May 5, 2020 at 6:17 pm #1203465778
Just finished Normal People and all I can say is that Limited Series, Actor, Actress, and Director should be going to this show. There is truly nothing else quite like it. While it is certainly difficult to watch, due to subject matter, it pulls you into this little world and you honestly feel like you’re watching two people’s real lives. Would love the Emmys to shower this with nominations.
I have not seen the show, but I bet that I will have problems with Washington too. But the show is not really for me
Riley, just curious, why do you feel the show isn’t for you?May 5, 2020 at 6:57 pm #1203465807
Just binged Unorthodox in one setting and discovered Netflix has released a Making Unorthodox documentary that they want to make you watch after finishing the show. I would say it definitely looks like a sign they are going to push it.May 5, 2020 at 8:26 pm #1203465919
I am pretty confident with Spencer getting in over Washington. Self Made has the right number of episodes, released at the right time and at the right network. And, of course, the lead is the African-American woman tied with most Oscar nominations in the history, that’s a pretty a big name.
It's about the chaotic editing in Moulin Rouge!May 6, 2020 at 12:04 am #1203466041
So, a lot to unpack here:
I see we’re back underestimating Kaitlyn Dever, once more using the Sharp Objects comparison for a reason why Unbelievable might underperform. Again, Unbelievable isn’t Sharp Objects. Yes, both premiered early in their respective cycles (though we tend to forget that Sharp Objects premiered two months earlier than Unbelievable), which will always work against a show unless the majority of its competition aired at the same time. But they’re two completely different shows with dissimilar reception (again, Unbelievable netted much more critical acclaim) – and I loved both, so please don’t tell me I’m bias: Unbelievable is an accessible true-crime thriller with three strong female characters at the center, tackling sexual assault in a way that is both harrowing and disturbing but ultimately calming and reassuring; Sharp Objects was always going to be a tougher sell with it tackling self-hatred and female rage, plus moving at an incredibly slow pace. These shows aren’t the same. There’s a reason why Unbelievable is on a streaming platform: it’s much more bingeable. Comparing these two is something these forums love to do, which is to compare two shows/situations that might seem similar on paper, but are actually far from that in reality. Using Kaitlyn Dever’s Globe snub for Booksmart as a reason why duos aren’t always nominated at the Emmys seems like a reach to me. We know the Globes are very strategic in their choices most of the time, which seemed like the case here too; they weren’t going to pass up on the opportunity to have Ms. Blanchett at their ceremony (and they probably knew they were giving Dever that spot in limited actress).
And then we have the Kerry Washington factor. I would like to see when and where most of the criticism was directed to her when last time I checked she was most people’s MVP for at least the first two thirds of the season (Witherspoon really didn’t steal her thunder until that finale). She was great in this show, which everyone doesn’t have to agree with – I get that not everyone loves her acting style – but I don’t think she was overtly criticized at all. In fact, I remember many people calling it a significant step up from Scandal (in which I thought she was still great).
The limited/TV movie actress category has been one that thoroughly recognizes pairs: Kidman and Witherspoon for “Lies;” Lange and Sarandon for “Feud;” Ellis and Nash for “When They See Us,” Huffman and Taylor for “American Crime;” Lange and Paulson for “AHS;” and so on. To me it comes down to which shows are the strongest in the limited series race, which is why Blanchett and King are surefire locks. Unbelievable is now comfortably in the race as well, which probably automatically helps its chances in other races since it’s more likely that voters are just checking it off. Hence, my confidence in both Wever and Dever. Dever is the show’s emotional score; the entire revolves around her, even if indirectly for at least the first half. I just think it’s a performance people are going to take to tremendously. Plus, she opens the show with the showiest (and most heartrending) performance of the season. Then I have Kerry and Reese because I think LFE – though I am not predicting a series nom – is easily ahead of Unorthodox, Self Made, Catherine the Great and other contenders with strong female leads. And, both Kerry and Reese carry this show on their shoulders.
Sorry for the long comment.May 6, 2020 at 12:27 am #1203466089
In addition to Jays’s post above, here is some criticism of Washington:
About Kerry Washington I’m torn…sometimes I thought she was giving a great performance, other times I felt she was really trying too hard.
Having watched the show, I actually think it’s quite easy to imagine voters checking off Witherspoon and not Washington, and anecdotally I have heard more than a few people say Washington’s performance was not their favorite.
