This morning, the 2014 Primetime Emmy Award Nominations were announced — and were, naturally, immediately met with frustration from obsessive TV fans. It’s been well established that the Emmys aren’t exactly a cutting-edge awards show that rewards the most deserving shows or actors — they’re mostly more of the same, handing out statue after statue to mediocre juggernauts (yes, we’re looking at you Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory). That said, it’s still fun to gripe about what we think should have happened. Here’s a more in-depth look at this year’s snubs and surprises.
Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad Downton Abbey Game of Thrones House of Cards Mad Men True Detective
There is hardly anything surprising about what was nominated for best drama series, but it’s a huge snub for both The Americans and The Good Wife, two of the most praised dramas on television — both of which are definitely better than nominees like House of Cards and Downton Abbey.
Other drama snubs: The Walking Dead and Justified didn’t get expected nominations. And although Rectify wasn’t eligible, I’m going to mention it anyway because it’s perfect.
Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory Louie Modern Family Orange Is the New Black Silicon Valley Veep
Once again, Modern Family is being rewarded for its weekly half-hour of boring bickering, so that’s not a surprise. Neither are the nominations for Louie or The Big Bang Theory. What is a surprise is Silicon Valley. Sure, it had a respectable premiere season on HBO — one that I liked quite a bit — but is it Emmy-worthy? Not especially, and I can think of plenty of shows that were more deserving. This year, Shameless had its best season ever and even switched from drama to comedy to increase its chances of a nomination. But nope, still nothing.
Broad City, as much as I adore every second of it, was never going to get a nomination, so why not take a chance on another great freshman comedy like Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Parks and Recreation was also snubbed this year.
American Horror Story: Coven Bonnie & Clyde Fargo Luther Treme The White Queen
Fargo was a shoe-in, and I’m glad Luther got recognized, but it’s hard to take this category seriously when the abysmal Bonnie and Clyde was nominated. Why pick that over The Spoils of Babylon? Spoils wasn’t perfect, but it was at least more entertaining than Bonnie and Clyde.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama
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
Here is the most predictable category of the 2014 Emmys. Cranston, Hamm, and the lovely True Detective duo are all safe choices. But wait! Jeff Daniels? For THE NEWSROOM? That can’t be right. That can’t actually be a real nomination when we have Matthew Rhys on The Americans, Michael Sheen on Masters of Sex, and Timothy Olyphant on Justified. I would even, in all seriousness, have accepted either Mark-Paul Gosselaar or Breckin Meyer of Franklin or Bash over Daniels.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama
Claire Danes, Homeland Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife Kerry Washington, Scandal Robin Wright, House of Cards
Surprise: Lizzy Caplan in Masters of Sex! She’s so wonderful and so deserving, but who expected her to get nominated for drama after being so pigeonholed as a comedy actress?
Snubbed: Tatiana Maslany. Tatiana Maslany as Elisabeth Moss. Tatiana Maslany as Keri Russell.
Outstanding Supporting Actor/Actress in a Drama
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad Jim Carter, Downton Abbey Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones Josh Charles, The Good Wife Mandy Patinkin, Homeland Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
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
There isn’t anything too exciting or depressing in these categories, except the knowledge that people really do watch Ray Donovan. It is worth complaining about the lack of Walton Goggins, who is absolutely perfect as Boyd in Justified.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy
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
All I have to say about this category is: I do not understand how Ricky Gervais got nominated for Derek.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy
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
Amy Poehler for Parks and Recreation and Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep are great choices, but there is one glaring omission: Emmy Rossum on Shameless. There was no performance this year that was more heartbreaking, funny, and exhilarating than Rossum’s.
Supporting Actor/Actress in a Comedy
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine Adam Driver, Girls Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family Ty Burrell, Modern Family Fred Armisen, Portlandia Tony Hale, Veep
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory Julie Bowen, Modern Family Allison Janney, Mom Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Ah, so that’s where the Modern Family actors are! Good to know some things will never change. The big surprises here are Fred Armisen for Portlandia — who is fine enough but nothing special — and Allison Janney, who must have been thrown in for Mom as a substitute for winning for Masters of Sex. Kate McKinnon and Kate Mulgrew are both welcome additions to the nominations, but we’re missing Retta, Aubrey Plaza, Amy Schumer, Eden Sher, and Carrie Brownstein — maybe this category deserves 10 nominations each?
Danielle Brooks and Samira Wiley didn’t get nominations for Orange Is the New Black either, but I’m betting they’ll both get that recognition next year for Season 2.
Biggest snub for Supporting Actor has to be Noel Fisher, whose absence just proves that there is no one watching Shameless. (I was also foolishly hoping Andrew Daly would be praised for Review.)
Other Snubs and Surprises
In a lovely surprise, three different actresses from Orange Is the New Black were nominated for Guest Actress in a Comedy: Natasha Lyonne, Uzo Aduba, and Laverne Cox. Another pleasant surprise is that both Inside Amy Schumer and Key & Peele received writing nominations. It’s also nice to see Alison Tolman getting recognized for Fargo.
Two categories that generally get it right are best animated program (Archer, Bob’s Burgers, Futurama) and best children’s program (Degrassi, Dog With a Blog), but where is Adventure Time?
The reality categories are rarely talked about, but this year’s nominations are definitely a snub for Catfish, which has become one of the most engrossing guilty pleasures on TV.