My favorite thing about the Feelies is that while Sage and I may come up with the nominees, it truly IS all in the hands of our readers and whatever fanbases might stumble upon the post after we tag individual actors and shows. Sometimes we can anticipate what will win, but more often than not we’re surprised by what people mobilize around and it’s so fun to watch. This year was no different! While some races (Supporting Actress in a Comedy, YAS QUEEN!) were runaway victories straight out of the gate, most of the others were tightly packed, right down to the last day of voting. Some races became runaways when discovered by fans (Supporting Actor in a Drama changed overnight mid-week and never looked back) while having two nominees from the same show split the vote in other categories.
But ultimately, these winners did emerge, and quite frankly, like it is every year, I couldn’t be prouder of them. Curious to see how all the races shaked out percentage wise? You can become a Patreon, where all of the full results are going to be posted to our Patron-Only feed. Thank you as always for your support, your campaigns, and your votes! Let’s see who won, shall we? — Kim
(Simply the) Best Comedy: Schitt’s Creek
If you’d care to indulge in a deep dive of reasons Schitt’s Creek is worthy of this year’s Best Comedy Feelie, we may know where you can find roughly 40,000 words’ worth. But the simplest truth is, five seasons spent perfecting a balance of humor and warmth culminated in 14 episodes that expertly wove those elements throughout and somehow pulled off being “just” another great season while offering the closure and hope you crave in a sendoff. It was really damn funny and so incredibly well done.
The very best aspects of the show shone through all year: flawless performances by a talented and hilarious ensemble cast, audacious but precise costuming, thoughtful and playful storytelling, and a quiet celebration of love and growth underlying it all. Dan Levy and his team managed to wrap up the intertwined storylines with the kind of pacing and intention that most final seasons of televisions could only hope to achieve, while still offering surprises that didn’t sacrifice the integrity of the story or characters for the sake of shock value. A sitcom that can serve movie premiere crow attacks and excitement-induced adult bedwetting as seamlessly as an emotional heart-to-heart between best friends (or couples or siblings or…) is one deserving of the title Best. — Gillian
Best Drama: Succession
I’m a brand new member of the Succession hive, having finally started watching when the COVID lockdown went into effect. While I found the first season very compelling and incredibly well acted, it didn’t grab me by the neck and command me to KEEP WATCHING right away, so it took me a good while to get through the first eight episodes of season one. But suddenly I hit Shiv’s rehearsal dinner and then Succession just took off and I couldn’t stop watching. I blew through season two in less than three days, glued to my couch as I watched the Roys spar with the Pierces in some sort of white collar Hatfields vs the McCoys operatic drama until that final press conference (Kendall: I HAVE THE RECEIPTS!!!) left me breathless and bereft because there was no more for me to watch.
Succession is so many things. It’s a Greek Tragedy and a chamber piece family drama all at once. It’s a black comedy with Shakespearean level wit. It’s a brilliant ensemble of actors, all of whom are at the top of their game, allowing them to push each other to new heights. It’s a searing commentary on the power and excess afforded to the one percent and a wicked satire on the influence of mass media. It’s can’t miss television and it’s YOUR drama of the year. — Kim
Best Actress in a Comedy: Kristen Bell, The Good Place
Throughout the run of The Good Place, Eleanor has been the de facto leader of our ragtag group of imperfect humans. But in the final season, she’s called on to take an even more pivotal role: stepping into Michael’s shoes and running the Good Place simulation, only with far higher stakes. (Like, fate of the human race stakes.) It doesn’t come easy to Eleanor and she does doubt herself – every step of the way. But the strength of Kristen Bell is that she somehow coalesces everything that Eleanor is (Arizona trash bag, neglected daughter, overly confident semi-narcissist) with everything that Eleanor has learned, incorporating each layer of reboot and the new rules that this show never stopped piling on.
