Once again, the folks in charge of the Emmys have provided their usual mixed bag of nominations for the best of the preceding year’s television. As usual, they got a lot right, quite a bit wrong along with a few things that were questionable but, in the end, acceptable. The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards will air on ABC, on Sunday, September 23rd, 2012 at 7/6C.
Follow the jump for a list of the major nominations – and a few bits of commentary.
Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Curb Your Enthusiasm
While Community isn’t my favorite sitcom, it’s certainly a better show than the past-its-due-date Curb Your Enthusiasm and 30 Rock. And for Louie, the best comedy on television, to not make the list – while its creator-writer-producer-star (and sometimes editor) Louis CK gets nominated – simply makes no sense at all.
Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
Lena Dunham, Girls
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks And Recreation
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Once again, Edie Falco does not belong on this list. The show may be about her character, but she’s not the source of the humor – she’s the catalyst for it. She’s basically the straight man, even though the comedy that occasionally swirls around her comes from everyone else. Her slot should have been taken by Laura Linney of The Big C – she’s actually both the series lead and funny as hell.
Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Don Cheadle, House Of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Jon Cryer, Two And A Half Men
Larry David? Really? His act is as tired as his series! Ditto Jon Cryer (though his series isn’t just tired, it’s comatose!). Community’s Joel McHale should be here – as should one of the Wilfred guys, Elijah wood or Jason Gann.
On the plus side, Alec Baldwin is the best thing about the rapidly fading 30 Rock and it’s great to see two of the best comedy leads of the season – Louis CK and Don Cheadle – get nominations.
Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Overall, a pretty good group of choices – but, as uneven (read awful) as Glee was this season, Jane Lynch was still brilliant. The problem would be who to delete from the list in order to fit her in? I’d go with Wever, whose work never quite reaches the levels of insanity that Lynch’s does.
Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Max Greenfield, New Girl
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Delete Bill Hader; add Tony Hale from Veep. Seriously.
Guest Actress In A Comedy Series
Dot-Marie Jones, Glee
Maya Rudolph, Saturday Night Live
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Elizabeth Banks, 30 Rock
Margaret Cho, 30 Rock
Kathy Bates, Two And A Half Men
Delete Dot-Marie Jones; add Mary Steenburgen for her hysterical turn as Elijah Wood’s mom on Wilfred.
Guest Actor In A Comedy Series
Michael J. Fox, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Greg Kinnear, Modern Family
Bobby Cannavale, Nurse Jackie
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
Will Arnett, 30 Rock
Jon Hamm, 30 Rock
Oddly enough, I have no problem with this group.
Outstanding Drama Series
Game Of Thrones
I may in the minority, but I found Boardwalk Empire just too boring last season, for all its blood and gamesmanship. It could have been replaced by The good wife and made this category just a hair tougher.
Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Glenn Close, Damages
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
Claire Danes, Homeland
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Harry’ Law was an awful show and Kathy Bates was never good enough in it to convince me otherwise. Her spot here should have been taken by Kyra Sedgwick, who continues to make a slightly above average procedural riveting stuff sheer the sheer force of will that is Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson. Failing that, surely the amazing work of Mireille Enos, in another slightly above average series, The Killing, would have been a much better fit.
Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Bonneville’s spot could have been taken by any of the following – Kelsey Grammer (Boss), Dustin Hoffman (Luck), Hugh Laurie (House) or Timothy Olyphant (Justified) and this would have been a better list.
Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Whoa! Anna Gunn! I did not see that one coming! Go the Academy! That almost makes up for ignoring the fine work of Morena Baccarin (Homeland) or Rose Byrne (Damages). Who would they replace? Tough call, but I’d say either of them would be a better choice than Joanne Froggatt . After that, it gets dicey…
Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game Of Thrones
Jared Harris, Mad Men
Good list. Nice list.
Where are Mandy Patinkin and John Noble? Their work – on Homeland and Fringe, respectively – is eons better than either of the chaps from Downton Abbey!
For Noble, especially, this is a travesty. Not only has given Walter Bishop a kind of wounded nobility in his search for redemption, he’s played at least four variations on the extraordinarily complex character – all subtly, but distinctly different. His work has been Emmy-worthy for four seasons – not nomination-worthy, but Emmy-worthy! The Academy really needs to pull its figurative head out of its metaphorical backside and include him next year!
Guest Actress In A Drama Series
Martha Plimpton, The Good Wife
Loretta Devine, Grey’s Anatomy
Jean Smart, Harry’s Law
Julia Ormond, Mad Men
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Uma Thurman, Smash
Huh! I’d have thought that the Academy would’ve gone with Bernadette Peters over Uma Thurman for Smash. Go figure. And I don’t see Louise Fletcher here for her work on Shameless, either. Either could have taken Jean Smart’s slot and it would have been okay by me.
Guest Actor In A Drama Series
Mark Margolis, Breaking Bad
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Jeremy Davies, Justified
Ben Feldman, Mad Men
Jason Ritter, Parenthood
Okay. Jere Burns over Jeremy Davies for Justified? Sorry, I don’t see it. Burns’ weasely Wynn Duffy is a much more complex character than Davies’ good ole boy, Dickie Bennett, and Burns was flawless in the role.
Miniseries or Movie
American Horror Story
Hatfields & McCoys
Hemingway & Gellhorn
Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia
Not a lot of choices available for this slot (which has been deleted from next year on anyway), but still, Hatfields & McCoys over Appropriate Adult; Hemingway & Gellhorn over The Hour? In what reality does that make sense?
Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Connie Britton, American Horror Story
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Ashley Judd, Missing
Emma Thompson, The Song Of Lunch
I’d probably choose Emily Watson (Appropriate Adult), Rachel Weiss (Page Right) or romola Garai (The Hour) over Nicole Kidman and Ashley Judd.
Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Woody Harrelson, Game Change
Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Bill Paxton, Hatfields & McCoys
Clive Owen, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Idris Elba, Luther
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia
This selection might be made better by including Bill Nighy (Page Eight) over Clive Owen, whose Hemingway was far too petulant.
Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or A Movie
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Sarah Paulson, Game Change
Mare Winningham, Hatfields & McCoys
Judy Davis, Page Eight
Very good choices here – though I would not have been disappointed to see Laura Pulver (Sherlock) take one of the slots.
Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story
Ed Harris, Game Change
Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys
David Strathairn, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Martin Freeman, Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia
If you have to go with someone from Hatfields & McCoys, shouldn’t it really be Powers Boothe? And while David Stratharin is never less than excellent, Ralph Fiennes would have been a better selection for his work in Page Eight.
The Amazing Race
Dancing With The Stars
So You Think You Can Dance
What? No American Idol? Isn’t that one of the signs of the apocalypse? I don’t generally watch reality TV, but seriously?
Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Betty White, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
Frankly, just once, I’d love to see Real time with Bill Maher win. The guy has more Emmy losses than Susan Lucci!