else, she was playing a fictional character.  Then I saw the eighth episode, which turned out to be a deep-dive character study for her unlike any episode since the first.  The title should have been “Alice”, but it is called “Houston” to reflect that it is the only episode with only one setting.  Unlike the previous six episodes that jump around between subplots, Paulson is in basically every frame of the first forty minutes of the episode.  Whereas other episodes might span years, this one takes place over about twenty-four hours.  It is not an episode of Mrs. America, but an episode from a completely different show.  Specifically, it is an episode of The Leftovers.  Even the producers know it.  The episodes that FX gave the press were unfinished—increasingly so toward the end of the season.  There were green screens everywhere, dialogue that needed to be dubbed and temporary music.  For this episode, they used Max Richter’s iconic main theme from The Leftovers at various points.  I do not even remember the previous episodes of Mrs. America having a score.  Because Alice is an invented character, the show has a flexibility with her that they do not with the spotlight characters of the other episodes, which are kind of mini biopics, so the episode has a surreal quality to it, like The Leftovers.  Crazy things happen out of nowhere, there are dream sequences and it is immersive and overwhelming.  Paulson gets to do everything that we know she can.  This is a winning tape.  I am curious to see what the final cut looks like though because it will be quite different without Richter.

    Paulson then figures prominently in the finale to wrap up her arc.  I mentioned that Martindale also gets closure and of course Byrne and especially Blanchett figure prominently (and John Slattery because he is often around for Blanchett material as her husband Fred).

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    Luca
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    Jun 23rd, 2017
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    #1203406758

    I’m here for Paulson’s second Emmy win.

    Emmys FYC - "Unbelievable" and "The Handmaid's Tale" in all categories; Viola Davis in Best Drama Actress for the final season of "HTGAWM;" "Ozark:" Drama Series, Laura Linney (Best Actress) and Julia Garner (Best Supporting Actress)

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    jacob121
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    #1203406772

    A deep dive! We love to see it.

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    Reis
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    #1203406777

    For the first seven episodes, I could not figure out why Sarah Paulson was in the show. Being a sidekick of Blanchett, she was actually in the first episode and had a minor subplot soon after, but she disappeared in the middle of the season and unlike pretty much everyone else, she was playing a fictional character. Then I saw the eighth episode, which turned out to be a deep-dive character study for her unlike any episode since the first. The title should have been “Alice”, but it is called “Houston” to reflect that it is the only episode with only one setting. Unlike the previous six episodes that jump around between subplots, Paulson is in basically every frame of the first forty minutes of the episode. Whereas other episodes might span years, this one takes place over about twenty-four hours. It is not an episode of Mrs. America, but an episode from a completely different show. Specifically, it is an episode of The Leftovers. Even the producers know it. The episodes that FX gave the press were unfinished—increasingly so toward the end of the season. There were green screens everywhere, dialogue that needed to be dubbed and temporary music. For this episode, they used Max Richter’s iconic main theme from The Leftovers at various points. I do not even remember the previous episodes of Mrs. America having a score. Because Alice is an invented character, the show has a flexibility with her that they do not with the spotlight characters of the other episodes, which are kind of mini biopics, so the episode has a surreal quality to it, like The Leftovers. Crazy things happen out of nowhere, there are dream sequences and it is immersive and overwhelming. Paulson gets to do everything that we know she can. This is a winning tape. I am curious to see what the final cut looks like though because it will be quite different without Richter.

    OMG, I need this episode version.

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    hopelesstar
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    #1203406786

    Why aren’t more critics talking about Paulson then ?

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    estrelasdealgeruz
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    Jul 25th, 2018
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    #1203406813

    From the reviews I’ve seen there isn’t an obvious stand out among the supporting actresses. All are receiving pretty great reviews, but there’s seems to be a consensus around Byrne and Ullman. Both are mentioned as standouts in all of them. Then Paulson gets hugely raved in some of them but is completely forgotten in others. The same with Aduba and Martindale. So i really don’t know who to predict from them. I know i have Byrne and Paulson but i think i’m switching Martindale for Paulson. I think i’m going back to have Collette as my winner.

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    forwardswill
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    #1203406820

    Why aren’t more critics talking about Paulson then ?

    I think there’s quite a divide between critics who are willing to talk about the whole season (Indiewire, Entertainment) and critics who only talk about the completed content they’ve seen. This is also I imagine why more critics are mentioning Aduba than Martindale because her key episode comes early.

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    thedemonhog
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    #1203406869

    Why aren’t more critics talking about Paulson then ?

    Paulson gets hugely raved in some of them but is completely forgotten in others.

    Entertainment Weekly: “Paulson delivers humor, pathos, and gut-wrenching emotion. If she doesn’t get an Emmy nomination for the scene where Alice tearfully recites a family recipe for pecan cornbread, the whole damn system is rigged.”

    IndieWire: “Paulson’s Alice, Phyllis’ best friend who brings the ERA into Phyllis’ worldview, takes the reins for the second half of the series, turning in a bravura performance.”

    Paste: “five episodes were reviewed out of a total of nine”

    TVLine: “I’ve seen four episodes”

    The other thing is that Cate Blanchett is on another level.  Reviews are not really written with the Emmys in mind, so acknowledging how dominant and exceptional Blanchett is might be sufficient in terms of cast recognition, so that the rest of the review can focus more on story, structure, style and the like.

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    Jays
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    #1203406885

    89 on Metacritic after 6 reviews

    https://www.metacritic.com/tv/mrs-america/season-1

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    boss
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    #1203406892

    It was getting in no matter the reviews but with this strong reception it is now winning.

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    boss
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    #1203406905

    He is an editor for this website.

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    thatnerdgreg
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    Apr 24th, 2016
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    #1203406909

    It was getting in no matter the reviews but with this strong reception it is now winning.

    Watchmen is still very strong and won at PGA, let’s not act like a show that we haven’t actually seen yet is suddenly locked.

    Anyway, I’ve now moved Paulson and Ullman into my predictions taking out LuPone and Martindale.

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    TheCineMike
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    #1203406933

    Riley, do you think it would be wise for us to predict John Slattery?

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    Jays
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    #1203406935

    He is an editor for this website.

    It was getting in no matter the reviews but with this strong reception it is now winning.

    Yeah, I’d say it’s the front runner. Buzz will only grow as the show goes on and it’s premiering at the perfect time. It’s also FX’s only player in this category and they’re great at getting noms and wins. Blanchett is definitely winning with these reviews and raves.

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