July 11, 2011 10:58pm PT by Tim Goodman
Emmys: Love for the Longest of Shots, Vol. 1: Lucia Micarelli of 'Treme'
Emmy nominations come Thursday, but before they do I wanted to send a little love out to actors and actresses who are probably very long shots to get the acclaim they deserve. I've already written about the actors and shows I would love for the Emmys to take notice of and nominate, but this batch is a little different. I don't think, given the conventions of the process, that they have much of a shot, so it's not like I'll collapse if they're ignored on Thursday (though I'll be damned upset if many -- maybe even any -- of the actors I picked in my original story are snubbed). Here then, an appreciation of the overlooked.
Lucia Micarelli, Treme, HBO: A classical musician (violin) by trade, Micarelli is a newcomer to acting who seemed a bit player in the early stages of Treme. She plays Annie, an extremely talented street musician new to New Orleans, who came with her vastly inferior musician boyfriend to soak up the life of all the great New Orleans musicians who can play everything from jazz to cajun. But her boyfriend, Sonny, soon squanders away all of her sweetness and light as her star ascends. On paper, aside from some intimate moments spent in bed, it probably looked like the kind of load a new actress in a large ensemble cast could conquer without pushing the edges of her ability. But what Micarelli was able to bring to Annie -- elements that weren't really there in the writing -- was that aforementioned sweetness and light. Micarelli imbued Annie with a lover's compassion but a musician's ability to understand when advantage is being taken. Viewers got this by the most subtle of Micarelli's facial expressions and gestures.
As it developed, Micarelli's facial features were key. While not a traditional striking beauty, Micarelli's eyes, lips and delicate gestures exuded a combination of sultry sexiness, guile, playfulness and inner strength. Scenes where she was called on to perform -- and there were many -- highlighted her expressive face as she played the violin (the instrument being perfect for her in so many ways) and wrought out of it an epic amount of emotion. That's the kind of acting that can't be taught and Micarelli deserves a lot of credit for adding depth to Annie without needing words to do it.
Lastly, when Micarelli was called upon for drama she delivered -- be it in small interior scenes or working alongside fellow musician and actor Steve Earle and the tragedy that befell his character, Harley. In fact, Annie's presence was really felt in the last third of the Treme season and it was in that stretch where Micarelli's coming of age as an actress was really special to watch. It's highly unlikely that Micarelli will get nominated for an Emmy, but if was hard to take your eyes off her when she got her shot to shine.