Thursday, July 18, 2013

2013 Emmy Nominations: Normal is the Watchword

Tatiana Maslaney wasn't nominated for "Orphan Black" but I'm putting her here anyway

Normal is the Watchword for the 2013 Emmys.  While a couple of series made big splashes, it was mostly business as usual, with 27 of the 34 eligible nominees from last year (in the Lead and Series categories) returning to the list.  And, while most of the newcomers were first-year shows or performances, perhaps the best two freshmen (Orphan Black and The Americans) were both left out.  Let’s go down the list by category and see where we can find the most outrage (though at this point, I’m mostly sitting at depressed resignation).

Outstanding Drama Series -

Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men

I outlined my choices earlier this week, but there are no real surprises here.  Five of the nominees from last year return, with newcomer House of Cards knocking Boardwalk Empire off the list.  I still haven’t gotten to Cards, so it’s hard to complain about this list, except for the continued recognition of Downton Abbey which, while I enjoy it, is hardly one of the six best dramas on television.

Outstanding Comedy Series –

30 Rock
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family

Complete carryover from last year with the exception of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which wasn’t eligible in 2013 and was replaced by Louie, a worthy contender, though I’m still a little disappointed that Parks and Recreation hasn’t been able to get a nomination.  I know I left them off of my ballot, though I immediately regretted the decision because Parks is one of the funniest shows on television.  Still, these shows are all really good and it’s tough for me to pick any one that doesn’t deserve to be here.

Lead Actor in a Drama –

Hugh Bonneville
Bryan Cranston
Jeff Daniels
Jon Hamm
Damian Lewis
Kevin Spacey

Well, I called the three easy picks all right, though I didn’t get nominations for Dancy, Emerson, or Olyphant.  This category, as with the series, is pretty much chalk from 2012, with the exception of a pair of newcomers (Daniels and Spacey) pushing out a pair of veterans (Steve Buschemi and Michael C. Hall).  Kevin Spacey was pretty much always a lock for this nomination, even if Netflix is currently trying to convince anybody and everybody that their nominations were “sort of a shock.”  And I get why Daniels was nominated even if it’s an infuriating character who is often a supporting man on his own show.  This entire category was predictable, whether it was “good” predictable (Cranston, Hamm, Lewis) or “bad” predictable (Bonneville, Space, Daniels).

Lead Actress in a Drama –

Connie Britton
Claire Danes
Michelle Dockery
Vera Farmiga
Elisabeth Moss
Kerry Washington
Robin Wright

This is the only category where I’m really disappointed, because there are a few legitimate surprises here and because they nominated seven women, yet they couldn’t find a spot on the list for Tatiana Maslany, who gave perhaps the best individual performance this year?  It’s not a surprise and I really shouldn’t be disappointed since I never should have expected it in the first place, but still.  On to the actual selections, this is the category with the most turnover from 2012, with only Danes, Dockery, and Moss reprising their appearances.  Kathy Bates wasn’t eligible this year, but seeing Julianna Margulies and Glenn Close (who have won three of the last five Lead Actress awards) left out is pretty surprising.  They get replaced by Connie Britton of Nashville, who’s been nominated twice in the category for Friday Night Lights, Vera Farmiga of Bates Motel, Kerry Washington of Scandal, and Robin Wright from House of Cards.  Even with seven nominees, none are particularly surprising except, perhaps, for Washington.  But Scandal has become such a buzzworthy show that it’s tough to fault even that nomination.

Lead Actor in a Comedy –

Alec Baldwin
Jason Bateman
Louis CK
Don Cheadle
Matt LeBlanc
Jim Parsons

Jon Cryer is one of only two winners from last year to be left off the 2013 ballot.  And even with him left off and Larry David not eligible, we still got four returning nominations and even the two new guys (LeBlanc and Bateman) have been nominated for these roles before.  In fact, LeBlanc wasn’t eligible last year and has now been nominated in both of his eligible years.  Bateman was nominated for the second season of Arrested Development but not for the other two.  Again, there are some good performances here and I’m not going to complain about Baldwin or Parsons, but it’s all so predictable. 

