Another year, another celebration of television by giving people a golden statue holding a globe. It’s clearer than ever this year that a lot of people are growing tired of award shows, especially the Emmys. Why you ask? It’s simple: the nominees are almost always the same. In a time where television has become an incredible medium for top quality content, it becomes less believable that the same people/programs can truly be better than literally everything else. The snub list grows larger every single year while the list of nominees stays practically rigid. This year’s nominees are honestly no exception. While there are a good amount of newcomers, most of which I’m very happy with, the majority is essentially business as normal. Should that be the case for an awards show? A lot of people don’t think so, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Regardless, believe or not, I still love the Emmys and I was looking forward to this day pretty eagerly. So with absolute gusto, here are the nominees and my reactions! Sidenote: I’m literally copy and pasting most of the nominees from last year’s post.
Outstanding Drama Series: Breaking Bad (AMC), Downton Abbey (PBS), Game of Thrones (HBO), House of Cards (Netflix), Mad Men (AMC), True Detective (HBO).
Five out of the six are returning nominees with True Detective as the only newbie. Really, the big news is what was left on the cutting room floor: Homeland, Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal, Orphan Black, The Americans, and The Good Wife, to name a few. A lot of people are crying foul for Orphan Black but I can’t help but feel a little shocked that The Good Wife isn’t on here. Their push to get the show nominated was aggressive, firmly highlighting how there are more episodes of this CBS drama than any other nominee. The past season was a straight 22 episodes, and people absolutely loved it. More than a lot of other shows I’ve caught wind of. Yet supposedly it still wasn’t good enough, much to the ire of a ton of fans. As for me though, I’m upset but unsurprised that Hannibal isn’t here. It’s an extremely graphic show that isn’t typical “Emmy bait,” which also explains away Orphan Black. It’s total bullshit, I know. Regardless of everyone else though, this is really between Breaking Bad and True Detective. That I can’t wait to see.
Outstanding Comedy Series: The Big Bang Theory (CBS), Louie (FX), Modern Family (ABC), Orange is the New Black (Netflix), Silicon Valley (HBO), Veep (HBO).
Not as many returners as Drama (30 Rock did end after all), but the biggest shock is Silicon Valley in place of Girls. How in the world did that happen? Even though Silicon Valley started off strong, a lot of people felt its quality dropped significantly at the end. Yet it’s here over a much more lauded show. In fact, it’s here over possible strong contenders like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks & Recreation, or The Mindy Project, three huge snubs. It’s a pick that’s so out of left field, it’s not even in the stadium. Some people are upset that Orange is the New Black is here as a comedy instead of a drama too. The show really is both but unfortunately we live in a time where a primarily female lead show would likely not get anything for drama. Comedy was the best bet and I’m just glad it’s here.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Bryan Cranston as Walter White on Breaking Bad (AMC), Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy on The Newsroom (HBO), Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (AMC), Woody Harrelson as Martin Hart on True Detective (HBO), Matthew McConaughey as Rustin Cohle on True Detective (HBO), and Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood on House of Cards (Netflix).
The McConaissance isn’t over people. Matthew McConaughey still has one more trophy in his sights, and it’s a doozie. What this ultimately boils down to is him vs. Bryan Cranston. Then again, Jeff Daniels won last year and NO ONE saw that happening. Speaking of Daniels, why is he here? He’s an outstanding actor but he didn’t deserve the award last year and definitely doesn’t deserve a nom this year. And where’s Mads Mikkelsen? Hugh Dancy? Charlie Hunnam? James Spader? Michael Sheen? This category desperately needs some fresh faces and filling in holes with two actors from the same show isn’t enough. Sure, they were amazing, but I think we all agree that McConaughey blew Woody Harrelson out of the water.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson on Masters of Sex (Showtime), Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison on Homeland (Showtime), Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley on Downton Abbey (PBS), Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife (CBS), Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope on Scandal (ABC), Robin Wright as Claire Underwood on House of Cards (Netflix)
After a shocking year off the ballot, Julianna Margulies is back for another round. For the most part I’m happy with this category especially since the woefully under appreciated Lizzy Caplan is here. Yet left out in the cold is Elisabeth Moss and, once again, Tatiana Maslany. The latter especially has becoming a calling card of sorts. Maslany’s absence is quite possibly the biggest snub people are upset about. It’s easy to see why too. How is it that a woman who basically runs a show alone get completely ignored? I don’t even watch Orphan Black (yet) and I know this is ultra lame. Give the supernatural shows some love Academy of Television Arts & Sciences! They can be good too!
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Louis C.K. as Louie on Louie (FX), Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan on House of Lies (Showtime), Ricky Gervais as Derek Noakes on Derek (Netflix), Matt LeBlanc as Himself on Episodes (Showtime), William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher on Shameless (Showtime), and Jim Parsons as Dr. Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory (CBS).
