By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com July 10, 2014 at 1:30PM
Make no mistake, "Modern Family" is still a big swinging dick in the awards, with a Best Comedy nomination along with nine others, more than any comedy bar "Orange Is The New Black" (which, again, is really a dramedy). But there's definitely signs that the bloom's coming off the rose of ABC's juggernaut. The series started off with fourteen nods, went to a high of seventeen in its second season, then dropped to fourteen, then twelve last year, and now ten for its fifth season. In Supporting Actor, where it once got two-thirds of the nominations, only Ty Burrell and Jesse Tyler Ferguson were nominated, and Sofia Vergara failed to earn a nod for the first time. I haven't seen the show in a long while (roundabout the time it was clear it was telling the story of a gay couple who never touched and argued constantly), but we hear it had a creative renaissance after a couple of duff years, so a haul barely in double figures isn't gonna make anyone happy. And it suggests that "Louie" or "Orange Is The New Black" could end up toppling it for the first time when it comes to winning the category.
Best Actress in a Drama was a brutally tough category this year, so something had to give, but I wish it hadn't been Elisabeth Moss. The actress has been a nominee for "Mad Men" every year since the second season of the show (and got another for "Top Of The Lake" last time around), but fell off the rostrum this year in favor of Caplan and co. An argument could maybe me made that this wasn't Peggy Olsen's finest half-season, but then Michelle Dockery did almost literally nothing on "Downton Abbey" and still got a nod, and "Mad Men" and Moss are just leaps and bounds above that one. Hopefully, the show will find a way to get Moss back into the running for the final run in 2015.
"The Good Wife"
"The Good Wife" has long been an Emmy favorite, and delivered its best season bar none in Season Five, which saw the series taking risks and delivering a level of consistency like never before. On the plus side, Julianna Marguiles and Josh Charles managed to nab nods having missed out last year (in fact, Charles hadn't got one since season two), but the series otherwise failed to make the return to the Best Drama line-up that most had been touting it for. The series had run a bullish campaign, making fun of the likes of "True Detective" on the show, and touting that they were making double the number of episodes as any of their rivals, but it's possible that it backfired among voters. Or it's possible that the bright lights of prestige cable drama proved too much to overcome.
"Brooklyn Nine Nine" (and other new network comedies)
It hasn't been a banner year for the network sitcom on a number of levels, and that was certainly reflected by the Television Academy. There was no chance of little-seen critical-darlings like "Enlisted" or "Trophy Wife" getting in, but more popular series like "The Millers," "Mom" or "The Goldbergs" seemed like they might figure in, of those series, only Allison Janney for "Mom" made much headway. The best hope seemed to be the Golden Globe-winning "Brooklyn Nine Nine," which had a terrific debut season. But the show only got a nod for supporting actor Andre Braugher, suggesting that it's as destined to be overlooked as "Parks And Recreation."
Dean Norris and Rian Johnson
"Breaking Bad" certainly went out on an Emmy high: previous winners Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn all got more nods, and the series got a whopping sixteen in total, more than it's ever earned before. But there were still some notable omissions. The great Dean Norris had never been nominated for playing Hank, generally overshadowed by co-star Paul, but many figured he'd make the cut this time around in recognition of the power of his character's final arc. But ultimately, there wasn't room for him: perhaps his absence from the last few episodes made something of a difference? Meanwhile, Vince Gilligan was nominated for directing, but at the expense of the great Michelle MacLaren (who did "Buried" and "To'hajiilee") and Rian Johnson (whose "Ozymandias" might have been the show's best episode, and which did nab a writing nod). We supposed Johnson will have to console himself with some little "Star Wars" movie he's making...
"True Detective" did incredibly well, and even managed Best Actor nominations for both of its leading men (there was some fear that Woody Harrelson might have been overlooked in favor of the showier turn by McConaughey), but the Emmys certainly seemed to think that it was all something of a two-man show. And while many had touted Michelle Monaghan for a nomination, but failed to materialize. In fairness, the character was mostly underwritten, but the always excellent Monaghan did manage to flesh her out to some degree, so it's a shame to see her out in the cold. Still, Monaghan might have a chance down the line: she's playing the lead in a new Ryan Murphy pilot for HBO called "Open."
"The Americans"/"Hannibal"/Tatiana Maslany etc. etc.
When it comes to the Oscars, there are certain movies that are just too challenging, too outside the Academy's wheelhouse, or simply too underseen to ever end up being nominated for anything. That's why we assume that say, "Under The Skin" isn't going to be a major force at the Oscars early next year. This is all a long way round of saying that we're not surprised that "Orphan Black" star Tatiana Maslany wasn't nominated, that "Broad City" missed out on best comedy, or that "The Americans" or "Hannibal" weren't among the Best Drama nominees (or, indeed, got only one nod between them). In Maslany's case, she's well-liked, but the show doesn't have the viewership to beat out tough competition, while "Broad City" skews young and feels slight against "Girls" (which also missed out on a nod this year), while "The Americans" has just failed to get traction with Emmy voters, despite being blindingly good, and "Hannibal" was never going to be their cup of tea. That said, it's still somewhat outrageous that the latter didn't even get a nod for cinematography (or music, sound and editing), given that it's clearly the best looking show on TV).
What are you thoughts? What else was overlooked, and what were you pleased to see? Let us know below.