The Top 12+ Snubs of the Emmy Top 10s

The Top 12 Snubs of the Emmy Top 10s

This post has been delayed a bit after getting captured between my new and old computers, but I think it’s for the best. When the Emmy Nominations are announced in just over a week’s time, more names will be added to this list, but what this list allows us to do is spread out the disappointment. That these contenders won’t even have a chance in front of a panel, though, is its own tragedy, and the more time I had to embrace this fact the more I realized how much this process hurts.

And it’s not that it’s not fair: while it may not always produce results I like, the current Emmy system is perhaps as close to democracy that they could possibly achieve. The reality of popular and patronage-dominated shows performing well at the Emmys will not go away anytime soon, so we should be thankful that there were some pleasant surprises as I discussed last week. But at the same time, we can’t help but feel it: that the people who were snubbed at this end of the process deserve recognition, no matter how they get it.

So, without further delay, and in no particular order, my Top 12 2008 Emmy Snubs…and let’s hope the list doesn’t grow too greatly next week.

1. Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)

Category: Supporting Actress, Drama Series

What more does she need to do to get noticed? Britton moved herself to the supporting category to avoid juggernauts like Sally Field or Glenn Close, but at the end of the day the category proved to be even more difficult to break into unless you’re heavily featured in a popular show or an award show veteran. She gave a fantastic performance through an uneven season, the constant rock the show could lean on. She makes weak storylines solid and good storylines great, and if that’s not a great supporting actress I don’t know what is.

2. January Jones (Mad Men)

Category: Supporting Actress, Drama Series

January Jones is the victim of her series’ plot – the show’s pilot, the episode most voters would have seen, doesn’t actually feature the character of Betty Draper, revealing her existence only at episode’s end. While someone like John Slattery was able to ride his reputation to a nomination, Jones doesn’t have the name recognition and is unfairly snubbed here. She did some amazing work embodying the 60s housewife, especially in “Shoot,” and that this portrayal won’t be seen by the judges is a disservice to the ensemble nature of the series. While I’m happy for Christina Hendricks, that was Jones’ spot.

3. Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies)

Category: Supporting Actor, Comedy Series

With all three of his primary co-stars breaking into their respective Top 10 lists, forgive me for being upset that my favourite was left off. Not known for his comic work, McBride’s Emerson Cod has been a delight. He’s a knitting private detective, for cripes sake, and he has adapted maybe best of all to the witicisms and whimsy that this world entails (albeit it through cynicism and sarcasm). The shortened season robbed him of a showcase episode (We got hints of a baity fatherhood episode), something that the other actors by comparison had, but that doesn’t mean that the show’s most consistently hilarious character should get snubbed. Here’s hoping the voters smarten up for the show’s second season.

For more snubs including performers from House, Lost and Battlestar Galactica, click on through.

4. Sarah Chalke (How I Met Your Mother)

Category: Guest Actress, Comedy Series

While Scrubs has never been able to crack into any categories but Series and Lead Actor based on Zach Braff’s emergence as a hollywood darling, this doesn’t mean that Sarah Chalke does not deserve attention. She’s a gifted comic actress, a fact that was no more apparent than when she effortlessly transitioned into a last minute guest spot on How I Met Your Mother as Ted’s girlfriend Stella. Playing Eliot’s charm without her neurotic tendencies, Chalke won over fans and critics alike with a fantastic performance – too bad that Emmy voters are too busy nominating academy veterans who take baity starring roles on Desperate Housewives to realize that much better work is happening elsewhere.

5. Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica)

Category: Lead Actor, Drama Series

With his female counterpart making it into her Top 10 list, Edward James Olmos is sadly left off his own. In a way, it makes sense storyline wise: Roslin is the public face, the one who has to deal with all of the consequences (And the praise) while Adama largely works behind the scenes. Olmos is rarely working in broad strokes, choosing instead to capture emotion in glances and undertones. I think that he would have greatly benefitted had the mid-season finale, Revelations, aired before the submission deadline: it voters had had time to see that episode, maybe they would have seen what happens with Adama breaks down and loses all of that composure, which is when Olmos absolutely nails it every time. But, even then, something tells me that the admiral of a Battlestar might never be able to make it into Emmy’s biggest races – let’s just hope that changes for the show’s final episodes next year.

6. Henry Ian Cusick/Terry O’Quinn (Lost)

Category: Supporting Actor, Drama Series

One is last year’s winner, who wasn’t really given any material this season to justify another win but remained strong enough to at least make the Top 10 list. The other is a performer who starred in the highlight episode of the season, the time-bending “The Constant,” and proved his value to the cast in that moment. Both, however, are missing from the Top 11 names, and both are rather awful oversights. O’Quinn got burned by the fact that his flashback episode is mostly about his childhood as opposed to his adulthood (And thus he’s played by younger actors), and Cusick just didn’t have enough Emmy credibility to make it onto the list. Regardless, they’re just the beginning of the rather awful oversight of a lot of Lost performers.

