Knee-Jerk React: EMMY NOMINATIONS 2014

Here’s your list of 2014 Emmy nominees, as Sean and David offer cheers and catcalls. Academy gonna Academy.

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
Orange is the New Black
Silicon Valley

Sean: Let’s get this started.  The usual suspects are here along with a big ol’ surprise nomination for Silicon Valley.  The show got lots of love from the critics, but I don’t know anyone who was actually watching it.  At first the sight of Orange is the New Black‘s nomination made me gag, but I had to remind myself that it was for its first charmingly off-balance season and not for its dreadfully unfocused second.

David: I know Nathan is a fan of both SV and Orange (though I can’t get him to actually write about either), so I’m accepting this group of nominees with only one caveat: Big Bang Theory, still, over Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Parks and Rec? I know it wasn’t Parks’ best year, but one still deserves a slot. Either way, my horse is still Veep. (And as for my beloved Community? ONE nomination. For Stunts. I know!)


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Taylor Schilling, Orange is the New Black

Sean: Again, the usual suspects, but now with the inclusion of Taylor Schilling from Orange is the New Black.  She’s fine on the show, but unfortunately her character is the least interesting thing about it.  Can anyone stop Julia Louis-Dreyfus from her third consecutive win for Veep?  I think not.

David: Pretty straightforward. Dunham still got a nod for Actress even if her show has been bumped; Falco and McCarthy are here just for being themselves. Poehler rocks, it’s a token inclusion. JLD is a juggernaut.


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Louis C.K., Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Sean: The most interesting nomination here is Ricky Gervais’s inclusion for the Netflix series Derek.  Was anyone expecting that?

David: Where is Golden Globe Winner Andy Samberg? This is by far the most head-scratching category. Showtime is committing category fraud with Shameless, pitching it to the Comedy division in its 4th season. And Derek isn’t particularly good, nor is Gervais particularly good in it. (I’d have much rather seen Adam Scott or Joel McHale, but that’s a pipe dream.) These are lazy choices, though the laziest of all would have been Robin Williams. Dodged that bullet.


Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate Mulgrew, Orange is the New Black
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Sean: Kate Mulgrew’s Red is the best thing about Orange is the New Black.  I’m very happy to see she got a nomination.  The Emmys continue their tradition of nominating an actress from Saturday Night Live that I find grating, but everyone else seems to love with Kate McKinnon.

David: That’s two nominations this year for the indomitable Allison Janney (also Guest Actress for Masters of Sex), which is a good thing even if I have zero interest in Mom. But I’m also thrilled to see Anna Chlumsky make the cut. Feels like a wide-open race.


Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Fred Armisen, Portlandia
Tony Hale, Veep

Sean: I’m very happy for Adam Driver, who continues to deliver knockout work in Girls even when Lena Dunham does everything in her power to make him look like a morbid jerk.  Tony Hale also had one of his best seasons ever on Veep.  I’m rooting for him all the way (please tell me his submission was the bathroom scene from “Crate”).  Oh, and we are down to only two men from Modern Family being nominated.  Baby steps.

David: “Crate” was Hale’s submission ep, and JLD’s as well, which was perfect. But the big news is WOOHOO ANDRE BRAUGHER! He’s so much fun on B99, and has an outside shot to win just by virtue of being Andre Braugher. Unlike the Lead Actor category, this is an idiosyncratic group I can mostly get behind (though if you saw Ron Offerman in Parks’s “London” and still didn’t nominate him, you should be disbarred–and I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw a little love Keith David’s way, of the completely charming Enlisted).


Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Episodes — “Episode 305” (David Crane)
Louie — “So Did The Fat Lady” (Louis C.K.)
Orange Is the New Black — “I Wasn’t Ready” (Jenji Kohan and Liz Friedman)
Silicon Valley — “Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency” (Alec Berg)
Veep — “Special Relationship” (Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche and Armando Iannucci)

Sean:  “Special Relationship” was indeed a great episode and it hearkened back to Iannucci’s In the Thick of It days, but I really wish “Crate” had gotten the love.  Easily the best episode of an amazing season.

