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Some Hugo Picks

December has come, and the end of 2016 (thank god, what a bloody awful year) will be upon us in a few more weeks. Which means, inevitably, that people will soon be drawing up lists of the year's best books, stories, television shows, and movies... for the Hugo Awards, the Emmys, the Oscars, the Dragons, the Tiptrees, the Nebulas, the World Fantasy Awards... or just for the fun of it.

For my part, I already know what two of my Hugo nominations for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form will be.

ARRIVAL, to start with. Terrific adaptation of a classic story by Ted Chiang. Brilliant performance from Amy Adams. (She is always great, I think, but this was her best role to date). A real science fiction story, not a western in space. Intelligent, thought-provoking, with some wonderfully alien aliens.

And WESTWORLD, season one, from HBO. Of course, as with GAME OF THRONES, one can nominate individual episodes of this one in Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form... but for me it makes more sense to nominate the entire season in Long Form. (GAME OF THRONES season one was nominated in this fashion at Chicago, and won). It really is one very long, complex, wonderfully rich story, with great acting, writing, and directing, and the usual spectacular HBO production values. Like ARRIVAL, this is one that bears repeated re-viewing, and requires some thought. The Academy will likely nominate WESTWORLD for a shelf full of Emmys. I hope fandom recognizes its brilliance as well. This is a story about the nature of sentience and the cost of being human, a commentary on our society and (especially) on the ways we choose to entertain ourselves, full of twists and turns and gut punches and reveals and surprises, all masterfully delivered by Jonah Nolan and Lisa Joy.

(GAME OF THRONES is also eligible for Hugo nomination this year, of course. The entire sixth season in Long Form, or individual episodes of same in Short Form. However, because of the air dates and eligibility periods, GOT will not be in the running for the Emmy Awards this year, so WESTWORLD will have a clear run at those... contending, of course, with BETTER CALL SAUL, OUTLANDER, and all of the other terrific dramas out there).

There were other good movies and television shows released in 2016, and I have no doubt that some of them will find places on my own personal Hugo ballot as well... but honestly, I cannot imagine that I will like any of them as well as I liked ARRIVAL and WESTWORLD.


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Dec. 5th, 2016 11:12 pm (UTC)
I couldn't agree more. Brilliant storytelling!
Dec. 5th, 2016 11:15 pm (UTC)
Television and movies - Kingkiller Chronicles news
Just wanted to ask what do you think about Lin Manuel teaming up with Patrick Rothfuss to bring Kingkiller Chronicle to life? That is an excellent trilogy and looking forward to seeing that world on the stage and on screen.
Dec. 5th, 2016 11:16 pm (UTC)
Big Screen
If I didn't live on the complete opposite side of the country, I'd like to binge watch the complete season of WestWorld on the big screen at the Cocteau!
Dec. 5th, 2016 11:22 pm (UTC)
Short Dramatic Presentation
Westworld truly was fun -- and very science fictional! -- and I think you're right that its structure makes it very suitable for nomination in the Long Form category. That said, I strongly suspect that Arrival, with its pedigree and positive reception, is a shoe-in to win Long Form.

Similarly, I'm guessing The Expanse can be argued for as a Long Form entry.

For Short Form, I really highly recommend Black Mirror's latest season on Netflix. "Nosedive" and (especially) "San Junipero" both strike me as terrific nominees.

Edited at 2016-12-05 11:25 pm (UTC)
Lincoln Narcelio Thomaz Noronha
Dec. 7th, 2016 01:24 am (UTC)
Re: Short Dramatic Presentation
Arrival and Westworld were the highlights of this year for me too. The Expanse I think fits better in the short form (episodes 4 and 10 were amazing). The Expanse felt a bit confusing at the end (for those who havent read the books), because they cut the first season about 2/3 of the first book.
Dec. 5th, 2016 11:31 pm (UTC)
Gods be good
George, did you have any inspiration for the 7? Below is my interpretation.

Father: God/Jesus
Mother: Mary
Warrior: Veterans day
Maiden: Mary
Smith: Apostles
Crone: St. Therese
Stranger: Lucifer
Dec. 5th, 2016 11:44 pm (UTC)
Great to hear GOT got nominated for the Hugo's, and sad it won't be returning for the emmys next year, but I'm also happy that other brilliant dramas get the chance to shine. Before their time is up, I hope I get to see Westworld, The Expanse, Man in the High Castle and many future hits up there. Now I have to know, what was your reaction to Delores's big moment of realization in the finale, because that was one of the best things I've ever seen done on a visual medium and it just took my breath away. I was laughing in delight. We really are in the age of television now aren't we.

Edited at 2016-12-05 11:45 pm (UTC)
Dec. 5th, 2016 11:56 pm (UTC)
Don't want to talk specifics here. Too many people have not seen it yet, do not want spoil anything.
(no subject) - striker163 - Dec. 6th, 2016 12:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Alex Alexis
Dec. 5th, 2016 11:44 pm (UTC)
Awful year?
What makes 2016 a bitter year for you? Is it the chaotic election?
Dec. 5th, 2016 11:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Awful year?
The election was the ugliest since 1968, and the final result was appalling... but while that was definitely the climactic turd in the year's punchbowl, there was lots more in 2016 that did not thrill me.

