16 July 2009

The 2009 Emmy Nominees

By // TV

The 61st Primetime Emmy Award Nominations were announced this morning (by the amazing team of Chandra “Bailey” Wilson and Jim “Sheldon” Parsons, who both acted suitably humble when their own names were called). The complete list of nominations is available online at The following are what I consider to be the highlights and curiosities of the list (my ideal winners are in red).

  • Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer and Dan Castellaneta get nominations for voice-over performance for Family Guy, Robot Chicken and The Simpsons.
  • Outstanding Animated Program nominations go to American Dad, Robot Chicken, The Simpsons and South Parkbut no Family Guy.
  • The Art Direction Award should go to Damages but it’s not even nominated in that category, neither is Dexter, another high art direction achiever. Instead, Bones, Heroes, Mad Men, Pushing Daisies, True Blood and The Tudors get the nom for the more challenging single-camera style while multi-camera art direction becomes one of How I Met Your Mother’s few nominations.
  • Outstanding Casting nominations go to Californication, The Office, 30 Rock, United States of Tara, Weeds, Damages, Friday Night Lights, Mad Men, True Blood and The Tudors. 30 Rock books the best guest stars, United States of Tara established a perfect new ensemble this season and Friday Night Lights is brilliantly handling the gradual transition from an old cast to a new one- it’s a tough call.
  • Choreography nominations go to that terrible musical tribute at the Oscars, a random Dancing with the Stars number that was choreographed by the lovely Hough siblings and a staggering 4 nominations for the choreographic showcase that is So You Think You Can Dance: Tabatha & Napoleon’s “Bleeding Love”, Mia’s door routine, Tyce’s Adam and Eve contemporary and an unmemorable tango from ballroom genius Dmitry.
  • Cinematography- same question as Art Direction: where are Damages and Dexter? I’ll pick Weedsand Breaking Bad for the wins though.
  • Outstanding Commercial- I’m rooting for the genius of the Hulu “we’re aliens” marketing team on this one. Though I prefer the Seth MacFarlane version, the superbowl ad with Alec Baldwin got the nomination.
  • Costume nominations go to Mad Men, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Pushing Daisies, The Tudorsand Ugly Betty. Ok, I’m just going to say it, I want Gossip Girl on this list next year! And what about So You Think You Can Dance? They cover more genres of dress than anything else in a single week.
  • Directing: 3 nominations for 30 Rock and one each for Entourage, Flight of the Conchordsand The Office, making me wonder what’s so impressive about those series over other sitcoms directing-wise? On the other side of the genre coin,Damages finally gets a aesthetic nomination, BattlestarGalacticapicks up a rare nod, Boston Legal and ER get recognized for the direction of their swan songs and Mad Men makes the cut yet again (are they nominated for everything?)
  • Is it too much to hope that How I Met Your Mother might pick up a trophy for editing if it’s up against 30 Rock and 3 Office episodes?
  • I will never completely understand why Outstanding Hairstyling is a category, especially when some of the nominees have a pretty “shampoo and blow dry”- looking style (*cough* Desperate Housewives *cough*). But period and genre pieces like Mad Men, The Tudorsand Pushing Daisies I suppose would present some styling challenges. Multi-Camera Series nominees make a bit more sense (Dancing with the Stars, MADtv and SNL– they have to do crazy things with limited time) but what’s with Two and a Half Men? Aren’t they all men? Again, where’s So You Think You Can Dance on this one?
  • Outstanding Main Title Design- the field is getting pretty thin on this one since everyone’s opting out of a good old fashioned credit sequence these days. Luckily, Lie to Me, Storymakers, Taking Chances, True Blood and United States of Tararecognize the value of an iconic opener (the fact that I’ve never heard of some of them gives this view less credence).
  • As for Outstanding Makeup, I say give it to Grey’s Anatomy for the bloodiness/hot people in need of eyeliner combo. Obviously the prosthetics and non-prosthetics categories for made-for-TV movies will go to Grey’s Gardens and their aging makeup. Though YAY on the inclusions of SYTYCD and SNL.
  • Justin Timberlake hits it big in the Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics category for his “I Love Sports” number at the ESPYS and for “Motherlover” on SNL. Hugh Jackman at the Oscars (overrated), A Colbert Christmas, A Muppets Christmas and Flight of the Conchords are his competition.