Kerry Washington delivering some of the best Razzie worthy stuff I’ve seen on TV in a while
What I was really trying to convey in my post though was something of an internal monologue about my uncertainty. My train of thought went back and forth in that it seems obvious that they would be nominated together, but then I considered how that does not always happen, so if one were to miss, it would be Washington because I had recalled hearing stronger complaints about her (even if she was more acclaimed or at least more showy for the majority of the run), but then I figured that the people who were complaining were probably not people who would even vote for Witherspoon, so maybe that does not matter and they are inseparable under normal circumstances, but does that apply here…May 6, 2020 at 12:59 am #1203466108
In addition to Jays’s post above, here is some criticism of Washington: What I was really trying to convey in my post though was something of an internal monologue about my uncertainty. My train of thought went back and forth in that it seems obvious that they would be nominated together, but then I considered how that does not always happen, so if one were to miss, it would be Washington because I had recalled hearing stronger complaints about her (even if she was more acclaimed or at least more showy for the majority of the run), but then I figured that the people who were complaining were probably not people who would even vote for Witherspoon, so maybe that does not matter and they are inseparable under normal circumstances, but does that apply here…
Ahh, so you meant complaints here? Then I get where you’re coming from. I thought you were rather referring to a general consensus.
Also, here are a few stats that maybe back up what I was saying about the importance of being in a series contender (just looking at limited series/TV movie actress:
– 2019: 5/6 were in limited series/TV movie nominees – Joey King was the outlier
– 2018: 2/6 were in limited series/TV movie nominees – Regina King, Edie Falco, Sarah Paulson and Jessica Biel were outliers, but this was an unprecedented year as most of the limited series nominees were all male-focused.
– 2017: 5/6 were in limited series/TV movie nominees – Felicity Huffman was the outlier
– 2016: 5/6 were in limited series/TV movie nominees – Audra McDonald was the outlier
– 2015: 5/6 were in limited series/TV movie nominees – Emma Thompson was the outlier.
So, assuming LFE isn’t a series nominee, it’s already somewhat unprecedented that we’re talking about just 4 of the 6 nominees coming from series contenders. When voters have the opportunity to check off actors from a series nominee, like in the case of Dever, it’s more likely that they do that than go for an outlier. I mean, especially in 2019 they really went out of their way to recognize people from limited series nominees (sorry, I’m overusing this term now) when they could have easily gone with any one of Emma Stone, Connie Britton and Julianna Margulies, with the first two even having precursor support to back up a nomination. Joey King overcame this because she gave a showy, terrific performance in an accessible Hulu show that dropped in March – much like Little Fires.
I just have a hard time believing they wouldn’t vote for Kaitlyn Dever when the show is probably anyway a priority. Plus, she’s obviously, as I have already said, the emotional core.May 6, 2020 at 1:59 am #1203466141
I don’t think Witherspoon and Washington are inseparable but that’s because Witherspoon is having one hell of a year not because of the opinions of people on here who would never have even given Washington a role in anything let alone ever vote for her if they were in the industry.May 6, 2020 at 2:10 am #1203466147
Also one minor thing that makes me more confident in predicting Washington and Witherspoon as a package: They’ll probably be on the same page on the ballot – alongside Wever, too.May 6, 2020 at 2:52 am #1203466154
Because I apparently have too much time on my hands, I went through the reviews on Metacritic to compare Witherspoon and Washington. Critics had seen seven episodes.
Positive: Both together (14)
Decider: “Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington Shine”
TV Guide: “just how good Witherspoon and Washington are.. it’s lit up with strong performances — especially from Witherspoon and Kerry Washington”
THR: “Witherspoon and Washington are well-matched sparring partners, never more so than in a late scene in the second episode, as the uneasy peace between their characters abruptly evaporates in front of their eyes”
USA Today: “Witherspoon and Washington are fantastic… Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are on fire”
Indiewire: “Washington and Witherspoon are compelling leads”
Daily Beast: “It’s one iconic actress acting against type, and another shading what she does best… The true strength of the series is Witherspoon and Washington’s dueling knockout performances, sparring partners punching up with fascinatingly different styles.”
Consequence of Sound: “a solid cast led by Witherspoon and Washington”
Entertainment Weekly: “Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington ignite Hulu’s sharp, soapy Little Fires Everywhere”
Paste: “Witherspoon and Washington Ignite Hulu’s Stellar Series”
Salon: “At this point it goes without saying that both its leads are terrific”
Washington Post: “but it takes us away from the show’s main event: the tension and crackle between Washington and Witherspoon.”
