EmmyWatch: Some Initial Reactions

It’s taken me a while to formulate some coherent thoughts around the Emmy nominations announced earlier today. It’s not that I haven’t had any reactions, but it’s just that it has been a real shit storm of a day for me personally. Sometimes, the personal comes (and should come) ahead of the frivolous. Also, I watched the announcements squarely using the Television Academy’s direct feed for the first time, so I don’t have the noise of on-air commentators or online bloggers in my head. I haven’t had time for it, and, honestly, it’s been pretty nice.

That said, I do have a few pointed thoughts on some successes and some misses across the board. Overall, it was a very solid batch of Emmy nominees. There are ALWAYS things to complain about, but, this year, those are fewer and far between. So, let’s start with the good:

The Good

Game of Thrones, a show I clearly love, is also clearly loved by the Television Academy. Aside from receiving the highest number of nominations (24), it’s the only Drama that received show, acting, directing, and writing nominations across the board. They love it so much that they even nominated Emilia Clarke again when Daenerys had very little to do this season. The annoying thing about that is that Lena Headey (also nominated) now has to compete against Clarke for the win, resulting in a potential split vote for the Games ladies.

Tatiana Maslany finally received recognition from the Television Academy. I don’t watch Orphan Black, but her performance is apparently so fantastic, so legendary, that it has become the world’s obsession as to why she wasn’t nominated. Good for her. It’s nice to see hard work recognized… and the Internet appeased.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt received more major nominations than many thought it would. There were two camps of prognosticators: those that thought Ellie Kemper would be the series’ only major nomination and those that thought the Emmys would recognize the whole shebang. The nominations proved the latter with one major exception. We’ll talk about that later.

Lisa Kudrow’s nomination for The Comeback proves that the Emmys still love and recognize quality – when they love a particular actress. I’m also super-psyched about Parks & Recreation receiving a bid for Comedy Series on its series finale run. It won’t win, but it’s good for the Television Academy to give it a farewell hug. They’re a hard-working and brilliantly funny crew that got the shaft from NBC. Good for them.

The Bizarre

My only nomination for the strangest Emmy love is for the 19 nominations bestowed upon FX’s American Horror Story: Freak Show season. I expected a boatload of technical nominations – the sets and cinematography were fantastic – but SIX acting nominations? Sarah Paulson, Jessica Lange, and Finn Wittrock were all expected but Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Dennis O’Hare? For this season? They weren’t given a lot to do, and where was Michael Chicklis? Everybody thought he’d be nominated for certain. Ryan Murphy clearly has a passionate love affair with the Television Academy. All I have to say is watch out for Scream Queens and, more probably, American Crime Story.

The Bad

The Affair. Zero nominations. The trouble with going out on a limb passionately for a show (as I did) is that, one, it clouds your judgment. Around late April or early May, I felt a complete lack of buzz for the brilliant show. The writing was on the wall, and I painted over it. Then, it kind of sucks to go all-out for zero results. I will forever believe that the Academy messed this one up, if only for recognizing Ruth Wilson’s great performance.

Vera Farmiga was shunned for her series best work in Bates Motel. I didn’t expect her to be there, although I certainly went to bat for her. She’s an amazing actress who consistently feels under-appreciated to me. She’s not widely used in film, and she’s not given nearly the right amount of recognition she deserves for her television work here in Bates. I’ve said why she deserved a nomination, and I know in my heart that I was right. It was a tough category and was populated with some actresses who haven’t really grown their characters in years (looking at you Claire Danes).

Speaking of Homeland, I don’t know how the hell you watch the fourth season of that show and NOT nominate Mandy Patinkin for his electrifying performance. He carried Saul into the darkest of places and provided the emotional core of the season that balanced Carrie’s wilder moments. I know he’s been nominated before, and it’s nice to recognize new blood. But, damn. He was that good.

How in the world could the Emmys show completely embrace Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt but omit its star, its reason for being, Ellie Kemper? She IS the show. The show IS her. Everything else is just window dressing. If you love the show, then you kind of have to love her. It’s a huge snub to poor Kemper who, undoubtedly in true Kimmy fashion, will still smile her way up the red carpet in September.

Some will say Empire‘s lack of major nominations (aside from Taraji P. Henson) is a bad thing. I predicted it for major awards, but I’m not really surprised it didn’t get there. It was too soapy and too over the top to win over the Academy on the whole.

I’m very happy for Silicon Valley‘s major nominations (series, direction and writing), but I don’t know how, for the second year, the talented and funny cast didn’t make it in. I felt for sure that T.J. Miller was a shoo-in and perhaps a dark horse to win. Strange how these things work. Perhaps they’re not famous enough? Perhaps the Academy thinks they’re really developers? Who knows.

What did you like about the nominations? What did you miss? Leave your comments below!


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