The 2013 Emmy Nominations Anaylsis: Surprises, Snubs, and Snoozes

     July 18, 2013


The Emmy nominations have always produced a mixture of boredom and anger among TV fans, but save for a few surprises (like Netflix’s 14 nominations), the 2013 Emmy nominations are so lazy they are almost identical to 2012.  Yes, we are in the Second Golden Age of TV, yes there are tons of great shows that, without expanded categories, are not going to get nominated in the current system.  But what about taking a deeper look into the casts of the shows that are always nominated?  Might there be some diamonds in the rough behind the marquee names that might deserve recognition?  Hit the jump for a rundown of the major categories and a comment at the reality of the nominations, and then a list of snubs and a call for you to add your own to the list (because everyone will have a favorite who is forgotten). 

veep-tony-hale-julia-louis-dreyfusOutstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Tony Hale, Veep

Standard Modern Family nominations aside, the rest of the nominations in this category are actually a little heartening.  Bill Hader is great and a true stand-out on SNL, and Adam Driver getting a nomination for Girls is long overdue (oddly, its the men who are more interesting on that show).  The best gem here though is Tony Hale for Veep.  Veep is a fantastic series top to bottom, but Hale grounds the noxious D.C. selfishness by portraying an entirely unselfish character who is in many ways a weird extension of Buster Bluth from Arrested Development (a role he also again excelled in).

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Jane Lynch, Glee
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

modern-family-heart-brokenThis is a very strong category, even though personally I would like to see Sofia Vergara win just once over Julie Bowen, even though I don’t think this year was the best from either of them.  Jane Lynchis the Dowager Countess of this category, but the Jane most deserving of the award is probably the too often passed over Jane Krakowski, who has done so much on 30 Rock without enough fanfare over the years.  It’s also great to see another Veep-er represented, but why is this category stretched to seven? (It wouldn’t be Anna Chlumsky that I would kick out …).

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Louis C.K., Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

The heavy-hitters (Jim ParsonsAlec Baldwin) are here, no surprise.  But overall this is a strong category — any winner will be deserving (a rare thing that’s right among these nominations).

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
parks-and-recreation-pawnee-commonsLaura Dern, Enlightened
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Enlightened fans have been clamoring for Laura Dern‘s nomination for a long time, and while the show is still on my “to watch” list, I’ll support it.  Three cheers for the Amy Poehler nomination as well, even though Parks and Recreation was once again omitted from the Best Comedy category.  Also, I know why Lena Dunham was nominated, and I don’t have to like it, but if she actually wins it will be a travesty.

Comedy Series
30 Rock
The Big Bang
Modern Family

louie-season-3-late-showLouie and Veep balance out an otherwise predictable group, although the most glaring omission is a lack of Arrested Development. In fact, that’s been a problem throughout the categories (see my snub list below).

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire
Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game Of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

Bobby Cannavale gets a side-eye from me here, but admittedly that probably has more to do with my irritation with his character and the direction of the show than Cannavale himself, who I generally really like.  The rest of this category is without question, but while Peter Dinklage is great, it would be nice to see him joined by some of his other Game of Thrones co-stars.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Emilia Clarke, Game Of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Morena Baccarin, Homeland
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

game-of-thrones-season-3-emilia-clarkeLet’s start off with Maggie Smith.  God bless you, Maggie Smith.  Yes, she continues to make Downton bearable even in its darkest hours, but with so many other amazing actresses who could have occupied this space and do more than say one liners (forgive me, Maggie Smith!!) I have to cry foul.  And Emilia Clarke for Game of Thrones?  Questionable.  I love the Khaleesi, but again, this was a year where other women — women from this very show — should have been given consideration over the Mother of Dragons (again, see below).

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad

Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Damian Lewis, Homeland

downton-abbey-season-3Can we just admit that Downton Abbey has had its day at the Emmys and move on?  Can we also admit this last season of Homeland was really damn shaky?  Hugh Bonneville and Damian Lewis are great (Lewis is a particular favorite in everything he does — have you not seen the Forsythe Saga?  Remember him from Band of Brothers?  The man is beyond reproach), and they did the best with the material they received, but this wasn’t the year for them to be nominated in a year with so many fantastic roles for other actors.

Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Connie Britton, Nashville
Claire Danes, Homeland
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards

It’s lovely to see Connie Britton nominated, but Hayden Panettiere was the real standout on Nashville this year.  Vera Farmiga very much deserves this nomination for a weird and emotional portrayal that was unlike anything I’ve seen on TV before.  Good to see Kerry Washington (one of a mere two minority actors nominated this year), too, getting recognition for the juggernaut of Scandal.

homeland-the-choice-damien-lewis-1Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men

Good on Netflix for making such an intense For Your Consideration push that House of Cards was nominated for best drama.  I didn’t love the show, but it’s not the first one I would kick off.  Downton Abbey was better this last year than that disastrous second season, but does it deserve this spot?  The same goes for Homeland, which started off strong, and devolved into something almost no one could defend.  Lazy.

Stray Notes from Other Categories

— The Miniseries or Movie category is fairly strong, but Top of the Lake deserves the win.

— American Idol didn’t get nomination this year in the reality category, which is interesting to note.

— Harry Hamlin being nominated in the Guest Actor category for Mad Men is odd but I kind of love it.

— Linda Cardellini for a Guest Actress in Mad Men I don’t particularly understand, but I am thrilled at the inclusion of Carrie Preston on that category for her turn on The Good Wife (which didn’t get a lot of love this year, even though it was actually a pretty great season).

mad-men-quality-of-mercy— The writing category is beyond understanding — how can Downton and Homeland get noms, but not Mad Men?

— Finally, Benedict Cumberbatch in Parade’s End shredded my soul, and I’m hoping he shreds his Miniseries Actor category.

Comedy Category Snubs

— Will ArnettDavid CrossJessica Walters, and obviously Arrested Development for Best Comedy.  What the hell, Emmy committee?

— Parks and Recreation, of course.  But what else is new?

Drama Category Snubs (hold my earrings)

— Rectify.  Rectify.  Rectify.  For acting (Aden YoungAbigail Spencer), for writing, for direction, for best series of the year.  This was a huge and ridiculous snub.

— But wait!  It gets worse!  Tatiana Maslany.  She played multiple characters better than most people can play one.  All of the hype for Orphan Black is deserved, and the Maslany snub only goes to show, again, the Emmys’ disregard for Sci-Fi.  I (and everyone else) made this same argument when Battlestar Galactica was on the air.

— Treme.  Everyone pretends to love David Simon so much, but that love never translates to awards for his shows.  Khandi Alexander deserves recognition.  Kim Dickens is also hauntingly fantastic, as are Melissa Leo and Michiel Huisman, whose character went through huge changes this year.  Oh, did I forget Wendell Pierce?  Clarke Peters?  David Morse?  Too many to count.

game-of-thrones-the-climb-2— The Emmys are wary about fantasy, so I’m not surprised Game of Thrones didn’t get more nominations, but this was the year for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Michelle Fairley, even Charles Dance.  Last year I was also angry about the Alfie Allen and Maisie Williams snubs — when will the Emmys catch on to the fact that there are other actors on the show besides Dinklage? (bless him)

— Boardwalk Empire didn’t get much love this year, but if anyone should have been nominated it should have been Kelly MacDonald and/or Jack Huston.

— As mentioned above, Hayden Panetierre had a standout year on Nashville, as did Charles Esten (Deacon).  At least Connie got a nomination, but I want more!

— AMC took all of FX’s awards (JustifiedSons of AnarchyThe Americans), and yet the Walking Dead was also omitted. FX execs must be wondering who they pissed off, because the lack of love for their shows come awards time is egregious.

Phew! Ok, so who or what did I leave off?  And who were you happy to see nominated, pissed to see nominated, or even more pissed off to not see nominated?

the-americans-only you keri russell matthew rhys