Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment
This Year's Emmy Nominations Are Same Old, Same Old
TV

This Year's Emmy Nominations Are Same Old, Same Old

By Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment

Disappointment with award nominations is a little like expressing shock that a Fox News host said something sexist. What did you expect? The Emmy voters are a traditionalist bunch, predisposed to reward those places where prestige and popularity overlap; they ignored “The Wire” for its entire run and won’t stop throwing awards at “Modern Family.” It's as though everything the Emmy voters know about television they learned from reading the New York Times. 

So I won’t say I was surprised by the 2014 Emmy nominations, announced this morning by Mindy Kaling and Carson Daly (scroll down for the full list). Voters are still enamored with the thoroughly mediocre “House of Cards” (13 nominations) and the increasingly risible “Downton Abbey” (12 nominations), shows that resemble good TV instead of actually being good TV. Jeff Daniels again got an acting nod for his role in “The Newsroom,” a performance that’s mostly made of a sneer and a nicely tailored suit. Famous, well-liked actors got nominations for being famous and well-liked, regardless of where they appeared. (See: Melissa McCarthy, Paul Giamatti, Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey.) And then there were the snubs. Tatiana Maslany! “The Good Wife”! “The Americans,” this year’s smartest season of television, was even shut out of the Outstanding Hairstyling category! 

Due to the quirks of the Emmy submissions, even many of the deserved nominations are in the wrong categories. Three actresses from “Orange is the New BlackUzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes), Natasha Lyonne (Nicky), and the radiant Laverne Cox (Sophia)were nominated for guest actress, despite appearing in every single episode. On the drama side, Allison Janney secured a guest actress nomination for her beautifully subtle performance in “Masters of Sex” as a sexually frustrated housewife, and Joe Morton was nominated for his theatrical speechifying in “Scandal”two great supporting performances. To avoid byzantine rules, the Emmys mostly let networks decide where to submit their entries, which means they do whatever they can to game the system. Josh Charles, who got a supporting actor nomination, is (was!) the male lead of “The Good Wife,” but in that overcrowded category he wouldn’t have had a shot. “Fargo” and “American Horror Story” are competing as miniseries, but HBO submitted “True Detective” as a series, to make room in the category for their movie “Normal Heart.” Confused yet?

Despite all the silliness, this morning’ nominationsthe glaring omissions and the boring deja vudo indicate a larger cultural shift. When the Emmys overlooked “The Sopranos”’s first season in 1999, awarding best drama to David E. Kelley’s campy legal procedural, “The Practice,” instead, the awards show was widely derided for being out of touch, unwilling to recognize cable shows that seemed unfamiliar. Fifteen years later, HBO is racking up 99 nominations, more than any other channel. But just as shows like “The Practice” once crowded out innovative shows, the dominance of HBO and HBO-lite can overshadow the actually exciting TV being made today, across all channels. “Quality television is now platform agnostic,” the TV Academy’s chief said this morning, referring to services like Netflix. And he’s right. The defining character of this post-“Golden Age” TV era is plenty; cable, broadcast, and online streaming services all have brilliant shows and boring onesand the great ones are as likely to look like pulpy fluff as gritty crime drama. Some of them will even have clones.

 

COMEDY SERIES

“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

“Louie” (FX)

“Modern Family” (ABC)

“Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix)

“Silicon Valley” (HBO)

“Veep” (HBO)

 

DRAMA SERIES

“Breaking Bad” (AMC)

“Downton Abbey” (PBS)

“Game of Thrones” (HBO)

“House of Cards” (Netflix)

“Mad Men” (AMC)

“True Detective” (HBO)

 

MINISERIES

“American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)

“Bonnie & Clyde” (Lifetime)

“Fargo” (FX)

“Luther” (BBC America)

“Treme” (HBO)

“The White Queen” (Starz)

 

TV MOVIE

“Killing Kennedy” (National Geographic Channel)

“Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” (HBO)

“The Normal Heart” (HBO)

“Sherlock: His Last Vow (Masterpiece)” (PBS)

“The Trip to Bountiful” (Lifetime)

 

VARIETY SERIES

“The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)

“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” (Comedy Central)

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC)

“Real Time With Bill Maher” (HBO)

“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (NBC)

 

ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes” (Showtime)

Don Cheadle, “House of Lies” (Showtime)

Louis C.K., “Louie” (FX)

Ricky Gervais, “Derek” (Netflix)

William H. Macy, “Shameless” (Showtime)

 

ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Lena Dunham, “Girls” (HBO)

Melissa McCarthy, “Mike & Molly” (CBS)

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie” (Showtime)

Taylor Schilling, “Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix)

Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation” (NBC)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” (HBO)

 

ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)

Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards” (Netflix)

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men” (AMC)

Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom” (HBO)

Matthew McConaughey, “True Detective” (HBO)

Woody Harrelson, “True Detective” (HBO)

 

ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)

Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife” (CBS)

Claire Danes, “Homeland” (Showtime)

Robin Wright, “House of Cards” (Netflix)

Lizzie Caplan, “Masters of Sex” (Showtime)

Kerry Washington, “Scandal” (ABC)

 

ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE

Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge” (Starz)

Martin Freeman, “Fargo” (FX)

Billy Bob Thornton, “Fargo” (FX)

Idris Elba, “Luther” (BBC America)

Mark Ruffalo, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)

Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: His Last Vow (Masterpiece)” (PBS)

 

ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE

Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)

Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)

Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton and Taylor” (BBC America)

Minnie Driver, “Return to Zero” (Lifetime)

Kristen Wiig, “The Spoils of Babylon” (IFC)

Cicely Tyson, “The Trip to Bountiful” (Lifetime)

 

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA

Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)

Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)

Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

Josh Charles, “The Good Wife” (CBS)

Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland” (Showtime)

Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan” (Showtime)

 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA

Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)

Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)

Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)

Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)

Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife” (CBS)

Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men” (AMC)

 

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY

Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Fox)

Adam Driver, “Girls” (HBO)

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family” (ABC)

Ty Burrell, “Modern Family” (ABC)

Fred Armisen, “Portlandia” (IFC)

Tony Hale, “Veep” (HBO)

 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

Julie Bowen, “Modern Family” (ABC)

Allison Janney, “Mom” (CBS)

Kate Mulgrew, “Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix)

Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

Anna Chlumsky, “Veep” (HBO)

 

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE

Colin Hanks, “Fargo” (FX)

Jim Parsons, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)

Joe Mantello, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)

Alfred Molina, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)

Matt Bomer, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)

Martin Freeman, “Sherlock: His Last Vow (Masterpiece)” (PBS)

 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE

Frances Conroy, “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)

Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)

Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)

Allison Tolman, “Fargo” (FX)

Ellen Burstyn, “Flowers in the Attic” (Lifetime)

Julia Roberts, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)

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