Reactionary Tale: Emmy Nominations 2013

I watched more TV than ever, which left me more vulnerable to the Emmys’ penchant for snubbing great shows and performances in favor of the same ol’, same ol’. Even so, there were still plenty of surprises. Here are my reactions this morning.

Biggest Snubs (in order from most to least egregious):
1. Any technical nominations for Hannibal
I know acting nominations were a longshot. But clearly voters didn’t pay attention at all, because it had the best directing, art direction, cinematography and editing of any show on TV this year. It wasn’t even close.

2. Any major nominations for The Americans
Yay for Margo Martindale! Unfortunately, the Lead Actor and Actress in a Drama categories are just too crowded. I find it even harder to believe voters could find seven actresses to fill the slots, and Keri Russell is not one of those seven.

3. Any actors besides Amy Poehler for Parks and Recreation
Sadly, the ship has sailed. This show is never going to get the love it deserves. We’ll just have to hold onto that one random Comedy Series nomination and last year’s pair of writing nods.  

4. Corey Stoll – Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for House of Cards
Yeah. This guy acted circles around everyone else on this show. And he had a tragic death. How could they not nominate him?

5. Rob Lowe – Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie for Behind the Candelabra
Look, Scott Bakula was fine. But everyone knows Rob Lowe absolutely stole this movie from Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.

6. Aaron Sorkin – Writing for a Drama Series for The Newsroom
It’s a tricky situation. The writing is both the best and worst thing about The Newsroom, depending on the episode or scene. But Sorkin’s pilot episode was top-notch, and it wasn’t even his best writing of the season.

7. Any guest actors for Arrested Development
Netflix’s fourth season actually didn’t find any love aside from Jason Bateman’s performance and some stray technical categories. Liza Minnelli deserved a nomination the most, followed by Maria Bamford, Ben Stiller, Henry Winkler, Mary-Lynn Ryksjub, John Slattery, Isla Fisher, Terry Crews and Tommy Tune, in that order. Basically, both guest comedy categories could have been filled with these actors and more.

8. Any nominations for Happy Endings
In its final season (tear), the show remained just as funny as ever, even adding new dramatic twists that it pulled off beautifully. The cast and writers gave it their all. Too bad they won’t get to continue doing that.

9. Eric Stonestreet – Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Modern Family
Usually I’m happy when the old guard falls. But depending on the episode he submitted (I hope it was “When a Tree Falls”), he shouldn’t have been the one who got snubbed. It was going to happen sooner or later, I just didn’t expect it to happen to last year’s winner. It should have been you, Jesse Tyler Ferguson!

10. Kate McKinnon – Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Saturday Night Live
Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig returning for a victory lap? Don’t give me that. I want them to honor the versatile, hilarious Kate McKinnon. There’s always the next few years, I suppose.

Most Pleasant Surprises (in no particular order):
1. Adam Driver nominated for Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Girls
If his submission episode is “On All Fours,” we should go ahead and call this category. He won’t win, because it usually goes to the funniest actor, but if we’re going off the best performance, he’s got it locked up.

2. Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky nominated for Veep
Some critics thought last year’s nominations were flukes (aside from Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ win), but it looks like Armando Ianucci’s blistering political satire is here to stay. I still could use a few more nominations for the cast (particularly Timothy Simons as Jonah) and a writing nod, but this is a terrific start.

3. Didn’t go overboard with nostalgia for The Office
Its only big nomination was a writing nod for the finale, which I still think could have gone to an episode of Modern Family, Girls, Parks and Rec, Veep, Happy Endings, Community or Arrested Development.

4. Louis CK… Louis CK everywhere
After setting a record last year with seven nominations, he matched the feat once again. Let him win them all!

5. Someone watched Enlightened
Not enough to save it, mind you. But someone recognized not only Laura Dern’s performance, but Molly Shannon’s as well. I had been disappointed that the latter would miss since her episode of Hannibal didn’t make it to air, but that wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Glad she got something.

Random Head-Scratchers (in no particular order):
1. Is the writing on Episodes and Jimmy Kimmel Live really that much better than Parks and Recreation and Key & Peele, respectively?
The former is particularly baffling. You can see No. 3 above for even more shows that were more worthy of a nomination. And I’ve watched several episodes of the latter this season. Aside from the occasional funny skit, the rest of the show is mostly dead air. Other variety series with worthy writing: The Burn with Jeff Ross, The Jeselnik Offensive, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

2. Was Shirley MacLaine not sassy enough on Downton Abbey?
I don’t really have an opinion on Downton Abbey aside from a blindly biased “Overrated,” but Shirley MacLaine seemed to be perfect Emmy bait, as a sassy foil to Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess.

3. Do voters even realize how massive the undertaking is to direct an episode of Game of Thrones?
Again, I don’t watch Game of Thrones. But even I can see that it’s directing requires someone with a lot of skill, particularly in battle-heavy episodes. Emmy voters don’t get that apparently.

4. Did you not see those wigs on The Americans?
The theme music and Margo Martindale’s nominations were certainly worthy, but how about those wigs and costumes? Both were worthy of consideration.

5. That Lifetime movie with Jewel as June Carter Cash… that had outstanding directing?
David Mamet. Steven Soderbergh. Jane Campion. All Oscar nominees, with the latter two taking home trophies. But, uh, Ring of Fire? Surely The Hour, Parade’s End or an episode of American Horror Story had better direction.

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