David: As the resident drum-beater for Parks and Recreation, the season premiere “London” was a near-perfect hour of television. I don’t think anyone actually watches Episodes but Academy voters.


Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series
Episodes — “Episode 309” (Iain B. MacDonald)
Glee — “100” (Paris Barclay)
Louie — “Elevator, Part 6” (Louis C.K.)
Modern Family — “Vegas” (Gail Mancuso)
Orange Is the New Black — “Lesbian Request Denied” (Jodie Foster)
Silicon Valley — Minimum Viable Product” (Mike Judge)

Sean: Is Glee still a thing?  I had forgotten Jodie Foster directed that episode of OITNB.  They love honoring big names.

David: Again, who watches Episodes? How is this still happening?


Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men
True Detective

Sean: By all accounts this past season of Downton Abbey was its weakest yet and still that persistent Emmy problem of nominating shows even when they jump the shark continues to plague the ceremony.   The rest of the nominations were a given.  I’m jumping with joy that they at least had the sense to get rid of Homeland from this roster.

David: Downton has no business being here when The Americans, The Good Wife, and Hannibal exist. Neither does House of Cards, which LOOKS like a prestige series but is actually trash. The Americans had an exceptional second season this Spring, but now it’s pulling up a seat next to The Wire at the “forgotten by Emmy” cafeteria table. One of the two or three most aggravating snubs this morning.


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Sean:  For whatever reason I assumed Anna Gunn was submitted for Lead Actress and that she would be the inevitable winner.  I’m so happy that isn’t the case.  I expect it will be a three way race between Robin Wright, Kerry Washington, and Lizzy Caplan.  I’m rooting for Robin Wright all the way who continues to elevate such an addictive, gorgeous, but ultimately shallow bit of political melodrama.

David: WHO DO I HAVE TO KILL TO GET TATIANA MASLANY ON THIS LIST??? UGHHHHH. COME ON. She got the Globe nomination and her profile is rising — terrible, terrible omission. I thought she had it. Also pouring one out for The Americans‘s Keri Russell, who never had a chance. Let Downton Abbey go, Academy. And no Elisabeth Moss, either? For shame.


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Sean: I’m glad that both of the boys from True Detective are being honored here, but let’s be honest – McConaughey wins this in a walk.  And he deserves to.  It will likely go down as one of the all time greatest male television performances.  And while I love Jeff Daniels, Aaron Sorkin essentially made him a supporting player in his own show this past season.  But the less said about the second season of The Newsroom the better.

David: McConaughey is inevitable, (poor Jon Hamm, again) but I think Harrelson has really been undersold in what’s actually a more difficult role. Shocked Daniels is back, but he’s last year’s winner so not much you can do. I really hoped Matthew Rhys (again, The Americans) might break through — watch “Martial Eagle” if you don’t believe me — but it wasn’t to be. The show only managed one nomination in total, for Margo Martindale in Guest Actress. Sigh.


Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Sean: Anna Gunn has got this thing wrapped up, but I’m absolutely esctatic for Lena Headey who I thought would never see a nomination for her work on Game of Thrones.  I guess what she really needed was some good old fashioned grieving mother material to get her into the race.  She got that in spades.

David: I love Lena Headey, but if you’re going to pick one of the Thrones gals, it should have been Maisie Williams. Ah, there’s Downton again, clogging things up. Froggatt I actually kinda get, but Dame Maggie will apparently keep getting rubber-stamped (and not showing up for the ceremony) until she dies.


Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Josh Charles, The Good Wife

Sean: I’m pretty sure that Peter Dinklage will walk away with his second Emmy win for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister and he certainly deserves to.  His material was easily the strongest of the season.  I had held out hope that Charles Dance would sneak into the race considering they finally submitted him for supporting actor in what happened to be his last season.  It was not to be.  A shame as he was the greatest actor in an overwhelmingly impressive ensemble.  A big surprise here is no Jeffry Wright for Boardwalk Empire.  In fact, for the first time Boardwalk Empire is not nominated in any acting category.  Disappointing to say the least.

