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.
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 Valley. Recognition 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 Wife. Unbelievable. 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 Americans. See: 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 Bad. With 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 Hannibal. I'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 Dead, Elizabeth 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 Nashville, Boardwalk 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
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 Taste. Bourdain'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 ladies. Orange 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 Portlandia. Wow. 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 Babylon. She 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?