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

I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised this early morning in Los Angeles.

The Emmy nominees were announced this morning and I have to commend them for showering such love onto diverse and unique series such as Big Love, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Breaking Bad, Little Dorrit, Flight of the Conchords, , and Damages, even though Battlestar Galactica failed to garner a single nomination in the major categories.

Hell, one of the talented troika of female leads on AMC's Mad Men--Elisabeth Moss--even landed a nomination, as did the entire main cast of 30 Rock! So, something's right in Hollywood for a change.

Meanwhile, FOX's Family Guy snagged the first outstanding comedy series nomination for an animated series... in fifty years. (Not since The Flintstones has an animated comedy scored a nomination.) Something which sadly The Simpsons was never able to achieve in its heyday.

So which series and actors landed Emmy nominations? Let's talk about the major categories. (The full list of nominations can be found here.)

Outstanding Drama Series:
Big Love (HBO)
Breaking Bad (FX)
Dexter (Showtime)
House (FOX)
Lost (ABC)
Mad Men (AMC)

I have to say that I'm actually quite pleased overall with the selection here, which shows some love for quirky cable dramas like Big Love, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Dexter while also lauding network hits like Lost and House. I'm not surprised by the inclusion of Lost and the sensational Mad Men but if I'm being totally honest, I'd love to see Big Love, which is coming off of a mind-blowingly sensational third season, walk away with the top prize here.

Outstanding Comedy Series:
Entourage (HBO)
Family Guy (FOX)
Flight Of The Conchords (HBO)
How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
The Office (NBC)
30 Rock (NBC)
Weeds (Showtime)

Loving the inclusion of Flight of the Conchords, despite a somewhat subpar second season compared to the strength of its freshman year, but I'm glad to see that the quirky Kiwi comedy won over Emmy voters not just here but also in the lead actor in a comedy category as well. And kudos to the cast and crew of How I Met Your Mother for snagging a nom in the highly competitive category here. Ultimately, I'm hoping--and it's rather likely--that 30 Rock once again walks off with the statuette here. It really is, hands-down, the very best comedy on television today.

Outstanding Miniseries:
Generation Kill (HBO)
Little Dorrit (PBS)

Generation Kill might have the HBO imprimatur but I'm rooting for the lush and emotionally resonant Little Dorrit to win here. Would love to see a Dickens adaptation win the mini-series prize and the cast and crew of this PBS/BBC production were absolutely top-notch.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series:
Jim Parsons - The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Jemaine Clement - Flight Of The Conchords (HBO)
Tony Shalhoub - Monk (USA)
Steve Carell - The Office (NBC)
Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock (NBC)
Charlie Sheen - Two And A Half Men (CBS)

I'm blown away by the fact that Jemaine Clement managed to get a nomination here and I almost want Clement to win, just so I can watch what would be a fairly surreal and hysterical acceptance speech. Just... wow. Never would have imagined this. Love that Jim Parsons got nominated and his reaction on the nomination telecast this morning was priceless. The rest of the category is pretty predictable (cough, Tony Shalhoub, cough) but I'm once again putting my money on 30 Rock's incomparable Alec Baldwin. It's what Jack Donaghy would do, after all.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series:
Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad (AMC)
Michael C. Hall - Dexter (Showtime)
Hugh Laurie - House (FOX)
Gabriel Byrne - In Treatment (HBO)
Jon Hamm - Mad Men (AMC)
Simon Baker - The Mentalist (CBS)

As much as I love Bryan Cranston, I have to say that I want Jon Hamm to bring home the win with every iota of my being. His smoldering performance as Don Draper in Season Two of Mad Men was powerful, provocative, and heartbreaking and he anchored the show with a nuanced masculinity and dynamic charisma. As for the others, Laurie and Byrne were expected, but Simon Baker for The Mentalist? Really? Over Bill Paxton for Big Love? Or anyone from Battlestar Galactica? Grr.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series:
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - The New Adventures Of Old Christine (CBS)
Christina Applegate - Samantha Who? (ABC)
Sarah Silverman - The Sarah Silverman Program (Comedy Central)
Tina Fey - 30 Rock (NBC)
Toni Collette - United States Of Tara (Showtime)
Mary-Louise Parker - Weeds (Showtime)

Two words: Tina Fey. Need I say more?