30 Rock ending and nothing new for Arrested Development meant that neither Alec Baldwin and Jason Bateman were coming back. But did anyone really expect Ricky Gervais and William H. Macy to take their places? A lot of people were really pulling for either Chris Messina or Andy Samberg. Instead of picking nominees that people legitimately want recognized, the Academy threw two major curveballs. Many are displeased, but it ultimately might not matter. Jim Parsons will always be a frontrunner as long as The Big Bang Theory exists.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath on Girls (HBO), Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton on Nurse Jackie (Showtime), Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer on Veep (HBO), Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn on Mike and Molly (CBS), Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation (NBC), Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman on Orange is the New Black (Netflix).
Taylor Schilling getting a nomination was both an expected and entirely welcome nomination. Her performance on OitNB is incredible and she absolutely deserves this award. Melissa McCarthy however was a total shock. The Academy skipped over her for this award last year and now she’s here to fill the void again. Unfortunately, a lot of people aren’t too happy about that. The dedicated fans of The Mindy Project have been begging for a nomination for Mindy Kaling for quite some time, making this a massive snub. To make matters worse, Kaling had to announce her own snub when she named the nominees. She at least handled it with grace which really was an award winning performance.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Jim Carter as Charles Carson on Downton Abbey (PBS), Josh Charles as Will Gardner on The Good Wife (CBS), Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones (HBO), Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson on Homeland (Showtime), Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad (AMC), Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan on Ray Donovan (Showtime).
Hey, remember when Bobby Cannavale won last year over expected frontrunner Aaron Paul? Clearly that was a one off deal. Not only is Cannavale out, so is Jonathan Banks. In is Josh Charles netting his second nomination and Jon Voight getting his third overall (first in this category). Really, the one thing I’m most upset about here is how the the rest of the stellar Game of Thrones cast was completely shut out again. Peter Dinklage is amazing, but what about Charles Dance? Nikolaj Coster-Waldau? Rory McCann, who sadly wasn’t even sent in as a candidate, was a big snub by HBO itself. Season 3 wasn’t even Dinklage at his best either. I guess outside of this I’m generally happy.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart on The Good Wife (CBS), Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates on Downton Abbey (PBS), Anna Gunn as Skyler White on Breaking Bad (AMC), Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris on Mad Men (AMC), Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones (HBO), Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham on Downton Abbey (PBS).
Though I’m upset that Emilia Clarke was taken out after her one time nomination, I’m over the moon for Lena Headey. This is her first ever nod and it’s so deserved. Few actresses can make a woman equal parts terrifying and vulnerable. I honestly can’t think of any big snubs here. This is just a good category all around.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Fred Armisen as Various Characters on Portlandia (IFC), Andre Braugher as Captain Ray Holt on Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX), Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy on Modern Family (ABC), Adam Driver as Adam Sackler on Girls (HBO), Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett on Modern Family (ABC), Tony Hale as Gary Walsh on Veep (HBO).
Can it be? Is the Academy’s love fest with Modern Family finally nearing its end? There are only a respectful two nominees this time around which is much better than their three nominees last year and a ludicrous four nominees in 2012. To make it even better, the holes are filled with two absolutely deserving actors: Fred Armisen and Andre Braugher. I’ve loved Armisen since his days on SNL and him being here is just stellar. If you’re going to represent Brooklyn Nine-Nine is some form, you really cannot get much better than Braugher. This is a solid category all around.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Mayim Bialik as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory (CBS), Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy on Modern Family (ABC), Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer on Veep (HBO), Allison Janney as Bonnie Plunkett on Mom (CBS), Kate McKinnon as Various Characters on Saturday Night Live (NBC), Kate Mulgrew as Galina “Red” Reznikov on Orange is the New Black (Netflix).
If there’s one thing that the Academy did absolutely right, it’s nominating Kate McKinnon. Not only is she the funniest woman on SNL, she’s easily the funniest person on the show period. She has absolutely soared in Studio 8H and wholeheartedly deserves this. The same can be said about Kate Mulgrew. Red is probably one of my favorite characters on OitNB and the Iowa born Mulgrew does a killer Russian accent. The big shock here for me is Allison Janney being nominated for Mom. I’ve heard the show was alright but nothing of this caliber. She beat out regular nominee Sofia Vergara though which does send a big message.
Odds and Ends: There’s really too much else to talk about so I’ll just go through some highlights right here. The Outstanding Variety Series category is literally exactly the same as last year. Is that a shock? Not really. The Outstanding Miniseries or Movie was justifiably broken out into two categories for the first time, forming Outstanding Miniseries and Outstanding Television Movie. Now we rightfully have the likes of American Horror Story: Coven going up against Fargo and Luther while The Normal Heart contends with Sherlock: “His Last Vow” and Killing Kennedy. Speaking of Fargo, Allison Tolman got nominated for Supporting Actress and Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton received Lead Actor noms. Needless to say, I love this. The Guest Actress categories for both comedy and drama deserve mentions too. This is the first year that a transgendered woman is nominated for an award thanks to the trailblazing Laverne Cox, and she brings with her fellow OitNB co-stars Natasha Lyonne and Uzo Aduba. Yeah, it’s basically a sweep. As for drama, Diana Rigg was nominated for Game of Thrones which is just awesome in itself. Olenna Tyrell kicks ass.
Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television and every Saturday afternoon you can read his retro video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.