Brutally Honest Emmy Ballot: 'Mandalorian' Is Nothing Without Baby Yoda, John Oliver Seemed "Rattled" by Pandemic, and Why 'Succession' is "Brilliant"

7:00 AM 9/17/2020

by Anonymous, as told to Scott Feinberg

One Emmy voter explains their vote against 'Hillary,' why the 'Clark Sisters' biopic should have been nominated, and how 'The Good Place' is "the 'Sixth Sense' of comedy."

Courtesy of HBO
  • Best Drama Series

    The Crown is a chick show, Stranger Things was better in previous seasons, and The Mandalorian is the emperor with no clothes. Without Baby Yoda, nobody would have paid attention to it. The Handmaid’s Tale reminds me too much of what’s going on in the real world. I love Jonathan Banks, but I couldn’t get into this season of Better Call Saul. Killing Eve, the best show on TV during its first season, went Thelma & Louise off a cliff in its third. I bailed on Ozark midway through the second season, but everyone told me to go back because the third was so good. Once I started, I was in like Flynn.

    I would have voted for it if Succession wasn’t also in this category. Succession is brilliantly written and directed, and there’s a reason all the acting categories are filled with its people. It rings so true that you feel they must have tapped the phones of the Murdochs and the White House. So much for the sophomore slump.

    MY VOTE: Succession (HBO)

  • Best Comedy Series

    I’ve tried and tried and tried with Dead to Me, but I don’t get why people think it’s a good show. I sampled What We Do in the Shadows — many friends told me I would fall out of my chair laughing. I did not. It’s the same joke over and over and over. Insecure? I know it’s critically acclaimed, but I just don’t get Issa Rae’s humor. This season of Curb Your Enthusiasm was good but not Emmy good. This wasn’t The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s strongest season, plus I was pretty turned off when my Amazon orders of Lysol started showing up in pink Maisel boxes. I love The Kominsky Method. It’s not the most brilliantly written show, but I could watch those two guys [Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin] do anything. Schitt’s Creek made me laugh consistently, but The Good Place was amazing — with its surprise twist, it’s like The Sixth Sense of comedy shows — and Ted Danson is an American treasure.

    MY VOTE: The Good Place (NBC)

  • Best Limited Series

    Little Fires Everywhere ... are you kidding me? It had major script and directing issues, and it was like Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington were in different shows. Mrs. America is one of those shows where someone fell in love with a pitch and didn’t bother to go, “This isn’t nine hours, or else it’s going to get fucking boring.” Unbelievable was slow and repetitive at times but overall excellent. It kills me that I can’t vote for Unorthodox, but the best show of the year in any category was Watchmen. I binged all the episodes in two days, and I sobbed. Tulsa, the masks, the cops — it’s eerie how timely it is. It’s told in such a lyrical way where you care so deeply about the characters. And it’s such an indictment of our country right now.

    MY VOTE: Watchmen (HBO)

  • Best Variety Talk Series

    This is tough. I watch and love all these nominees. Jimmy Kimmel is fun but sort of hit-or-miss depending on the guest. Samantha Bee is so smart, but not every subject she does merits a rant. Trevor Noah just gets better and better. He’s grown into that show and become a voice for a generation. I’ve generally voted for John Oliver. But whereas he seemed a bit rattled when everyone had to go home, Stephen Colbert took things to another level. He can go from serious to funny better than anyone and has the best guests by far.

    MY VOTE: The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (CBS)

  • Best Variety Sketch Series

    Any time the Academy tries to fix something, they make it worse — three nominees?! Drunk History totally depends on whom they get. This season of SNL was pretty weak, but A Black Lady Sketch Show made me laugh every time.

    MY VOTE: A Black Lady Sketch Show (HBO)

  • Best Television Movie

    What the fuck? They don’t care if a movie wasn’t made for TV, it’s still a TV movie to them. Bad Education — which isn’t very good, by the way — premiered at the Toronto Film Festival targeting a theatrical release. American Son is basically a filmed Broadway play. And El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend are glorified episodes of TV series. It’s ridiculous. The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel, a Lifetime movie [which wasn’t nominated], was perfect TV.

    MY VOTE: (Abstain)

  • Best Competition Program

    There’s nothing special about The Voice. Top Chef has been on forever and isn’t doing anything special. I don’t understand the appeal of The Masked Singer, and looking at the queen of anti-vaxxers Jenny McCarthy makes me want to blow my brains out. I’ve voted for RuPaul’s Drag Race every year and was totally prepared to do it again, but then I saw Nailed It! on the ballot. I hadn’t even heard of it, so I decided to check it out. It’s freaking hilarious!

    MY VOTE: Nailed It! (Netflix)

  • Best Doc or Nonfiction Series

    American Masters? I don’t even know where to find PBS on my TV. I didn’t watch Hillary because I can’t look at her — she should have written her book and then gone away. I loved McMillions, but it was a little light — they stretched it out too much. Tiger King was the talk of the pandemic and was really good. But they basically stumbled into a great story, so I can’t vote for that over The Last Dance, which couldn’t have been more impressively made or more watchable.

    MY VOTE: The Last Dance (ESPN)

    This story first appeared in the Sept. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.