Rolling Stone: “Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington bring sparks to this adaptation”
Indiewire: “Washington and Witherspoon are compelling leads”
Vox: “Witherspoon and Washington turn in lovely performances as Elena and Mia, respectively, the two women whose relationship anchors the story”
Positive: Witherspoon (11)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Witherspoon inhabits believably while still making Elena at least a little sympathetic”
Decider: “Reese Witherspoon throws down yet another exquisite portrait of a high strung woman unraveling in real time”
TV Guide: “Witherspoon gives a caustically funny performance that steers into Elena’s worst traits without losing sight of her humanity”
Entertainment Weekly: “Witherspoon slips into Elena’s twinsets with prim precision, punctuating her performance with small choices — a pinched face here, a chilly hair-tuck there — that are little masterpieces of passive aggression”
Paste: “Witherspoon, who is building a little TV empire with Big Little Lies, The Morning Show and Little Fires Everywhere, has perfected the entitled character who is blind to her own entitlement”
AV Club: “Witherspoon bravely tosses aside her Elle Woods-ian likability to become the righteous and ultimately menacing Elena, who apparently wants to be a force for good, but has no idea how far afield she is.”
Daily Beast: “But it’s too much of a dismissal of Witherspoon’s talents to discuss her performance only in terms of those previous roles. She calibrates something fresher here, somehow both villainous and more empathetic than ever before—and in those ways may even be more recognizable than those other characters.”
Chicago Sun Times: “Any worries Witherspoon might be spreading herself thin as an actor are dispelled the second she appears onscreen and disappears into the role of Elena Richardson”
Washington Post: “One gets the feeling Witherspoon will be playing variations on this part to her dying day, and why not? She’s reinvented a trope, giving such women a level of depth that turns a caricature into a complicated yet relatable person.”
Vulture: “As her curiosity about Mia takes on more suspicious undertones, Elena evolves into more of a clear-cut villain, but Witherspoon makes her believable even when she does things that defy rationality.”
Rolling Stone: “She’s a great actor who has a number of standout moments here”
Variety: “Witherspoon’s performance as a cheerfully conquering figure will, perhaps, draw comparisons to her past work, but Elena, unlike previous Witherspoon heroines, is governed by a truly bland ambition, craving propriety as its own reward. (Gone is the warmth, for instance, of her “Big Little Lies” character, which at once proves the depth of Witherspoon’s toolkit as an actor and forecloses story opportunities by making Elena immune to human connection.)”
Positive: Washington (14)
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “As good as Witherspoon is at not holding back, Washington is just as magnificent at conjuring Mia’s aura of mystery while allowing her true feelings to slip through”
Decider: “Kerry Washington steals the show. As Mia Warren, she is defiant, tender, cruel, and ultimately exquisite”
TV Guide: “Washington’s Mia is the show’s steely anchor. Mia’s race isn’t specified in the book, and casting Washington brings to the surface the microaggressions simmering in the original story”
Paste: “Washington is fantastic as Mia. Her hard, angry exterior barely conceals her vulnerability. She’s a fiercely protective mother who may not always make the best choices but always wants what is right”
THR: “Washington’s signature flickers of pain, quickly forced under the surface as the stoic Mia composes herself over and over again, are especially moving.”
Entertainment Weekly: “Washington’s Mia is a fierce and prickly protector, forever teetering on the edge of a rage breakdown.”
USA Today: “Washington excels here, too, and her intense performance is constantly on the verge of boiling over into rage. Mia taps into Washington’s natural strengths as an actor – her best work is operating in extremes. With equal fervor, Washington hits the emotional high notes of Mia’s anger and the stoic low notes in the reserved persona she presents to the world.”
New York Times: “excellent work by Washington”
AV Club: “Witherspoon has a solid match in Washington, whose Mia adopts a close-lipped, seldom smiling facade that belies her strength and simmering rage beneath.”
Daily Beast: “Washington’s Mia exists on a different energy plane. She’s had to, in order to survive in this world. Washington’s work is always forceful and assured, and it’s no different here. But Mia has to navigate the world differently than Olivia Pope on Scandal could, or Kendra in last year’s American Son. That force is powerful, but it’s quiet, still.”
