The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Dissecting the 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations

Emmy nomination morning is kind of like Christmas morning – you’re all excited about it as it approaches, wary of the potential surprises and the like, etc. But, unlike Christmas that ends in the complete elimination of suspense, the Emmy Awards are the start of a whole new game. In this case, not only do we react to what just happened (The good, the bad and the ugly of it) but also to what will happen in September when somebody in each of these categories has to win one of the darn things.

For now, it’s time to take a look at the big stories out of this morning’s nominations (You can check out the fill list here).

30 Rock Domination

The Good: With a ridiculous 17 nominations, 30 Rock is the most nominated series at the awards. This includes nods for the series itself, Alec Baldwin, and Tina Fey, along with two writing and one directing nomination for the series, along with well deserved guest acting noms for Elaine Stritch, Edie Falco, Carrie Fisher, Will Arnett and Rip Torn.

The Bad: The rather unfortunate snubs of Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer sting a little bit, but they had tough races and this isn’t too much of a surpise.

The Ugly: Steve Buscemi and Tim Conway do not deserve guest acting nominations for this show – Buscemi was great, but he was barely in the episode, while Conway coasted on his past success with a role that never fit into the episode. Matthew Broderick, Dean Winters and David Schwimmer all did considerably better work on the series, and that they are not represented here is extremely unfortunate.

Lost is Back in the Race

The Good: In perhaps my favourite news of the ceremony, a bump to six nominees in the Drama Series category sees Lost make it into the fray ahead of Grey’s Anatomy, securing its first nomination in the category since its first season. Michael Emerson also grabbed a Supporting Actor nomination, as expected, while I’m extremely pleased to see Michael Giacchino pick up a nod for his great composing for “The Constant.”

The Bad: Still a bit annoyed that so few other supporting players were eligible for the major awards, so it’s a bit disheartening to see most of the show’s nominations coming from sound editing, mixing, editing, etc. when the cast is so deserving.

The Ugly: Despite getting the show nominated for an Emmy, no room is found for “The Constant” in writing or directing categories; the latter isn’t too disappointing, but the former is a bit more surprising and disheartens me as to Lost’s chances in the major categories.

Pushing Daisies Blooms…and Busts

The Good: Announcing the nominees was good luck for the ever charming Kristin Chenoweth, who along with co-star Lee Pace picked up an acting nomination to go with the series numerous technical, writing and directing awards resulting in the third highest total with 12 nominations.

The Bad: Unfortunately, they weren’t joined by their co-star Chi McBride, who really should have made the Supporting Acting Top 10.

The Ugly: And yet, despite all of this, the show failed to net a nomination for Best Comedy Series, an omission that just doesn’t make any sense. I will rant about who I think should have gotten the boot in a moment, but this is an oversight that will haunt the Emmys for a long time in my books, and is surprising considering both Pace and Chenoweth making their respective races.

Damages Gets it Right

The Good: So much, mainly the fantastic inclusion of Zejlko Ivanek in the Supporting Actor race, is right with this picture. Along with Ted Danson, they are a strong force in that category, and they’re joined by Glenn Close in the Best Actress race, and writing/directing/series nominations for the fantastic pilot.

The Bad: While it’s not quite what I’d call a bad thing, it’s a big surprise to see Rose Byrne snubbed in Supporting Actress Drama. Mind you, I was never a fan of her performance so I would personally not put her into the category, but that Emmy voters didn’t is surprising.

The Ugly: Not much, to be honest – while I felt the series fell apart at the end, the nominated performers and the Pilot were both great, so I’m content with this performance.

The Rise and Fall of The Office

The Good: Rainn Wilson and Steve Carell return to the nominations circle along with their series this year, including a number of directing and writing nominations for the uneven but very solid fourth season.

The Bad: Amy Ryan, fantastic in the finale “Goodbye, Toby” gets snubbed for her great turn in the episode, joining Sarah Chalke as examples of Emmy voters ignoring great performances from younger female competitors in favour of older ones (With Sarah Silverman being the only youth candidate, and a kind of annoying one).

The Ugly: Jenna Fischer, deserving of a win last year, doesn’t even break into Supporting Actress Comedy this year, and John Krasinski literally has his spot stolen away in Supporting Actor. Apparently the love for Jam at the Academy is limited, which is unfortunate as they both do great work.

Mad about Mad Men

The Good: While it’s no surprise, Mad Men is the top nominated Drama Series with 16 nominations including deserving slots for John Slattery, Jon Hamm, Robert Morse along with two writing, one directing and a whole host of craft-related nominations (Including a well deserved nod for Main Title Design)

The Bad: A little bit disappointing, to be honest, to see January Jones missing from the performers list, but that was a Top 10 snub that was never going to happen.