The reason that Eleanor is able to clock Michael’s plan in the first season is that she is very aware of her own shortcomings (shout out to Brent, who never quite got there). The reason she’s able to lead this charge not only to level the playing field of eternity but also to ultimately give humans the eventual fade out of conscious existence that they need is that she, more than any other character, knows that life begins any time you decide it does. I can see how there might be a temptation to play Eleanor as something more than human by the time this season rolls around, but Kristen resists that, keeping even the most cosmic revelations grounded in her immutably mortal status.
It’s impossible to distill The Good Place down to one philosophical idea, but certainly one of them is that there is no difference between the human and the divine. Kristen Bell’s Eleanor Shellstrop is not-living proof of that. —Sage
Best Actress in a Drama: Regina King, Watchmen
Marcee! My wife! You’re a Feelies winner!
There are few actors whose career ascent I have delighted in as much as I’ve delighted in the rise of Regina King. From her beginnings in 227 and Jerry Maguire to her impressive streak of three Emmys in four years to running the table for her performance in If Beale Street Could Talk, Regina always delivers. So I was very intrigued when she signed onto the Damon Lindelof adaptation of Watchmen as her first big post-Oscar project. I was initially resistant to the source material (as in all things, blame Zack Snyder and that movie) but the overwhelmingly positive response, in addition to Sage’s gushing over it, made me finally start watching as we built the nominee post, and quickly, my allegiance shifted to Regina in this race. She’s so fucking good, I can hardly stand it.
As Angela Abar/Sister Night, so much is thrown Regina’s way. Quiet rage. Acceptance. The feeling of the weight of the world on her (RIPPED) shoulders. Confusion, betrayal, an inherent sense of justice in a fucked up world. And that’s just the first five episodes! Watchmen takes a completely turn for the final four episodes and it puts Regina firmly in the center, from the artful Nostalgia fueled “This Extraordinary Being” to the non-linear love story of “A God Walks into Abar” to the breathless finale “See How They Fly” and the last shot of her foot hovering above the water before connecting. It’s a genius performance and I’m so mad we only get nine episodes of it. –Kim
Best Actor in a Comedy: Ted Danson, The Good Place
This is TV Legend/National Treasure Ted Danson’s third Feelies win for The Good Place, meaning that he would have had a series sweep, had Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy not been your choice last year. But it’s only fitting that the crown returned to him as our best demon boy Michael undertook the final leg of his journey, i.e. becoming a real boy.
As Kim said in the nominees post, Michael has been “the beating heart” of the show, allowing Ted to let his natural sweetness and sensitivity shine brighter than he’s been able to in other roles. (As much as I love the guy, he’s not and has never been Sam Malone IRL.) I know I’ll particularly miss his chemistry with fellow winner Kristen Bell, which was stronger than ever as Michael supported his (best!!) friend through no less of a task than saving multiple planes of existence. It’s a given that he has impeccable timing and a deft comic touch, but Ted also leaned into the things that made Michael just a little bit of a tragic character, starting with the fact that he has always been too pure for the job he was born into.
Of course, in the end, Michael gets what he’s wanted all along: not only to ensure the safety and happiness of his friends, but also to live the life he’s longed for. It’s only a montage, but his pure joy at all the little quirks and annoyances of being a person (and that guitar lesson with Mary!!!) are the button of happiness that the show needed. Anyway, who else could have imbued the iconic last line “take it sleazy” with such kindness and gravitas? — Sage
Best Actor in a Drama: Jeremy Strong, Succession
Congrats, Succession fam, Jeremy Strong is your Number One Boy.
Jeremy first caught this blog’s eye as Art Dreesen on season four of Masters of Sex (Us: I know we’re supposed to not like him, but we LOVE him and he must be protected!!) and it’s been so rewarding to see him take center stage as certified hot mess and sad boi Kendall Roy, who finally found the killer instinct we ALL knew he had in the final moments of the season two finale. Clearly, you guys all saw the same thing that we did because, despite from some competition from former Feelie Champion Sterling K. Brown, Jeremy lead this category from day one.
