When the nominations for the 2020 Emmys were announced this morning, we were happy to see so many names of dynamic women our own age. It’s supposedly the New Golden Age of Television, but it’s also the Golden Age of Actresses of a Certain Age. Women over 45 made up 53 percent of all actress nominations.
Some of the nominees are usual suspects. Dame Meryl’s role as a creepily controlling mother-in-law in the second season of Big Little Lies almost guaranteed that she would extend her Oscar dominance into the smaller-screen acting awards. In fact, many Academy Award winners are on this year’s 2020 Emmy nomination list: Regina King for Watchmen; Olivia Coleman strutting her royal stuff once again, this time as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown rather than her Oscar-winning role as Queen Anne in The Favourite; Cate Blanchette, nominated for playing against type as Phyllis Schlafly in Mrs. America; Octavia Spencer for Self Made, and Laura Dern for Big Little Lies.
Other long-time favorite film actresses who are getting deserved recognition on TV include Laura Linney for Ozark, Helena Bonham Carter for The Crown, Toni Collette for Unbelievable, and Thandie Newton for Westworld.
Veteran television actors continuing to get the love include Jennifer Anniston for The Morning Show, Sandra Oh for Killing Eve, Margo Martindale for The Americans, Harriet Walter for Succession, Christina Applegate for Dead to Me, Marin Hinkle for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Phylicia Rashad for This Is Us, Jean Smart for Watchmen, and Tracee Ellis Ross for Black-ish.
Two nominees who are regularly seen on Broadway stages are Cherry Jones for Succession and Holland Taylor for Hollywood. Two beloved comedians were nominated: Tracey Ullman for Mrs. America and Wanda Sykes for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. What can we say about Bette Midler, who defies any category since she does it all–acting, singing and comedy? She got a nod for The Politician.
Even with all this super high-wattage star power, three nominees really stood out for us. Fiona Shaw’s role as spy chief Carolyn Martin in Killing Eve is probably the most fascinating and complex older female character on television. Carolyn is a cool, brilliant, fun-loving clothes horse with a colorful history in global espionage and in bed. We can’t get enough of her.
Another magnificently complicated character is Moira Rose on the beloved comedy Schitt’s Creek. We believe there’s nothing that a bit (or a lot) of Catherine O’Hara can’t make better. We just wonder if she gets to keep the outfits from the show. That seems like prize enough, but we certainly will be happy if she wins in her category.
It’s also hard to overstate our love for Cicely Tyson, who at 95 years is still going, still inspiring. She’s nominated for her role as Annalise Keating’s mother on the thriller How to Get Away With Murder. She’s been in show business for 72 years, since 1948. Let that sink in. We are in awe.
Congrats to all the nominees.