Monday, August 25, 2014

One Last, Desperate Emmy Plea

Nothing like begging for something at the last minute, right?  My fellow ADTV contributors will be live tweeting the Emmy Awards ceremony tonight, but I wanted to throw out a long shot plea for one of the actresses nominated in Best Supporting Actress in a Mini Series or Movie.  

I have a love/hate relationship with Ryan Murphy's perennial assault of subtlety, American Horror Story.  I love the over-the-top acting and plots, but every year, I grow weary of the structure of each season.  It appears that Mr. Murphy throws everything he has at the wall, and he is just hoping something sticks.  One of the strongest aspects of the show is that Murphy features some great female actors in his ensembles.  Jessica Lange has appeared on every season, and she has earned much-deserved praise.  I would say there was one actress from this past season's entry, Coven, that deserves to walk away with the Emmy this year: Angela Bassett.  

As Marie Laveau, Bassett steals almost every scene she's involved in.  Lange's coven is a small group of girls who dress in black and sulk around their academy's stark corners.  Laveau owns and operates a beauty parlor, and she has a wide range of clientele.  Lange's own daughter, played by fellow Emmy nominee Sarah Paulson, goes to Laveau to help her have a baby.  

The presence of Bassett on screen is intense and warm at the same time.  In Coven, Bassett looks even more beautiful than ever.  Her stillness is almost hypnotic, but Laveau can stand up to anyone.  She breaks Kathy Bates' racist Madame LeLaurie, and she even joins forces with Lange's coven to take down a clan of with hunters (in one of the series' underdeveloped subplots).  Bassett hasn't really had a part that she can sink her teeth into in a long time, and that's why she was a welcome presence every week.  As Lange's Supreme grew weaker, you almost wondered if Bassett would take over the AHS crown.  

I think Julia Roberts is going to walk away with the Emmy tonight (for Ryan Murphy's other juggernaut, The Normal Heart), but I sure hope Emmy voters surprises us.  Award Bassett's intensity, her strength, her stillness.  Award her because everyone has been stupid enough to not cast her in everything.  Bassett is flawless, and it's not bad to award a character that you fear.  Roberts is fine, yes, (as are the fellow nominees) but Bassett deserves it.  

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