Lead Actress in a Comedy –

Laura Dern
Lena Dunham
Edie Falco
Tina Fey
Julia Louis-Dreyfuss
Amy Poehler

Fans of Enlightened will be pleasantly surprised by Laura Dern’s inclusion and I guess we discovered who was tied in last year’s ballot (which included seven nominees), because Zooey Deschanel and Melissa McCarthy both were left off this year.  Again, five of the six nominees were nominated last year, but where are you going to complain?  Tina Fey picked up seven nominations in seven years.  Lena Dunham and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss have both been nominated twice for their two seasons.  Edie Falco has been eligible four times in five seasons (Nurse Jackie aired two seasons during the 2009-10 eligibility period) and has earned nominations all four times.  And Amy Poehler was only left off the ballot for Parks and Recreations truncated first season.  So with those five actresses as virtual locks, there wasn’t much room for newcomers.

Supporting Actor in a Drama –

Jonathan Banks
Bobby Canavale
Jim Carter
Peter Dinklage
Mandy Patinkin
Aaron Paul

There was a good amount of turnover in this stacked category this year as two actors were no longer eligible for their nominated roles (though Giancarlo Esposito submitted for Revolution) and Brendan Coyle had a much smaller role.  Carter, Dinklage, and Paul all returned and I can’t really complain about the new inclusions.  I would have nominated both Banks and Patinkin who were fabulous in their shows and, while I probably wouldn’t have recommended Canavale, he becomes better every time I watch the third season of Boardwalk Empire, which I’ve done twice now.

Supporting Actress in a Drama

Morena Baccarin
Christine Baranski
Emilia Clarke
Anna Gunn
Christina Hendricks
Maggie Smith

A little more turnover here, and mostly in a good way.  Archie Panjabi and Joanne Froggatt bow out, replaced (in a way that makes me very happy) by Emilia Clarke and Morena Baccarin.  I loved Clarke and her expanded role in an already stuffed third season of Game of Thrones.  And while I wouldn’t have nominated Baccarin, it’s not because she hasn’t been great on Homeland; she really has.  Overall, this is a really solid list and I’ll have a hard time being disappointed, no matter who gets nominated.

Supporting Actor in a Comedy –

Ty Burrell
Adam Driver
Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Bill Hader
Tony Hale
Ed O’Neill

Well Modern Family shows its first cracks as two-time (and reigning) champion Eric Stonestreet is left off for the first time.  Other than Ed O’Neill’s mysterious omission in 2010, this is the first time a Modern Family adult actor has failed to garner a nomination.  Adam Driver and Tony Hale are the new guys on the list, replacing Stonestreet and New Girl’s Max Greenfield and while it’s hard to argue with the selections, I’m a little disappointed that Greenfield’s fantastic performance isn’t being recognized again.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy –

Mayim Bialik
Julie Bowen
Anna Chlumsky
Jane Krakowski
Jane Lynch
Sofia Vergara
Merritt Weaver

It’s only fitting that we would close out the major nominations with a category in which every actress who was nominated last year and eligible this year was nominated again.  So how did the Emmy voters do at replacing Kathryn Joosten and Kristen Wiig?  Not bad I’d say.  Lynch is the one I would have left off, but she’s been nominated twice and won once already.  But Chlumsky has apparently been really good on Veep and Krakowski, aside from being pretty great on 30 Rock has been nominated three times before.  If Chlumsky had been the seventh nominee and left off the ballot, this category would have had nothing but previous nominees.

So what did we learn this year?  Emmy voters like voting for Emmy nominees.  Your best chance at earning an Emmy nomination is if you’ve been nominated before.  And if you’ve been eligible for this role in the past and not been nominated?  Good luck because you’ve got your work cut out for you.  Of the 37 nominees in the Lead and Series categories, 28 had been nominated before for this show, six were newcomers, and only three had been eligible but ignored previously.  As usual, “normal” is the watchword.

So thoughts?  Comments?  Just want to tell me that my blog sucks?  Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @TyTalksTV.

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