The deadline for Academy of Television Arts & Sciences members to turn in their nomination ballots for this year's Emmys is today at 5pm PST (the nominations themselves will be announced on July 19). Assuming some voters are waiting until the last possible minute to cast their votes and because I am such an influential presence on the decision-making of the industry’s most powerful people, I thought I'd make a few last-ditch appeals for some very worthy folks.
This list is dedicated to those non-frontrunners who are very deserving of a nomination; you won’t find the likes of Cranston, Hamm, Margulies, Fey, or Modern Family 'round these parts. Those regulars are certainly commendable in their own right, but there’s no need to vouch for people who are almost certainly going to be nominated anyway. Instead, let's hope the Emmy voters give some real, actual consideration to the following 10 actors and shows.
At this point, John Noble’s lack of a nomination for his superb, multi-layered (and multi-character) performance on Fringe is a sick joke. However, that will not stop me from continuing to beat the drum. The series' fourth season had its issues, but Noble brought a stabilizing presence to the proceedings. The subtleties in his work made the slight differences in the “new” version of Walter powerful and purposeful.
In its third season, Community got darker and more psychologically complex, resulting in some murky territory for Danny Pudi’s Abed. Unsurprisingly, though, the actor was up to the challenge, turning in his finest work to date in episodes like “Virtual Systems Analysis,” “Curriculum Unavailable,” and “Introduction to Finality.”
Anyone working on a MTV show is never going to be nominated for an Emmy, at least during the current era of voting. In the case of Ashley Rickards, that is simply too bad. In Awkward.’s first season, Rickards managed to be constantly funny (thanks to a willingness to commit to any gag) while still carrying the emotional parts of her Jenna Hamilton. I think Awkward. is a fine show, but it wouldn’t be anywhere as close to as good as it is without Rickards.
Southland's move to TNT has been a major blessing for the show. Lower ratings expectations, looser violence and language restrictions, and shorter, tighter episode orders have all kept Southland on the air and made the show better. Unfortunately, the one curse of being a fairly low-rated show on basic cable is that there isn’t much buzz come Emmy time (something a network like NBC could've maybe pushed harder for). In any event, Southland continues to be one of the best shows on all of television thanks to its tremendous cast and day-in-the-life narrative style that creates real stakes without stepping outside the show’s realistic grounds.
Showtime’s Shameless is an odd show that I find really compelling and moving most weeks and frustratingly wacky other weeks, but Emmy Rossum’s performance at the center of it all is something to marvel at. In Season 2, Rossum’s Fiona was every bit of a disaster as most of the family members and friends she was trying to take care of, giving Rossum even more of an opportunity to prove she is a supreme talent.
It truly makes me angry that Awake cannot enter the Miniseries/TV movie category, because there, Jason Isaacs would have a much better shot at being nominated for his work on the low-rated NBC drama. Stuck where he is, there is absolutely no way Isaacs will get a nod, even though if voters watched the Awake pilot, they might have trouble picking against him. Isaacs grounded the show’s fairly intricate premise with substantial pathos and grit, and he handled the procedural stories just as well as he did the more challenging character- and overarching-plot-based sequences.
This one is something of a cheat considering Sarah Rafferty’s Donna serves almost entirely as a sarcastic comedic foil. Hers is not a showy dramatic performance whatsoever. But you know what? I do not care. I adore Donna and I think Rafferty does a wonderful job of making the character playfully mouthy and keeping a certain modicum of warmth to the character. She is the most entertaining part of a very entertaining show.
Let’s be honest: Everyone in the Parks and Recreation cast could stake a claim for nomination in their respective categories. For whatever reason, Amy Poehler is the only performer who's broken through thus far. This season, Adam Scott was a true leading man. He continued to do great work as one of the few straight men to a town full of kooks, was often quite funny on his own (Low-Cal Calzones!) and handled himself quite well as a romantic lead.
At the beginning of Suburgatory’s run, I thought Lisa Shay was clearly slated to be That Annoying Friend. Yet, Allie Grant and the show’s writing staff did such an excellent job calibrating the character to Grant’s talents that by the end of the season, Lisa was one of my favorite characters on any sitcom. She is still peculiar, but in a very particular way that is more endearing than annoying. Grant’s chemistry with Maestro Harrell (Malik) created a number of awkwardly entertaining sequences in the back half of Suburgatory’s first season.
This is a big year for the Outstanding Comedy Series race. Modern Family, 30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory are locks and Parks and Recreation feels like one as well. The remaining two spots could go to any number of shows, from last year’s unfortunate nominees Glee and The Office (surely the Emmy voters are smarter than this, right?) to buzzy new shows like New Girl, Veep, Suburgatory, 2 Broke Girls, Girls, and Enlightened to critical darlings like Louie, Archer, and Community.
Nevertheless, if I had a vote, I’d throw my support behind ABC’s Happy Endings. The sitcom had a glorious second season that was both regularly hilarious and moving in off-kilter, weird ways. The writing was super-sharp in year two and the performances have always been there, and I wish that was enough for voters.
What do you think? Who would you vote for, if given the chance?