David: This is always the hardest category. Jim Carter, despite being the best thing about a withering Downton, is outclassed by Dinklage, Paul, and Patinkin. Most heartbreaking omissions: Charles Dance, yes — and that continues to the Guest category as well, where Pedro Pascal should have been a runaway winner but went unnamed this morning — but also DEAN NORRIS, who did the best work of his career in the final episodes of Breaking Bad. If Giancarlo Esposito and Jonathan Banks could break through in previous years, why not Norris? Give me a break. So if you’re keeping score, that’s Norris, Maslany, and The Americans that have me shaking my fist at the sky.


Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Breaking Bad — “Ozymandias” (Moira Walley-Beckett)
Breaking Bad — Felina” (Vince Gilligan)
Game of Thrones — “The Children” (David Benioff and D.B. Weiss)
House of Cards — “Chapter 14” (Beau Willimon)
True Detective — “The Secret Fate of All Life” (Nic Pizzolatto)

Sean: I’m expecting Breaking Bad to win for one of its two nominations, but a win for True Detective wouldn’t surprise me either.  Best Actor will not be the only major award the series wins on Emmy night.  Outstanding Writing and House of Cards together makes me giggle and I’m a fan of the show.

David: House of bloody Cards? Are you kidding me? I love the other four picks but that one sticks out like Frank Underwood at a Baptist revival. There were dozens of more deserving nominees. Dozens. (How about something, anything, for Mad Men?) Way, way too many nominations for HoC and Downton this year.


Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire — Farewell Daddy Blues” (Tim Van Patten)
Breaking Bad — “Felina” (Vince Gilligan)
Downton Abbey — “Episode 1” (David Evans)
Game Of Thrones — “The Watchers on the Wall” (Neil Marshall)
House Of Cards — “Chapter 14” (Carl Franklin)
True Detective — “Who Goes There” (Cary Joji Fukunaga)

Sean:  The Emmys make it up to Neil Marshall, who was snubbed for his accomplishment on “Blackwater” back in Season 2 of Game of Thrones.  No, “The Watchers on the Wall” may not have had the same emotional heft or sense of completion, but by god it was thrilling spectacle the likes of which television has never seen before.  This is another spot where True Detective has the chance to rain on Breaking Bad‘s parade.  I’m just happy that Boardwalk Empire made it in somewhere for what was easily the best season of the show yet.  It’s such a shame it has fallen out of Emmy favor, especially when it so recently won an acting award last year.

David: Alex Graves directed four sensational episodes of Thrones (specifically, “The Mountain and the Viper”), and he couldn’t get nominated for any of them? But that’s far from the biggest shock in the category: Breaking Bad’s finest hour, and the finest hour in all of television this past year, didn’t earn director Rian Johnson a nomination. This makes absolutely zero sense to me. Give me the incredible long take from “Who Goes There,” and “Watchers on the Wall,” and dump the rest if it gives me Johnson and “Ozymandias.”


Outstanding Miniseries
American Horror Story: Coven
Bonnie & Clyde
The White Queen

Sean: Well this is all about Fargo, but yay for HBO’s Treme finally finding some love.

David: I have no idea what it’s doing in this category, but yay? (How is Treme a miniseries, but True Detective not, HBO? They’re really got to stop letting networks pick which categories to submit to.) In any event, it’s going to be a Fargo party, and a well-deserved one.


Outstanding Television Movie
Killing Kennedy
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight
The Normal Heart
Sherlock: His Last Vow
The Trip to Bountiful

Sean: All these other films should just be happy to be here.  The Normal Heart has got this in the bag.

David: Sorry, I’m riding high over Sherlock’s 13 nominations. But sure, Normal Heart, okay.


Best Actor – TV Movie/Miniseries
Benedict Cumberbatch – Sherlock: His Last Vow
Chiwetel Ejiofior – Dancing on the Edge
Idris Elba – Luther
Martin Freeman – Fargo
Mark Ruffalo – The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thornton – Fargo

Sean: When is the last time a big TV star actually won this category?  It always seems to go to a movie star who took some time to do television in hopes that he could win an Emmy.  Martin Freeman, you are excluded from this conversation as you have been a much bigger TV star.

