The Emmy nominations came out earlier this week and there were a few surprises – some snubs and inclusions. Below are my thoughts on the nominations – I’ve focused on the performances and programming nominations:
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:
Louis C.K., Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Surprises: Gervais’ deserved nomination for Derek. It’s a touching show and Gervais’ performance as a mentally challenged nursing home employee shows that the caustic comedian is able to do more than just acidic snark.
Snub: Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher both have been shut out for Two and a Half Men, as has Johnny Galecki for The Big Bang Theory. Cryer and Kutcher are propping up a show on its last legs, but Galecki’s been consistent and it’s a shame that he was shut out. And it’s a crime that Adam Scott hasn’t been nominated for Parks and Recreation – the show had a great year and Scott was responsible for much of its success. Also, despite a Golden Globe, poor Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) is missing.
Who will win: Emmy voters love repeat winners (Kelsey Grammar, Candice Bergen, Tony Shaloub), so Parsons might stroll up onstage for a fourth Emmy (and it would be deserved – it was a good year for the actor, who did some beautiful work. If Parsons loses, it could also be LeBlanc, who does a good job lampooning his image.
Who should win: I like Parsons’ work this year, and I’d be happy if it was his year again, but if not, Louie C.K. should win – like Gervais, he’s proven that he depths beyond just his stand-up persona.
Outstanding 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
Surprises: None, really – each actress is either a repeat nominee or headlining a dynamic, buzzy show. Tina Fey’s absence allowed for one new nominee, hence the inclusion of Schilling, whose show is one of the most talked about this year.
Snub: None, really, although Anna Faris from the freshman sitcom Mom did some good work, as did Malin Akerman in the critically-acclaimed but canceled Trophy Wife. And it’s just criminal that Lisa Kudrow was shut out yet again for Web Therapy.
Who will win: I think the momentum behind Orange Is the New Black will propel Schilling onto the stage. If not, then it will be another (deserved) victory for Louis-Dreyfus.
Who should win: Any one of these ladies would be a deserving winner, though it’s time that Poehler finally gets her due for her incredible work on Parks and Recreation.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series:
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Surprises: Like with the lead actress in a comedy series, this slate of performances isn’t full of any shockers.
Snub: Downton Abbey is shut out – not good, especially since Hugh Bonneville is often great on the show.
Who will win: I can see that Harrelson and McConaughey cancel each other out – though the latter may squeeze through as Melissa McCarthy did when she got an Oscar nomination and an Emmy nod in the same year. Daniels also might get another trophy, as well.
Who should win: Hamm should be given an Emmy – he’s way overdue.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series:
Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Surprises: No eyebrow raisers, with the possible exception of Caplan.
Snubs: Where to being: Elisabeth Moss should’ve been in this list – I would’ve been fine with Dockery, Wright, or Caplan missing in her place. She’s had an incredible year, even if Mad Men wasn’t as strong as its other seasons, Moss has been nothing short of brilliant.
Who will win: Danes will win.
Who should win: Danes.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge
Idris Elba, Luther
Martin Freeman, Fargo
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo
Surprises: Elba’s inclusion, though deserved, is a little surprising, as his procedural Luther is one of many British imports popular in the states. Fellow Brit Ejiofor’s nomination is also a welcome surprise.
Snub: None that stand out.
Who will win: The Normal Heart might sweep and get Ruffalo a trophy, if not, it’s pretty much anybody’s game – this category was never really all that buzzy.
Who should win: Cumberbatch had a strong year, but so did his Sherlock costar Freeman, who had a banner year for his funny performance in Fargo.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie:
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton & 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
Surprises: Wiig, Driver, and Bonham Carter are surprises. Wiig, a popular and talented comedienne, has struggled with expanding her range, and the spoof, The Spoils of Bablyon doesn’t really tax her talents. Bonham Carter, while giving a solid performance, is attached to a project that has tinges of tabloid exploitation (though it’s miles away from Lindsay Lohan’s turn as Elizabeth Taylor).
