The Emmy awards are out. Some surprises, but often too few surprises--we're seeing the same tired picks, many of which were questionable to begin with. Here are the major categories with my comments after:
"The Big Bang Theory"
"Orange Is the New Black"
Some familiar names--Big Bang, Louie, Modern Family, Veep--and some newer stuff. I'l glad Silicon Valley made it, even if it isn't as great as I wish it would be. I don't watch Orange.
Modern Family is like Mad Men a couple years ago--it's won four years straight. Maybe it's time for some show to take it down, but I don't know which would do it. Veep had its best year ever, but I'm not sure if that's good enough. Louie got deeper, and worse, I think, so I hope it doesn't win.
No Girls. Good call. I don't see why it was ever nominated. No Community. As always, alas. No Parks And Recreation, which is sort of surprising. The biggest surprise is Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the best new sitcom, didn't make it.
Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham, "Girls"
Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"
Julia Louis Dreyfus, "Veep"
Melissa McCarthy, "Mike & Molly"
Amy Poehler, "Parks & Recreation"
Taylor Schilling, "Orange Is the New Black"
Lots of nominations for Orange. Not being a viewer, I don't know if it's because it's that good or that there's a lack of competition in women's categories.
Not the most inspiring crowd here. Only Dreyfus and Poehler really deliver the comedic goods, and even then they're not the highlights of their shows. I'm not sure who else they could pick, though some have suggested Anna Faris for Mom, which I rarely watch. And how about Patricia Heaton for the always overlooked The Middle?
Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"
Ricky Gervais, "Derek"
Matt LeBlanc, "Episodes"
Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"
Louis C.K., "Louie"
William H. Macy, "Shameless"
Jim Parsons was certain (while co-star Johnny Galecki, and we can see, was not), but the rest I wonder about. I like Louis, though I didn't think he was in top form this season. LeBlanc's also good, though I'm surprised anyone's paying attention to his show. Don Cheadle is a charming actor but he's in a horrible show. Don't really get Shameless. And I don't watch Derek, though what little I've seen makes me wonder if Gervais is an Academy favorite.
I'm surprised Andy Samberg didn't make it, but apparently the industry doesn't like Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Supporting Actor, Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, "Brookiyn Nine-Nine"
Adam Driver, "Girls"
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, "Modern Family"
Ty Burrell, "Modern Family"
Fred Armisen, "Portlandia"
Tony Hale, "Veep"
Generally the best category, but I don't understand why so many names don't make it. Braugher's good on his show, but he doesn't stand out to me (though his part is written that way)--part of his nod may be the TV community's recognition of his career. Speaking of Community, as usual, nothing. Adam Driver is the most memorable character on Girls, but I don't know if it deserves anything. Only two Modern Family nominations, instead of the normal three or four--clearly a show on the way down. Especially surprised there's no Eric Stonestreet, who's already won twice. I've never thought much of Portlandia, but regardless, is Armisen a supporting actor?
Other names passed up? Where's Simon Helberg of Big Bang Theory? Where's Nick Offerman of Parks And Recreation? Where T. J. Miller of Silicon Valley?
Supporting Actress, Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, "The Big Bang Theory"
Julie Bowen, "Modern Family"
Allison Janney, "Mom"
Kate Mulgrew, "Orange Is the New Black"
Kate McKinnon, "Saturday Night Live"
Anna Chlumsky, "Veep"
So they love Mayim, but not Kaley. They love Julie but not Sofia. Oh well, that's show biz.
It's always odd here when an SNL cast member gets nominated--you're comparing someone who played one character to someone who played 50.
Allison Janney got two nominations this year. I think she's great, but I'm not sure she deserved either.
"Game of Thrones"
"House of Cards"
We are living in a golden age of TV drama, as we can see by the excellent shows here. I haven't seen House Of Cards (don't get any streaming shows yet) but four of the rest are great. The only one I question is Downton Abbey--I think the nomination may be a reflex by now, but I think the show has gotten weaker each season.
Not too long ago Mad Men was the show to beat, but I'm almost surprised now it's still getting nominated. Some question the omission of The Good Wife, The Americans, Homeland and even Boardwalk Empire, Masters Of Sex and The Walking Dead. I don't watch Wife or Americans, but, though I like Homeland, it's not better than the good shows nominated. There was a lot of money spent on Boardwalk Empire, but overall it was a big nothing, so goodbye. Masters Of Sex has possibilities, but isn't there yet. I don't watch Walking Dead.