In our nominee post, I talked a lot about the constant five seconds away from losing his shit kind of energy that Jeremy brings to Kendall but I didn’t mention the level of pure commitment he has to the role. It’s no surprise to me that this man is a stage actor, having trained at both the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Steppenwolf Theatre Company. He just goes all in, no matter what is asked of him, be it stumbling in terror back to his sister’s wedding after leaving that poor bastard to die or standing stock still as people he’s just fired literally spit in his face or yes, rapping. (Which he was terrified to do, by the way, though you never would have known.) It’s a special kind of performance and Jeremy Strong is a special kind of actor. As The Ringer’s Miles Surrey eloquently surmises in his fantastic Team Kendall post…
On a show filled to the brim with bravura performances, Strong inhabits a space so haunting, tragic, and insular—and sometimes, yes, really funny—that you actually begin to worry about his well-being. But the reward of going through such an emotional gantlet with Kendall, however, is experiencing one of the best television performances I’ve ever seen.
Sounds like a Feelie winner to me. — Kim
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: D’Arcy Carden, The Good Place
It all falls apart without Janet, you guys. And not just because she knows everything in the universe besides what lies beyond the door.
D’Arcy Carden took this category last year as well, and I’m going to presume those votes were primarily motivated by “Janets,” the episode that takes place entirely within her void and is a 22-minute comedy masterclass. We got several multi-Janet stories in the final season too and were even introduced to some new specialized iterations (Disco Janet!), but I have a feeling that this year’s win had more to do with D’Arcy’s dramatic moments.
Because it’s Janet’s programming and her nature, she’s stuck by her friends’ side throughout all of this. But the series always had to end with them moving on to some place where she couldn’t go, no matter how many human emotions she developed. When Janet tells Jason that she’ll always be living every moment they spent together at once, she’s describing a particular way of looking at loss. And though that may be literally true for her, each goodbye still wrecks her. Because D’Arcy always had a handle on how her empathy – something that should be inaccessible to her – defines Janet. There will never be another character like her, and we’re so lucky it was cast so right. –-Sage
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: Jean Smart, Watchmen
It was neck and neck in this race all week, with The Crown‘s Helena Bonham Carter and Watchmen‘s Jean Smart rarely being separated by more than two or three votes. (Hurrah for women of a certain age, amirite?) Ultimately, Jean Smart emerged victorious and I couldn’t be more thrilled by that.
I think the genius of Lindelof’s interpretation of Watchmen is that he took such a testosteroney original property and placed it in the hands of not only two women, but two types of women (a Black woman and a woman over sixty) who are always underrepresented, both in this genre and in society at large. Jean Smart is just so fucking COOL as Laurie Blake, you guys. I love that she is both world-weary from carrying the burden of her past on her shoulders, yet at the same time refusing to be defined by it, ferociously carving out her own path when all the (weaker) men who surrounded her in the past just faded away. She’s a bad ass bitch, she’s a glamorous woman with needs (will I ever get over the Manhattan sized blue dildo? No, but life goes on), and she’s exactly who I wish I could be when I grow up. — Kim
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Manny Jacinto, The Good Place
Jason Mendoza may be larger than life character, but you didn’t sleep on Manny Jacinto’s surprisingly stealthy performance.
Probably the most loveable member of The Good Place crew, Jason is the sweetest himbo you ever did see – yet, eternity would have remained fucked without him. While Eleanor expects the worst, Chidi overthinks, and Tahani lets her insecurities affect her judgment, Jason is nothing if not pure. He experiences everything like it’s brand new, and his childlike optimism (and surprisingly intuitive heart) have saved them over and over again. In the words of no less of an authority than Janet, he’s “a big, colorful, rainbow blob stuffed inside a hot, life-size action figure.”
