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TV Academy Shines Emmy Love on "30 Rock," "Mad Men," "Damages"

After weeks of leaked semi-finalist nominee lists, it's good to finally get a glimpse of which series and actors actually made it onto the ballots, instead of seeing yet another list that showed who could make it to the nomination stage.

The Emmy nominees were announced this morning and I have to commend them for showering such love onto diverse and unique series such as Mad Men, 30 Rock (17 nominations, no less!), and Damages... while also locking some repeat offenders--like Ugly Betty in the comedy category--out in the cold. (Yes, I watch Ugly Betty but should it be competing with such comedy series as 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, or The Office? Hells no, especially when HBO's hysterical Flight of the Conchords didn't even get a mention.)

So which series and actors did land Emmy noms? Let's talk about the major categories.

Outstanding Drama Series:
Mad Men (AMC)
Boston Legal (ABC)
House (FOX)
Lost (ABC)
Damages (FX)
Dexter (Showtime)

I'm actually quite impressed with the selection here as well as the fact that it must be the first year in a long, long time that HBO didn't have a nominee for best drama series in the mix. (Though I do wish that Big Love would start getting some, well, big love from the TV Academy.) Damages and Mad Men made Emmy history as the first basic cable programs to receive nominations in the outstanding drama series category. It's a tough call for me between Lost, Damages, and Mad Men, all of which have had exceptionally good years. The TV Academy does love a comeback story and Lost managed to please on all levels during a season in which the producers creatively reinvigorated the series; Damages dazzled with deft plotting, overlapping storylines, and a dense, complex storyline; Mad Men ambitiously recreated the world of the 1960s, complete with sexism, racism, and the eternal battle of the haves and have-nots that percolated underneath the gorgeous costumes and set pieces. Forced to choose one, I give the edge to Mad Men in the end.

Outstanding Comedy Series:
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Entourage (HBO)
The Office (NBC)
Two and a Half Men (CBS)
30 Rock (NBC)

Is there really any doubt in your minds? I'm picking 30 Rock all the way.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series:
James Spader, Boston Legal
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Hugh Laurie, House
Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment
Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Again, another tough race to call with some real power-players competing neck and neck here for the title. My money is on Jon Hamm for turning in a performance that was at once self-assured and completely vulernable. The scene at the very end of Mad Men's first season--in which Don Draper sits alone in his house, abandoned by the family he pushed away--was absolutely heartbreaking, powerful, and established Hamm as the one to beat.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series:
Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters
Glenn Close, Damages
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Holly Hunter, Saving Grace
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

I'd be insane not to put my money on Glenn Close for her role as Damages' cutthroat attorney Patty Hewes, who gives new meaning to the phrase toxic corporate culture. Her tough-as-nails Patty is willing to do anything--from covering up a crime to having her associate murdered--in order to win her crusade against Arthur Frobisher. It's a performance that as rich and layered as any film role as Patty strips away the last vestiges of her very soul in order to defeat her nemesis.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series:
William Shatner, Boston Legal
Ted Danson, Damages
Zekjko Ivanek, Damages
Michael Emerson, Lost
John Slattery, Mad Men

Um, wow. I really don't know who I'd want to win this category but as long as Shatner doesn't walk away with the statuette, I'd be thrilled. Any of these guys would be an incredible win and represent the cream of the crop on the supporting actor side, from Danson's amazing turn as malevolent Arthur Frobisher to Emerson's turn as Machiavellian Benjamin Linus. Tough race to call.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series:
Candice Bergen, Boston Legal
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
Dianne Wiest, In Treatment

Me, I'm just happy to see that Katherine Heigl isn't up for anything for Grey's Anatomy. That's almost enough of a present for me, though I do wish that the ladies of Mad Men--January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, and Christina Hendricks--would have ended up on this nominee list.

Oustanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:
Steve Carell, The Office
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men
Tony Shalhoub, Monk
Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies

I'm thrilled to bits to see Lee Pace's name up here against such luminaries as Steve Carell, Alec Baldwin, Charlie Sheen, and Tony Shalhoub; his performance as Ned the Pie Maker on Pushing Daisies was a master class in understated comedy, deft wordplay, and simmering desire. Still, I have to say that it's Baldwin's star turn as Jack Donaghy that truly defines the words "lead actor," as he absolutely pulls the cast of 30 Rock to a whole new level.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
America Ferrera, Ugly Betty
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds

Tina Fey.
Tina Fey.
Tina Fey.

