It’s that time of the summer when television begins the final stage of the process to honour itself. The nominations for the 2010-11 Emmys were announced Thursday. Around here this means Emmy polls will be forthcoming once I figure out how much time I have to get the polls up and running. Cable, and in particular premium cable, dominated the Drama categories while broadcast networks dominated the Comedy and reality categories. The made for TV movie and miniseries categories were fully merged and dominated by cable channels, the only exception being for PBS where Downton Abbey and the new version of Upstairs Downstairs got nominations. There are some notable absences from the nominees, the most notable being that last year’s Outstanding Leading Actress In A Drama, Kyra Sedgwick was ignored in that category. As always there are things to say about a nominations process that seems to totally ignore certain networks and genres, but for right now lets take a look at the nominations for the major categories. (Last year’s winner in bold, when nominated.)
Outstanding Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire – HBO
Dexter – Showtime
Friday Night Lights – DirectTV/NBC
Game Of Thrones – HBO
The Good Wife – CBS
Mad Men – AMC
Usually when a previous season’s winner is nominated in just about any category it automatically becomes the favourite to win the next season. That’s what happened with Mad Men last year, and the year before. This time around I’m not so sure. I think that show is one of the favourites, but not necessarily the favourite. I think that Boardwalk Empire has a legitimate shot at the Emmy as well. I’m not so sure about Game of Thrones. It’s a contender, but are they going to vote for this fantasy series, even if it is telling an epic story. The rest, including Friday Night Lights should be happy with the nomination. If I were to call it right now I’d say that Boardwalk Empire is likely to take it.
Egregious Omission: I really can’t think of any. I could and probably should say Fringe, but let’s face it, you could say Fringe in just about every category that it’s eligible for and it gets frustrating. I will say it in other categories though This was a very week year for new network shows and even some of the cable series didn’t fare well. I’ve heard good things about Terriers (but I haven’t seen it) but are Emmy nomination committees – or however it’s being done this year – really going to nominate a cancelled series; I think the answer is no, which also precludes my favourite new series of the year The Chicago Code.
Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory – CBS
Glee – FOX
Modern Family – ABC
The Office – NBC
Parks and Recreation – NBC
30 Rock – NBC
The one major category where the broadcast networks not only outnumbered the cable channels, they shut them out. This has the potential of being a real dogfight, although last year’s Emmy win gives Modern Family a huge advantage. I’ve heard that Glee is slipping and that The Office is nowhere near as good as it once was. Of course the only one of these shows that I watch on a regular basis is The Big Bang Theory so I’m not really in a position to judge. I think it may come down to Big Bang Theory, Modern Family and 30 Rock.
Egregious Omission: Two in fact. First up FOX’s Raising Hope. Not exactly my cup of Earl Grey but there are people that I respect who like it, and it is the most successful FOX live-action half-hour sitcom (see how I structured that to get around Glee?) The show picked up a couple of other nominations so it’s not a total loss, but still. The other missing show is Hot In Cleveland. Yes, Betty White got a nomination but here’s a secret, the show is more than Betty. It features sitcom royalty: Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendy Malick. And yet neither they notr the series get any recognition.
Outstanding Reality-Competition Series
The Amazing Race – CBS
American Idol – FOX
Dancing With The Stars – ABC
Project Runway – Lifetime
So You Think You Can Dance – FOX
Top Chef – Bravo
I love The Amazing Race, but last year’s loss to Top Chef may have opened the flood gates. The two series of the show that aired in the 2010-11 season weren’t the best that the show had to offer. Depending on which season was submitted Dancing With The Stars certainly had drama and fun.
Egregious Omission: Survivor. I’m specifically thinking of the Redemption Island season, also known as the Coronation of Boston Rob. In all honesty I don’t know what the Emmy voters have against Survivor. The show hasn’t been nominated in this category since 2006, and of course it has never won the Emmy
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Stephen Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire – HBO
Michael C. Hall, Dexter – Showtime
Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights – DirectTV/NBC
Hugh Laurie, House – FOX
Timothy Olyphant, Justified – FX
Jon Hamm, Mad Men – AMC
Last year’s winner, Bryan Cranston is ineligible because Breaking Bad didn’t air new episodes during the eligibility period for the 2011 Emmys. This gives Jon Hamm a real shot at the award. The problem is that he’s up against Steve Buscemi in a very showy role for HBO. Timothy Olyphant also has to be considered a contender in the category (although again, it’s not a show I get to see; then again neither is Boardwalk Empire). I lean towards Hamm for just that reason, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Buscemi take it. For the rest, remember it’s an honour just to be nominated.
