Well, we knew it would probably eventually happen, but this year, the sad exclusion of The Good Wife (a real shame if you ask me, especially with the delightfully boring Boardwalk Empire continuing to rack up), all of the nominees for Best Drama Series are from cable networks. Broadcast networks should be shaking their heads in disappointment, and start worrying less about ratings and more about quality. But honestly, the nominees are not shocking. Seven series for six nods, and one was left out as predicted. It is the acting awards however that provide us with some eyeraisers to say the least. In the Drama actor, Kelsey Grammer was snubbed completely, which is interesting, because with his episode submissions he could have easily been a winner. As was Hugh Laurie in his last season, a shame really that he will never win an Emmy for House. In their places, Michael C. Hall snuck in again despite the decline of Dexter, proving he really is an Emmy darling, and a surprise nod for Hugh Bonneville, which should have set me off that it was really going to clean up, especially when he beat out Laurie, Grammer and even Dustin Hoffman. In the actress race, a miracle happened. Mariska Hargitay was finally not nominated for an Emmy award, which will make many people happy, and surprise many as well. With the Downton Abbey love, I thought last year's nominee McGovern would be the replacement. Surprisngly instead it was Michelle Dockery, a well-deserved nomination indeed. In terms of winning, I thought Danes was a lock. But Homeland did not perform as well as expected, only 9 nods total, and with Dockery, Close, Moss, and Margulies, hell even Bates, this is not going to be a cakewalk. Now I knew Downton Abbey was going to be big, but it wasn't until I saw the nods for Supporting Actor and Actress that I realized just how strong this series is this year. In Supporting Actor, Dinklage, Esposito, and Paul all expectedly got in. John Slattery was left off in favor of his co-star Jared Harris, but considering Harris' season that isn't necessarily surprising. Then Downton Abbey got not 1, but 2! actors, Jim Carter and Brendan Coyle, into the nominations. This is really a shock, especially considering that neither are big names, and that they beat out the likes of Slattery, Charles, Braugher, Cumming, and Goodman. This is huge for Downton Abbey, and wonderful for these two actors, but still a complete shock. Once again in the Supporting Actress category, Downton Abbey showed its strength by knocking off people like Angelica Huston, Kelly MacDonald and Michelle Forbes and instead getting Joanne Froggatt on the list. I don't think I even had her as a possibility, and the fact that she was included once again shows just how strong DA is this year. The three series at the top Homeland, Mad Men, and Downton Abbey, got all the writing nods, but Boardwalk Empire and Breaking Bad got in as well. Breaking Bad ended up with a stunning 13 nominations, right behind Mad Men's 17 and Downton Abbey's 16. I think that the stigma that Breaking Bad is too trashy for the Emmys is melting away as it continues to do better and better each year. It could surprise the two frontrunners and Homeland and sneak in a win.
If you thought the Drama side had some surprises, you ain't seen nothing yet! As expected Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and 30 Rock made the cut. But Louie, despite like six individual nods for C.K. nor Parks and Recreation, which is a huge snub that really stings considering how great it is, got in. Instead, HBO's two newest Girls and Veep managed to get in instead. Both are great shows, but I am honestly surprised that both did so well, considering that neither really seemed like they were up the alley of Emmy voters. But alas, both got in and Girls is the only one of the six to get an acting, directing and writing nod. Modern Family was surprisingly cut from writing, but snubbed Parks and Rec got two nominations. Community fans have bemoaned the lack of support, and while it may seem like a slap in the face to only get one, it did get a writing nod, which should make at least a few of its fans happy. I also think it is interesting that this is probably the first year that 30 Rock has been snubbed in both writing and directing (as well as Jane Krakowski), meaning that they have started to tire (although the series still got in, so not that tired yet). Last year's nominees Glee and The Office, both of which had terrible seasons were completely left out, Glee only getting a few technical nods, and a nod for Dot-Marie Jones, and The Office (I Think), getting absolutely nothing. It is nice to see the Emmy voters this year recognize that it was time to move on for both, and in its place two more deserving nominees. The acting nods also provided some surprises. Not in Comedy Actor, although I really hate that Johnny Galecki was left off in favor of Jon Cryer, but it wasn't exactly a shocking turn of events. On the Comedy Actress side, Emmy voters had as much trouble as we did picking that they had to go to seven nominees! None of those that got in are surprising, although Deschanel and Dunham's nods are a nice tip of the hat to a new generation of leading ladies, and as I expected Edie Falco once again was nominated (I knew I should have included her). I am surprised though that Emmy favorite Laura Linney and Golden-Globe winner Laura Dern were left off, but then again their shows were left out across the board, and there were so many contenders in this category that somebody had to get left off, I just assumed it would have been someone else. Then we get to the Supporting categories, and once again, voters threw us some curveballs. In Supporting Actress neither Cloris Leachman and Betty White got in. I want you to let that sink in for a second. Two of Emmy's favorite gals did not get in, both of which were predicted to do so easily. Wiig, Bowen, Vergara all got in. But in the last three slots we had some shockers. The first, Kathyrn Joosten is acutally not a shocker, and the more I thought about it, I should have known they would give her one last posthumous nod, which is well-deserved to say the least. But the other two are really jaw-dropping. Mayim Bialik, who will have some knock-out episode submissions got in, as The Big Bang Theory's popularity at the Emmys continues to rise. The last one though, no one saw coming. Merritt Wever of Nurse Jackie was a possibility in its first season, but after two of not being nominated, I don't think anyone though she stood a chance anymore. But by God, Emmy voters finally recognized her talent and she was nominated alongside her co-star Falco. On the male side, anotehr shockeroo happened. The four MF guys got in, alongside newcomer Max Greenfield, which is an awesome nomination. New Girl also got a directing nod, meaning that it could pull a Big Bang Theory, and after another season or two, make it into the top race, as contenders like 30 Rock phase out. But the real shocker for me was Bill Hader. He is one of the funnier guys on SNL, but I just assumed that none of those regular male cast members were ever going to be nominated. I will say though that he did take the place of Nick Offerman, which is frustrating considering how good he is on Parks. With the exception of the Parks & Recreation snubs (I now think that Poehler will never win for this role, and it looks like Dunham or Dreyfuss will win instead), I think this is a great set of nominees that is a nice combination of new shows and talent, and old favorites, and none of nominees, with the exception of Jon Cryer are undeserving of their recognition.
Besides the lack of nods for Appropriate Adult, Page Eight, and Great Expectations, particularly Emily Watson, Bill Nighy, and Rachel Weisz, the rest of these nominations weren't a complete surprise. I hadn't predicted Sherlock to be as big as it was, but I am glad since it was a stellar production. The race was once between Hatfields & McCoys and Game Change (I'm not buying into this Hemingway & Gelhorn hype, just cause it has a lot of nods, once they actually sit down and watch the contenders it won't win). But with 17 nominations, leading the pack including four acting nods, American Horror Story has surprised us all and now could play a huge role beyond Jessica Lange. The only really shocking and undeserved nod was Ashley Judd. I think she could be a great actress with better roles, and Missing ain't one of them, a shocking nod to say the least especially over Oscar winner Weisz and SAG nominee Watson.
Only three big notices. The Voice got in and bumped out the rating juggernaut Idol which is huge for the aging show, and another boost for The Voice as AI's permanent replacement. Also it was great to see Jimmy Kimmel, who announced in his pajamas to finally get a nod. Finally, they found a spot for Betty White despite the Hot in Cleveland snub in Reality Host, but in the process they snubbed the only winner of this category Jeff Probst. This is a shock to say the least, and now opens this race wide open.