Snub: None that jump out, but Kiernan Shipka could’ve been nominated for the trashy Flowers in the Attic.
Who will win: The legendary Tyson might win, but the award could also go to Lange or Paulson.
Who should win: In a ho-hum category, Lange or Tyson should win.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:
Fred Armisen, Portlandia
Andrea Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Tony Hale, Veep
Surprises: A couple: Armisen’s well-deserved nod and Braugher.
Snub: I know that Modern Family has suffered through the blahs, but it’s a shame that Ed O’Neil and Eric Stonestreet were jettisoned for Ferguson and Burrell. Also, Parks and Recreation‘s Nick Offerman and Aziz Ansari both should be here by now. And Saturday Night Live‘s Taran Killam is a major MVP for the show.
Who will win: I imagine that despite its noticeable drop, Modern Family, fan favorite Burrell will win.
Who should win: Hale’s quirky performance as the devoted assistant in Veep is deserving of an Emmy.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series:
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black
Surprises: Some pleasant surprises: I love that McKinnon got a nod – along with Taran Killam, McKinnon is a major force on the show and has comfortably taken over for Wiig as the star. Janney’s inclusion is a bit of a surprise because Mom, though a decent hit, isn’t a monster hit, but Janney’s such a scene-stealing pro, her inclusion may be inevitable for some.
Snub: There are a few, namely Sofia Vergara (Modern Family) and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting (The Big Bang Theory). Both are wonderful comediennes and should’ve been nominated – while Bowen’s great, Vergara’s the life of the show, and Cuoco-Sweeting so really overdue for a nomination. Also, even though McKinnon’s brilliant, Aidy Bryant should’ve been considered. Finally, Rashida Jones had a nice swan song year on Parks and Recreation, and it would’ve been nice to see her – speaking of Parks and Rec, Retta and Aubrey Plaza also did some great work, as well. Also, if we’re seeing Janney nominated for the so-so Mom, why not the bionically-talented Margo Martindale for The Millers. And I know that kid actors are perennially ignored, but Aubrey Anderson-Emmons is a great one-liner machine as Lily in Modern Family.
Who will win: Mulgrew might be part of an Orange Is the New Black sweep, but Bowen could also pull a Kelsey Grammar and win another trophy, even if her year wasn’t fantastic. This category is pretty good for one-time shots, as well, so Janney could also win.
Who should win: McKinnon should be the victor.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series:
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
Surprises: Only one, really – Jon Voight’s nomination.
Snub: Yeah, what the hell, Emmy voters – where are any of the Mad Men actors? Along with Elisabeth Moss’ snub, John Slattery was also unfairly bounced out.
Who will win: Josh Charles’ character’s violent exit should give him a push.
Who should win: It should be Charles or Paul.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Surprises: Only one, really – but a nice one: Froggatt as the intelligent and soulful lady’s maid in Downton Abbey.
Snub: Mad Men‘s Kiernan Shipka should’ve been nominated, and she should’ve won. She has consistently shown up the other actors and easily stole scenes from the more seasoned actors. January Jones, a popular punching bag for many, had a solid year, and it wouldn’t have been untoward for her to have been nominated.
Who will win: I’m thinking Dame Maggie will add yet another trophy onto her groaning shelf.
Who should win: Yeah, again, Kiernan Shipka should be all over this award, but of the nominees, I’d like to see Hendricks strut her stuff on the stage.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie:
Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart
Martin Freeman, Sherlock
Colin Hanks, Fargo
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Alfred Molina, The Normal Heart
Jim Parsons, The Normal Heart
Surprises: None whatsoever. The Normal Heart is the kind of “serious” drama that is Emmy bait, and its dominance in the category is not surprising; and even though it wasn’t the “event television” it was hyped up to be, it still was crammed full of great performances. The only “huh” came from Hanks’ nomination.
Snub: None, really – though I would’ve like it if Mark Gatiss got some appreciation and love for his role as Holmes’ unlikable brother, Mycroft in Sherlock.
Who will win: Any of the Normal Heart actors will probably walk away with it.