7. Robert Sean Leonard (House)

Category: Supporting Actor, Drama Series

On a week-by-week basis, Robert Sean Leonard is a great foil for Dr. Gregory House, someone to point out his flaws and to play Watson to his Holmes (Often unwittingly). But in the show’s fourth season, something else happened: not only just defined by House, Wilson was a character in his own right as he started a relationship with former fellowship candidate Amber (The amazing Anne Dudek, who better not be added to this list when the Guest Actress Drama category emerges). His performance in the stunningly tragic “Wilson’s Heart,” as the team discovers it is Amber who is struggling for her life following a bus crash, is as heartbreaking as it gets: that final moment between these two characters, one who feels betrayed by a friend and the other who is facing death, is so purely emotional that I teared up. That voters won’t get to see that is extremely unfortunate, although not quite surprising.

8. Yunjn Kim/Evangeline Lilly (Lost)

Categories: Supporting/Lead Actress, Drama Series

The narrative on Lost this year was male-dominated, no question, but the two women who emerged as part of the Oceanic Six did receive some strong material and delivered well throughout the season. There was a lot of external cards being played that meant less focus on these characters, but that neither were able to break into their respective categories leaves the Lost representation severely limited. We shouldn’t be surprised by Kim’s snub for her work in Ji Yeon or her heartbreaking turn in the finale, considering the Elizabeth Mitchell’s showier turn last year was even ignored, but it still hurts that she has never gotten attention for what has been a highly compelling role. Lilly may have gotten one of the weakest flashes of the year, but she submitted a smart episode (“Something Nice Back Home”) and continues to do solid work when asked. They’re not the worst snubs in the world, but they still sting.

9. Matthew Fox (Lost)

Categories: Lead Actor, Drama Series

Considering that Lost’s fourth season was fairly male-dominated, you would expect that its male lead might get some recognition. However, Matthew Fox’s role is a bit of a divisive one for viewers as they question whether Jack is a likable character. That hatred has never made sense for me, mainly because that’s part of the point: Jack as a character is a flawed man thrust into a leadership scenario that he isn’t actually comfortable with. His mistakes have all been in an attempt to serve the common interest and deal with his own demons, and while he’s had some rough patches I thought the fourth season was a strong one for him. While it didn’t quite have the same material he got last year in that first flashforward, the season saw Jack facing both present and future crises in a way that maintains Fox’s strong work…and was at least stronger than Patrick frakkin’ Dempsey.

10. Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)

Category: Supporting Actress, Drama Series

Okay, so there was never a chance that this model turned actress would make her way into the Emmy Top 11 – that doesn’t mean, however, that she didn’t deserve it. A lot of people underestimate Helfer based on her looks, a trend I hope dies off once people see her post-BSG career span some high-profile TV guest appearances (This week’s Burn Notice premiere, as an example). What Helfer does so well in the role of the various Six versions is to give each one their own story, and her submitted episode offered the best example yet: Natalie, a leader of a rebel group of Cylons, comforts and then kills another Six who had killed one of the humans who had tortured her on New Caprica. Whether it’s as Head Six, who waxes poetic with a one-track mind, or as Caprica Six whose life has been moulded by countless events, Helfer embodies these characters with a maturity that few could have anticipated following her casting in the Miniseries.

11. Jaime Pressly (My Name is Earl)

Category: Supporting Actress, Comedy Series

I haven’t watched a full episode of My Name is Earl since its first season – the show was strong enough then, but after I started watching The Office I kind of lost interest. It was getting repetitive, and the things that made it charming were slowly turning into the things that made it feel already dated compared to its running mate of sorts. However, one cannot argue that Jaime Pressly’s performance has remained consistently strong, and that her Emmy win last year was unfortunately timed but certainly deserved. Which makes it confusing that what was once a guaranteed nomination for most predictors has turned into a complete and total snub. The list of candidates is fairly strong, but that it’s missing last year’s winner is just confusing.

12. How I Met Your Mother

Category: Outstanding Comedy Series

I’ve been resisting adding series to these lists, since the Comedy/Drama lists were pretty solid, but the more I think about it the more annoyed I am that one of the sharpest comedies on television is being left off of these lists. Yes, I understand that the show inherently skews young and that its attraction for critics has never quite been shared by broader audiences, but this is the type of show that’s infectious. When you get hooked, you get hooked: I’ve seen people who are fairly critical fall in love with this show, mainly because it has heart and character to spare. I guess at this point we can only hope that the show gets the same treatment as The Wire, where its collective accomplishment is finally recognized when it receives its swan song – but, hopefully, we’re still a while out from that.