  • Getting down to the interesting stuff, Lead Comedy Actor nominees are Jim Parsons (YAY), Jermaine Clement (seriously? Ok, he’s great), Tony Shalhoub (GO AWAY MONK!), Steve Carell (in his best season in years), Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men is NOT funny) and Alec Baldwin (30 Rock is).
  • In possibly the toughest category this year, super-geniuses Bryan Cranston, Michael C Hall, Hugh Laurie, Gabriel Byrne, Jon Hamm and Simon Baker will battle it out for the Top Lead Actor in a Drama spot. (Anyone else noticing the conspicuous absence of former winner James Spader after Boston Legal’s final season?!)
  • While I don’t usually care about Miniseries or Movie nominations, the theatre geek in me loves the fact that Kevin Kline and Ian McKellen’s “Great Performances” of Cyrano de Bergerac and King Lear got nominations.
  • The Lead Comedy Actress category is another tough one with seriously funny ladies Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Christina Applegate, Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman (seriously? Awesome!), Mary Louise Parker and Toni Collette as this year’s nominees.
  • Once again, this year’s Lead Dramatic Actress nominees are not at all interesting. I don’t watch it myself but isn’t there a BattlestarGalacticaactress to put on this list? Or how about Elizabeth Mitchell and Evangeline Lily? Or the entire female cast of Big Love. Or CONNIE BRITTON for crying out loud! Instead, the pretentious Emmys chose to honour the predictable choices Sally Field, Kyra Sedgwick, Glenn Close, Mariska Hargitay, Elisabeth Moss and Holly Hunter; all good actresses, but I would argue not all the best on TV.
  • I really think this is Neil Patrick Harris’ year to finally (not only host) but win the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. I say this because he’s up against a pretty random crew (that doesn’t include Jeremy Piven): Kevin Dillon, Rainn Wilson, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer (really? Come on!) and Jon Cryer. WHERE IS MICHAEL URIE’S NOMINATION!?! COME ON PEOPLE!
  • But here is where we celebrate: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama. First of all, can I get a “hell yeah!” on behalf of the freaking fantastic Aaron Paul and his nomination for Breaking Bad! Then let’s feel the love for Christian Clemenson (as well as a sort of nostalgic fondness for his co-star William Shatner as their series comes to an end). Finally, the category is topped off by solid performers like William Hurt, Michael Emerson and John Slattery. My only issue would be the heartbreaking lack of Michael Rhys, Justin Chambers and Enver Gjokaj on this list.
  • Supporting Comedy Actress honours Amy Poehler (sure the Palin rap was pretty great but she did less than half a season, I think maybe this is a little ridiculous). But it also honours Kristin Wiig, who (in Poehler’s absence) has been holding her own brilliantly as the only female member of the principle cast of SNL. Adorable Kristin Chenowethwho had a particularly great season, Jane Krakowski who had a pretty typical season, Vanessa Williams (likewise) and the brilliant Elizabeth Perkins round out the bunch. Here’s where I put forward the idea that maybe it’s about time to create a category for the likes of Poehler and Wiig (as well as their male counterparts and their MADtv rivals) instead of throwing them in with the supporting actresses and taking away nominations from deserving primetime gals like Portia de Rossi, Jennifer Esposito, Cobie Smulders, Rosemarie Dewitt and Angela Kinsey.
  • Supporting Dramatic Actress has lots of love for Grey’s Anatomy (Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson- even though it was very clearly a Katherine Heigl season) as well as In Treatment (Hope Davis and Dianne Wiest). Rose Byrne and Cherry Jones bring up the back of an uninteresting group (that ridiculously doesn’t contain any Walker siblings, Leighton Meester, Dichen Lachman, Amanda Seyfried, Louanne Stephens, Grace Zabriskie or Adrienne Palicki).
  • Guest Actor in a Comedy: YAY for Beau Bridges, SUPER YAY for Justin Timberlake, YAY for Jon Hamm and Alan Alda, a slightly excited but still sincere YAY for Steve Martin. An annoyed grunt over 3/5 nominations all being 30 Rock.
  • The Guest Actor in a Drama category is boring but I love Michael J Fox enough to mention that he was nominated for Rescue Me, even though I never saw his performance.
  • Guest Actress in a Comedy: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? NO AMY RYAN? THAT’S CRAP! I like Christine Baranski, I like Betty White, I like Jennifer Aniston, Elaine Stritch is always funny and Gena Rowlands is there too. Obviously Tina Fey is going to win for her Palin impersonation but she shouldn’t (even though I love her) because this trophy belongs to the un-nominated Amy Ryan!