And isn’t that exactly what Manny played for four years? He’s always seen the old soul that lies underneath Jason’s doofy exterior (and exquisite cheekbones, thank you), and that’s never more clear than during his scenes with D’Arcy. Jason loves Janet so much that he can tell the difference between “his” Janet and the others when no one else can. Jason loves Janet so much that he wants everyone else to be just as happy, which is how he convinces Chidi that he’s not too boring or too anything for Eleanor, as long as she chooses him. Jason loves Janet so much that he waits A THOUSAND BEARIMYS just to give her a necklace he made. If that doesn’t make him wise in all the important ways, I don’t know what does.
So thank you, Manny. For Jason Mendoza, for looking better than anyone should in a Jacksonville Jaguars printed suit, and for your ability to make the phrase “oh, dip” mean almost anything, we salute you. –Sage
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: Matthew Macfadyen in Succession
The most beautiful thing about Succession is that it contains multitudes when it comes to the cast and their range of performances. On one hand you have the terrifying restraint of Best Actor Winner Jeremy Strong and on the other hand you have the over-the-top theatrics of Matthew Macfadyen as our favorite stooge (and yours, as he won this race in a landslide thanks to his very dedicated fanbase), Tom Wambsgams.
Despite his wildly varied resume, when I think of Matthew Macfadyen, the first thing that comes to mind is his restrained interpretation of Mr. Darcy in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. So it has been nothing short of a pure delight for me to see him just let loose in Succession, in a role that, in my opinion, suits him so much better, even if we don’t get swoony shots of his coat billowing in the early morning fog on the moor. While Tom’s antics are always over the top, it never feels like Matthew’s performance is, not in a scenery chewing or attention stealing way. I think my favorite thing about Tom is how he just radiates desperation in everything he does; desperation to be liked, to belong to the family, to be respected, to be loved, and to be feared. You can almost taste the flop sweat emanating off of him in every scene and that’s what makes Tom one of the most wildly unpredictable (and most meme-able) characters on the show. We hear for you, Matthew. And what we hear is truly great. — Kim
Best Shipper Moment: David and Patrick’s Wedding, Schitt’s Creek
David and Patrick’s love story is made from the same ingredients as the show. It’s sweet without being saccharine, playful and teasing without judgment, kind without being boring. It’s centered around the joy and peace of growing to know and love yourself for exactly who you are so that someone else can too. And sometimes a surprise hand job from a stranger ends up in the mix. Betty Crocker could never.
And that all shines through at their wedding. No wonder you can see love and pride beaming from every person in attendance. So much perfection is packed into the ceremony and it’s all so quintessentially them. We get Mariah and Tina and “Precious Love.” We get vows that are both loving and cheeky. We get Alexis in a wedding dress and David in a skirt and Moira in a bishop cosplay that would make Harry Styles weep if he didn’t definitely already have exactly the same one in multiple colors in his maximum-security refrigerated clothing vault. It’s all about David and Patrick and their love, but it’s also about their families and the whole damn town because their love and their story is big enough to include all of it. — Gillian
Best Warm Fuzzy Moment: Mando Dadding Baby Yoda, The Mandalorian
I love so much that the Lucasfilm/Disney+ teams let us find out for ourselves that The Mandalorian wasn’t just a Western-inspired Star Wars story, but also one that revolves almost completely around a father-son relationship. Because yes!! As stated explicitly in the season finale, Mando is now a dad, and to the cutest little thing in that entire expanded universe. They are a CLAN OF TWO. *sobs*
IMO, it all starts with the design of Baby Yoda, and that he’s a feat of puppetry and not CGI makes him so much more tangible and precious – like, I don’t know who you are if you didn’t immediately feel the urge to pick him up. On top of that, we get the strong, silent, loner-type hero slowly falling for his little charge, which is an irresistible trope when done right.
There’s an element of being a fan of big genre franchises where you can feel starved for depictions of domesticity and little character moments. The Mandalorian LOOKS great, and all the pew-pew sequences are there. But it also takes the time to show us a frustrated parent driver dealing with a fussy passenger who can’t stop touching things, and that’s what sets it apart.
