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Emmy 2014 Nominations Reactions Podcast to the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Award Nominations
Did you just read the list of this year’s Emmy nominations? Are you jumping for joy at seeing your favorite shows, actors & actresses names on the list? Or are you still reeling from some of the terrible omissions? Here’s my take on some of the best, the worst, and the craziest revelations from the 2014 Emmy nominations.
10. Fresh Faces – Andre Braugher! Kate McKinnon! Kate Mulgrew! William H. Macy! It’s always nice to see some fresh faces make it, even if they aren’t surprises.
9. Orange Really IS the New Black – Everyone expected scene-stealer Uzo Aduba (that’s Crazy Eyes Suzanne for the uninformed) to have her name called this morning. But there was some genuine surprise – and excitement – to seeing both Natasha Lyonne and Laverne Cox nominated. That Cox is the first transgender to ever be nominated for an Emmy (… I think) is surely a great triumph for the LGBT community.
8. The Iron Throne Goes To… – Boom. Lena Headey completely upends Emilia Clarke from the Supporting Actress category to become a first-time nominee in this category. Daenerys’ storyline really struggled to get off the ground, while Headey had some tough material to deal with for Cersei. While a win is highly unlikely, the nomination is a great token of appreciation for Headey’s fantastic work through all four seasons.
7. Modern Family Loses Its Hold – While the last several years have seen Modern Family’s six adults rule the Supporting Comedy nominations, a few were left off of the ballot this year: namely Sofia Vergara, Ed O’Neill and two-time winner Eric Stonestreet (for the second consecutive year).
All of those left out are extremely talented, but it’s nice to get some diversity in those categories.
6. Master of Sexiness – By far my biggest happy dance moment was hearing Caplan’s name called this morning. Her performance was just incredible on Masters of Sex this season and she really earned her spot on the list.
That she is the only newcomer, and that she supplanted Connie Britton, Elizabeth Moss, and Vera Farmiga says enough about how great she is.
5. Allison Janney: Emmys 2014 MVP –Janney heard her name called twice, as she received nominations for Mom and Masters of Sex, and she is probably the one to beat in both categories.
Janney’s work on Mom is absolutely wonderful and she is the clear favorite to win the Supporting Comedy Actress category, deservedly so. But her heart wrenching performance on Masters of Sex is a masterclass in acting that rivals just about any other on television from this past year. I will absolutely champion Janney making two trips to the podium, because she is the clear favorite to win the Supporting Comedy Actress award and I just don’t want to exist in a world where her work on Masters of Sex is not recognized with a win as well.
4. McConaughey & Harrelson: Emmy-Nominated Bromance – McConaughey’s nomination was almost guaranteed, but Harrelson really had to fight to earn his spot in a competitive category that left uber-talents like James Spader (an Emmy favorite!), Matthew Rhys and Michael Sheen out of the running. It’s tough to argue with his inclusion here: he demonstrated such a delicate balance of sternness and badassery during his time on True Detective that a nomination feels deserved.
Look for McConaughey to become the first man to earn an Emmy and an Oscar in the same year next month (that is, if Cranston doesn’t show him up, which is entirely impossible). Alright, alright, alright.
3. The Good Wife’s Good News – Josh Charles earned his only Emmy nomination for The Good Wife several years ago. Similarly, Margulies was left off of last year’s nomination list in the incredibly competitive Drama Actress category. Today, the Academy righted those wrongs, handing the duo a set of nominations.
Their work this year was irrefutably incredible and their tandem nominations (especially in light of how well they played off of one another) are well-earned. Charles, who is not returning to The Good Wife next season, should be happy that his last year gave him such sensational material… but a win feels nearly impossible against the behemoth that is Aaron Paul (who could become the first person to ever win the Drama Supporting Actor three times). Margulies, on the other hand, could return to the podium for a second win… though something tells me she’ll have to pry the statue out of Robin Wright’s cold, dead hands.
Win or lose, seeing The Good Wife honored with acting nominations was a happy sight.
2. Silicon Valley – A collective total of zero pundits were surprised by Orange is the New Black’s magnificent showing at this morning’s nominations: it’s the new cool kid in school, so getting some attention from the Academy felt like an eventuality.
But there was far less confidence in Silicon Valley’s ability to breakthrough and earn a series nomination, though I’ll gloat and say that I’ve had the show on my shortlist for a while. Though I wish that T.J. Miller or Christopher Evan Welch (posthumously) had made it into the Supporting Comedy Actor comedy, a series nomination is at least a great consolation prize. This show is easily the best new comedy of 2014, and even though its inclusion is likely what led to Brooklyn Nine-Nine being nixed, I’m still over the moon.