  • Guest Actress in a Drama is Law & Order mania with 3 nominations: Ellen Burstyn, Brenda Blethyn and Carol Burnett (who I’d put my money on to win). CCH Pounder is there too but I’m rooting for Sharon Lawrence’s stirring performance as Izzie’s mom on Grey’s Anatomy.
  • They may have improved on last year with the additions of Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi and (not really a host) Tom Colicchio, but the Emmys have gotten the Reality Host category wrong again by including dull Tom Bergeron and omni-absent Phil Keoghan alongside decent hosts Ryan Seacrest, Jeff Probst and Heidi Klum while ignoring the best host on TV, Cat Deeley.
  • Outstanding Comedy Series: THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED TO FAMILY GUY! Apparently it transcended it’s genre to get a nomination for best comedy instead of best animated series. Entourage, The Office, 30 Rock and Weeds show up again in this category, alongside suprising dark horse Flight of the Conchordsand FINALLY a nomination for the uber-deserving How I Met Your Mother. Sadly, no United States of Tara or Better off Ted.
  • Outstanding Drama hits it right on the head with Big Love, Breaking Bad, Damages, Dexter, House, Lost and Mad Men. My only gripe would be the complete exclusion of genre shows like BattlestarGalactica and Dollhouse as well as the traditional snubbing of the genius of Friday Night Lights.
  • Variety, Music or Comedy Series sees rewards going to the few shows that haven’t changed hosts this year (Letterman, Colbert Report, Daily Show and Real Time) as well as SNL, which is sure to win for their fall election coverage and receive a pardon for that mediocre second half.
  • Some random “special class” category decides to honour Battlestar andDr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog, among others. I decide I like the “special class” category, even if I don’t understand it.
  • There’s a Children’s Program Category? Great, another awards show that can guarantee Miley Cyrus’ attendance.
  • Since when is Antiques Roadshow considered an Outstanding Reality Program? For that matter, since when is Dirty Jobs, Dog Whisperer, MythBusters or Intervention? Yay for Kathy Griffin though!
  • Reality Competition once again goes for wide appeal (Amazing Race, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars) and niche trendiness (Project Runway, Top Chef), completely missing the show that caters to both (So You Think You Can Dance)
  • Visual Effects nominations go to otherwise ignored series like Battlestar Galactica, Fringe, Heroes, Ghost Whisperer and Sanctuary. My advice to producers of genre TV: take your kicks where you can get ‘em.
  • Stunt Co-ordination is a category? GO CHUCK! I get Burn Notice, Chuck, Criminal Minds and 24, but why is My Name is Earl nominated for this?
  • Writing for a Comedy is ridiculous! No way Flight of the Conchords gets nominated alongside FOUR 30 Rock episodes. That’s ridiculous. Especially since “Reunion”, “Apollo, Apollo”, “Mamma Mia” and “Kidney, Now!” weren’t even written by the Emmys’ beloved Tina. What about all the other fantastically written comedy shows out there? What about United States of Tara that’s written by Oscar winning scribe Diablo Cody? Or the underappreciated but heavily-quoted How I Met Your Mother guys? Time to share the love. 30 Rock is good but it’s not the only good thing out there.
  • WHAT THE HECK! The same thing happened with drama (an even bigger issue!)Lostgets one nomination (thankfully, it’s for an episode that was actually written by the showrunners) and all the other nominations are for Mad Men (4 in total). Big Love was freaking amazing this year! What about Damages’ intricate suspense building or Brothers & Sisters’ incomparable character development? I’m not even going to get started on the hundreds of things that the Friday Night Lights writers do right every week.
  • Variety, Music or Comedy writing saves it with their standard nominations for The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Late Show with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live. As much as I love my daily dose of Jon Stewart, I’m going to have to go with my beloved Seth Meyers on this one and give it to him (SNL head writer) and his gigantic team of satirists.

Congratulations! You made it to the end of the commentary. Post in the comments section to tell us what you think of theEmmy nominees and snubbings.


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