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series:
Sally Field - Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
Kyra Sedgwick - The Closer (TNT)
Glenn Close - Damages (FX)
Mariska Hargitay - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC)
Elisabeth Moss - Mad Men (AMC)
Holly Hunter - Saving Grace (TNT)

Thank you, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, for--finally!--acknowledging the incredible performance of Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss; her turn as Peggy Olsen this past season was an understated thing of beauty, haunting for her sorrow, inspiring for her strength of character. That fellow femmes January Jones and Christina Hendricks should be overlooked once again is shameful but I do have to credit them for at least shining a much-deserved spotlight on Moss here. Personally, I'd love for her to win. Or for Glenn Close to get the prize for her fearless portrayal of Patty Hewes on FX's Damages, a character who is a seething mess of complexity and anger.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series:
Kevin Dillon - Entourage (HBO)
Neil Patrick Harris - How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Rainn Wilson - The Office (NBC)
Tracy Morgan - 30 Rock (NBC)
Jack McBrayer - 30 Rock (NBC)
Jon Cryer - Two And A Half Men (CBS)

I'm loving the support for NBC's 30 Rock here, with Morgan and McBrayer landed nominations for their roles as Tracy and Kenneth. Wish they could both win, but thinking they'll split the vote, so I'm giving the ubiquitous Neil Patrick Harris the edge here. A very tough category this year and one I'll be watching extremely closely.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series:
William Shatner - Boston Legal (ABC)
Christian Clemenson - Boston Legal (ABC)
Aaron Paul - Breaking Bad (AMC)
William Hurt - Damages (FX)
Michael Emerson - Lost (ABC)
Jon Slattery - Mad Men (AMC)

Tough, tough category here again. I think the Emmy voters tipped their hat a little bit with two nominations for Boston Legal here (would you *really* say that Shatner is supporting?) but I do love the inclusion of Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul (who should be nominated as well for his vastly different turn on Big Love, just for comparison's sake), Michael Emerson, and Jon Slattery, as well as William Hurt. Would love to see Ben Linus take home the win.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series:
Kristin Chenoweth - Pushing Daisies (ABC)
Amy Poehler - Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Kristin Wiig - Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Jane Krakowski - 30 Rock (NBC)
Vanessa Williams - Ugly Betty (ABC)
Elizabeth Perkins - Weeds (Showtime)

Jane Krakowski doesn't get nearly as much recognition as she should for her role as Jenna on 30 Rock, so I am thrilled to see her get the nomination as I am for someone to remember the beauty and bittersweet sparkle of Pushing Daisies and give Cheno a nod as well. As for who will win, I'm not sure at all but I'd love it to be one of these two. Or one of the SNL team.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series:
Rose Byrne - Damages (FX)
Sandra Oh - Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Chandra Wilson - Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Dianne Wiest - In Treatment (HBO)
Hope Davis - In Treatment (HBO)
Cherry Jones - 24 (FOX)

I'm thinking one of the Grey's Anatomy ladies will win this category (though no Katherine Heigl?) but nice to see Byrne get some Emmy love as well.

Outstanding Reality – Competition Program:
The Amazing Race (CBS)
American Idol (FOX)
Dancing With The Stars (ABC)
Project Runway (Bravo)
Top Chef (Bravo)

As much as I love The Amazing Race, I think it's about time the Academy recognized the genius of culinary competition series Top Chef.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series:
30 Rock - "Reunion" (NBC): Matt Hubbard
30 Rock - Apollo, Apollo" (NBC): Robert Carlock
30 Rock - "Mamma Mia" (NBC): Ron Weiner
30 Rock - "Kidney Now! (NBC): Jack Burditt, Robert Carlock
Flight Of The Conchords - "Prime Minister" (HBO): James Bobin, Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie

30 Rock has a near monopoly on the comedy writing awards this year and I can't say that I'm surprised. Glad that Conchords got a single nomination here, maybe it will be enough to get the boys back in the writers room for a third go-around (and maybe some more strenuous work on the music this time around), but it's 30 Rock's category to lose. Of the four, I'd love to see "Apollo, Apollo" win for Robert Carlock. I loved that episode.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series:
Lost - "The Incident" (ABC): Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof
Mad Men - "A Night To Remember" (AMC): Robin Veith, Matthew Weiner
Mad Men - "Six Month Leave" (AMC): Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Matthew Weiner
Mad Men - "The Jet Set" (AMC): Matthew Weiner
Mad Men - "Meditations In An Emergency" (AMC): Kater Gordon, Matthew Weiner

Hmm, something tells me that Mad Men is going to win this category. I thought that Cuse and Lindelof's work on Lost's "The Incident" was great but I don't think it will be enough to defeat a one-two (sorry, make that four) punch from the Mad Men writing staff. Which one, however? Not sure. They are all so profoundly beautiful, but I'll go with "Meditations in An Emergency" in a pinch.

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.

The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards will be telecast on September 20th on CBS.


joy said…
The only category I'm stumped for (aside from ignoring the reality category), is Best Actress in a Drama. With the exception of Mariska, every one of those women blow me away.