If you haven’t checked it out, I strongly recommend that you do so. The ensemble is wonderful and the writing is hysterical. Plus, the first season’s finale has what I can honestly refer to as the funniest joke concept attempted in years.
1. Goodbye, Homeland – After one explosive (no pun intended) season and one meh season, Homeland really could have gone either way for its third season. But the show struggled creatively, not knowing what to do with Damian Lewis and spending way too much time on boring, uneven storylines (I’m looking at you, Dana). The show’s only nominations this year – Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin – both feel earned, but also feel like gifts: a win for either would feel a little cheap. To see the show completely obliterated otherwise (losing out in the Drama, Actor and Supporting Actress categories) is both sad and also fair. I wish we lived in a world where Homeland’s second and third seasons even approached the levels of awesome that the first season was able to obtain: but we don’t.
So thank you, Academy, for realizing that the show needed to be less represented in the nominations this year.
9. Scandalous Omissions – Bellamy Young picked up a Critic’s Choice award a few weeks ago, so she looked like a real contender for her role on Scandal in the Supporting Actress category. While Joe Morton and Kate Burton earned recognition in the Guest Actor/Actress categories, Young missed out on a nod.
I’m actually sad to see Melissa McBride missing from the Supporting Actress category for her work on The Walking Dead, where she put in the best acting to come from the show. But the Emmys hate zombies and other sci-fi elements, so a nomination was never in the cards.
8. NOberyn – Pedro Pascal left a lasting impression during his unexpectedly short run on Game of Thrones. Not seeing him make the shortlist for Guest Drama Actor is unsurprising, but still sad. It made me feel like someone poked my eyes out.
7. Survivor Snubbed – I’m probably biased (which is actually a complete understatement), but Survivor had two incredibly strong seasons this year. The one-two punch of Blood vs. Water and Cagayan produced some genuinely exciting television. To not see the show back in the fold is another unsurprising omission, but feels like a cop-out.
6. Melissa McCarthy?! Jeff Daniels?! – I really, really like Melissa McCarthy. But putting her name on the shortlist for her work on Mike & Molly is just lame. Give me a break! Where is Mindy Kaling? Where is Amy Schumer? With so many women bringing real creativity and inventiveness to comedy, it feels like the Academy is just sympathizing with McCarthy for being better than the material given to her.
Similarly, I like Jeff Daniels. But the guy – who shockingly triumphed in the Best Actor category last year – is out of his depth in the Drama Actor race. While I give the guy credit for making the best of some extremely didactic material, he has to know that he’s lucky to be sitting in such great company. A repeat win is almost unthinkable.
5. нулевой for The Americans – For those of you that are not familiar with Russian, that means that The Americans literally earned a grand total of zero major nominations today (other than a Guest Actress nod for Margo Martindale).
The show, which really found its footing in a tremendous sophomore effort, deserved major nominations across the board. Drama Series, Keri Russell for Actress, Matthew Rhys for Actor, Noah Emmerich for Supporting Actor and Annet Mahendru for Supporting Actress.
Believe me; I’m not hyperbolizing when I say that The Americans is the best show you don’t watch. And clearly, it’s the best show that Emmy voters aren’t watching either.
4. Hank Shanked – Dean Norris turned in some fantastic material for Breaking Bad’s final season in the episode’s midseason premiere (“Blood Money”) and in his final appearance (the epic “Ozymandias”). A first nomination seemed to be in the bag. But with so few precursors, pundits sometimes overextend themselves in declaring a nomination a slam dunk.
Not seeing Norris’ name on the list does feel like a cheat given the strength of his material this year. Knowing that there is no other opportunity to pay him his due either makes it feel especially unfair.
3. Downton Abbey – I get it. Emmy voters love Downton Abbey. But seriously: the show’s Series nomination is a reach (we’ll get to why in a moment) and the show’s continued dominance in the acting categories is becoming tiring. Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith are all just wonderful in their roles – but do any of them deserve to be nominated this year? With such a vast array of talent, seeing Downton Abbey continue to pull in nomination after nomination is a snooze.
If the show were at a creative high at this point in its run, I could understand the appeal of constantly nominating it. But critics and viewers alike are shrugging their shoulders at the show’s latest attempts. It’s had its time in the sun, but it’s time to step aside now; the show is an also-ran in the Drama Series category and should have been left out so we could get some fresh blood on the list. Where is Masters of Sex? The Americans? Hannibal? The Good Wife?!