(And yes, of course, good things happened as well).
RE: Re: Awful year? - David Levin - Dec. 6th, 2016 12:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Awful year? - Matt Barrett - Dec. 6th, 2016 12:08 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: Awful year? - Keith Russell Dulak - Dec. 6th, 2016 12:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 6th, 2016 12:36 am (UTC)
Is it true that you approached the creators about a Westworld-Game of Thrones crossover, or is that just a rumor? Either way, I'd love to see how some of the characters would react to the modern world and knowing they're fictional. I bet Tyrion would take it best.
Dec. 6th, 2016 12:47 am (UTC)
Re: Westerosworld
I wouldn't say I "approached the creators," that makes it sound way too formal. I threw out the idea while having dinner with Jonah Nolan on a visit to LA, before WESTWORLD had premiered. The original movie, as the oldtimers will recall, included not only the titular Westworld, but also a Roman World and Medieval World for the guests to play in... I thought it would be fun to use Westeros as the model for the Medieval World.

And hey, robot dragons... can't beat that.
Re: Westerosworld - koultpython - Dec. 6th, 2016 01:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Westerosworld - caravaggio2012 - Dec. 6th, 2016 03:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 6th, 2016 02:07 am (UTC)

I have not seen any of Westworld, but was just looking for something new to watch when I scrolled down to your post. Now I am intrigued!

Dec. 6th, 2016 02:21 am (UTC)
Why was 2016 such a bad year, George?

There's still just short of a month to make amends.

Mike Rubin
Dec. 6th, 2016 02:55 am (UTC)
The Expanse
Is The Expanse eligible? My wife and I thought it was terrific, can't wait for the next season.
Dec. 6th, 2016 03:11 am (UTC)
Totally with you on Westworld. I mean no offense to GoT, which I also love, or any of a number of fine programs, but imo Westworld should be the clear winner, and it's a hard call for me between Westworld and Better Call Saul for the Emmy (they are both so wonderful, and so very different)(again, no offense to GoT!!!).

Also expect WW to pick up two best actress (Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton) and possibly three best actor Emmy noms (Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris), along w/writing etc.

I cannot rave about this show enough. So happy you enjoy it too!
Dec. 6th, 2016 03:53 am (UTC)
Hi George,

Have you ever watched the Vikings? What are your thoughts on it? Just started myself and enjoying it quite a bit.

Dec. 6th, 2016 04:38 am (UTC)
RE: Vikings
I think The Last Kingdom is better.
Re: Vikings - mr_tomski - Dec. 7th, 2016 03:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 6th, 2016 05:29 am (UTC)
A Song Of Ice And Fire - BEST SERIES HUGO AWARD - Eligible for 2017

I am not sure if you are aware but under the current WSFS Constitution A Song Of Ice And Fire is eligible for the new Best Series Hugo Award in 2017.

Worldcon 75, to be held in Helsinki August 2017 announced in October that it will exercise its right under the WSFS Constitution to run a special Hugo category for “Best Series.”

Eligibility Requirement:
A Song Of Ice And Fire by George R. R. Martin, Arianne (short story) May 10, 2016.

A Song Of Ice And Fire series is eligible for the 2017 award because you released the new story titled "Arianne" from Winds Of Winter on your website.

Jared Dashoff on September 30, 2016 on John Scalzi's "Whatever" blog said:

“As a maker of the Best Series motion up for ratification in 2017, a volume is anything. We didn’t want to say work because that gets confusing when you call the series a work of works. We didn’t want to specify any length of each part, either, because we wanted short stories, novelettes, novellas, blog posts, novels, graphic stories (assuming the entire series makes it to 240,000 words), etc. were eligible.

Since Helsinki is exercising its right to include the Best Series Hugo Award in 2017 even though it has not yet been ratified. The Best Series Hugo Award may or may not be ratified at next year's business meeting. So it is possible that 2017 Best Series Hugo Award may be the only Best Series Hugo Award that is ever awarded.

I am wondering what your thoughts on this are?
Dec. 6th, 2016 06:27 am (UTC)
RE: A Song Of Ice And Fire - BEST SERIES HUGO AWARD - Eligible for 2017
"Arianne" was not a short story, it is a sample chapter. It would be absurd to nominate Ice & Fire for Series on that basis.

Beyond that, I am not a supporter of the new category.

Best Novel remains the Big One as far as I'm concerned. That's the category with all the history behind it.
Dec. 6th, 2016 05:32 am (UTC)
I was really disappointed in Westworld. I LOVED the pilot and episodes 2, 3, but lost interest after that. There were only so many tensionless skirmishes with robots that I could take. The concept and some of the ideas explored were interesting, but the characters and plot just didn't intrigue me or make me feel anything. In the end, the Delores and William storyline was pointless, and so was the MIB's journey, just filler to get to the end game. Plus, I had a real hard time believing one character could just undergo such a transformation so quickly with almost no warning signs in his character DNA.

Edited at 2016-12-06 05:43 am (UTC)
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