You’d think the ensemble cast for Argo could not be challenged, but that would be a mistake. At every location, meeting, and level of government, Zero Dark Thirty is populated by familiar faces. And interestingly, many (not all) of these actors are prominently known for their television roles.
Jessica Chastain: She’s amazing. And while she is starring in basically every film that comes out these days, some people (like me!) might remember her role as Veronica Mars’s disappeared pregnant neighbor in the season one episode “The Girl Next Door.”
Jason Clarke: I associated Jason Clarke with his starring role on the defunct show, The Chicago Code. I championed that show until the bitter end, so I hope Jason Clarke at least gets a big film career as a consolation prize. Bonus!: I remember where I saw him most recently: in Texas Killing Fields being hunted by…Jessica Chastain.
Kyle Chandler: He really wins this year because he is also in Argo. Of course, his prominent television role is Friday Night Lights (I know, I know, I need to watch) but I can’t help but constantly think of his stint on Grey’s Anatomy. Remember how that one time there was a bomb and Kyle Chandler needed to diffuse it?
Jennifer Ehle: I honestly can’t look at her without thinking about her role opposite Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice.
Harold Perrineau: Lost. Oz. Sons of Anarchy. The Unusuals. (And Wedding Band? Sorry, Wedding Band fans — it’s a goner.)
Mark Strong: You might know him from every film ever, but his role in Kick-Ass sticks out to me.
Jessica Collins: One of those, “don’t I know her from something?” The answer must be I know her from Rubicon. Yet another show I watched to the bitter end. It really just served to prove that AMC can and will ax shows.
Fredric Lehne: You may know him from every television show ever: American Horror Story: Asylum, Lost, Supernatural, etc. Seriously, he is the epitome of the character actor.
Mark Duplass: How can you not love him?? He’s making his mark on TV (The League, The Mindy Project) and in film (Safety Not Guaranteed, Your Sister’s Sister).
James Gandolfini: Tony Soprano himself!
Stephen Dillane: You may also know him from everything in the world but these days I tend to shout out (mentally) “Stannis!” whenever I see him. So, Game of Thrones but also Hunted, John Adams, etc.
John Barrowman: a.k.a. Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood, as well as his recent gig on CW’s Arrow. Singer, actor, host and all-around constant personality…in Zero Dark Thirty. Randomly great.
Joel Edgerton: Discussion of all other roles must be preempted because I just discovered (remembered/had a flashback to) the fact he is “young” Uncle Owen in the Star Wars prequels. I instantly seized upon a mental image of the trading card I have (yes, I collected Star Wars cards but I was waaay more into my Lord of the Rings collection…) and knew this to be true. And then my mind exploded. I guess I should quit wondering where this Joel Edgerton guy came from if he has actually been on the fringes all these years.
Chris Pratt: Parks and Recreation! But before Parks and Rec, my thought would have been Everwood! Wow, that really takes me back…
Taylor Kinney: This guy pops up on The Vampire Diaries, then starts dating Lady GaGa, and now has a starring role in Chicago Fire. So I imagine he made some kind of deal with the devil.
Christopher Stanley: Honorable mention since whenever I see him I can only think of Mad Men; “Henry Francis.”
Mark Valley: Human Target, Fringe, Boston Legal, and Body of Proof apparently, etc. All I can think about for some reason when I see him is that he was married to Anna Torv. But not any longer…
I stopped hoping/predicting Emmy nominations a long time ago because going down that road inevitably leads to disappointment. But foregoing your hopes and dreams allows for another thing: pleasant surprise. Yes, most of the nominations were easily predicable but more so than usual, this year is shaping up to showcase some very deserving ensembles and individuals. One thing I won’t discuss: the snubs. I fear making that list will result in insanity and depression. Forewarning: since my thoughts range from actual having an observation to just “yay!” this is a mishmash of ideas more so than an actual post. For a better breakdown of exactly how this year is surprisingly positive, check out Tim Goodman’s analysis at The Hollywood Reporter.
Downton Abbey: Having returned for a second season to PBS, it was necessary for DA to move from the miniseries category to the drama series category. It took America a year to catch Downton fever, and I am just a little bummed that it happened on a less than stellar season. Nevertheless, I am happy for it to be included. The show even garnered far more acting noms than expected: Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle, and Jim Carter were all nominated. The Brits are already laughing at our outdated obsession.
Mad Men: What do I love about the Mad Men noms this year? Well, Jared Harris for one (who replaced John Slattery in this category). I was a huge fan of Lane this season and while I could sit here and work myself into a fit over how much I think Weiner blundered his storyline, Jared Harris was awesome throughout. He devastated me for well over a week. I was happily surprised by the nomination for Ben Feldman as Michael Ginsberg in the Guest Actor category. His scene where he describes himself as a martian to Peggy is one of the standout moments of the season. And semi-related: Jon Hamm was nominated for Don Draper but he was also nominated for Guest Actor in 30 Rock. I know he doesn’t consider himself a comedian but he never ceases to be hilarious in comedies and on SNL. He may not be able to win for Mad Men, but he was definitely a standout on the 30 Rock live episode.
American Horror Story: Due to what can be deemed downright mischievous, FX submitted AHS as a miniseries, arguing that each season is a self-contained anthology (never mind the fact this was decided after it aired). Due to a sparse field of competition, this has allowed AHS to CLEAN UP. I am very excited to see Denis O’Hare recognized in the Supporting Actor category because he’s awesome.
