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The Snubs & Surprises Of The 2012 Emmy Nominations

by Oliver Lyttelton
July 20, 2012 11:14 AM
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Of the three major sections, comedy was the biggest heartbreaker. That said, there were some bright spots. "Community" was shut out of the major categories, as expected, but did manage to pick up a nomination (after an animation nod last year) for writer Chris McKenna, and his work on "Remedial Chaos Theory," which stands as a highpoint of the series, and one of the best sitcom episodes we've ever seen. It's sad that creator Dan Harmon's name wasn't on the episode, given he's now left the series, but such is the curse of the hands-on showrunner.

We were also pleased and proud of the multiple nods -- for writing, directing and acting -- for Lena Dunham and Louis C.K. for "Girls" and "Louie," all of which were well deserved. "Parks and Recreation" also did well in the writing category, with noms for showrunner Michael Schur and star Amy Poehler, and that makes us happy. But it seems entirely puzzling that the four best comedies of TV made up the writing nominations, and yet all but "Girls" were shut out of nods for Best Comedy Series. Sort it out, Emmys. And given the enormously impressive list of directors the show has attracted (John Hamburg, Miguel Arteta, Peyton Reed, Jesse Peretz, David Wain, Lynn Shelton, Nanette Burstein), it was odd that Jake Kasdan's just-ok direction of the pilot for "New Girl" got a nod over the others.

Beyond that, the "Modern Family" crew unsurprisingly dominated the supporting categories, to the extent that we wouldn't be surprised if Baby Lily got a nomination in a few years (to be fair, she is awesome). Kristen Wiig could potentially upset in supporting actress, however, with Mayim Bialik and Merritt Wever making up the numbers, and a nice posthumous nod for Kathryn Joosten in there too. One of the boys of "Modern Family" will take the supporting actor prize, but "New Girl" breakout Max Greenfield and Bill Hader are both deserving nominees, even if we'd swap them both for the Nick Offerman nomination that was meant to happen.

As for lead actress, it was so competitive that it was expanded to seven nominees, and should be one of the toughest categories. Given the lack of love for "Parks and Recreation," we're less sure than before about Poehler's victory -- Dunham or Deschanel could win their first time out, and veterans Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tina Fey should never be counted out. Best Actor shook out as expected, although we'd thought that Jon Cryer might miss out, given slipping ratings for "Two and a Half Men."

And finally, we were dispirited most of all by the Best Comedy nods. Although the shows are far from the best on TV, we were resigned to "The Big Bang Theory" and "Modern Family" getting in, but we'd figured that after weaker seasons than usual, that "30 Rock" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" could drop out to make way for new blood -- "Louie," "Parks and Recreation" or even "Community." We got new blood, but in the shape of HBO duo "Girls" and "Veep." We're pleased for the former, but a bit nonplussed by the latter, which had a decent first season, but pales a bit next to the competition. We can only assume that residual love for Julia Louis-Dreyfus from the "Seinfeld" era pushed it over the edge.

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  • Todd | July 20, 2012 1:05 PMReply

    That Hugh Laurie was not nominated for his incredible work on House is nothing less than stunning. However, what destroys any credibility of these awards is that the finest actress of our time, Ms. Emily Watson, was not nominated. This is not an outrage, it is a tragedy of epic proportions.

  • Leni | July 20, 2012 1:02 PMReply

    I loved Veep too, so I don't mind the nominations, but it's the Parks snubs that bother me the most! It should have been in there for best show, and Nick Offerman should have been nominated hands down. In fact, they could fill the supporting actor list at least as well as Modern Family. Offerman, Chris Pratt, Rob Lowe and Aziz Ansari are at least as good as the MF guys (and I do like MF). Just a baffling, disappointing day for Parks fans.

  • Ken | July 20, 2012 12:47 PMReply

    I don't care what you guys say, I loved every single episode of Veep. I wish I knew more people who felt that way.

    Congrats to Louie, I'm glad we can all get behind that one at least. Now let's see if he actually wins any of the awards. C'mon Academy, give it to the man.

  • justin | July 20, 2012 3:21 PM

    i agree with you ken. i adored the first season of veep. i thought the writing and acting were always on point. all in all i'm pleasantly surprised by how the nominations went. i'm a little sad for morena baccarin and mandy patinkin but i am equally happy that merrit weaver, jared harris, anna gunn, joanne froggatt and michael c hall got nominations (it may not have been a strong overall season for dexter, but to deny hall's acting ability in this category would just be unfitting for someone who is able to shine above the material he is working with). overall, with so many great surprises shaking up the usually very predictable emmys, i think it's a year to celebrate the diversity, instead of griping over shows that weren't nominated. i am also very interested to see how the bset series comedy/drama actually turn out with such a great group of contenders in both.

  • Arch | July 20, 2012 12:13 PMReply

    I won't talk about Girls ... but American horror story ? I mean that was terrible, even considering how low the mainstream horror genre went the last few years.

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