The Emmy nominations are in. Jace Lacob on which shows and actors were snubbed, as well as the surprises.
The Television Academy announced Thursday its nominations for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards and, looking at the list, you may be forgiven for thinking that every single member of the casts of Downton Abbey and Modern Family had walked away with nominations. (It just seems that way.)
AMC’s Mad Men and FX’s American Horror Story tied for the most nominations, with 17 apiece, while PBS’s cultural phenomenon Downton Abbey—which shifted from the miniseries category into Best Drama this year—grabbed 16 nominations (tying with History’s Hatfields & McCoys), including many in the acting categories. Also getting a lot of love this year: Game of Thrones, Homeland, Modern Family, and Sherlock. Not getting a lot of love: network dramas.
Once again, the dramatic categories are fierce competitions, including the actress races, which boast Julianna Margulies, Michelle Dockery, Elisabeth Moss, Kathy Bates, Claire Danes, and Glenn Close for Lead Actress and Archie Panjabi, Anna Gunn, Maggie Smith, Joanne Froggatt, Christina Hendricks, and Christine Baranski for Supporting Actress. But for those shows that managed to score a bounty of nominations, there were those that were shut out in the cold altogether.
Hugh Laurie, an Emmy mainstay, failed to get a nomination for the final season of Fox’s House, while Justified didn’t get any love as a show or for its stars, Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins. (The show scored only two nominations overall, none in the main categories.) With Downton Abbey in the best drama series mix, CBS’s The Good Wife didn’t score a nomination, and the comedy list, heavy on HBO contenders, failed to include Community, Louie, and Parks and Recreation. (Speaking of which, will Parks’s Nick Offerman ever get a nomination at this rate?)
Some oversights, however, are more egregious than others, and the nominations this year had their fair share of surprises as well. Here are some of the biggest snubs and most shocking surprises of this year’s Emmy nominations…
SNUB: Parks and Recreation (NBC)
This year’s Best Comedy category boasts no less than three HBO shows—including two newcomers in Girls and Veep, and returnee Curb Your Enthusiasm—leaving little room for much else to break through. The rest of the positions went to 30 Rock, Modern Family, and The Big Bang Theory, all of which have proven over the years to be irresistible catnip to Emmy voters. But to leave out Parks and Recreation, which had one of its best and most nuanced seasons to date, is particularly myopic. Revolving around the campaign of Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler, who was rightly nominated), Season 4 was tremendous, examining the hope and optimism of one political candidate against whom the odds were stacked, thanks to a spoiled candy-company offspring (Paul Rudd) and his manipulative campaign manager (the ubiquitous Kathryn Hahn). Omitting Parks from the list of nominees is a slap in the face given just how deserving this show is of some awards recognition.
SNUB: Community (NBC)
Likewise, the final Dan Harmon season of Community was also shut out of the awards process. Putting aside the fact that none (none!) of its commendable actors managed to secure nominations in their respective categories, the gonzo and wildly imaginative comedy was also denied a Best Comedy nomination, despite the fact that this season proved to be one of its most absurd and inventive yet, delving into chaos theory, the mystery of a murdered yam (presented as a Law & Order episode), a Civil War parody, 8-bit videogames, and a scathing Glee takedown. Perhaps Community is simply too good for the Emmys; perhaps it belongs not to awards committees, but rather to the people instead: to those individuals who appreciate and understand the warped genius of this show.
"American Horror Story" gets 17, too.
Kerry Washington and Jimmy Kimmel (clad in button-down P.J.'s) joined the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences chairman at 5 a.m. Thursday to announce the nominees for this year's Emmy Awards. Mad Men and American Horror Story led the nominations with 17 each. Among the other shows nominated for their excellence were Breaking Bad, Homeland, Girls, and Veep. Newbie Lena Dunham was nominated along with Edie Falco for Nurse Jackie, and Amy Poehler for Parks and Recreation. Not only did reality TV get some attention this year, with nominations for So You Think You Can Dance and The Amazing Race, among others, but reality-TV hosts like American Idol's Ryan Seacrest and Tom Bergeron of Dancing With the Stars also received nods.
Bryan Cranston’s career-altering turn as television’s maddest scientist on Breaking Bad has earned him three Emmys. The AMC show returns Sunday for the first half of its final season, and Cranston picks his 13 favorite moments playing the unforgettable Walter White.
