Emmys 2014 Snubs, Stupidity, and Surprises: Oh, This S#*! Again

By Tim Surette

Jul 10, 2014

Each year when the Emmy nominations are announced, we still manage to bring ourselves to be shocked, outraged, and flabbergasted by them—as if somehow, maybe, the Emmy voters will one day get it right. It's the same process, over and over again: One morning in July, we wake up (way too) early to bang our heads against the wall in disbelief when the names are read. Thus, now that the 2014 Emmy nominees are out, my head is extra sore this morning. 

The Emmy selection process isn't easy. And with so much great television out there there's no such thing as a flawless ballot. But this year's nominations are some of the laziest and most boring selections I've seen in a long time, and that's probably because there's so much exciting television in the world right now. The dusty Emmy voters—and I have no choice but to treat them as a collective, so apologies to those who did vote "correctly"—are notoriously always late to the party, but their transgressions are becoming more and more noticeable with each passing year. They're so short-sighted and robotic with their choices that it's staining the once-prestigious awards beyond repair. In many cases, getting your name on an Emmy nominations ballot is about as significant as being in the phone book.

So now it's time to rage. Hard. Below I've listed my immediate quibbles with this year's nominations, rattling off the snubs and the stupidity. But it's not ALL negative, I've added a section of pleasant surprises in the rare cases that Emmy voters did get it right. 

For your reference: Here is a complete list of the 2014 Emmys nominees.


THE SNUBBERY

No Tatiana Maslany for Orphan Black. I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised about this, given the Emmys' traditional aversion to science-fiction television, relative unknowns, and upstart networks, but I thought that might've changed this year since Maslany has won some of the smaller-circuit awards. That's typically the way it goes: Work your way up through the minors and then get a shot at the big time. But not with the stubborn Emmys. There's no doubt she deserved a nomination, but with bigger, more recognizable names ahead of her, it didn't happen. Up yours, proclone Emmy voters. 

No acting nods for Silicon ValleyRecognition for T.J. Miller and Martin Starr was a longshot, but I was almost certain Christopher Evan Welch would earn a posthumous nomination for his fantastic portrayal of Peter Gregory. Welch passed away late last year from lung cancer, but his performance was award-worthy even before the temptation of a good Emmy story came into play. No Welch makes me want to punch things. And I wouldn't have just voted in Thomas Middleditch for a Lead Actor nomination; I had him winning the damned thing. Instead, Emmy voters recognized the faces of Matt LeBlanc, Ricky Gervais, and Don Cheadle and ticked their boxes, even though none of them deserve to be in this category and that's a fact. At least Silicon Valley got nominated for best comedy, I guess?

No The Good WifeUnbelievable. The CBS drama's fifth season was one of its best, and it got denied in the Outstanding Drama category despite being the kind of show that Emmy voters should drool over. I don't get it. Sorry, Emmy voters, but House of Cards and Downton Abbey aren't that good. 

(Almost) no The AmericansSee: The Good Wife, and then quadruple that. To say that The Americans isn't one of the top six dramas on television now is not only dumb, it's downright unpatriotic, you damn Commie Emmy voters. But it's particularly pathetic that Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell were blanked. Let's quietly shove Jeff Daniels and Michelle Dockery out of the way to make some room, k? And to some extent, the same robbery claims could be applied to Noah Emmerich and Annet Mahendru for a season well acted. I know it's not fair to compare different categories, but even Dog With a Blog got two Emmy nominations (which is more than The Wire ever had, btw). Margo Martindale earning a nod for Guest Actress in a Drama isn't nearly enough. 

No Dean Norris for Under the Dome Breaking BadWith apologies to Aaron Paul, the second-best display of acting skillz in Breaking Bad's final season belonged to Norris. Norris finally received the material he deserved in Season 5B and he absolutely owned it, yet it wasn't good enough to edge him into a category that now includes four return nominees. This may be an unpopular opinion, especially in Kaitlin's house, but Norris should be in there, not Paul. Of all my complaints about this year's nominations, this one is the most painful.

No HannibalI'm not as into the dark NBC drama as others, but a complete shut-out for Hannibal is sad. No, the series probably didn't deserve a spot in the Outstanding Drama or Best Actor categories (I'm just being honest; like I said above, there's a lot of exciting television in the world right now), but it certainly should've been recognized for its technical achievements. Cinematography? Makeup? Outrageous display of food? Something!!! C'mon, Emmy voters.

No Emmy Rossum. Her name is Emmy, for cryin' out loud! And true, Shameless has the problem of being just as much of a drama (if not more of a drama) as it is a comedy, but the same can be said of Orange Is the New Black and its 12 nominations. Rossum belongs in Outstanding Lead Actress more than Melissa McCarthy, Edie Falco, and Lena Dunham. In fact, is anyone sure that Dunham is actually acting? 

No Seacrest. Nooooooooooooooooo! 