Need I say more? Sure, Mary-Louise Parker has dazzled with her performance as Nancy Botwin on Weeds but I can't say that I've found Nancy to be particularly sympathetic these days and I'm finding I have a strong aversion to her character lately, while America Fererra's Betty Suarez is now grating on my nerves. Christina Applegate is absolutely adorable on Samantha Who, but she doesn't hold a candle to Fey's self-assured performance as Liz Lemon. What other actress could eat an entire sandwich (with special dipping sauce!) in one take in an outrageous sight gag that underplayed her character's insistent need to stop ex-boyfriend Floyd at the airport gate and still come off as entirely lovable?

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series:
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Kevin Dillion, Entourage
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Rainn Wilson, The Office
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men

Hmmm... give it to Rainn Wilson already, won't you?

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series:
Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
Jean Smart, Samantha Who?
Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty

My money's on either Pushing Daisies' Chenoweth, whose Olive is a study in sublimated desire, or SNL's Amy Poehler, who will get her own scripted comedy series next spring on NBC. I'd love Pushing Daisies to walk away with an acting prize and Chenoweth might just find herself singing about the birdhouse in her soul on that Emmy stage.... Or Jean Smart will manage to walk away with the top prize. Hmmm.

Outstanding Mini-Series:
Cranford (PBS)
John Adams (HBO)
The Andromeda Strain (A&E)
Tin Man (Sci Fi)

If you haven't seen Cranford, you've done yourself a major disservice; the PBS mini-series featured a dream cast that included Dame Judi Dench, Philip Glenister, and Michael Gambon and deftly interweaves three novels into a glorious exploration of the war between technological progress and small town England as the railroad tries to make its way to the female-run village of Cranford. Along the way, beloved characters die, couples marry and spat, and a cold dowager discovers the beating of her heart, possibly too late. Brilliant and spellbinding.

Outstanding Reality-Competition Series:
American Idol (FOX)
Dancing with the Stars (ABC)
Project Runway (Bravo)
Amazing Race (CBS)
Top Chef (Bravo)

I have a feeling Amazing Race will walk away with the top honor but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Bravo's Top Chef, which has tranformed culinary competition into a cutthroat, edge-of-your-seat extravaganza.

So there you have it. Who are you rooting for to walk away with the top prize? Who got snubbed? And who do you wish the Academy would award the Emmy to? Discuss.

Comments

Anonymous said…
You forgot the reality show hosts category where Philiminator was robbed.
The CineManiac said…
Seriously Tin Man for best miniseries? There must not have been a lot of mini-series this year.
Anonymous said…
The worst thing about the Tin Man nod is that it proves that these people are at least aware of the Sci-Fi network, thus making the BSG snubs all the worse.

Then again, no love for the actors of The Wire either, and everybody watches HBO these days, right?
Just finished watching the first season of Mad Men and am so happy that it received a nomination for Outstanding Drama. If that or Lost wins I will be a very happy girl.

On the comedy side, I'm thrilled to see 30 Rock so well represented. But Entourage in the Outstanding Comedy category? Again? As Job Bluth would say..."Come on!" That show burnt out seasons ago. Why not share some love with Flight of the Conchords or Pushing Daisies?

Overall, though, a pretty good list considering what a tough season it was for TV.
Anonymous said…
Woo Mad Men!!!!!

And once again, The Wire gets snubbed. That sucks.

The other big snub, in my mind, and I am a little surprised considering all that was written about it, was Survivor. It was probably the best creative season since the 1st season.
Anonymous said…
According to AICN, Christina Hendrick's _did_ get a nod for Best Supporting actress. So I was surprised when you left her off your list and mentioned a snub. So which list is correct??
Jace Lacob said…
Jennifer,

My list came directly from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, so not sure why AICN is saying Christina Hendricks got a nomination as she's not on the official list!
Anonymous said…
Yeah Damages, Mad Men, and 30 Rock!!!!

Does anyone else think Maura Tierney got snubbed? I think ER will get some love next year after the show ends for good.
eAi said…
Well, I'm rooting for Dexter to win one, purely because you persistently ignore it!

Man Men, Dexter and Damages are all good contenders. I'd say Damages might be the weakest of the three. I'd say it's unlikely Dexter will win for the same reason you never mention it, so I'm going for Mad Men.
Brian said…
No FNL or BSG. But thank god Boston Legal wasn't overlooked!

I am happy about the 30 Rock,Mad Men, and Damages love though.

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