13. Emily VanCamp and Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters)

Categories: Supporting Actress/Actor, Drama Series

It’s not a surprise that these two young performers were unable to break into their respective categories, but it stings regardless. What was so strong about these two performers was their ability to take a storyline that really didn’t work and make it into something that at the least lived up to Brothers & Sisters’ strong dramatic performance pedigree. The show is one of the best acting showcases on television, and that the show itself didn’t break through to the Top 10 is also disappointing. And while I feel for Calista Flockhart, Patricia Wettig and Matthew Rhys, for the most part I think that young performers deserve a shot at Emmy glory just as much as their more well-known counterparts. Whether facing an uncertain paternity or a crippling drug addiction, these two performers were at the top of their game surrounded by veteran performers – what more do Emmy voters want?

14. Jorge Garcia (Lost)

Category: Supporting Actor, Drama Series

From some of the feedback the list has created amongst Lost fans, there has been mention of the lovable but oft-overlooked Jorge Garcia, whose work as Hurley has always been strong. I think that one of the reasons he didn’t make this list to begin with was that he was never close to being in contention considering the show’s more well known candidates. However, that doesn’t mean his work wasn’t award worthy: his work in “The Beginning of the End,” in particular, showed a great sense of nuance and tragedy that is something Garcia has always been good with. Of televisions various characters largely relegated to comic relief, Hurley has proven capable of handling the emotional weight of a drama series in a way that elevates the show as a whole, and it’s a pity that a lack of name recognition meant Garcia could never be honoured as such.

As always, a special thank you goes out to Tom O’Neil from The Envelope for collecting the Top 10 lists. You can check out all of the lists at his Gold Derby Blog.

6 Comments

Filed under Emmy Awards

6 responses to “The Top 12+ Snubs of the Emmy Top 10s

  1. James

    Great list. Of course, you’re spot on with your picks. With Connie Britton, the hype is deserved, and I actually feel bad for her snub. Tricia Helfer is a surprisingly good actress, considering how new she is to it. I would put her easily at number 3 on the list of BSG’s best actors and actresses.

    And I’m afraid we’re we’re both in the minority about Jack/Matthew Fox. Fox really is a stunningly good, hard working actor, easily one of the top five on television. Sorry to digress, but your thoughts on the general aversion to his character got me thinking. I have a few guesses as to why so many people dislike Jack, (and perhaps consequently, Fox).

    For one, unlike most flawed heroes on television, the Lost writers don’t temper the audience’s perception by giving Jack occasional “cool” moments. The writers are focused primarily on their central story, how Jack affects it and is affected by it, and the story is about how Jack and Locke are two deeply flawed men in an unforgiving situation. It sucks that when Jack does have genuinely touching moments, like in “Something Nice Back Home,” the audience can’t see it because they hate him too much.

    Another reason is that Matthew Fox and Jack are 6’2, good looking, smart, athletic, self-righteous, and most importantly, male – and that will piss off some people. I noticed a while ago that Jack has a lot in common with Buffy. But while most people considered Buffy’s commandeering, self-righteous qualities as feminist heroism, (and therefore more easily forgave her flaws), they see Jack as an overbearing white male.

    Either way, whether you like him or not, it’s a great performance. I put him up there with Kyle Chandler and Michael C. Hall, and he’s unarguably better than Patrick Dempsey and Dennis Leary.

  2. LaurieK

    Agreed 100% on Matthew Fox. He does beautiful work on Lost. There’s no more complex, nuanced performance on TV. There’s an air of absolute reality about Jack that is really extraordinary.

  3. OK List, but c’mon. Where is The Wire? Year after year snubs of great, great acting performances and the overall best drama so you just dismiss it completely? Or is it just that you favor the network shows for some odd reason (only 2 cable shows mentioned above)? You mention Tricia Helfer in BSG, but really? Her over Mary McDonell?

    And to LaurieK above, sorry but I just feel sorry for you. Maybe you have a thing for Mathew Fox, but trust me there have been many more complex nuanced performances on TV this year….

  4. Domino, the thing is that those two particular competitors didn’t get snubbed – although they might be snubs by the end of the week, both The Wire and Mary McDonnell made the Top 10 lists for their respective categories (While The Wire deserved more candidates, no doubt, I haven’t seen the fifth season yet – only on Season Three).

    And this is a big year for cable, so there’s less snubs on that side of things: with shows like Mad Men, Dexter and even Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad cracking the Top 10, it seems that it’s mostly network actors/actresses who are finding themselves off the radar.

    Either way, look for The Wire and BSG to both make potential splashes in the writing/directing categories, which don’t have run-off lists.

  5. Hi! Thanks for the excellent info. I will be back to see another post!

  6. Here is a bump to this topic. Just re-watched the two part Criminal Minds episode with a delightfully demented Tricia Helfer. Such an underrated actress!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s