Sherlock: And speaking of strategies, PBS entered “A Scandal in Belgravia” into contention as an TV movie. Huh? It is a single episode in a continuous series that involves the same principal characters but okay. I can’t really complain too much because I may in fact be rooting for Benedict Cumberbatch in the Lead Actor category far more than anyone else at the ceremony. Martin Freeman also got some love in the Supporting Actor category so I can’t argue with the results of this subterfuge.
The Year of the Creator/Actor?
Girls: Not only was it nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, but Lena Dunham got nominations for writing, directing, producing and Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Louie: Louis CK may have missed out on getting his actual show nominated but he successfully got nods for writing, directing and as Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Even more impressive? He now holds the record for most nominations for an individual in a single year (7).
Max Greenfield: I know that Zooey Deschanel also got the nomination, but I have to give it up to Max Greenfield for making New Girl one of the funniest new shows on television this year. The evolution of Schmidt was a great thing to watch throughout the season and I am very glad that it was noticed.
Writing in a Comedy Series: Talk about a category that got it completely right. Girls, Parks and Recreation, Louie, and Community (The “Remedial Chaos Theory” episode!!!) all represented. I can’t wait to see what episode picks up the award but they are all so deserving.
The Hour: I just recently devoured the first season of The Hour and adored it so I am sad to see that the series was ignored (or “miniseries” I should say…er) as well as Dominic West and Ben Whishaw. However, Abi Morgan did get a nomination for Outstanding Writing.
Modern Family: I…don’t get it anymore. I watch it and it often makes me laugh but not everyone on the show needs to be nominated particularly since it wasn’t a very strong season. I would nominate Ty Burrell, that’s all folks. Instead of some of the other adults I would also nominate the kid that plays Luke, Nolan Gould, because he makes me laugh more than most of the cast combined.
Before cable networks got savvy at reorganizing their schedules to include some choice summer programming, that was generally a time when television was a desolate wasteland of repeats and reality shows. In other words, slim pickings. So that more than anything likely drove me to check out The Days. I got one thing out of it: an intense love for Evan Peters. In fact, when I look at that picture above, it reminds me that I had a clipping of just his section floating around my room for a few years. My association of Evan Peters to this is so strong, I was shocked to see it only ran for 6 episodes back in 2004. Honestly, other than some of my friends, I thought I was the only person on the planet that watched The Days, and was surely the only one that looked at Evan Peters when he popped up randomly and thought immediately of Cooper and yearned for his return to primetime. I savored his appearances and wished that the others around me knew the glories of Cooper Day. I see that he was on Invasion, and I do remember watching maybe the first 5 episodes or so (probably for him as well as William Fichtner, we share a birthday bond) but even their presence could not hold my interest in that show. I had no clue he was ever on One Tree Hill, but I definitely caught him on Dirt, House and Parenthood.
Finally, flash forward to American Horror Story, where his character Tate is just plain fascinating. At the risk of sounding like all the fangirls on imdb, Tate is easily my favorite part of the show. This is the first time Evan has really gotten a character to showcase his talent. It is hard for many people to reconcile themselves to liking Tate, especially with his crimes. And it is really easy to judge those that seem to like him even in the face of his actions.
I argue that the writers have been very crafty in their portrayal of Tate, especially to make an unsympathetic character sympathetic and forcing viewers to feel conflicted over their emotions towards him (I mean, isn’t that the point?). We initially know he is a bit unhinged, his dark dreams having landed him in therapy. We slowly get the impression he is a ghost of the Murder House, and with his victims coming back to haunt him on Halloween, that his dreams may actually be a reality. “Piggy Piggy” revealed that yes, in 1994 Tate executed a Columbine-style attack on his high school and was later killed in his bedroom by a SWAT team raid.
But the Tate we know from the show has no memory of these events and has no clue that he is dead. He may have dreams depicting what he did, but he is not lying to his victims when he says he has no idea what they are talking about. This Tate is a tabula rasa version of his living self. How can you lay fault on the version of Tate that Violet knows when he is a lost soul? Especially when the Murder House may have driven him to commit the act in the first place? The show is giving you a scapegoat for your feelings toward Tate and I wholeheartedly embrace it. The rest of the show is a mishmash of weird, but Evan’s scenes in “Piggy Piggy” felt genuine and made me feel. I can’t wait for the rest of Tate’s journey this season.
Last night on American Horror Story we got to meet some of Tate’s victims, who were aptly dubbed the “Dead Breakfast Club” for their social status diversity. When we get Tate’s full back story next week in “Piggy Piggy,” we will see these actors again—in all their far less gory glory.
Goth girl = Alessandra Torresani, of Caprica fame. She also recently starred in Jane Espenson’s Husbands web series and Warehouse 13.
Jock guy = Brando Eaton, who I couldn’t place for the entire episode but know as Jonah, Trinity’s son on Dexter. And according to the imdb boards, people know him from The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
Cheerleader = Ashley Rickards, recently known for being the star of MTV’s Awkward, yet another fact gleaned from the imdb boards, and One Tree Hill. Incidently, her love interest on OTH was Evan Peters.
Rebel = Jordan David. Sorry dude, I got nothin’. He’s been bouncing around, guest starring on a number of shows like Criminal Minds and The Mentalist.
Nerd = Alexander Nemitz. Homeboy doesn’t even have a page on imdb.
In my quest to find the nerdy student, I did come upon this awesome breakdown of the episode’s events, with an emphasis on the breakfast club and more pictures of their ghastly wounds.