Breaking Bad is back on Sunday for its final season, which AMC has decided to break into two parts—the first eight episodes will air now and the final eight will air next year. In the series, Bryan Cranston plays Walter White, a cancer-stricken high school chemistry teacher who turns to a life of crime out of desperation, but stays in it out of his own sociopathic need. Cranston has won three Emmys for his shining portrayal of the maddest scientist on television and is poised to nab another nomination next week.
Cranston, who was mostly recognized for his for his comedic work on Malcolm in the Middle before he was cast for Breaking Bad, thinks of Walter as a gift because of the range required to be a loving husband and father who is sharp enough to become a drug lord and deviant enough to become a murderer.
“He doesn’t realize what he’s become,” Cranston said. “He has no clue. He’s so in it and is so subjected to it that he doesn’t have a good mirror image of himself anymore. He can’t see how he’s changed.”
The Daily Beast asked Cranston to pick his favorite Walter White moments. Cranston narrowed the list to 13, focusing on scenes where “something propelled Walt to the next thing or changed him somewhat or made the situation more profound.”
Here are Cranston’s picks, in chronological order, as told to Maria Elena Fernandez:
I’m at my second job and my boss is giving me problems and I’ve just had had it, and I quit. And I say, “Fuck you and your eyebrows!!” And I walk away, smacking away all the air fresheners. And after he says, “You need to go wipe down the cars. I grab my crotch. And I say, “Wipe down this.” It showed a man who reached his limit. He’s not going to take it anymore. And I think it’s very relatable to a lot of people. You take it and you take it and you take it, and there’s just a point where you go, “I’m done! You can fire me. You can do whatever. But I’m done.”
Courting TV Academy voters is a costly endeavor, but networks and studios are willing to dole out hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in the hope of earning Emmy nominations.
In certain parts of Los Angeles, efforts to win over that golden girl, Emmy, are in full force. There are double-decker buses covered in NBC promos riding up and down Hollywood; electronic billboards reminding us of Showtime stars like Michael C. Hall and Claire Danes; newspaper and magazine ads; and lavish DVD mailers for shows all vying for a spot on the Emmy nominations roster next month, and ultimately, a win in September.
To distinguish itself from competitors, the Food Network sent out its DVDs in a lunch pail, left; meanwhile NBC hopes its double decker buses will catch the attention of Emmy voters in the streets of Hollywood.
The glossy and, at times, extraordinary courtship of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ 15,280 members is a dance that began in earnest in the mid-1990s after Fox and the cable networks became contenders in the race for the TV industry’s most prestigious prize.
How big? Tom O’Neil, who has been tracking Hollywood’s top awards for decades and is the editor of the entertainment awards site GoldDerby.com, estimates that the TV industry spends $30 million to $40 million every year competing for Emmys. That astounding sum covers extravagant advertising campaigns that begin in print but also extend to skywriting over Malibu and Santa Monica beaches and ice-cream trucks delivering free treats at industry haunts.
But there is an aspect of the process that is not as publicized: As the only show business awards show that charges entry, the Emmy Awards are big business for the TV Academy itself. And the exorbitant costs of campaigning also include the fees associated with sending DVD mailers to academy members, making episodes available online on the Academy’s website, and screening shows at the Academy theater.
These charges are unique to the Emmys among the big awards, O’Neil said. “The TV Academy made a business out of it in the mid-90s, when they started charging for entering to offset the costs of the judging process. There’s just too much TV to expect all the voters to have seen it. So the Emmys have set up a system of blue ribbon panels that screen things, vote for things, decide who wins, and it’s a very costly judging system. The question is: are they charging too much?”
The answer is yes, according to those who shell out the big bucks to get their TV shows, stars, and behind-the-scenes players noticed. A dozen executives from broadcast, cable networks, and studios told The Daily Beast that they wonder every year whether it’s worthwhile to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars stumping for Emmys, but they continue to do so because everyone else does. Unlike the Motion Picture Academy, which allows for studios to mail screeners directly to their membership, the TV Academy keeps its list a secret. Networks and studios must pay the Academy $1,500 per episode they want to mail to members and they must also use a designated fulfillment house for shipping their entries.
“These are questions that have been kicking around for a long time,” said one basic cable executive who requested anonymity. “It’s frustrating and it’s troubling, especially when budgets are under great restraint and pressure. In any business, you want to look for efficiencies and ways to have the same type of service at the most efficient price point that you can. And, unfortunately, this doesn’t allow for that option.”
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