Egregious Omission: None that I can think of. I really liked Jason Clarke in The Chicago Code but he was totally eclipsed by Delroy Lindo as Ronin Gibbons, and the Gibbons role was really a supporting part so where does that leave Clarke? And of course the show only lasted half a season. Donal Logue in Terriers – which people tell me was a great performance) is in the same boat.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Connie Briton, Friday Night Lights – DirectTV/NBC
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife – CBS
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law – NBC
Mireille Enos, The Killing – AMC
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU – NBC
Elizabeth Moss, Mad Men – AMC
Last year’s winner Kyra Sedgwick wasn’t nominated and that has to be seen as an upset right there. There are two previous winners in the category, Margulies and Hargitay, and I think of the two Hargitay had the best season. Elizabeth Moss is finally nominated in the category that she deserves to be in for the growth of her role in Mad Men but I’m afraid Emmy voters might still see hers as a supporting part. I think Kathy Bates is being nominated primarily on her name and that Oscar she won. I didn’t watch the show but she’s playing a typically quirky David E. Kelly character. The wild card here is really Mireille Enos from The Killing. Again, I haven’t seen it but those very same people that I respect in other categories say that this is a major performance. I’m betting on Margulies, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Enos won it.
Egregious Omission: What the hell does Anna Torv have to do to get an Emmy nomination. This season she played a dual role as Olivia Dunham and her alternate reality counterpart “Fauxlivia.” Fauxlivia was also playing Olivia, while Olivia believed herself to be Fauxlivia (having been brainwashed by “Walternate.” And oh yes for a few episodes Torv was playing Leonard Nimoy’s William Bell trapped in Olivia’s body. That has to take some serious acting chops to pull off. Oh, and Kyra Sedgwick too.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory – CBS
Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory – CBS
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes – Showtime
Louie C.K., Louie – FX Networks
Steve Carell, The Office – NBC
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock – NBC
Parsons won last year and I don’t see much standing in his way this year.… Oh wait, there’s Steve Carell who is leaving his role as Michael Scott on The Office. You can’t ignore that as reason for voting for someone particularly since Carell has never won the Emmy despite being the lynchpin of what is generally recognised as one of the best comedies on TV. I think the category is going to come down to Parsons vs. Carell with Alec Baldwin as an outsider.
Egregious Omission: Can’t really think of one. It hasn’t been a great year for new comedies with men in leading roles. As part of an ensemble cast yes, but in leading parts? Not really.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Laura Linney, The Big C – Showtime
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly – CBS
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie – Showtime
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation – NBC
Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope – FOX
Tina Fey, 30 Rock – NBC
Okay I’m still trying to figure out how Edie Falco won as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy for a show which doesn’t seem to me to be a comedy. Is Nurse Jackie really a comedy? I don’t think she’ll win this year though. I think that the likely winner this year is the great Laura Linney playing a woman dying of cancer in The Big C. It’s another of those shows with a downbeat subject matter but it works as a comedy.
Egregious Omission: No idea. That shows you how much comedy I watch.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones – HBO
Josh Charles, The Good Wife – CBS
Alan Cummings, The Good Wife – CBS
Walton Goggins, Justified – FX
John Slattery, Mad Men – AMC
Andre Braugher, Men Of A Certain Age – TNT
Last year’s winner, Aaron Paul, isn’t eligible for the same reason that Bryan Cranston wasn’t. The only people from broadcast TV are Charles and Cummings from The Good Wife, which I don’t watch. The only nominee in this category that I have seen is John Slattery in Mad Men and while it’s a good part I don’t see it winning. I can’t give you a name in this one.
Egregious Omission: Chris Noth. The main male character in The Good Wife. He certainly doesn’t fit in the Lead Actor category because the show is focussed on Julianna Margulies’s character but Noth’s character is a major player in the show. Also Delroy Lindo from The Chicago Code simply because he dominated every scene that he was in so completely that it became his show whenever the character appeared, regardless of who he was playing opposite. And then there’s John Noble who not only is playing someone a little bit nutty (not really mad or insane – nutty really is the best adjective to describe Walter) which is hard enough but he also played the ruthlessly Machiavellian alternate version of Walter Bishop. It’s a bravura performance that never gets recognised for being as good as it is.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire – HBO
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife – CBS
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife – CBS
Margo Martindale, Justified – FX
Michelle Forbes, The Killing – AMC
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men – AMC
Interesting category. Panjabi has had a lot to do this season, and the incumbent position is never a bad one to have. Michelle Forbes’s role in The Killing is a powerful one, while Kelly Macdonald’s role as Nucky’s mistress Margaret Schroeder is close to being a lead role. Does Elizabeth Moss moving up to the Lead Actress category help Christina Hendricks by eliminating vote-splitting. And yes, Christine Baranski is never bad. If anyone is going to beat Panjabi it’s probably going to be Michelle Forbes….or maybe Kelly Macdonald….or Christina Hendricks.
