The Snubs, Stars and Surprises Of This Year’s Emmy Nominations

The 63rd annual Emmy nominations were announced today and boy is it a delightful smorgasbord of Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men and Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire. Just joking. Save double digit hauls from shows run by former Sopranos scribes (Boardwalk’s Terence Winter and Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner) there were pleasant surprises throughout. Unpleasant ones too. Like for every relevant/deserved inclusion (Yay Louie!) there was an omission (Where’s Nick Offerman?) that made us regret living in a world where Glee is considered a comedy. All in all though, good job Emmy voters. HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce led all contenders with 21 nods (including one for Guy Pearce), followed by Mad Men (19), Boardwalk Empire (18) and Modern Family (17). Some thoughts below..

BIGGEST LOCK: Seeing as Bryan Cranston is ineligible for an Emmys four-peat we’ll go with Martin Scorsese for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series (Boardwalk Empire) or Matthew Weiner for Outstanding Writing in A Drama Series (Mad Men). Marty wins because voters love lavishly realized period dramas with breasts, booze and bullets but also because his name is Martin Scorsese and the episode he helmed ranks as the most expensive pilot in television history. We can see the Emmy boner from here. Weiner wins for what some consider Mad Men’s best episode ever, “The Suitcase”, a masterfully paced bottle ep which turns mutual respect between co-workers into the most riveting relationship on television. How do they do it? It’s showiness could land Moss and Hamm in the winner’s circle but it’s the quiet moments that resonate most. After a death, a breakup, a fight and a breakdown (in that order) it ends with a payoff as nuanced and as simple as a touch on the hand (which calls back to season one no less!). Masterful. Extra points for a hilarious bit involving Roger Sterling’s dictaphone and a scene in which Duck tries to defecate on Don’s chair. Hard to see either of these guys losing.

MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE: We’re glad Parks and Rec nabbed a Best Comedy spot but we’re even happier for comedy auteur and Oz bound Renaissance Man, Louis C.K.. Proof that when you treat your world (and your own ennui) with wonder and insight and sensitivity you can be anything you want – a comedian, an actor, or the writer, director and star of the most original and fiercely personal show on television. Who reaches for profundity and inappropriate fart gags in the same episode? C.K. deserves everything he gets.

GLARING OMISSIONS: The only way to explain Community’s Best Comedy snub is to think about all the ways in which there is no way to explain Community’s Best Comedy snub. It doesn’t make sense. The category is Outstanding Comedy Series. Glee isn’t a comedy and the most outstanding thing about The Big Bang Theory is maybe its ratings? Community is both. More damningly Community drew no writing nods which is kind of insane since it’s the most tightly written and ambitious comedy on television. Even worse? Half a dozen Modern Family actors (literally every adult on that show) received nods while Danny Pudie, Ken Jeong and the best ensemble cast in comedy got nada. Which brings us to our next point…

NO, NO, NO New Emmy rules: If you can’t count Modern Family’s acting noms on one hand, chop off that hand immediately then high five yourself for not being OK with every actor on that show potentially winning an Emmy. A special mention to The Killing’s Michelle Forbes for depicting grief with so much one-note hysteria we struggled to sympathize with the mother of a murder victim. Yikes.

Winners will be announced Sunday, September 18th. Nominees are as follows…

Outstanding Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire
Friday Night Lights
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
Mad Men

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
The Office
Parks & Recreation
30 Rock

Lead Actor, Drama
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
John Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Timothy Olyphant, Justified

Lead Actress, Drama
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Julianna Marguiles, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Supporting Actress, Drama
Kelly McDonald, Boardwalk Empire
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Michelle Forbes, The Killing
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Margo Martindale, Justified
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

Supporting Actor, Drama
John Slattery, Mad Men
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
Walton Goggins, Justified
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife

Lead Actress, Comedy
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Laura Linney, The Big C
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation

Lead Actor, Comedy
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Louis CK, Louie
Steve Carell, The Office
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Jane Lynch, Glee
Betty White, Hot in Cleveland
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

Supporting Actor, Comedy
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Chris Colfer, Glee
Jon Cryer, Two And A Half Men
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

Outsanding Reality Competition Program
So You Think You Can Dance
The Amazing Race
Project Runway
American Idol
Dancing With the Stars
Top Chef

Host for a Reality or Reality Competition Program
Jeff Probst, Survivor
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol

Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
The Colbert Report
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Saturday Night Live
Real Time with Bill Maher
The Daily Show

Outstanding Mini-series or Movie
Mildred Pierce
Downton Abbey
The Kennedys
Cinema Verite
Too Big to Fail
The Pillars of the Earth

Lead Actress, Mini-series or Movie
Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey
Diane Lane, Cinema Verite
Taraji P. Henson, Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story
Jean Marsh, Upstairs Downstairs

Lead Actor, Mini-series or Movie
Greg Kinnear, The Kennedys
Barry Pepper, The Kennedys
Edgar Ramirez, Carlos
William Hurt, Too Big To Fail
Idris Elba, Luther
Laurence Fishburne, Thurgood

Supporting Actor, Mini-series or Movie
Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce
Bryan F. O’Byrne, Mildred Pierce
Tom Wilkinson, The Kennedys
Paul Giamatti, Too Big to Fail
James Woods, Too Big to Fail

Supporting Actress, Mini-series or Movie
Evan Rachel Wood, Mildred Pierce
Melissa Leo, Mildred Pierce
Mare Winningham, Mildred Pierce
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Eileen Atkins, Upstairs Downstairs

Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series
Episodes, “Episode 107”
Louie, “Poker/Divorce”
Modern Family, “Caught in the Act”
The Office, “Good-bye Michael”
30 Rock, “Reaganing”

Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
Friday Night Lights, “Always”
Game of Thrones, “Baelor”
The Killing, “Pilot”
Mad Men, “The Suitcase”
Mad Men, “Blowing Smoke”

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
Modern Family, “Halloween”
Modern Family, “Slow Down Your Neighbors”
30 Rock, “Live Show”
Modern Family, “See You Next Fall”
How I Met Your Mother, “Subway Wars”

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire, “Pilot”
Boardwalk Empire, “Anastasia”
The Borgias, “The Poisoned Chalice/The Assassin”
The Killing, “Pilot”
Game of Thrones, “Winter Is Coming (Pilot)”