Washington Post: “Washington’s role is far more cryptic and powerfully simmering”
Vulture: “Washington has a much more complex character to work with as Mia, who has a secret past that she’s kept hidden from her own daughter, prompting her and Pearl to move on a regular basis for reasons that aren’t clarified until the latter half of the season. Washington’s performance is built around the things she isn’t saying. Her ability to telegraph Mia’s anguish, rage, and desire to protect Pearl without words is achieved with a powerful sense of understatement… Stott in particular gives real sense of dimension to Izzy, who could easily have been a caricature of an angry goth ’90s adolescent. She shares a fantastic scene with Washington in the seventh episode that is one of the more moving moments in the whole series”
Slant: “Mia is a fascinating, complex character, and Washington modulates her stoicism with no small amount of disdain, anger, and apprehension.”
Rolling Stone: “it’s a pleasure to watch Washington lean into her well-known strengths”
Negative: Both Together (3)
Indiewire: “until their characters become caricatures.”
Time: “You never forget you’re watching celebrities act”
TV Line: “even veterans like Witherspoon and Washington struggle here”
Negative: Witherspoon (8)
Consequence of Sound: “And it also doesn’t help that Witherspoon is essentially playing a slight variation of her Lies lead Madeline Mackenzie”
Salon: “even though Witherspoon’s Elena has a nearly identical behavioral profile to her “Big Little Lies” character Madeline Mackenzie”
Decider: “Maybe it’s because Witherspoon has played this character before, but Elena doesn’t really go much beyond the TV and movie rich white mother that’s more about image than about anything else.”
LA Times: “The problem here is that Witherspoon’s entitled housewife who thinks she’s progressive (spoiler alert: she’s not) looks a lot like her character in “Big Little Lies,” though more fastidiously groomed and less introspective. She can’t help but swing her hair when she walks.”
Rolling Stone: “I wonder if Elena would have felt slightly more human played by a performer less strongly linked with this type of sunny manipulator.”
Indiewire: “seeing Witherspoon wrap her villainous cloak ever-tighter feels suffocating, and somewhere amid the first seven episodes, the fire goes out under a blanket of melodrama.”
New York Times: “The depiction of Elena as a clueless and rigid white suburbanite — shocked when her book club reads “The Vagina Monologues,” maintaining a mammoth color-coded family calendar, nattering on sanctimoniously and never missing a chance to make a tone-deaf remark — gets almost cartoonish. It’s as if Witherspoon were being asked to do one of her comic roles from “Election” or “Legally Blonde” but with all the humor drained out, and much of her performance feels correspondingly stiff and unnatural”
Time: “Witherspoon’s Elena is almost indistinguishable from her officious, perfectionist Big Little Lies character.”
Negative: Washington (4)
LA Times: “Washington’s struggling, down-on-her luck Mia is equally narrow. The strapped artist is always angry, always ready to blow, always ready for a fight. She’s been on the losing end of systemic racial and gender bias, and her face is set on permanent scowl.”
Indiewire: “Watching Washington dig deep again and again dulls the effect of her quivering lip and trembling voice”
Time: “ Washington—whose grit made Scandal worth watching long after it got silly—has just two modes: angry and devastated, each denoted by a different pained grimace”
Variety: “Similarly, Washington keeps parts of the “Scandal” formula — for example, her facility, as that show’s Olivia Pope, with the monologue delivered through rage and tears — but inverts it somewhat, pushing toward subversion rather than success”
I think all of this is quite illustrative of why in terms of acclaim of the performances I can see Luca’s point that Witherspoon and Washington are basically tied to one another. But also I hope it demonstrates my point that there is a bit of an online forum/twitter bubble when it comes to Washington. After all, out of 27 reviews there was only one that remarked negatively on Washington and not on Witherspoon and you can see the tallies on each of their positive remarks for yourself. I’ll still have Washington in 6th due to the point I mentioned in my last post but it really won’t be anything to do with any negativity towards her on here.May 6, 2020 at 3:56 am #1203466217
Washington was great on LFE. The criticisms are very unwarranted.May 6, 2020 at 4:20 am #1203466227
Washington was great on LFE. The criticisms are very unwarranted.
Whilst I agree, I’d like to clarify in advance that this was not the intention of my above post. Everyone’s entitled to think whatever they want with regard to Washington’s performance. I was just seeking to shed some new light on this idea that there is a consensus that Witherspoon is better than Washington when the major critics, if anything, leant the other way.May 6, 2020 at 4:20 am #1203466229
Before LFE started airing, The Undoing was still in the race, so most of the people were predicting either Witherspoon, Washington or neither of them. After LFE’s first three episodes were released I’ve seen many people (including me) predicting only Washington since she had more baity scenes than Witherspoon. Then The Undoing was out of the race and that’s when most of the people started to predict both Washington and Witherspoon. Based on what I’ve observed Washington was a lock before Witherspoon.Not now
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