For Every Sadness There Is Joy – Emmy Analysis

The 68th Annual Emmy nominations brought the expected amount of joy and sadness – Emmy analysis

It takes a bit for me to absorb it all, but I’m equally split down the middle on this morning’s Emmy nominations. There are certainly a lot of reasons to be satisfied with this morning’s Emmy nominations. Like Tatiana Maslany last year (and again this year), years of campaigning and online outrage finally resulted in serious Emmy attention for FX’s critically acclaimed The Americans. I’m happy for this series even though I haven’t yet caught up to it. In the final Emmy analysis, the Television Academy saved face by nominating what is widely considered to be the best drama on television today.

But that doesn’t mean it’s going to win…

That’s a question for another day. Today, the Television Academy seemed to make incremental steps toward embracing a broader set of nominees. It may still be something of a mixed message, though. Game of Thrones led the day with 23 nominations, one down from last year’s haul. Series co-stars Kit Harington and Maisie Williams both received first-time nominations, but two nominations in the Supporting Actor category and three nominations in the Supporting Actress category felt somewhat obscene. Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke both do routinely solid work, but their nominations kept out some deserving contenders. Plus, I’m not even sure I would have nominated Maisie Williams whose Arya Stark seemed to just be pummeled through the season. Sophie Turner was, in my opinion, far more deserving for deftly illustrating the shift in Sansa Stark’s persona.

The problem with the Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category now is the three nominations for Game of Thrones, which likely splits votes. This gives Maggie Smith, Maura Tierney, and Constance Zimmer a leg up in a year where I thought Lena Headey was the sure-fire front runner.

Speaking of Zimmer, it’s great to see the Television Academy recognize some freshman series when they tend to hold off. There’s a delicate line between getting attention your first year and never getting attention again, and UnReal and Mr. Robot did well considering Emmy tends to not like new things. Even Breaking Bad had to wait a few years before it received widespread Emmy attention.

The other big news was the love for FX’s big limited series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Of course, a large nomination haul is not news. However, something coming within one nomination of Game of Thrones was by all counts astounding. The side effect? All those acting nominations received historically by American Horror Story were cannibalized as expected by American Crime Story. FX’s horror anthology series received only 8 nominations, down from last year series-record 19 nominations. How do we feel about that? I sort of hate to have American Horror Story: Freak Show (arguably its worst season) to be the awards high mark for the series. Alas…

Emmy apparently wasn’t phased by the series departure for Downton Abbey which still managed to receive 10 nominations (up from last year), but it wasn’t as big of a support swell as once thought. Only Maggie Smith made it into the acting races where Jim Carter, Joanne Froggatt, Michelle Dockery, and Hugh Bonneville were once contenders. Still, 10 nominations is far preferable to the complete lack of love for The Good Wife‘s final season. While some had expected an uptick in nominations for the well received farewell tour, the series received only four nominations, leaving out nearly perennial nominees Alan Cumming and Christine Baranski completely. They left out former winner Julianna Margulies as well.

HBO’s recent troubles are visible in their Emmy nominations. Of course, they still received a dominant 94 total nominations, but that’s down from last year’s 126 nominations. While it’s nothing to scoff at, it certainly shows cracks in the armor as Netflix and FX continue to expand their Emmy traction. Pressure’s on, Westworld.

Overall, I’m fairly satisfied with today’s Emmy nominations. I’m sure over the next few hours and days I will continue to pour over them, obsess about them, and find all new reasons to complain. But, today, I’m happy for Maura Tierney and Sarah Paulson and increasing love for Veep (including surprise nominee Matt Walsh). I’m sad that Rachel Bloom and Christian Slater and, as always, everyone involved in Bates Motel or Schitt’s Creek were left off the list. But what can you do?

At least this year, I personally feel like the Emmys got more right than they did wrong. Until the possible nomination slots expand to recognize the incredible quality available on television right now, you’re always going to have those left off on nomination morning.

But there’s always hope next year. Just as The Americans.

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