So here are my reactions:
Where the heck is Empire? I am not going to claim racism, because this is a record year for black actors at the Emmys, including a ton of great surprises. This is not about race, this is about the snobby voters. They have never been too kind to primetime soap operas, and now with so many different options for their series predictions, they don't even have to nominate them any more. That leaves though an interesting race brewing. House of Cards missed out on writing and directing, Downton and Orange is the New Black under-performed, and Homeland and Better Call Saul should be happy to be there. This is between Game of Thrones which jumped, in its fifth season, from 19 to 24 nominations, beating every show in the total number by a long shot. There is a lot of love and nostalgia for Mad Men, who rebounded nicely, but there is a momentum for Game of Thrones that is hard to deny. Best Actor saw a big surprise nod with Liev Schreiber, but almost everyone else was expected. I had switched out Kyle Chandler for Clive Owen because I had not seen a lot of buzz for Bloodline, and I definitely regret it because he is clearly still a favorite among these voters. It is Drama Actress that had the big surprise of the morning. Elisabeth Moss got back in, Julianna Margulies was left out, although that wasn't as shocking as the nod for Tatiana Maslany. Fanboys around the work are rejoicing. It is just interesting that they finally nominate her, for a truly bad season of a the show. I am happy though to see some shakeup, and I love the dueling nods for Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis. I think Davis is the front runner, but Henson and Robin Wright should not be discounted. No love for Farmiga, Wilson (The Affair in general), and Taylor Schilling, as we see Orange is the New Black really diminish in its jump from Comedy to Drama (despite a series nomination). The Supporting races were full of surprises. The biggest is Maggie Smith. How did she miss out? And yet, Joanne Froggatt gets in? Then Game of Thrones gets both of their actresses in, and Lorraine Touissant somehow is not nominated. I actually moved her out for Froggatt on Tuesday, but secretly hoped that voters would recognize her brilliance this season. They did not, but without Smith, this race is wide open and incredibly interesting to watch. For the record, watch out for Baranski, a beloved veteran with an awesome season under her belt. Supporting Actor provided more surprises with Jon Voight being left off, despite a Liev Schreiber nomination. Alan Cumming got in for the first time since 2011, Michael Kelly and Ben Mendelsohn got in, yet Mandy Patinkin was left off despite Homeland getting back into Drama Series (mostly thanks to his a. esome performance this season). But with the Emmys there are always surprises. The Guest categories are a mess for both Drama and Comedy, especially with the rule changes. More on those later, although the fact that so few Good Wife guys got in, was shocking, and unfortunately telling about the shows diminishing Emmy chances.
This is the category that has the most shakeup. Modern Family is diminished to the point that, despite by better nature, I think it is finally going to be beaten. It has no directing or writing nomination, Jesse Tyler Ferguson was left off, as was Nathan Lane, leaving only Bowen, Burrell, and Banks (the three B's if you will) left in the acting categories. That leaves room for someone to take its place. I think this is a two way race between Transparent and Veep. I think Veep leads this, because it is actually a comedy, unlike Transparent, but they clearly loved that show, and watched its first season, and Veep's overall season was its weakest yet. It will be an interesting race to watch. Best Actor had seven nominees, and yet still kept that space-filling duo of LeBlanc and Cheadle, while leaving off Parsons, and the series missed out as well. It is an aging show, and the Emmys have clearly moved on (despite nods for Bialik and Baranski). But the inclusions of newcomers Tambor, Forte, and particularly Anthony Anderson were welcomed, and those are the three, I think, that are leading this race, based on their potential episode submissions. Best Actress left off Jane Fonda, but included Lily Tomlin, which means voters watched Grace and Frankie (and overall were not impressed). Instead they included Lisa Kudrow, who after a decade, proves to still be an Emmy favorite. But I think this race is between the queen Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the under-rewarded Amy Poehler (yay for Parks & Rec getting back into Comedy Series!!!), and the upstart Amy Schumer, who feels like she could be this year's Melissa McCarthy thanks to her sudden rise, and her new hit movie Trainwreck. I hate that Ellie Kemper and Gina Rodriguez were left off, but next year there will be three new slots (Poehler, Falco, and Kudrow), so there is still hope for them. The Supporting categories are truly telling. Adam Driver got in again, despite a lot of folks betting against him. His movie career must be really working for him. And a variety performer once again got in, but it was not Fred Armisen, as I had predicted. But Keegan-Michael Key. The show also got a writing nomination, so it , like Inside Amy Schumer, is clearly on the rise with Emmy voters. Then we get to Supporting Actress. I would not have thought that this would be the biggest tie of the nominations, but with eight nominations, this is clearly the most difficult category for voters. You have your expected nominees like Bialik, Chlumsky, Janney, McKinnon, and even Krakowski. But then Gaby Hoffman, who actually got two nods, gets in over the legend Judith Light. Now of the supporting cast, she was the best, but still a surprise. Another proof that they voters loved this show, and actually watched it. Then there is the Niecy Nash nomination. I love Getting On, and am glad to see the cast represented, although I am surprised Nash got in over Borstein. But this a great nod for a veteran actress, who has been dolling out great work for decades now. She probably won't win, but I'm glad to see the Emmy voters are paying attention to shows across the board, no matter how small.
American Crime showed some muscle up against favorites Olive Kitteridge and AHS: Freak Show, making it an interesting three-way race. But how in the hell did Hello Ladies (a good show), and Grace of Monaco (a terrible movie), get in over other contenders? I have no idea, and since Bessie is going to easily win that category, I am not going to fret over it. I actually loved a lot of these nominees, especially the Bessie actors, Finn Wittrock, and that entire Supporting Actress category, which might end up being one of the most difficult to predict. I am shocked at the Janet McTeer and Stephen Rea snubs, apparently The Honorable Woman wasn't as strong as we all thought, and still can't fathom how Grace of Monaco got in, but Nicole Kidman, the best part about that horrible production, didn't? Oh, and don't forget the exclusion of Michael Chiklis, an Emmy favorite. That felt bizarre to say the least.
There will be more on these categories, a ton of predictions, and a gut-reaction winner predictions list on your way. Stay Tuned!!!