Speaking of The Good Wife…
2. The Good Wife’s Not-So-Good News – After a captivating creative renaissance and arguably its most pitch-perfect season ever, The Good Wife was left out of the Best Drama category in favor of Downton Abbey and Mad Men. Giant facepalm, Emmy voters.
I understand that both Mad Men and Downton Abbey are high-brow and have been nominated before, but The Good Wife essentially self-performed a lobotomy this year… successfully! The complete dismantling of the show’s status quo (not to mention that shocking death and the meticulously plotted freefall that resulted from it) made this broadcast drama the most daring on television. That it was left off the list is an epic, unforgivable snub.
1. Cloning Last Year’s Major Snub – Downright ridiculous. Two years running, Tatiana Maslany is left out of the Best Actress category.
I can understand the appeal of the red-hot Kerry Washington or the stellar Michelle Dockery. But neither of these women is bringing it to the table the same way that Maslany is. We are talking about a woman who plays about seven different characters within the span of an hour – sometimes simultaneously!
As a Critic’s Choice winner and with the amount of backlash her omission sparked last year, I really expected to see her make it into the race… which makes it all the more crushing that the Emmys have again failed to invite her to the party.
I know that the Emmys have always been pretty adverse to showing sci-fi or genre shows any love (Lost remains the only genre/sci-fi show to ever win Best Drama, and it really had to downplay its eccentricities to stand a chance). But Maslany is undeniable in this role. I would boldly say that she rivals McConaughey and Cranston as the single best performer on television.
3. No Merritt? – The Supporting Actress Comedy category feels like a bit of a wildcard. Last year’s shock winner, Merritt Wever, was benched this year. Her completely perplexing speech (where she basically just took the trophy and said “I gotta go” before running for the hills) likely rubbed the voters the wrong way. I don’t think anyone is clamoring to see Wever take a return trip up to the podium, but her name being left off of the list is still confusing.
2. Left Field Nominees – As mentioned earlier, there are very few precursors for the Emmys: only the Golden Globes, which air half a year before Emmy nominations are announced. So it’s hard to get a good understanding of who is on the shortlist. Thus, unlike the Oscars, we usually see some names that nobody sees coming.
Chief among them this year, we have Ricky Gervais for his role on Derek, and Fred Armisen for Portlandia (though could someone explain to me how he’s a supporting actor on a show with literally two characters?).
Neither of them is expected to win, but stranger things have happened. Remember that the Emmys handed Jon Cryer two wins (followed by subsequent snubs) – and just last year produced numerous shockers by awarding Merritt Wever, Tony Hale, Bobby Cannavale and Jeff Daniels. I’ll bet nobody took any of them in their office pool.
1. Close Calls – Though many shows performed well, no show earned an outright sweep. True Detective was expected to earn a nomination for Michelle Monaghan; Breaking Bad was expected to earn a nomination for Dean Norris; Game of Thrones was expected to earn a nomination for Emilia Clarke (though Lena Headey did make the cut); Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville fell out of contention this year; Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss was left in the cold for the first time. I could honestly keep going. While I have already touched on many of these, I’ll just add that these across-the-board shockers and omissions make it tough to pick a leading horse in the Drama race.
We all know that Mad Men and Downton Abbey are dead meat. But between the other five shows, there’s an argument to be made for any and all of them.
House of Cards deservedly earned all of its major nominations (also picking up unexpected nods for Kate Mara and Reg E Cathey) and will likely walk away with a win for Robin Wright for an incredible second season.
Game of Thrones hit a creative highpoint and has become the most talked about show of the year, not to mention a critical and social media darling. The show also feels due, having been nominated three times prior with zero wins.
True Detective, the new kid on the block, had some A-list actors and a stellar run of episodes, though it could face backlash here for not submitting in the Movie/Miniseries categories where it belonged.
And Breaking Bad… is Breaking Bad. It was an excellent, perfect drama that concluded beautifully. A second consecutive win is likely, but could easily be snatched up by any of these other frontrunners.
On the Comedy side, I’ll go against the grain and predict that Orange is the New Black earned every nomination it needed to deflate Modern Family’s streak. I think it’s the clear frontrunner and will almost assuredly bank on its current pop-culture relevance to earn a few extra votes along the way. Look out for The Big Bang Theory though, as it’s the other show with a real shot to ruin Modern Family’s potentially history-making victory (a fifth win would put it in a dead tie with Frasier for most wins in the Comedy series category). At this point, Modern Family is a big tire with a slow leak – the question is whether it will be completely flat by the time the envelope is ripped open next month.
What do you think? Share your thoughts on this year’s snubs & surprises in the comments below!