2013 Emmy Nominations Show Signs of Change

2013-emmy-awardsOn July 18th, Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad and Neil Patrick Harris from How I Met Your Mother announced he nominees for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. The biggest number of nominations went to American Horror Story: Asylum with 17(!), including Outstanding Miniseries and Jessica Lange for Lead Actress in a TV Miniseries or Movie. Nerdom/Geekdom favorite Game of Thrones followed close behind with 16.

The “Big 3” of comedy all pulled in big numbers. For its final season, 30 Rock pulled 13 nominations, Modern Family scored 12, and The Big Bang Theory settled for 8. As usual, HBO netted the most noms, 108, and NBC and CBS tied with 53.

Emmy’s Changing Tide

But none of that is the real news. This year is shaping up to be a season of change for the Emmy’s. Most TV fans are applauding the 2 nominations for Scandal. Kerry Washington scored a nomination in the Outstanding Actress in a Drama category for her exemplary work, and Dan Bucatinsky earned a nod in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama category. Political Animals, the critically acclaimed yet cancelled series from USA, took spots in the Outstanding TV Miniseries or Movie, Outstanding Lead Actress in a TV Miniseries or Movie (Sigourney Weaver), and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV Series or Movie (Ellen Burstyn). And the most groundbreaking nods were for the Netflix series House of Cards: Outstanding Drama, Outstanding Actor in a Drama (Kevin Spacey), and Outstanding Actress in a Drama (Robin Wright).

None of these series are traditional industry darlings. Just taking a quick glance at the list of nominees, it is clear that there are a handful of projects that the “powers that be” have deemed worthy of serious consideration, and Scandal, Political Animals, and House of Cards just don’t match their pattern. Scandal isn’t gritty or noir or overly-serious. Political Animals, though a political thought piece, isn’t laden with gravitas. And House of Cards is only available through Netflix.

Is this a sign that the face of TV is changing? Is the establishment being moved?

Not so fast. That might be taking things a bit far. Rather, I think the industry might just be diversifying its portfolio. At the end of the day, it’s all about entertainment. And as the face of entertainment changes, it’s only natural that the nominations would extend further also.

Snubs

A list of nominees is never complete without a list of those snubbed. Everyone will have their personal beliefs about who or what should have been nominated where, but the following three stand out to me as clear misses by the academy.

1. John Noble served up exemplary work throughout the entire series of Fringe, but sadly, he has not been nominated for the big prize even once. As the series closed this season, it would have been nice to see his name on the list for Outstanding Actor or Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, even if the industry-heads would probably never let him take the prize home (deserved or not).

2. Monica Potter’s work on Parenthood this season has been beyond amazing. She brought the reality of breast cancer to life on-screen, impeccably depicting the process of being diagnosed, going through treatment, and dealing with all of the emotional fallout. Though Parenthood itself is not at the top of critics’ lists, I expected to see her name listed for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series and thought she stood a chance at winning, judging on performance alone.

scandal3. This last snub might be pushing it, but I was really hoping to see Scandal nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. When you look at the current list of nominees, the shows are all so heavy. These are the same shows, or at least the same types of shows, that get nominated every year. Why not shake things up a bit? Scandal was firing on all cylinders this season, and stellar work was done by everyone from writers to cinematographers to actors to directors. It may not be dealing with the most serious of subject matters at all times, but I haven’t come across anyone that has seen the season and not had glowing things to say. And I can’t say that about all of the nominated shows.

