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31 Things That Made Us Angry About The Emmy Nominations

Like, are you kidding me with this?

1. 1. The Good Wife

CBS

This is just so sad. It’s sad, of course, because in its fifth year CBS’s The Good Wife put together one of the most remarkable seasons of a drama. Ever. Across all of television (and the internet), there were many wonderful things to see during the nomination period, and we can see those represented in the Best Drama category (especially in Breaking Bad’s last eight episodes, the first half of Mad Men’s final season, and in HBO’s explosive True Detective). But not even those shows did what The Good Wife, led by its creators, Robert and Michelle King, did for a full network season of 22 episodes. The show reinvented itself, twisting the plot and characters’ relationships into a new and often troubling configuration, leading to the shocking death of Will (Josh Charles, who was nominated, thank the lord) and its aftermath. Every week, The Good Wife was delightful. In its fifth season! Anyway. As I said, it’s sad. But the saddest part of all is that the Television Academy couldn’t get out of its rut to reward this show, which, after all, was the Best Drama of 2013–‘14. —Kate Aurthur

2. 2. The Americans 3. Keri Russell 4. Matthew Rhys

Craig Blankenhorn/FX

FX’s The Americans is a slow burn and a challenge. It’s gray and it’s serious and it’s violent. Also, the Academy has a history of shunning FX dramas for reasons I don’t understand. So that explains — maybe — why this show was shut out for its second season. It does not explain why Keri Russell wasn’t nominated for Best Actress in a Drama. Did she not go through enough playing a KGB spy trying to do spy shit while also being a loving parent and spouse? Did she not wear enough wigs? I always hate to point fingers at those who were nominated instead, because — well, it’s not nice! But I can’t help myself here: Claire Danes’ Homeland spy character has devolved into parody, and Russell’s Elizabeth Jenkins contains a thousand shades. Also: Matthew Rhys wasn’t a consensus pick among Emmys pundits (Russell was), but he is her equal partner on this show, playing the emotional, conflicted Phillip. —KA

3. 5. Scandal

Ron Tom / ABC

Scandal wasn’t any sort of given in the Best Drama category. Its soapiness is the opposite of the dour manliness of Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad — though its moral compass may actually be exactly like Breaking Bad (in that it doesn’t have one). But would it be so wrong for the Emmys to reward the show that a huge number of people talk about and freak out over every week? I don’t know whether ABC spent any money campaigning for Scandal — Kerry Washington was nominated, as she should be. Considering what Shonda Rhimes has done for television, not only in her diversity revolution, but Scandal’s breakneck pacing, I don’t get why Scandal isn’t considered more worthy here than, say, the waning Downton Abbey. —KA

4. 6. Masters of Sex 7. Michael Sheen

Michael Desmond / Showtime

Double snub for one of TV’s most intelligent dramas and the quiet but meaningful performance delivered each week by star Michael Sheen. Yes, the show was (rightly) celebrated elsewhere — a Lead Actress nomination for Lizzy Caplan, a Guest Actress nom for Allison Janney, and a Guest Actor nod for Beau Bridges — but, like the groundbreaking scientist he plays on the show, Sheen elevates the work of everyone around him. —Jarett Wieselman

5. 8. Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)

Justina Mintz / AMC

For the first time since 2009, Moss’ essential Mad Men performance was not nominated — either in the Lead (’09, ’11, ’12, ’13) or Supporting (’10) category. Which is not only sad, but surprising given how much Peggy and Moss had to work with in Season 7, Part Un: Struggling to work with Don and Lou at cross purposes while maintaining her authority; dealing with errant roses, a too-friendly neighbor, and Ginsberg’s nipple; and rising above it all to become the queen of Burger Chef, Moss was strong, resilient, and — once again — the most compelling character on Mad Men. —JW

6. 9. Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)

Steve Wilkie/BBC America

Here we are, once again — one year later, and none the wiser because we all genuinely believed the Emmys would right its wrong and nominate force of nature Tatiana Maslany for the handful of awardworthy performances she delivers every week on Orphan Black. We were wrong. Outside of Game of Thrones, it would seem the Academy voters continue their tradition of being myopically incapable of seeing and celebrating genre work. Fine, have your dragons. I’ll happily take my clones any day. —JW