In conclusion, every time I think about them, Phil Collins starts playing. –Sage
Best Right in the Feels! Moment: Ted and Alexis Break Up, Schitt’s Creek
Sometimes things that are right are sad too. Ted and Alexis, who have a history of bad timing, are forced into a choice that they might have happily put off under different circumstances. But in a show that’s obsessed with emotional growth and becoming a better version of yourself, you let those characters be strong enough to move on. Because when you don’t do that, Rachel gets off the plane.
I can’t explain why this seen is so bittersweet and lovely any better than Gillian did in her recap, so let’s just go to her:
Break ups are difficult no matter what, but at least when there’s some love lost, the decision to break up is less so. When there’s nothing really wrong – when there’s just enough isn’t quite right – the realization itself that it’s time to end things can be the hardest part. And we pay so little cultural attention to that kind of ending. It’s not dramatic and it’s not entertaining, so it’s not often the stuff of ballads or cinematic masterpieces (although if you’d like to meet me at a cafe to talk for literal hours about Like Crazy, just say the word), but that doesn’t make it less heartbreaking. It just makes it less obvious that ending things is the right thing to do. And thus, all the more commendable when two people make the decision to do just that.
Best YAS QUEEN! Moment: Ruth is the Doctor, Doctor Who
The race for YAS QUEEN was over almost as soon as we opened it for votes. No one else ever came close, even when the Succession hive found the Feelies. And, to borrow a phrase from the Tenth Doctor, quite right too. There is no better YAAAAAASSSSSSSSSS QUEEEEEEEEEEEN Moment than the way Jo Martin fucking smirks when she says “Hello, I’m the Doctor.” I’m still getting over the fact that we have a woman finally playing the Doctor, and then I am blessed with the fact that we now have a middle aged woman of color as the Doctor TOO? I’m so used to giving and now I receive! In that scene, we are ALL Jodie Whittaker’s breathless “What?” as Chris Chibnall delivers us not only the seminal moment of Series 12, but one of the most seminal moments in fifty-seven years of Doctor Who. — Kim
Best WTF?!?! Moment: L to the OG, Succession
What can I say about “L to the OG?” Every damn thing about it is perfect, from the setting to the execution to the music itself.
The stakes of the night are sky high. Gerri has just hastily convened a meeting to address the Very Serious Problem of a mole with an unshakeable conscience. The CEO machinations are at a fever pitch. All the key players are in the same place at the same time and Logan is, for once, legitimately shook by the fact that Rhea pulled this party off right under his nose. We know how dangerous a shook Logan is AND we know some shit is about to go down.
And then DJ Squiggle breaks through it all to remind us all just how fucking insane this family and their “news” empire really are. The whole thing rides on Jeremy Strong’s commitment levels and he does not disappoint. Kendall believes in equal measure that the thing he’s rapping about is worth celebrating (it’s not worth celebrating! Logan is a full monster!) and that his performance is both appropriate and highly skilled (it’s not appropriate! And…well, no, he is weirdly fire at this). The deep seeded certainty positively radiates off of his custom jersey.
What makes this such a delightful “WTF!?!?” moment is that Kendall is the only person who comes close to that level of certainty: the onlooking crowd is right there with us. We see ourselves on screen – they can’t look away, they’re mortified by the display, they find themselves wondering if this is actually, somehow, a killer track. They’re basically a “tag yourself I’m…” meme come to life. (Personally, I’m somewhere between Roman yelling “you need to stop this!” and Kendall’s ill-fated actress/girlfriend dancing her heart out. Depends on the day.)
And did I mention the whole thing comes to us courtesy of a Bach remix? Nicholas Brittel is one of the best composers in the biz and he also happens to be writing for me, specifically. That piano line serving as the song’s spine is lifted directly from Bach’s C Minor Prelude. There’s hints of the theme tune hiding out in there, too, as there are in all the best moments of the score. Turns out the key to iconic television is Squiggle on the decks, Kenny on the rhyme, and Bach on the beat. — Shannon