Maybe Someday, Anna Chlumsky Will Win An Emmy
She deserves an award just for surviving bad theatre; Mark Blankenship is rooting for her.
I mean...Allison Janney was amazing on Masters of Sex, so I'm REALLY glad she won the Emmy for that show. But that second Emmy she won this year? For Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy? FOR MOM??1! That seems like overkill. Especially with Kate Mulgrew sitting right there. I was definitely rooting for Kate Mulgrew.
But I was also rooting for Anna Chlumsky.
I've got several reasons for that. One, of course, is her fantastic performance as Amy Brookheimer, Selina's beleaguered chief of staff on Veep. In a cast that includes firecracker performances from Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale, not to mention recent scene-stealers like Christopher Meloni, Chlumsky could have been a wallflower. After all, she's playing the high-strung, type-A climber, which means she mostly reacts to the insanity of the people around her. If Amy loses her shit like they do, she'll be out of a job, so she could easily become a forgettable background player, like Pete on 30 Rock.
But Chlumsky will not be denied! It helps that the writers have found lots of ways for Amy's particular madness to come through, like when she hosts an ass-kissing dinner for her colleagues, or seethes when a politician resorts to speaking honestly during a debate, or tries to crush Dan Egan, her counterpart in morally bankrupt careerism. But I'm pretty sure the reason they keep giving Amy such great storylines is that Chlumsky acts the hell out of them.
Her eyes are her primary weapon. Half the time, her best moments come when she's silently losing it in the back of the room, registering fury and panic with the twitch of an eyelid. Just look at this scene:
See what I mean? OF COURSE people want to write for that punim!
I'm also on Chlumsky's side because she's transitioned so well out of child stardom. I'll bet there are a lot of Veep watchers who don't even know what My Girl is, let alone Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain.
And it's not like she just breezed directly from kissing Macaulay Culkin to starring on a critically lauded comedy. When I was starting out as a theatre critic, I reviewed Chlumsky in several terrible plays. She was right there in the trenches, probably making around $200 per week, and honestly, she wasn't very good. She was OKAY, but it was clear she had things to learn about her craft.
She DID learn them. Slowly but surely, Chlumsky worked her way up from Law & Order guest spots to a plum supporting role in the film In The Loop, which was created by the same team that helms Veep.
She paid her dues, is what I'm saying, and I admire her evident hard work to become a crackerjack adult actress. I don't know the first thing about Anna Chlumsky's life or personality -- I don't think I've even read a feature about her -- but from a purely artistic standpoint, she's one of my favorites. She may not have won the Emmy, but she'll always have her angry, angry eyes.