No these people and shows: Melissa McBride for The Walking DeadElizabeth Moss for Mad Men, Sarah Baker for Louie, Charles Dance for Game of Thrones, Comedy Central's Broad City and Review, Chris Messina for The Mindy Project, Bellamy Young for Scandal, Hayden Panettiere for NashvilleBoardwalk Empire, Jeffrey Wright for Boardwalk Empire, Wendi McLendon-Covey for The Goldbergs, Taryn Manning for Orange Is the New Black, Vera Farmiga for Bates Motel, Rian Johnson and Michelle McLaren for directing Breaking Bad


THE STUPIDITY

House of Cards received 13 nominations. As I said before, this is not that good of a show. It's not even a good show. It has the appearance of being a good show, but it is not a good show. And it's certainly not good enough of a show to deserve 13 nominations while The Americans gets one (Margo Martindale for Guest Actress in a Drama). This is Exhibit A of Emmy voters seeing recognizable names and immediately reaching for their voting canes.

Stale Downton Abbey received 12 nominations, and past-its-prime Modern Family received 10 nominations. Will someone tell Emmy voters that it's okay to vote for new things? Both these shows have mold on them and have clogged up the Emmys for too long, even into their middling years. 

American Horror Story, miniseries. This bit of stupidity doesn't really have anything to do with today's nominations; it's more that AHS can swallow up awards by being incorrectly submitted as a miniseries, which is a total crock of shit. If almost the entire cast didn't return each season, maybe I could see it being considered a mini, but a change of setting and monsters doesn't mean it's a different series. Quit exploiting the loophole in the Emmys' ancient categorization process, Ryan Murphy!

Anthony Bourdain is nominated for hosting The TasteBourdain's great, but for The Taste and not Parts Unknown? Outstanding Reality Host is the dumbest category of all. 

Sons of Anarchy finally received its Emmy nomination... for Outstanding Original Music? This is actually the second Emmy nomination for the FX series following its 2009 nod for Main Title Music. But really? Outstanding Original Music? Kurt Sutter may finally win that Emmy he's been dying for and it's for writing one of those awful songs.


THE (PLEASANT) SURPRISERY

Cersei Lannister rises. It's about time Emmy voters recognized Lena Headey's work on Game of Thrones. Emilia Clarke has been the go-to choice in previous years, which still boggles me, but this year Headey's sniveling sneer and champion wine-chugging became the Thrones female rep in a very competitive Supporting Actress in a Drama field. 

Let's hear it for the Litchfield ladiesOrange Is the New Black received five acting nominations, including Taylor Schilling for Lead Actress, Kate Mulgrew for Supporting Actress, and Natasha Lyonne, Laverne Cox, and Uzo Aduba for Guest Actress. With so many deserving candidates, there was a chance of cannibalism here, but five is a great number for a series' freshman year. One minor complaint: Taryn Manning wasn't one of those five? I like Natasha Lyonne, but was she better than Manning? Nope. 

Silicon Valley for Best Comedy. Getting into the comedy category in your first year is quite an accomplishment, considering the Emmys' stodgy voters. And now that it's in, it'll be hard to knock out because force of habit is strong with these ones. With the seed planted, Middleditch should find his way into the Lead Actor race next year. 

Allison Tolman. The newcomer Tolman was fantastic in Fargo alongside a cast of huge names, and arguably the best of the bunch. The surprise here is that Emmy voters were willing to choose someone they had never heard of before. And in a category (miniseries) that almost always rewards huge names, seeing Tolman's name next to Julia Roberts', Kathy Bates', and Ellen Burstyn's is great. That in and of itself is cause for celebration. 

Woody Harrelson. Yes, he's a recognizable name, but the chances of him earning a nod were slim with all the attention going to his True Detective co-star Matthew McConaughey. Obviously the winner will be either Bryan Cranston or McConaughey so Harrelson's nomination is mostly moot, but he still deserves his spot on the shortlist. 

Fred Armisen for PortlandiaWow. Just wow! Even though he had to submit as a supporting actor on a show where he plays 90 percent of the characters. 

Kristen Wiig for The Spoils of BabylonShe was amazing in Spoils. I wanted her to sneak into the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy category for this role, but never dreamed it would actually happen. And it didn't, because she didn't submit in that category, but she somehow snagged a nomination for Lead Actress in a Miniseries despite being a supporting actress. And since when did Emmy voters even know that networks like IFC and SundanceTV exist?  


What did you think were the biggest snubs, stupidity, and surprises? 


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  • SullenWhirlGirl Jul 23, 2014

    The Good Wife, WTF?! I was looking at E! Online's Emmy Nominations slideshow, and Josh Charles went by for Outstanding Supporting Actor, and I started to tear up. So yeah, The Good Wife, seriously?! It still hurts... :(

  • tigger_bounch Jul 21, 2014

    like House would say, "you can't always gets what you wanted"

  • erin12312 Jul 18, 2014

    Hey now Downton abbey isn't stale, they're filming the new series now, it comes out once a year for only 10 episodes. And Modern Family is brilliant, but the Emmy's are not worth watching, it only makes everyone watching it angry

  • wudntulik2know Jul 22, 2014

    Modern Family is brilliant

    Which Modern Family is that????????