The real question mark is True Detective. It was expected to put itself up for miniseries, where it would probably win, but it decided to go into the much tougher category of drama. If it wins, good call, but if it loses, they only have themselves to blame. The show blew everyone away up till the end, when some found the finale wanting.
Best Actress in a Drama Series
Lizzy Caplan, "Masters of Sex"
Claire Danes, "Homeland"
Michelle Dockery, "Downton Abbey"
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
Kerry Washington, "Scandal"
Robin Wright, "House of Cards"
Love to see LIzzy, even if she's not well-served by her show. And even if Homeland didn't have a great year, Claire Danes is still amazing Why give a nod to Michelle Dockery--she's not really the lead, and she doesn't particularly stand out?
Some have noted no Elisabeth Moss, but were we really expecting it? Some have noted no Keri Russell. Many have noted no Tatiana Maslany, but I don't watch Orphan Black so I can't say..
Best Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"
Jeff Daniels, "The Newsroom"
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"
Woody Harrelson, "True Detective"
Matthew McConaughey, "True Detective"
Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards"
Lots of snubs, except there's only so much room. Bryan Cranston always gets nominated (and usually wins). Jon Hamm always gets nominated (and never wins--let's throw the guy a bone). Everyone knew McConaughey would make it--I'd say he's the favorite here--but not everyone was expecting co-star Woody. But what's Jeff Daniels doing here--he gives a game performance, but the show is awful.
Who's not here? Damien Lewis, who shouldn't ever have been nominated but won for Homeland. No Steve Buscemi--another wise omission. No Liev Schrieber--fine by me. No James Spader--don't really watch his hit show, but he's always fun, at least. No Michael Sheen--a bit of a surprise, since he's the best thing on Masters Of Sex. Some thing Matthew Rhys of The Americans should be here, but I don't watch the show.
Supporting Actor, Drama Series
Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad"
Jim Carter, "Downton Abbey"
Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"
Josh Charles, "The Good Wife"
Mandy Patinkin, "Homeland"
Jon Voight, "Ray Donovan"
Aaron Paul's became a regular, He may win yet again. Jim Carter's okay, but aren't we over his show by now? Peter Dinklage is great, but I think he's here to represent the whole cast. I'd love to see Mandy Patinkin win for Homeland. I don't think much of Ray Donovan, but Voight is probably the best thing on the show.
Supporting Actress, Drama Series
Anna Gunn, "Breaking Bad"
Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey"
Lena Headey, "Game of Thrones"
Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife"
Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men"
Joanne Froggatt, "Downton Abbey"
Like Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn's become a regular, though I'm not sure if this is, or should be, her year. Of course Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey, but do we also need Joanne Froggatt? It's nice to see Hendricks here, though she's always a bridesmaid. I'm not sure about Headey. GOT is my favorite show, but it wasn't a great year for her and even among the women I can name several character who are more interesting.
"American Horror Story: Coven"
"Bonnie & Clyde"
"The White Queen"
Fargo looks to take it. If only True Detective had run here it might be interesting. After all those year of ignoring The Wire, it's too bad the Academy is wasting nominations on Treme.
Best Actress Miniseries or Movie
Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story: Coven"
Sarah Paulson, "American Horror Story: Coven"
Helena Bonham Carter, "Burton and Taylor"
Minnie Driver, "Return to Zero"
Kristen Wiig, "The Spoils of Babylon"
Cicely Tyson, "The Trip Bountiful"
I'm surprised to see a name from the spoof The Spoils Of Babylon, but the Emmys have star envy, and anyone who's made it in movies gets special treatment.
Best Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "Dancing on the Edge"
Martin Freeman, "Fargo"
Billy Bob Thornton, "Fargo"
Idris Elba, "Luther"
Mark Ruffalo, "The Normal Heart"
A double nomination for Fargo--wonder if they'll split the vote? Or will Billy Bob take it anyway?
The Normal Heart was a lot of ranting as far as I could tell, but if the TV people thinks it's important I fear they may give it some Emmys.
Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart
Martin Freeman, Sherlock: His Last Vow
Colin Hanks, Fargo
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Alfred Molina, Return to Zero
Jim Parsons, The Normal Heart
So Freeman and Parsons get two nominations. And Freeman is up against his Fargo buddy Hanks (who didn't do much). A lot of love--way too much--for The Normal Heart. And those guys are up against their costar Alfred Molina.
Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story: Coven
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Coven
Allison Tolman, Fargo
Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic
Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart
Looks like a gimme for Allison Tolman, who gave a breakthrough performance in Fargo. Though there's always a bona fide movie star like Julia Roberts to watch out for. And what's all this about big names in shows I don't watch?
