Despite collective critical swooning and a sophomore season that blew its masterful predecessor out of the water, the HBO drama about a handful of loosely-related characters post-Katrina New Orleans doesn’t come up much in awards discussion.
Last year it did manage to pull in two Emmy nominations for direction and original music — oddly matching the series-total of nominations of co-creator David Simon‘s previous series, “The Wire” — but by the time the Golden Globes rolled around, it had been overshadowed by HBO’s newer, shinier “Boardwalk Empire.”
So how many Emmys does “Treme” deserve? Well, all of them. But given the confines of the qualifying episodes and the fact that it doesn’t stand a chance in any of the comedy categories, we’ve narrowed the field down to six nominations that would help us sleep at night and feel better about award shows… and humanity in general.
Here they are in a very particular order:
1. Khandi Alexander, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama
All would be right with the world if Alexander got the recognition she deserves for her grueling season-long arc. Showing a character as strong and spirited as Ladonna destroyed by rape, only to come back to herself with the help from the city she loves, was probably “Treme’s” greatest triumph in Season 2. And no actress could have tackled the material better.
2. Outstanding Drama Series
Just because we’re currently more impressed with Alexander than the actual series hardly means an Outstanding Drama nod isn’t in order. The characters and stories created by this series eclipse most other shows on television — and many previous winners in this very category. (Just saying!)
3. Anthony Hemingway, “Accentuate the Positive,” Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
If we had to pick one episode from Season 2 to honor, it would be the finale. Unfortunately, the July air-date disqualifies it. Our runner-up? The premiere. “Accentuate the Positive” silenced concerns over the show’s “plot” issues with a quicker pace and more thoughtful ways of having the characters play off of each other.
4. Melissa Leo, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Truth: Melissa Leo is crazy… crazy good. Her awkward self-financed Oscar campaign sort left us wanting to ban her from award shows for the duration of time, but there’s no denying this woman’s talent. Probably the series’ biggest name at this point, she capitalized on her ample screen time, delivering one of the season’s performances.
5. Any episode, Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Find six series with more honest dialogue on television. Find them.
6. Clarke Peters, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Let us not forget the gents. And of all the men of “Treme,” it’s Peters’ extremely bitter Albert Lambreaux who takes best in show. Albert’s simmering frustration, manifested in mistreatment of his children, near-senile rants about steak and recording studios and general resentment towards everything, made him hard to like — and Peters hard not to love.
*Honorable mentions are in order for chefs Eric Ripert, David Chang and Tom Colicchio, who all playing themselves surprisingly well.