  • SullenWhirlGirl Jul 23, 2014

    ^lol^ I stopped watching that show after season 3 I think... It feels like it's been on for decades...

  • zap_niles Jul 15, 2014

    Truth be told, I stopped watching the Emmys (or caring about them) decades ago. Why? Because they're a joke, especially with about a zillion TV channels and a b'zillion TV shows per year to chose from in order to see anything "Emmy worthy." The majority of viewers have never even heard of half the shows nominated, let alone watched more than one or two of them simply since there are so many things to watch every single day of every single year. It was hard enough for viewers to know all of the nominated shows when the Emmy's catered only to the 3 major networks (and then, Frasier would be nominated like clockwork each year, and probably several years after it even aired), but with hundreds of cable channels being added to the mix? Forget it. It was bad enough that all of the nominations started going to shows on the subscription channels like HBO, but now (with rare exceptions) all of them are going to shows on channels that millions of the population don't receive or can't afford to subscribe to. As I said, it's a joke....trying to fit 1000 pounds of baloney into a 10 pound bag.

  • tnetennba Jul 20, 2014

    I think you will find that a lot of people here have watched 4-6 of the 6 nominees in each of the major categories. But I wonder if the actual Emmy voters have done that. If they had, I think Tatiana Maslany and Keri Russell would have been nominated.

    That the nominations are going to cable shows isn't a bad thing. The cable networks are making better TV than the traditional networks.

  • osdawaya16 Jul 14, 2014

    I actually really like House of Cards (which is shocking because I loathe politics and all things political).

  • DesertWolf Jul 21, 2014

    House of Cards one of the best political show i ever watched, i do loathe politics, that is why i watch this show, it deserves to be nominated...

  • ktfahel Jul 14, 2014

    I don't understand the Emmy love for "American Horror Story". It's really not that good. I gave it a fair shot, and it failed. Even the appearance of my all-time favorite singer - Stevie Nicks - couldn't save it. Also, while I don't like the show "Revenge", Emily VanCamp is long-past deserving of SOMETHING! "My Little Ponies" also deserves a nod in the Animated category...and don't even get me started on the woeful lack of "The Walking Dead"...not even in the makeup or special effects categories???

  • hegealgardsta Jul 14, 2014

    Justified, Tomothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins should've been nominated. Great show, fantastic cast. Also Hannibal gor snubbed.

  • johnmckenzie338658 Jul 14, 2014

    This is what the Emmy Best Actress nominated list SHOULD have looked like.


  • Synetech Jul 15, 2014

    Why? Her horrible, distracting accents? Or is it that merely playing more than one role automatically qualifies for awards for some reason? ◔_◔

  • qpsmommo Jul 13, 2014

    Whew..Tatiana and Rossum deserved a a nom as did Shameless.. This was the best season yet and every "child" in that family was outstanding.. SHAMEFUL!
    I hope Eva Green gets a nom next year..I don't get it ..why wasn't she eligible...timing? Her performance was frightening.

  • lauren57 Jul 13, 2014

    Wow Tim, great article. As an absolute television fanatic, my family and friends anticipate the annual Emmy rant, rolling their eyes at what they assume to be my "TV snobbery." Each year I (usually unsuccessfully) attempt to explain why it's not just me, and that the Emmys actually dish out some of the greatest injustices in the entertainment industry. This year is certainly no exception, and in fact, it feels worse than ever before.

    Perhaps it's because this pattern of predictably mediocre voting has no end in sight, or perhaps because television audiences are getting smarter and smarter. It's no longer the 1950's when the vast majority of the television audience watches only small handful of shows, and the Emmy voters seem unable to cope with an increasingly diverse audience that has access to a large pool of smart, quality, and equally diverse shows.

    The snubs this year were unbearable. In a long, long laundry list of injustices I would definitely place Tatiana Maslany and Orphan Black at the very top. Tatiana is undoubtedly one of the most dynamic current actors, and the fact that the Emmy voters do not recognize the truly incredible work she does on that show is nothing short of disgusting. Disgusting. I wouldn't mind seeing a nod for the wonderful Jordan Gavaris either. The reason this is such a big deal is because Orphan Black is just one example of the (many!) smart shows out there that take advantage of an intelligent TV audience willing to take risks in order to transcend niches and genres, and instead fall under the genre of great television.

    I'm not going to name names and say anyone is not deserving of their spot, because everyone is there for a reason. That being said, you summed up the nominations perfectly in one word: LAZY. Lazy, lazy, lazy. Bottom line, I would dare to say the day has come when the viewing intelligence of the audience has surpassed that of that Emmy voter.

  • wudntulik2know Jul 14, 2014

    Excellent post.

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