The Ugly: There’s nothing ugly about this performance – it’s the show to beat.

Seriously: Entourage was BAD, people

The Good: Jeremy Piven continues to do great work as Ari Gold, so his nomination is deserving.

The Bad: N/A

The Ugly: So much to discuss here. To start with, the series’ nomination for Best Comedy Series is a complete sham, driven completely by a popular vote total that is not representative of the series’ quality. Frankly put, the fourth season was just plain awful, and the result was poor material for all of its stars. This is why Kevin Dillon’s nomination in Supporting Actor makes no sense: he had great material last year, but here he had nothing even close to deserving of breaking into this category with so many other worthy competitors. This is an example of popular vote gone awry, a rarity of sorts in this awards season.

Dexter Bloodies the Emmys

The Good: A shocking inclusion in Best Drama Series plays agains all of the presumptions about the Emmy voters being unwilling to embrace such a bloody show. Older voters, however, have seen the light about the show and Michael C. Hall’s great performance – I thought the second season ended poorly, but its driving momentum was amongst the year’s best. It also joins Mad Men and Damages as the first non-HBO cable shows to break into the major categories.

The Bad: The lack of Keith Carradine in the Guest Actor race is disheartening, as he did some great work as Dexter’s passive foil. While it wasn’t a showy role, it was a strong one and it’s clear that he just doesn’t have enough cachet in the academy.

The Ugly: I’m happy to see the show represented, so not much ugly here – too bad it has no chance in any of its categories, though, as I think that nominations is the end of the line for the show.

The Reality of the Matter

The Good: The Reality Competition category stays the same, which means my favourites (The Amazing Race and Project Runway) are nominated. And, I’ll be honest: while I love him to death, Phil Keoghan being left out of the host category is the right move, if only because it makes sure Jeff Probst makes it in for his more present work on Survivor.

The Bad: Heidi Klum really doesn’t deserve her nomination, though – compared to Bergeron and Seacrest, in particular, there’s really no comparison in how much more work they have. She comes out, says a few lines, and for the most part has no banter/interaction and has the support of a huge judging panel with the critiques. Compared to Probst, especially, she falls flat.

The Ugly: I think Howie Mandel is a great host on Deal or No Deal, but that show being nominated for an Emmy in any capacity is a popular vote catastrophe.

Good News, Bad News for Battlestar

The Good: Battlestar Galactica grabs its second consecutive writing nomination for the great “Six of One” from Michael Angeli, and also grabs its usual visual effects, cinematography and sound mixing nominations (Plus a featurette nomination for one of the Razor segments).

The Bad: The show regressed, though, losting its directing nomination it has last year, and Mary McDonnell couldn’t turn her Top 10 spot into a deserved nomination – still, the glass ceiling exists.

The Ugly: Bear McCreary’s amazing score for the series being ignored yet again continues to be a travesty – I can only hope that his epic and amazing piece he composed for the mid-season finale, which will be eligible next year, won’t be similarly forgotten. If it is, I’m sending letters.

The Fall of Grey’s Anatomy

The Good: Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson were probably the only two characters to avoid being scarred by Grey’s Anatomy’s extremely weak season, so their nominations are well deserved (And I wish Oh would win this thing for once, although she’s a long shot).

The Bad: I’m a bit annoyed with Diahann Carroll phoning in a visit as Burke’s mother and getting a nomination for it when there were other actresses who did more expansive work on the season. I always hate to see age dominate the guest categories like this.

The Ugly: For the show, and not for my own interests, this was an ugly year. Snubbed in Best Drama Series and without a single writing/directing nomination, the series just didn’t connect with voters this year.

Emmys make a House Call (But Leave Early)

The Good: It’s great to see Hugh Laurie in the race, just so he can win the Emmy he’s earned five times over at this point, and the solidly directed “House’s Head” grabbed a directing nomination to go along with the series’ nod for Drama Series.

The Bad: The show was shown little love elsewhere, though, with no writing nominations and no love for guest actress Mira Sorvino for “Frozen” which surprises considering it was the show’s Emmy submission.

The Ugly: That neither half of the wonderful Robert Sean Leonard and Anne Dudek won’t see nominations for their work as Wilson and Amber in the season finale is truly heartbreaking, and her absense in particular stings.

The Rest

Boston Legal: Nominations for Emmy favourites Shatner, Spader and Bergen combine with the series’ Best Drama nomination for a powerful performance – it won’t win series, but watch out for its acting competitors.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The series make it into the race, but Larry David gets snubbed out of a Best Actor nomination and the show is shown little love elsewhere.