Who should win: Molina was fantastic, but if there is an upset, Freeman should walk away with an Emmy for his beautifully understated work this year in Sherlock.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie:
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Coven
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven
Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story: Coven
Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart
Allison Tolman, Fargo
Surprises: The dominance of American Horror Story is a bit surprising – the show should really be drama series at this point, by the way. Also, Burstyn seems to have been included for consistency’s sake (her name is probably inked in with a Sharpee at this point).
Snub: American Horror Story‘s Gabourey Sidibe should’ve been included.
Who will win: Roberts, the biggest name and star, will probably walk away – an award for The Normal Heart as much as it is for the actress.
Who should win: In a mediocre category, any one of these ladies would be deserving.
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series:
Steve Buscemi, Portlandia
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Gary Cole, Veep
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
Nathan Lane, Modern Family
Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
Suprises: I always found this category to be “let’s give a big movie star an Emmy” category. I’m a little surprised that Lane got a nomination for a role he sorta sleepwalks through at this point.
Snub: Even though I don’t think he did all that great, I was a little surprised that Andy Samberg didn’t get a nomination for his SNL hosting duties.
Who will win: Newhart will probably walk away with his second Emmy for guesting on The Big Bang Theory.
Who should win: Louis C.K. was a great host – the material on his show wasn’t always aces, but he was very funny.
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series:
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Laverne Cox, Orange Is the New Black
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
Natasha Lyonne, Orange Is the New Black
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Surprises: The biggest surprise is that Cox is in the guest actress category – she should’ve been placed in the supporting actress category. Also, Cusack’s out-of-nowhere nomination was interesting. Finally, Fey is a brilliant comedienne, almost flawless, but her stint as host for SNL, was solid, nothing more, and doesn’t really warrant an Emmy nomination.
Snub: Speaking of SNL, Kerry Washington (a nominee for Scandal) should have been nominated for her hosting the show – she was very funny and dominated her episode.
Who will win: I think critical acclaim, good will, social progress, and just general awesomeness are on Cox’s side.
Who should win: Cox would be an awesome win; if not her, then McCarthy…
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series:
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife
Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex
Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards
Paul Giamatti, Downton Abbey
Robert Morse, Mad Men
Joe Morton, Scandal
Surprises: None, really – a bunch of respectable performances.
Snub: None that jump up.
Who will in: I think Morse’s final appearance as Bert Cooper in Mad Men will be the show’s (probably) only acting win.
Who should win: Morton’s work on Scandal was excellent, as was Giamatti’s turn as a Yank on Downton Abbey.
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series:
Kate Burton, Scandal
Jane Fonda, The Newsroom
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
Kate Mara, House of Cards
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Surprises: Nope – all of these ladies were solid.
Snubs: Even though she didn’t deserve a nomination, I’m a little surprised that Shirley MacLaine didn’t get a nomination for her role as Maggie Smith’s arch nemesis in Downton Abbey.
Who will win: Rigg’s just the sort of actress that wins this category: legendary actresses who stay in the biz by doing guest shots.
Who should win: Rigg should win.
Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance
Chris Diamantopoulos, Mickey Mouse
Stephen Full, Dog with a Blog
Seth Green, Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise
Seth MacFarlane, Family Guy
Maurice LaMarche, Futurama
Harry Shearer, The Simpsons
Snub: Uh, I’m glad Shearer got a nod, but what about the rest of the cast from The Simpsons?
Who will win: Shearer’s a virtuoso, and The Simpsons is a classic.
Who should win: Seth Green’s great, and a good alternative if Shearer should lose.
Daniel Craig, One Life
Whoopi Goldberg, Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley
James Irons, Game of Lions
Jane Lynch, Penguins: Waddle All the Way
Henry Stozier, Too Cute!
Surprises: Yeah, I didn’t even know this category existed.
Snub: read above.
Who will win: This is anyone’s game.
Who should win: Goldberg’s film is a labor of love, and it highlights the achievements of an incredible comedienne – plus she’s got a distinctive set of smokey pipes.