Egregious Omission: None that I can think of.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Chris Colfer, Glee – FOX
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family – ABC
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family – ABC
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family – ABC
Ty Burrell, Modern Family – ABC
Jon Cryer, Two And A Half Men – CBS
I’m just guessing here, but I suspect that the winner in this category will probably come from Modern Family. Stonestreet has a leg up having won last year but if I wer to pick one of the other actors I’d tip towards Ty Burrell. Interesting that perpetual nominee Neil Patrick Harris isn’t nominated in the category. Not an egregious omission but you could easily dump Jon Cryer as far as I’m concerned.
Egregious Omission: Not really an egregious omission but either of Simon Helberg or Kunal Nayyar could find a place in this category.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Jane Lynch, Glee – FOX
Betty White, Hot In Cleveland – TVLand
Julie Bowen, Modern Family – ABC
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family – ABC
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live – NBC
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock – NBC
Jane Lynch is hosting the awards this year, and the “incumbent” theory suggests that she has an advantage here. The problem is that I’ve heard that Glee isn’t as strong as it was and that the Sue Sylvester character can wear on you. I know that Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen are both very funny, but they run into the whole problem of vote splitting. The interesting nomination here is Betty White. She’s much beloved in the industry and her character is extremely funny. In an ensemble cast she stands out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Betty White take this one.
Egregious Omission: Three, and none are from Hot In Cleveland. The first is Kaley Cuoco from The Big Bang Theory, though her role is so big and essential to the plot that she might deserve a Lead Actress nomination. Admittedly she plays the straight role to Parsons and Galecki but that’s a talent in itself. Also from Big Bang is Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler who has been an amazing addition to the show’s cast as Leonard’s girl friend (a friend who’s a girl; no coitus). Her character, the female version of Leonard who wants to be Penny’s “bestie” is something that is hard to pull off. Finally there’s Cougar Town’s Busy Philipps. By turns the character is clueless and wise. There’s something about the character that really works for me.
Outstanding Reality-Competition Host
Phil Keopghan, The Amazing Race – CBS
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol – FOX
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars – ABC
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance – FOX
Jeff Probst, Survivor – CBS
Probst won last year and is definitely the favourite for this year in spite of what many feel is a certain sycophancy towards Boston Rob. My personal favourite in this category is Phil Keoghan who has a harder job than Probst in that he has to keep ahead of the racers and sometimes do the activity that they’re doing. Still, the host with the hardest job of all is Tom Bergeron. Not only is he introducing contestants but he is doing a lot more live television than someone like Seacrest is doing. He’s had to react to a lot more situations than Seacrest has as well, including contestants fainting, injuries and wardrobe malfunctions. Probst will probably win, but there’s something to be said for Bergeron getting it.
Egregious Omission: None I can think of. Heidi Klum? Padma Lakshme? Ho hum.
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Bruce Dern, Big Love, HBO
Beau Bridges, Brothers & Sisters – ABC
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife – CBS
Paul McCrane, Harry’s Law – NBC
Jeremy Davis, Justified – FX
Robert Morse, Mad Men – AMC
I know some of the actors in the category including McCrane, Fox and Morse but I haven’t seen shows so I don’t really want to offer an opinion.
Egregious Omission: Two from Fringe – Leonard Nimoy (or at least his voice since he’s playing an animated character in Olivia’s mind), and Christopher Lloyd as Walter’s favourite musician.
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Mary McDonnell, The Closer – TNT
Julia Stiles, Dexter – Showtime
Loretta Devine, Grey’s Anatomy – ABC
Randee Heller, Mad Men – AMC
Cara Buono, Mad Men – AMC
Joan Cusack, Shameless – Showtime
Alfre Woodard, True Blood – HBO
No real opinion.
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Idris Elba, The Big C – Showtime
Nathan Lane, Modern Family – ABC
Zach Galfianakis, Saturday Night Live – NBC
Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live – NBC
Matt Damon, 30 Rock – NBC
Will Arnett, 30 Rock – NBC
I’ve only seen Nathan Lane’s bit on Modern Family, which I liked.
Egregious omission: Nothing really. I loved George Takei’s cameo appearance on The Big Bang Theory (and this also applies to Katie Sackoff’s appearance in the same episode) but it’s too damned short, and there’s really no way to make it more than what it is.)
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Kristin Chenoweth, Glee – FOX
Dot-Marie Jones, Glee – FOX
Gwyneth Paltrow, Glee – FOX
Cloris Leachman, Raising Hope – FOX
Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live – NBC
Elizabeth Banks, 30 Rock – NBC
The 63rd Annual Emmy Awards will air on FOX on September 18th.