Flight of the Conchords: Sure, it never had a shot at the big category, but the show received two Music and Lyrics nominations (Competing with Jimmy Kimmel’s “I’m F*cking Matt Damon”) and surprise direction/writing nominations.

In Treatment: It seems only Paul and Gina saw any love for In Treatment, as likely nominee Blair Underwood was snubbed in Supporting Actor (Showing that the voters only watched the tape with the old veterans – typical).

Saturday Night Live: Great news for Amy Poehler, who manages to break into Supporting Actress Comedy in her first year of eligibility. The show also grabbed a Writing nomination for Variety Series, and Tina Fey picked up a nod for individual performance in a Variety series. And yes, that means Tina Fey has FOUR nominations (Lead Comedy, Individual Variety, Writing and Producing).

The Colbert Report: This might be Stephen Colbert’s year – without a single aging singer in the category, it might be clear sailing for him to finally pick up his deserved trophy. Standing in his way are Fey, Jon Stewart for the Oscars, Letterman and Don Rickles (He’s gotta watch out for the later – he’s old, they like that).

Breaking Bad: Great news for the freshman AMC series, as lead actor Bryan Cranston breaks into the race along with the pilot’s direction.

Ugly Betty: As expected, the show fell out of favour, although Vanessa Williams and America Ferrera weathered the storm to grab nominations.

How I Met Your Mother: The show has no other nominations but art direction, but as always props to Neil Patrick Harris for grabbing his second straight supporting acting nomination. Too bad it couldn’t have bumped out some of Two and a Half Men’s numerous nominations.

The Wire: No, it didn’t grab a nomination for Best Drama Series, but it did get a nomination for writing for David Simon and Ed Burns’ work on the finale, so that’s one step in the right direction for the awards even though they’re too late to recognize the great work.

But that’s enough from me – what did YOU think? What’s got you riled up, and what has you jumping in your chair like it’s Christmas all over again (Not that I jumped – there may have been a fist pimp or two, though).

8 Comments

Filed under Emmy Awards

8 responses to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Dissecting the 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations

  1. Rick

    Disappointed that none of the women from “Mad Men” were recognized, but on the other hand the love for “Pushing Daisies,” even without the criminally overlooked Chi McBride, is encouraging.

    And ditto everything you said about “Entourage.”

  2. Not great, but better than the last year.
    Then again, hey, it’s the Emmys, I don’t have any expectation for this.

    I think Glenn Close will win, though.

  3. I agree about Man Men Rick – Hendricks didn’t have the material to match her Top 10 placement (Jones would have had it, and probably grabbed a nomination), and Moss was perhaps the most gradual character development of the entire series and never got a real “showcase” episode to the same degree as Hamm did. So, for now, the literal interpretation of the series’ quality (“Men” in the form of Hamm, Slattery and Morse) will have to do. The partners get all the praise, I guess.

    And I think that Pushing Daisies’ snub is going to be the biggest oversight of this awards season – how can a series have 12 nominations without being represented in the biggest race?

  4. Francesco, I think Close will struggle – she’s actually not all that present on Damages, and certainly not very likeable. I’d tend to think it’s Sedgwick and Field battling it out, and that the love for Damages will be found in Supporting Actor as Danson and Ivanek fight it out with Emerson.

  5. my biggest disappointment is cat deeley from ‘sytycd’ missing out in the reality host category

    biggest surprise was amy ryan’s omission for guest comedy actress

    very happy that ‘flight of the conchords’ managed the writing/directing double (shades of ‘arrested development’, ‘malcolm in the middle’ and ‘my name is earl’) as well as two song nods (which hopefully they’ll win)

    and what the hell does john krakinski have to do to get some love?

    ps – you note ‘mad men’ and ‘dexter’ as the first two non-hbo drama nominees but ‘damages’ makes three

  6. Ha, par, you’re right! Just too much love for cable, I couldn’t contain it all. Thanks for the heads up!

    And Ryan’s absence is frustrating but not surprising – with Joosten moving to Guest, it was probably inevitable even.

    And I agree on Deeley – I made this point earlier here at CL I think, but she’s really quick on her feet and charming throughout the series and deserves some love for it.

  7. Francesco, I think Close will struggle – she’s actually not all that present on Damages, and certainly not very likeable. I’d tend to think it’s Sedgwick and Field battling it out, and that the love for Damages will be found in Supporting Actor as Danson and Ivanek fight it out with Emerson.

    That’s true, but her perfomance is the best. Period.
    I don’t like Sedgwick (or The Closer), and Field won last year.
    Close must win. She was terrific.

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