E: What does a broadcast drama have to do around here to be nominated? Today nominations were announced for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards. There’s a lot to be excited about, but man. If you’re a network executive in broadcast tv, you have a lot of soul searching to do. A quick discussion of and response to the nods coming right up.
Outstanding Drama Series
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Not that any of this is a surprise – these are all terrific, well-reviewed shows – but ugh. Good for you, PBS, but otherwise it’s a sad showing for the television shows you don’t have to pay to see. And obviously you know I’m peeved that despite an amazing season which held the entertainment press spellbound, The Good Wife failed yet again to beat all the cable dramas. It’s so much easier to get buzz with an 8 or 10 episode season than sustain that quality over 22 episodes. Not to mention that it’s easier to attract movie stars to your anthology series format; there’s been a lot of talk about the fairness of True Detective submitting itself as a drama series when Fargo and American Horror Story chose the mini-series route, and I don’t expect that talk to end now. The big question is whether True Detective will take the prize, or Breaking Bad in it’s much lauded final season.
Notable snubs: The Good Wife, The Americans, Ray Donovan, Bates Motel
Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Orange Is the New Black
As you know, I’m not much of a sitcom watcher, so I care less about this category than others. I will say, however, that Broadcast is less represented here than usual with only two comedies out of six. Louie‘s clearly the most critically acclaimed, and Orange is the New Black the buzziest. (Hurrah for a show with a cast of diverse women making the cut!)
Notable snubs: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Rec, Girls
American Horror Story: Coven
Bonnie & Clyde
The White Queen
I thought Treme was a series? Honestly, this is pretty baffling. Someone needs to set some rules about what constitutes a mini-series as opposed to an actual series. Also, I thought that Bonnie & Clyde got ripped apart in the press; I’m surprised to see that one here.
Outstanding Television Movie
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight
The Normal Heart
Sherlock: His Last Vow
The Trip to Bountiful
More weirdness – the Sherlock people decided to submit one of their episodes as a movie. Which it is, but it’s also a series of movies that repeat in short burst once a year. Modern television simply doesn’t fit into the old categories any more, I think. The Normal Heart is favored to take it all, though for all its impassioned speeches and historical significance it’s hardly a structurally sound work.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Everyone knew both true detectives would make the cut. Last year’s winner Jeff Daniels is more of a pleasant surprise, and perpetual nominees Hamm and Cranston – along with awards darling Spacey – also received the expected bounty.
Notable snubs: Ray Donovan‘s Liev Schrieber, The Americans‘ Matthew Rhys
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Lizzie Caplan, Masters of Sex
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Well, thankfully TGW’s getting some attention. And wow, three broadcast nominees! Amazing! Congratulations to Lizzie Caplan for her first mention amidst this rarefied group. With Homeland coming out of a less thrilling season, it’ll be interesting to see if someone else can pull this award away from Emmy favorite Danes.
Notable snubs: Bates Motel’s Vera Farmiga, Mad Men‘s Elizabeth Moss, Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Mazlany
Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge
Idris Elba, Luthor
Martin Freeman, Fargo
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo
Gah, I just love this group of guys. Freeman, Ejiofor, Elba, Cumberbatch, Ruffalo? Group hug! (Thorton’s a terrific actor too, of course, but not as much someone I follow.) Ruffalo seems the guy to beat, even though I’m not the only person to find the The Normal Heart a disappointment, and it’s great to see him lauded even if I didn’t love the production as much as I wanted to.
Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor
Minnie Driver, Return to Zero
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Coven
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
Kristen Wiig, The Spoils of Babylon
As usual American Horror Story dominates (and it’s great to see Paulson get lead notice here, especially after her terrifying work in 12 Years A Slave was passed over at the Oscars)- but can Lange beat out Cicely Tyson? Lange’s had support in the past (and with Emmy, that often means everything) but The Trip To Bountiful has tremendous buzz behind it.
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Louis CK, Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
So, I hear that House of Lies and Shameless really aren’t comedies. That said, I get the impression this race is between CK and previous winner Parsons. It’ll be interesting to see!
Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black
Taylor Schilling takes her place amid Emmy’s favorite funny ladies; everyone else here has been nominated before and at least three have won before. Who takes the battle of the comedy titans?
Notable snubs: The Mindy Project‘s Mindy Kaling
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
I’m kind of in love with this list. Peter Dinklage! Mandy Patinkin! Jim Carter! Josh Charles! I’m so, so relieved that Charles was nominated, even if I still haven’t’ forgiven him for leaving my favorite show. He had a killer season, however, and he deserves a win, not just a nomination. I was happy to see Matt Czuchry get a campaign for supporting actor, but I knew this list would be too brutal for him to fit in. Maybe now that this is Breaking Bad’s last year of eligibility?
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Joanne Froggatt had a brutal season on Downton Abbey, and I’m thrilled to see her work represented alongside castmate Maggie Smith even if I deplore the plotline that put here there. It’s lovely to see unsung members of terrific ensembles get their due. The same goes for Lena Headey, who’se always done alarmingly good work on Game of Thrones. Baranski, Gunn, Hendricks and of course Smith are more expected though no less excellent choices.
No, I take that back. Baranski’s inclusion points to the brilliance of this last season of TGW, but was by no means a foregone conclusion.
Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Colin Hanks, Fargo
Jim Parsons, The Normal Heart
Alfred Molina, The Normal Heart
Martin Freeman, Sherlock
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart
Okay, that’s a little hilarious. Love to see Parsons’ nominated twice, love Bomer and Freeman and Hanks and Molina. Mantello had one of the biggest, blusteriest speeches in The Normal Heart, so I can sort of see that one, although you have to think that Taylor Kitsch is sitting at home peeved about not making the list too.
Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story: Coven
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Coven
Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven
Allison Tolman, Fargo
Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart
Again, a terrific list. I actually thought that Tolman was the lead in Fargo, so this is slightly surprising, but that’s the kind of thing that happens to unknown actresses going up against Jessica Lange.
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Fred Armisen, Portlandia
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Tony Hale, Veep
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Yay, Allison Janney! I love to see actors who are switch hitters, so to speak – Janney’s been nominated multiple times for drama, even won, and now for comedy. As with Christine Baranski, it just makes me happy.
Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Good for you, Jimmy Fallon, and good for the Academy for recognizing him.
Outstanding Reality Competition Program
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
So You Think You Can Dance
YES! It’s funny that this category’s the one in which I watch the most shows. If only they’d included Face Off – a truly excellent and impressive show – my joy would be complete.
Outstanding Reality Show Host
Betty White, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Anthony Bourdain, The Taste
Oh, how I love this group! And I’m so happy to see a new group of nominees – and a bust up of the old boy’s club! Excellent. Dare I hope that my beloved Cat Deeley will take home the well deserved win? I’d be happy with Bergeron as well, I suppose; the man can think of his feet for sure.
Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Paul Giamatti, Downton Abbey
Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards
Robert Morse, Mad Men
Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex
Joe Morton, Scandal
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife
In the past several years, this category has been dominated by TGW guest stars. I’m sorry there no nod here for Hunter Parrish, particularly. I will say, however, it’s lovely to see veteran character actors like Cathey and Morton get noticed.
Notable Snubs: The Good Wife’s Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife’s Matthew Goode
Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Kate Mara, House of Cards
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
Kate Burton, Scandal
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Jane Fonda, The Newsroom
I would LOVE to see Rigg win this; she’s wondrous and chilling on Game of Thrones. I’m sorry Laura Benanti didn’t get a nod for her terrific work on The Good Wife (you know I had to go there) but I’m so pleased to see Janney pick up her second nomination this year, for a much lauded dramatic role, and to see a veteran like Burton (Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Wife) get some award loving.
Finally, I’m very happy to see So You Think You Can Dance receive a bevy of choreography nominations (for Christopher Scott, Tabitha and Napoleon Duomo, Mandy Moore and Travis Wall) though they’ll probably all be beaten by Derek Hough like last year. At any rate, it’s a fantastic showing for a phenomenal (and sadly unrated) show. Here’s hoping that boosts the show to a renewal for next year! Meanwhile, congratulations to all the nominees (especially the first timers) and to those snubbed, better luck next year!