And I'm SO mad about the lack of FNL recognition!
McD said…
Disappointed that there was no recognition for FNL, BSG, Zach Levi in Chuck or for more of the Lost cast.

I am VERY excited about the nominations for Jim Parsons, Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Kristin Chenoweth and the 30 Rock cast.

And I'm hoping that the lack of a Jeremy Piven nomination will lead to a Neil Patrick Harris win!
par3182 said…
I'm disappointed the puerile, unfunny Family Guy becomes the second animated series to score a Best Comedy nod when the infinitely superior The Simpsons couldn't manage it during its glory years.

Glad to see that someone other than Jeremy Piven will be winning the Comedy Supporting Actor prize for a change.

Yay to the inclusion of: Jermaine Clement/Conchords, Big Love, Elisabeth Moss, the 30 Rock supporting players

Boo to the exclusion of: January Jones, Christina Hendricks, the Big Love women, Josh Holloway

Rose Byrne as Best Supporting Actress? That's an insult to the words Best, Supporting and Actress (seriously, is there anyone on television more wooden?)
Amy Beth said…
I really want Hugh Laurie to win this year. Really.
Michael Cook said…
Jermaine but no Bret?? No fair!
Unknown said…
I am a little disappointed that In Treatment's 2nd season didn't get much Emmy love (outside of acting, of course) and am way surprised none of the Big Love actors got Emmy noms, but I can't complain because they got a lot of things right here. A little diversity in the comedy lineup would be nice, too (as much as I like 30 Rock, I think some new shows surpassed their most recent season, like "Better Off Ted" and "Party Down").
Bella Spruce said…
It would have been nice if BSG had gotten some well-deserved recognition but, otherwise, I'm surprisingly happy with the nominations and am thrilled that Mad Men and Big Love are represented in a big way.
rockauteur said…
Yes there were definitely some surprises (Jim Parsons, Aaron Paul, Conchords, Jermaine) in a good way, as the Academy is finally getting younger and recognizing less of the stale talent... but there was also a lot more of the same (any nominations for Entourage, Weeds, William Shatner - and as much as I love Boston Legal, finally this will open the Best Supporting category to two more people)... and a lot of snubs.

Where was THE SHIELD? The last season was BRILLIANT, and probably one of the best of its entire run? Where was Michael Chiklis? His final performance as Vic Mackey was brilliant, especially his silent last two minutes of the series (and the look on his face when he finally confesses his sins... and realizes he'll get away with it). And lastly, where was the nomination for Walter Scoggins, with his portrayal of the haunted Shane? A travesty they weren't nominated. I would have thought with the Shield departing, it would have gotten some noms...

Also thought 24 was snubbed with his rebounded season, though was nice to see love for Cherry Jones and for Keifer in the movie category. Would have liked a few of the other supporting players nominated too.

Lost - great to see it get nominated for Best Drama Series, but where was Josh Holloway for his intelligent arc and fantastic acting chops?

Where was Jill Scott for No 1 Ladies Detective Agency? I thought she would have been a lock.

How did Entourage get nominated for Best Comedy Series? As much as I did enjoy last season, I barely even remember it. I thought The Big Bang Theory would have been able to jump into that category, though I guess I'd consider a nomination for How I Met Your Mother as consolation... and by the way, I guarantee it wins too.

Lastly, what about TRUE BLOOD? I thought it would have been a lock on Best Drama Series along with Anna Paquin for Best Lead and maybe some of the other supporting players nominated as well.

And no love for Sons of Anarchy or Rescue me?

Shame on you Emmys!
Mad Typist said…
I'm devastated (though not surprised at all) that BSG failed to garner a single significant nomination in its final season. Shame on you, Emmys.

While I do enjoy Family Guy, this year was the weakest in the show's history. If they really wanted to reward an animated series that really pushes the boundaries, I'd say South Park was far more deserving.

Entourage is a crappy show, and to see it nominated instead of Pushing Daisies, Chuck or Better Off Ted is an insult to fans of quality television.

While I'm okay with no nomination for True Blood for best drama (a really competitive category this year), I do think that Nelsan Ellis deserved a nomination for his superb work as Lafayette.
rockauteur said…
Oh and no one mentioned the Emmy for Dr. Horrible!!!! Yeah!
Savvy Veteran said…
The one thing that stands out to me as a big snub (other than obvious, but expected stuff like BSG and The Shield) was no Guest Actress in a Comedy Series love for Amy Ryan. She was freaking brilliant in that role, if I may say so.
Anonymous said…
To make room for no talent Jennifer Aniston. Outrageous. They also snubbed the brilliant team of Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski, who were at the top of their game this season (much more than the increasingly stale antics of Rainn Wilson).

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