Emmys 2013: The Biggest Nomination Snubs, Surprises, and Stories

By Cory Barker

Jul 18, 2013

More than any other major award, the Emmys trick us into thinking that our favorite performers, creatives and shows have a chance to sneak onto the final ballot. With the Oscars, we know the kind of films that are going to get nominated every year. With the Grammys, well, it's the Grammys. Nevermind. Part of this stems from the sheer amount of time we spend with TV shows or characters; we're more invested in them, and thus their success (however ephemeral that may be), and maybe we convince ourselves that TV is more populist than film so our favorites can make some noise. Point is, there seems to be a prevailing thought every spring and summer that if just enough people blog or tweet about this one performer, on this one show, that groundswell will get to Emmy voters. Your Buffys, your John Nobles, your Communitys, what have you. 

But the reality is that the Emmys are just as rigid, if not more rigid, in their processes. At least the film academy attempts to make some generalized "statement" with their nominees each year. With the Emmys, it's mostly the familiar names and faces getting repeated over and over, with the occasional (and fleeting) glimmer of hope. 2013 is really no different. Let's break down some of the bigger snubs, and some of the moderate surprises, in this year's class of nominees.

I Guess The Multiple Clones Thing Split the Vote, Huh?

This is the one that everybody's going to be talking about, if only because Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany was this year's Person the Internet Gets Behind. Buzz had been building for the very-deserving Maslany, including some nominations and wins in other awards races, and there was hope that she'd break through at the Big Show. Alas, no dice. Worst of all is that the Lead Actress in a Drama Series category ballooned to seven nominees and Maslany still couldn't get in. Orphan Black is not the kind of show Emmy voters pay attention to, no matter how much we wish they did. Maslany turned in one of the five best performances on television this year. 

Emmy Voters: Still Mad About the Cold War, Weirdly Hate FX Dramas

I try not to get mad about the Emmys anymore, but the overall snubbing for The Americans, the best new show of the 2012-2013 season, got my blood boiling quickly. In my predictions piece, I noted that the show had only an outside chance to sneak into the series race, but I still expected Keri Russell and/or Noah Emmerich to get nominated (Matthew Rhys deserved it, Lead Actor is just too stacked). And yet, The Americans scored a total of two nominations, including one for Margo Martindale. 

I guess it's not surprising though, considering that Emmy voters seem to, for whatever reason, be less interested in FX dramas than we are. Tim ranted about this last year when Justified and Sons of Anarchy were mostly shut out, and it's the same story this year. Both of those shows went without a single nomination. So if you're scoring at home, Liz and Dick scored as many nominations (admittedly, in so-called minor categories) as those three shows combined. I guess FX has to be happy that American Horror Story: Asylum scored so many nominations, but the lack of love for the network's better shows (and I like AHS) is unsettling. 

Hannibal Goes Hungry

Bryan Fuller's Hannibal surprised many of us by being one of the season's best dramas, but I can't imagine too many people are surprised that the show was unrecognized by the Emmys. I didn't expect much for the show in the big categories, but to be completely shut out, especially in the technical categories, is a bummer. No love in Art Direction, Cinematography, nothing. Some Emmy love would have certainly helped the show in the run up to season two. 

New Girl Disappears 

New Girl scored a few high-profile noms last year with Zooey Deschanel and Max Greenfield and critical acclaim for the show only improved in its second season. Jake Johnson was the star of Season 2 and he made a bold choice by moving into the Lead Actor race and unfortunately, it didn't paid off. But it didn't stop there. Both Deschanel and Greenfield were booted from their spots and New Girl finished with zero nominations. Leave it to the Emmys to stop recognizing a show once it grows into something great. 

The Slew of Depressing—but Predictable—Snubs for Great Individual Performers 

It's nothing new for people like John Noble (Fringe), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter), Emmy Rossum (Shameless) and Gillian Jacobs (Community), who have been doing great, unrecognized work for years now. It's a shame that John Noble never scored a nom for his Fringe work, but we couldn't have guessed that the Academy would acknowledge him now. But this year, folks like Monica Potter (Parenthood) and Michael Cudlitz (Southland) actually gained some steam among critics and other voting committees, again tricking some of us (read: me) into thinking they had a shot to make into the field. They did not. There are so many names I could list that deserved a spot in their respective races, but the space isn't there and voters aren't flexible enough.

Right Show, Wrong Performer

Sometimes, the voters do the right thing by acknowledging a good show, but they pick the wrong castmember to do it. That happened a few times this year. I think it's safe to say that we all love Peter Dinklage and his work on Game of Thrones, but Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was better this season. However, Dinklage is, weirdly, one of the yearly Emmy locks. Also on Thrones, I have no real idea why Emilia Clarke was nominated this year, especially over Michelle Fairley. Dragons are cool, I guess? 

Finally, while the internet's collective love for Dinklage is perhaps only matched by its collective love for Connie Britton, she simply wasn't the real leading lady of Nashville this year: Hayden Panettiere was. I know that Hayden was in Supporting Actress and Connie was in Lead Actress, but it's still worth noting that the former was better than the latter. 

Somebody in the Academy Saw the Turtle

We're still smarting over Enlightened's cancellation, but it was nice to see that Emmy voters gave the show a few pity nominations on the way out. Laura Dern scored a much deserved spot in the competitive Lead Actress in a Comedy race and Molly Shannon grabbed a nomination in the Guest Actress category. Two is certainly better than zero, but I'm greedy and I wish that Mike White would have been celebrated as well, either for his writing or for his performance. 

