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Big Little Lies, Handmaid's Tale among Emmy front-runners with Canadian ties

Big Little Lies, Handmaid's Tale among Emmy front-runners with Canadian ties
From CBC - September 17, 2017

Some of the biggest contenders at Sunday's Emmy Awards in Los Angeles have major Canadian connections, including Big Little Lies and The Handmaid's Tale.

Theminiseries Big Little Lies,which is up for 13 awards and won another three at the Creative Arts Emmys earlier this month,was directed by Quebec filmmaker Jean-Marc Valle.Valle, whowas behindthe Oscar-nominated filmDallas Buyers Club (2013),is nominated for an Emmy asdirector, editor and executive producer.

The seriesstars Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley and Nicole Kidman as mothers and friends in an affluent California town. Witherspoonand Kidman were also co-producers.

"Reese and I fought like crazy with our producing partners to get this thing made," Kidman told CBC News."It was like pushing a rock up a mountainbut when we got it there, we were like, 'We did it.'And I said to Reese at the end, 'Would not it be great if this was a big success? Can you imagine sharing that?' And we get to share it, and that's fantastic."

French-Canadian cinematographer Yves Blanger is also up for an award, along with many of theMontreal-based post-production staff involved with editing and sound mixing.

'Extraordinary' performances

Even though it's an American series,The Handmaid's Taleis based on MargaretAtwood'sclassicdystopiannovel and the entire show was filmed in and around Toronto.

Among its13 nominations, three of which it already won at the non-televisedceremony, is a lead actress nod for Elisabeth Moss.

"There's so many amazing performances in my category, and also so many incredible performances that were not included this year," said the American actress, who was also nominated several times for her role as Peggy Olsonon Mad Men."To be chosen as one out of all of those is sort of a crazy, surreal thing."

Moss is considered a front-runner in her category,but the series has seriouscompetition in the contest for best drama series. The Handmaid's Tale is up againstBetter Call Saul, The Crown,House Of Cards, Stranger Things, This Is Us and Westworld,all of which enjoy a strong following and critical acclaim.

The Crown's Claire Foy is nominated in the same category as Moss.

"All those performances are extraordinary and I have watched every single one and I just think they are all amazing," Foy told CBC News. "So to be quite frank, I am just lucky to go."

The strength of women in multi-dimensional roles and behind the scenes is further evidenced by Toronto-born Samantha Bee and her cutting sense of political humour and delivery.

She already took home a writing Emmy for her variety special Not The White House Correspondents' Dinner and she's up for several more for her late-night show Full Frontal.

Saturday Night Live, with Canadian Lorne Michaels at the helm, received the most nominations (tied withWestworld), with 22. The comedy sketch series won five of thoseearlier.

Missing fromthe race

Fans of Game of Thrones will have to wait another year before potentially seeing the epic fantasy series in any categories. After its record-breaking Emmy wins last year, theseventh season did not meet the cutofffor submissions. To qualify, a show hadto premier between June 1, 2016 and May 30, 2017.GoTpremiered in July.

The clone drama Orphan Black also missed the deadline, which means Regina-born Tatiana Maslanyis not among the nominees this year. She will, however, take the stage as a presenter. Maslany, who plays multiple roles on the cult hit,took home the 2016 Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series.

There were a few clearsnubs this year, a sign of the surplus of great television out there. HBO's ground-breaking hit Insecure, co-created by Issa Rae who also stars in it, did not get any love from the academy.The comedy, which has a mainly black cast and weaves racial strugglesinto the story lines,follows the awkward and relatable experiencesof a group of friends in L.A.

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