Guest Actor in a Drama
Paul Giamatti, Downton Abbey
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife
Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards
Robert Morse, Mad Men
Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex
Joe Morton, Scandal
Another nod for DA? And for a star name who didn't do much? It'd be nice to see Robert Morse win. Beau Bridges doesn't have much of a part on MOS, though I guess closeted homosexuality in the 50s can be fun to play.
Guest Actress in a Drama
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Kate Mara, House of Cards
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
Jane Fonda, The Newsroom
Kate Burton, Scandal
Rigg was a regular on GOT, so why the guest slot? It'd be great to see her up against another great dame like Maggie Smith, since they're both playing the dowager countess role.
And here's the second nod for Janney, even if it's not much of a role. Even weaker, but a bigger name, is Jane Fonda, doing a nothing part in a nothing show.
Guest Actor in a Comedy
Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
Nathan Lane, Modern Family
Steve Buscemi, Portlandia
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Gary Cole, Veep
Louis gets two acting nominations. What's going on with the Academy? Really far too many choices from SNL. Newhart was fun, but is it just because we're so happy to see him back on a sitcom where he belongs? And Gary Cole was good, but once again, more a regular than a guest--these categories are fairly arbitrary.
Guest Actress in a Comedy
Natasha Lyonne, Orange is the New Black
Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Laverne Cox, Orange is the New Black
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Three Oranges, two SNLs and one Shameless. And I'm not sure if any deserve to be here.
Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
No one wants to say goodbye to Letterman. Or Ferguson, for that matter. An odd category, with all sorts of different shows competing.
Outstanding Reality Competition
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
So You Think You Can Dance
I avoid Reality Shows, but I do see that American Idol is out of here.
Betty White, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Anthony Bourdain, The Taste
How do you even judge this?
Outstanding Reality Show (Structured)
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Who Do You Think You Are?
Hey, I actually watch some of these. Diners made it? I wouldn't have guessed.
Outstanding Reality Show (Unstructured)
Alaska: The Last Frontier
Million Dollar Listing
Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan
I don't even understand what this category means.
Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
Breaking Bad • Ozymandias • AMC •
Sony Pictures Television
Breaking Bad • Felina • AMC • Sony Pictures
Vince Gilligan, Written by
Game Of Thrones • The Children • HBO • HBO
Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling
Television and Generator Productions David Benioff, Written by D.B. Weiss, Written by
House Of Cards • Chapter 14 • Netflix •
Donen/Fincher/Roth and Trigger Street Productions, Inc. in association with
Media Rights Capital for Netflix Beau Willimon, Written by
True Detective • The Secret Fate Of All Of
Life • HBO, Nic Pizzolatto, Written by
Two Breaking Bads, but not not a single Mad Men or Downton Abbey.
Writing for a Comedy Series
David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, “Episodes” (Showtime)
Louie • So Did The Fat Lady • FX Networks • Pig Newton, Inc. and FX Productions
Orange Is the New Black • I Wasn’t Ready (Pilot) • Netflix • Lionsgate Television for Netflix
Silicon Valley • Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Judgemental Films, Alec Berg, Altschuler Krinsky works, and 3 Arts Entertainment
Veep • Special Relationship • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Dundee Productions
Not the best Louie, but offered a fat girl a long monologue.
Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Fargo • The Crocodile’s Dilemma • FX Networks • MGM and FX Productions
Luther • BBC America • A BBC and BBC America co-production
The Normal Heart • HBO • HBO Films in association with Plan B Entertainment, Blumhouse and Ryan Murphy Productions
Sherlock: His Last Vow (Masterpiece) • PBS • Hartswood West for BBC/Cymru Wales in co-production with Masterpiece
Treme • …To Miss New Orleans • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Blown Deadline Productions
Fargo versus The Normal Heart might be interesting.
A few other notes:
Game Of Thrones got the most nominations with 19, though a lot of that is technical stuff, so I'm not sure if it counts. Other shows with more than 12 nominations: Fargo, American Horror Story: Cover, Breaking Bad, The Normal Heart, Saturday Night Live, House Of Cards, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Downton Abbey, Sherlock: His Last Vow, True Detective, Modern Family and The Voice.
Looking at it by network, by far the most successful is HBO, which got 99 (so close). Second place, with 47--less than half--is CBS. NBC almost tied at 46 but then is FX at 45, well above ABC's 37. PBS has 34 and Netflix--not even really on TV--has 31. Fox has the lowest for any real network with 30 (and no Simpsons for best animated show).