Will Ruth Wilson Win a Golden Globe for 'The Affair'? 2015 Might Not Be her Year
Showtime's new show The Affair had the pedigree for great television. Acclaimed actors like The Wire's Dominic West and Luther's Ruth Wilson star. Esteemed playwright Sarah Treem is the creator, writer, and executive producer. Plus, it has a pretty dope premise. The show uses a Rashomon-like structure to tell the story of an affair between Brooklyn novelist Noah Solloway and Montauk-based waitress Alison Lockhart struggling after the death of her son. They're both married and disaffected, looking for something (or someone) to brighten their lives. Will Ruth Wilson win at the Golden Globes for Best Actress in a Television Drama Series? I don't think she has much of a chance, frankly, and here's why.
The Affair's Writing Fails Wilson
The Affair received great reviews in the beginning. Each episode is split by telling the same story from the different perspectives of Noah and Alison. A few things are clear from the jump: at least one of them is lying. There are major differences between their takes on what happened that grow more unbelievable as the first season continues. The problem is the writing just doesn't work. Wilson does some admirable work, but she's burdened by character changes that strain credibility and fail to create anything emotionally moving.
Ruth showed a lot of fire playing a sociopath on Luther, but here she's kind of a bore. To quote Emily Nussbaum's on point review of The Affair in The New Yorker , "The show’s blended genres—domestic fiction, noir mystery, chronology experiment—and the way it is filmed, as indie film/upscale erotica, promise sophistication but never deliver...It’s a classy sedative, like a high-gloss shelter magazine."
are times when underdogs pull off awards show wins thanks to a good amount of critical acclaim and timing. Ruth Wilson just doesn't have the critical acclaim on her side and isn't well known enough for an award to be owed to her based on timing.
What Do the Critics Say?
Slate's Miriam Krule was fed up by the end of Season 1 of The Affair, saying, "Even as I ask these questions, I realize I no longer care. The show has lost me. At least we got a great theme song out of it."
In her review, Nussbaum also said, "Ruth Wilson, who did a great job on “Luther,” as a sociopath, but is burdened here with a flat American accent and a perma-sulk."
So the writing fails Ruth and the show doesn't quite live up to the promise it had at the beginning of the season. But does Wilson still have a chance against her fellow nominees?
Her Competition Has Better Momentum (and Writing)
Award shows like the Golden Globes often don't seem to be about who is more talented or created the best work. Often it all appears to come down to politics and timing. Who has the most acclaim? Who has the best story as a star during awards season? Who "deserves" the award? Wilson tries to give life to a character and story that is burdened by its own sadness and seriousness. She's good, but the show is a slog to watch. Plus, Wilson isn't a high profile star. Her competition has better acclaim, better narratives surrounding their careers, and better writing on their shows. Who is she up against?
Viola Davis for How to Get Away with Murder, Julianna Margulies for The Good Wife, Claire Danes for Homeland, and Robin Wright for House of Cards. Danes has won three times before, including in 2011 and 2012 for her role as Carrie Mathison. But the greatest competition Ruth has in this category is Viola Davis, a beloved film star whom Hollywood doesn't know what to do with. How to Get Away with Murder has great ratings and its portrayal of sex has been much talked about.
Is Viola Davis given great writing? Not especially, but her timing and the popularity of the show may work in her favor. Plus, that scene where she takes off her wig and makeup is a perfect clip for award shows, as well as very buzzworthy. But, Marguiles definitely has The Good Wife's good writing on her side. She hasn't won a Golden Globe since 2009, but she's coming off of The Good Wife's greatest and best reviewed season. R
uth's competition just has better momentum on their side. Personally, as a diehard fan of The Good Wife, my money is on Margulies. We'll find out who actually takes home the Golden Globe on Sunday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m.
Images: Mark Schafer, Barbara Nitke (2)/Showtime; Giphy (2)