Sunday, July 13, 2014

2014 Emmy Nominsations

Orange is the New Black

As I read through this mornings Emmy nominations list there were two thoughts that immediately popped into my head:

1) Broadcast television is truly dead
2) Emmy voters like what they like and if they do change it will be slowly thank you very much.

For years it's been accepted that the drama categories are the domain of the flashier pay-cable networks, with traditional broadcasters left to scramble over the comedic offerings. But with this year's Outstanding Comedy Series noms including Netflix' Orange is the New Black, HBO's Silicon Valley and Veep and FX's Louie, that leaves just perennial nominees Big Bang Theory (CBS) and Modern Family (ABC) representing the big four.

And that OK, since OITNB, Silicon Valley, Veep and Louie are all outstanding comedies well-deserving of the honor. But it's unfortunate that if broadcast TV only has two slots to fill, the Emmy Voters chose to waste them on the most overrated show on television (BBT) and a once-great sitcom in decline (MF).

In fact, the Modern Family situation is emblematic of the overall Emmy nominations list, which is basically a lukewarm dish of leftovers peppered with a few justified fresh faces. True Detective and Fargo got the love they deserve, but another nomination for Jim Parsons? A repeat for The Newsroom's Jeff Daniels? And why are we still nominating Downton Abbey for best drama when the show is a shadow of its former self?

HBO again reigned supreme in total nominations and Netflix expanded it's footprint with OITNB, offering a glimpse of what the dystopian hellscape of television's future will look like. Adapt or die, broadcast, adapt or die.

The Good:

• A lot has been written about the importance of Orange is the New Black – its character diversity, socio-political subject matter, female-centric storylines, etc – and it's great to see the Emmy voters throw a nod to not only lead actress Taylor Schilling, but also Kate Mulgrew's as supporting character Red and guest actress nods (more on that later) for Laverne Cox, Natasha Lyonne and "Crazy Eyes" Uzo Aduba.

• I, for one, am glad that True Detective went for the top prize of Outstanding Drama rather than play the miniseries game a la American Horror Story. I love me some AHS but when 75 percent of your cast returns every year the argument that you're not a series can be kind of sneaky. Ironically, the leads of True Detective will not return next year, meaning it could actually justify it's existence as a miniseries but why sell yourself short, eh?

• Another nomination for Veep's Tony Hale, because the world can never have enough Tony Hale.

• [UPDATE] I am absolutely thrilled that Reg E. Cathey scored a guest actor nod for his work as Freddy on House of Cards. It's weird how much I found myself caring about the fate of Freddy during season 2 considering the show deals with murder and corruption at the highest levels of American government, but I just want him to get his barbeque back.

The Bad:

• I try not to play the snub game because it's petty and unproductive, but having said that I'm surprised to see James Spader miss out on a nomination for his quasi-performance-art scenery chewing on The Blacklist. The NBC procedural is mostly melodramatic cheese, but Spader is delicious as antihero Red Reddington and the person solely responsible for Blacklist being the success that it was.

• TBBT and Jim Parsons

• The Best Actor in a Comedy category includes Don Cheadle for House of Lies. I don't watch House of Lies and as a vocal fan of Community I understand that viewership and buzz ≠ quality, but really House of Lies? or Ricky Gervaise in Derek? Basically, what I'm trying to say is Joel McHale deserves a lead actor Emmy.

• [UPDATE] Again, I don't like the snub game but Hannibal's second season was incredible. Darren Franich at EW devoted an entire Entertainment Geekly post to how Bryan Fuller's NBC serial is a better version of both True Detective and Fargo. And particularly considering the decline of broadcast television, what Hannibal manages to pull off every week is nothing short of astounding. I won't say it was snubbed, but it is some of the finest television I've ever seen.

The Interesting:

• I understand the strategy of not having your cast compete with itself, but can we really call Martin Freeman's Watson a "supporting" character to Cumberbatch's Sherlock?

• When the Golden Globes decided to name freshman comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine and its star Andy Sandberg as best comedy and best comedy actor, it was a little bit of a surprise but also in line with the boozy antics of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Funny, then, that the elder statesmen at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences gave only a supporting actor nod to the very funny (who knew?) Andre Braugher.

• Viewers may be surprised to see three prominent Orange is the New Black characters listed as "guest" roles, but as explained by TIME, that distinction is due is due to wonky contract legalize. BUT since all three actresses were bumped up to series regulars for the show's second season, it will be even more competitive for them to receive repeat nods next year.

Here's the list of the major categories. Are you surprised? Shocked? Infuriated? Talk about it in the comments.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men
True Detective

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Louie
Modern Family
Orange Is the New Black
Silicon Valley
Veep

Outstanding Miniseries
American Horror Story: Coven
Bonnie & Clyde
Fargo
Luther
Treme
The White Queen

Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Lizzie Caplan, Masters of Sex
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge
Idris Elba, Luthor
Martin Freeman, Fargo
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo

Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and 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

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Louis CK, Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

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

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Josh Charles, The Good Wife

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Colin Hanks, Fargo
Jim Parsons, The Normal Heart
Alfred Molina, The Normal Heart
Martin Freeman, Sherlock
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart

Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story: Coven
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Coven
Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven
Allison Tolman, Fargo
Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Fred Armisen, Portlandia
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Tony Hale, Veep

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Outstanding Reality Competition Program
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The Voice

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