David: CUMBERBATCH CUMBERBATCH CUMBERBATCH! He’ll lose to Thornton, and that’s fine, but CUMBERBATCH!


Outstanding Lead Actress – TV Movie/Miniseries
Minnie Driver – Return to Zero
Jessica Lange – American Horror Story: Coven
Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story: Coven
Cicely Tyson – The Trip to Bountiful
Kristen Wiig – The Spoils of Babylon
Helena Bonham Carter – Burton and Taylor

Sean: The ladies of American Horror Story are well represented, as they should be.  Too bad this past season was such a train wreck.  Still, not their fault.

David: I know nothing about this category, so moving on.


Best Supporting Actor – TV Movie/Miniseries
Colin Hanks – Fargo
Jim Parsons – The Normal Heart
Joe Mantello – The Normal Heart
Alfred Molina – The Normal Heart
Matt Bomer – The Normal Heart
Martin Freeman – Sherlock: His Last Vow

Sean: With a whopping four nominations it’s safe to say that one of these boys from The Normal Heart is going to win.  I’m glad to see them all here as they each get some great moments to play.  And Martin Freeman gets two nominations today.  He must be feeling good.

David: You know I’M feeling good. I’m also pretty stoked to see Hanks — he was the most vulnerable of Fargo’s four central leads. Now all of them got in. Yay!


Best Supporting Actress – TV Movie/Miniseries
Frances Conroy – American Horror Story: Coven
Kathy Bates – American Horror Story: Coven
Angela Basset – American Horror Story: Coven
Allison Tolman – Fargo
Ellen Burstyn – Flowers in the Attic
Julia Roberts – The Normal Heart

Sean: I’m surprised they didn’t commit category fraud and submit Julia Roberts for lead like they did back in the day with Meryl Streep for Angels in America.  And though this past season of American Horror Story was a disaster, all three of these ladies were having a lot of kooky fun.

David: Again, though, they really shouldn’t get to keep calling it a miniseries. It really takes all the fun out of this when shows won’t stay in their proper place. But, YET AGAIN, they get rewarded with a slew of nominations in a much emptier field. My heart belongs to Allison Tolman.


Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
American Horror Story: Coven — “Bitchcraft” (Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk)
Fargo — “The Crocodile’s Dilemma” (Noah Hawley)
Luther (Neil Cross)
Sherlock: His Last Vow (Steven Moffat)
The Normal Heart (Larry Kramer)
Treme — “…To Miss New Orleans” (David Simon and Eric Overmyer)

Sean: Again, it’s a pleasure to see a show as well regarded as Treme finally getting some love in its last year.  Larry Kramer will finally get the recognition that his play has deserved since its debut in 1985.  And it translated to the screen quite well.

David: “Crocodile” wasn’t the best episode of Fargo, but it set up the world and the tone of the series. Also happy to see Moffat here, who clearly devoted more energy to Sherlock than he did to this last season of Doctor Who.


Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
American Horror Story: Coven — “Bitchcraft” (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon)
Fargo — “The Crocodile’s Dilemma” (Adam Bernstein)
Fargo — “Buridan’s Ass” (Colin Bucksey)
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (Stephen Frears)
Sherlock: His Last Vow (Nick Hurran)
The Normal Heart (Ryan Murphy)

Sean: The most famous name in this line-up is Stephen Frears and most people probably don’t even know who that is.  Ryan Murphy will likely get the statue for his more measured work on The Normal Heart.

David: “Buridan’s Ass” was that marvelously dark episode set amidst the blizzard, so it’s awesome to see it recognized. But it’s hard to think, like you, that Murphy doesn’t have this in the bag.


If you’re looking for Reality or Variety categories…well, not that we don’t watch those shows (yay, Stewart and Colbert! Cosmos! Anthony Bourdain! Mythbusters! Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan! So You Think You Can Dance! ), but those categories just aren’t as much fun to predict. So there you go.

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