Netflix Makes A Splash... Sort Of

You're going to read a bunch of stories about Netflix "Changing the game," or "Making waves" in the next few days. And to be fair, the streaming platform scored 14 nominations, which is an impressive number in its first big year of original programming production. The nominations for Kevin Spacey, David Fincher and House of Cards were expected, but will still help Netflix attract new clients (and hopefully for them, subscribers). Yet, Arrested Development, once a substantial Emmy player, only received three nominations and was shut out of the Comedy Series race and 14 total nominations still pales in comparison to HBO (108), Showtime (31), FX (26) and AMC (26). Heck, Lifetime received 12 nominations and Sundance Channel received 10. Don't buy into those EVERYTHING IS CHANGING thinkpieces folks. 

And the Rest:

I mean really, this could go on forever: Zero nominations for Happy EndingsSuburgatoryThe Middle, WilfredParenthoodDexter, SuitsRectifySpartacus, Grey's Anatomy, Person of Interest or The Vampire Diaries. No love for Mad Men's Vincent Kartheiser, Southland's Regina King or House of Cards' Corey Stoll. The Good Wife's Julianna Margulies got knocked out of a race that she won just two years ago. Survivor and Shark Tank left out of the big reality series categories. And so on and so forth. 

Hey, but on the bright side: Louis CK scored six noms for Louie and four for his stand-up specialVeep's Tony Hale it made into the tough Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series race! Kerry Washington! Zachary Quinto! Bobby Cannavale! It's not all bad. I think. Maybe.

What do you think the Emmys got wrong this year? What'd they get right?

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  • AmyTeves Jul 22, 2013

    I think your commentary is spot on. The emmy voters are locked in to the safe choices. While the nominees are deserving individuals who give solid performances, there were many other better performances that have been overlooked and some deserving individuals like John Noble have been overlooked for years. It is also sad that great performances and great shows are overlooked because the themes are objectionable, depicting mental illness, explicit bloodletting, or are too complex for some people to grasp in one sit down. Innovation has been rewarded in the past, but it should be rewarded every year. Unfortunately, I think the emmy voters run into the same rut as the rest of us, they tune in to their favorite shows and never flip the switch to see what else is playing. In this age of DVR's and streaming on demand, it is a shame that more people don't even want to try something different.

  • JoshuaLabron Jul 22, 2013

    I believe Shark Tank was nominated

  • soapieaddict23 Jul 21, 2013

    I agree with pretty much all of this.

  • 2wksnotice Jul 21, 2013

    I read that said BBC America didn't put as much budget into Emmy promotion as other channels, and it likely disadvantaged Tatiana Maslany.

    It sucks that marketing dollars matters so much, but the analysis feels right to me. Especially since Orphan Black is still relatively unknown. When I recommend it to friends who love Emmy-fodder, most have never even heard of it.

  • wudntulik2know Jul 21, 2013

    BBC America is a disgrace to Auntie Beebs. It is chock-a-block with faux reality shows that only the mentally deficient watch, and it does nothing to promote its one good show, Luther, with the very excellent Idris Elba. Didn't see that nominated, did we?

  • joshmarshall5 Jul 20, 2013

    Definitely needed to be some Suits nominations! and The Killing!

  • MisfitChicks Jul 20, 2013

    I've always thought, and even with my love of Netflix I say this, that subscription TV channels should not ever be included in the Emmy's. Keep it to the major networks and if you must, cable. But channels like HBO, Showtime, Stars..etc. Should have a different category or not be counted at all.

  • NeimadParis Jul 21, 2013


  • danny7277 Jul 19, 2013

    Monica potter really deserved an emmy nod she was absolutely terrific on parenthood this past season.

    It also bugs that the middle gets no emmy love it really is one of TV's most underrated shows.

  • c07111 Jul 19, 2013

    Michael Cudlitz not being nominated was a blow. Not often in a television show does a scene stay with me, but the last scene of Cooper is still etched in my head....that's dang good acting. Almost like the scene in The Wire when Russell "Stringer" Bell met his end by Omar. That scene stayed with me. The absence of Justified and SOA is still crazy to me. IMO, Jennifer Carpenter better be nominated next year along with Tatiana Maslany...the emmys just lost loads of creditiability.

  • ambercole3785 Jul 20, 2013

    right... its like I know the Emmys don't really matter and all that, buts its still like, what the fuck. And I don't think Id care too much, (I mean I don't as long as they don't), but still Jennifer Carpenter.... But I do have a question, does the Dexter cast still get considered if the show ends this September.? Ugh, but really who needs their consideration.... I kinda wish the people , the people who KNOW better, could get together and deliver a truckload of awards to their set. I mean realistically speaking and all.

  • YiWernYoong Jul 19, 2013

    agreed for Hayden Panettiere....she deserves it!!! so many nominees for major categories but its all just very boring....still can't believe that Hannibal wasn't recognised for anything :(

  • Iodselle Jul 19, 2013

    And I also may be in the minority here, but I think Peter Dinklage deserved this.. Everybody's saying that Nikolaj Coster Waldau deserved it more, but how can he? He had less than half the screentime of Dinklage and he was only exceptional in 2 episodes, maybe 3. Don't get me wrong, Nikolaj did a fantastic job, he probably won over the majority of the fans this year. But if Nikolaj Coster Waldau deserves it more to be nominated or to win an emmy, than Peter Dinklage probably deserves a statue as big as himself.. If it was up to me, they could have both won, but I definitely don't agree that Nikolaj deserved it more than Dinklage..

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