Now that we’ve hashed out this year’s highlights and snubs, check out a short-list of the categories below (with my dream winners in blue):

DRAMA SERIES

“Breaking Bad” (AMC)
“Downton Abbey” (PBS)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“Homeland” (Showtime)
“House of Cards” (Netflix)
“Mad Men” (AMC)

ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey”)
Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”)
Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom”)
Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”)
Damian Lewis (“Homeland”)
Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”)

ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Claire Danes (“Homeland”)
Vera Farmiga (“Bates Motel”)
Michelle Dockery (“Downton Abbey”)
Robin Wright (“House of Cards”)
Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”)
Connie Britton (“Nashville”)
Kerry Washington (“Scandal”)

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Bobby Cannavale (“Boardwalk Empire”)
Jonathan Banks (“Breaking Bad”)
Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”)
Jim Carter (“Downton Abbey”)
Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”) 
Many Patinkin (“Homeland”)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad”)
Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey”)
Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”)
Christine Baranski (“The Good Wife”)
Morena Baccarin (“Homeland”)
Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”)

COMEDY SERIES
“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
“Girls” (HBO)
“Louie” (FX)
“Modern Family” (ABC)
“30 Rock” (NBC)
“Veep” (HBO)

ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”)
Jason Bateman (“Arrested Development”)
Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”)
Matt LeBlanc (“Episodes”)
Louie C.K (“Louie”)
Don Cheadle (“House of Lies”)

ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Tina Fey (“30 Rock”)
Laura Dern (“Enlightened”)
Lena Dunham (“Girls”)
Edie Falco (“Nurse Jackie”)
Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”)

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Adam Driver (“Girls”)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Modern Family”)
Ed O’Neill  (“Modern Family”)
Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”)
Bill Hader (“SNL”)
Tony Hale (“Veep”)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory”)
Jane Lynch (“Glee”)
Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”)
Julie Bowen (“Modern Family”)
Merritt Wever (“Nurse Jackie”)
Jane Krakowski (“30 Rock”)
Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”)

MINISERIES OR MOVIE
“American Horror Story: Asylum” (FX)
“Behind the Candelabra” (HBO)
“The Bible” (History)
“Phil Spector” (HBO)
“Political Animals” (USA)
“Top of the Lake” (Sundance Channel)

REALITY COMPETITION
“The Amazing Race” (CBS)
“Dancing With the Stars” (ABC)
“Project Runway” (Lifetime)
“So You Think You Can Dance” (FOX)
“Top Chef” (Bravo)
“The Voice” (NBC)

REALITY COMPETITION HOST
Ryan Seacrest (“American Idol”)
Betty White (“Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”)
Tom Bergeron (“Dancing With The Stars”)
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (“Project Runway”)
Cat Deeley (“So You Think You Can Dance”)
Anthony Bourdain (“The Taste”)

GUEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Nathan Lane (“The Good Wife”)
Michael J. Fox (“The Good Wife”)
Rupert Friend (“Homeland”)
Robert Morse (“Mad Men”)
Harry Hamlin (“Mad Men”)
Dan Bucatinsky (“Scandal”)

GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Margo Martindale (“The Americans”)
Diana Rigg (“Game Of Thrones”)
Carrie Preston (“The Good Wife”)
Linda Cardellini (“Mad Men”)
Jane Fonda (“The Newsroom”)
Joan Cusack (“Shameless”)

GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Bob Newhart (“The Big Bang Theory”)
Nathan Lane (“Modern Family”)
Bobby Cannavale (“Nurse Jackie”)
Louis C.K. (“Saturday Night Live”)
Justin Timberlake (“Saturday Night Live”)
Will Forte (“30 Rock”)

GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Molly Shannon (“Enlightened”)
Dot-Marie Jones (“Glee”)
Melissa Leo (“Louie”)
Melissa McCarthy (“Saturday Night Live”)
Kristen Wiig (“Saturday Night Live”)
Elaine Stritch (“30 Rock”)

VARIETY SERIES
“The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central )
“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” (Comedy Central )
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC)
“Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” (NBC)
“Real Time With Bill Maher” (HBO)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

For the full list of nominees, head to Emmys.tv.

Who do you think will win? Who are you hoping will win? Who do you think got snubbed? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Daren W. Jackson

Co-Founder/Editor
Daren is one half of the Water Cooler Convos team. He's a writer, music connoisseur, and comic book geek who spends his free time working on his novel and other short stories.