7. 10. Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)

Joseph Lederer/A&E

The Emmys honored Vera Farmiga’s hysterical (in every sense of the word) Bates Motel performance last year, but nada in Season 2. Perhaps the voters felt that she was pretty much playing the same note over and over. I mean, that logic doesn’t seem to be hurting Claire “Off My Meds, So Let’s Cry About It One More Time” Danes on Homeland any, but not everyone can be a Latisse spokesperson AND an Emmy winner. —JW

8. 11. James Spader (The Blacklist)

NBC

The Blacklist is not good! It’s a standard network procedural with a few twists, and one of those twists is how violent it is. Yet what elevates the show, or makes you run screaming, is James Spader. He is on a whole other show doing his Spader thing. The cliché of chewing the scenery is an understatement here: He’s eating its liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. Emmys pundits were pretty sure he’d be nominated. —KA

9. 12. Betsy Brandt 13. Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)

Ben Leuner / AMC

In my heart, I knew neither of these two would be nominated. Anna Gunn represents Breaking Bad in Best Supporting Actress in a Drama, and Aaron Paul is there for Best Supporting Actor. As they should be. It was Betsy Brandt and Dean Norris, though, who held the moral center of Breaking Bad as the show came to a close, and who had completely evolved from its first season. Hank was no longer a jocular good old boy hiding his fears; he was a focused, obsessed hero. And Marie had gone from being a spacey kleptomaniac to a saddened, loving, lovable, strong woman. They felt like real people to me, which may be the most you can hope for from actors you watch play characters for years. Oh well. —KA

10. 14. Bellamy Young (Scandal)

Eric McCandless / ABC

Drunk Mellie, guys. Drunk Mellie! OK, yes, it’s worth celebrating that Kerry Washington, Joe Morton, and Kate Burton all received nominations for their wonderful Scandal work this year, but — and this is going to be a little controversial — it’s most upsetting to see Young shut out because she delivered the single best performance in Scandal’s third season. Hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure, she never let Mellie slide into caricature — which would have been incredibly easy, given some of the histrionics asked of her — and turned an audience of enemies into devotees with her powerful performance. —JW

11. 15. Jeff Perry (Scandal)

Ron Tom / ABC

He should have easily been nominated for stretch of episodes where Cyrus struggled to properly mourn the death of his partner, James (last year’s Best Guest Star in a Drama Emmy winner, Dan Bucatinsky) — so the fact Perry brought that eye- and vein-popping intensity to all 18 episodes should have sealed the deal. —JW

12. 16. Girls

HBO

Season 2 was, admittedly, not the show’s best, but the funny, honest, and — once again — emotionally bare third season stopped the downward spiral, reversed it, and brought Girls back up to its first season levels of quality. Certainly, Lena Dunham’s Best Actress in a Comedy nomination is proof/reward of that, but with much of the cast also delivering Season 1-worthy work in their separate storylines, it would have been nice to spread the love around a little bit more (although, yay for Adam Driver’s Supp. Actor nomination!) with a collective team nod. —JW

13. 17. Brooklyn Nine-Nine 18. Andy Samberg

Fox

Fox

 

The comedy categories are the only ones where the networks stand a chance against cable. CBS’s The Big Bang Theory was nominated (as it should be), as was ABC’s Modern Family (as it shouldn’t be). Considering that the clever, fun Brooklyn Nine-Nine won the Golden Globe in January, as did Andy Samberg, both the show and Samberg seemed like possible nominees here. But the Academy’s voting body clearly looked at those Hollywood Foreign Press wins and said, You people are crazy. P.S. They are crazy! Very strange group. —KA

14. 19. Parks and Recreation

NBC

The jam-packed sixth season offered incisive class warfare comedy (thanks to the Eagleton-Pawnee merger), sweeping emotional moments (Leslie losing her BFF Ann), and an inspired final act cliffhanger (a three-year time jump). If this wasn’t Parks and Recreation at it’s finest, I don’t know what to tell you. —JW

15. 20. Mindy Kaling 21. Chris Messina (The Mindy Project)

Fox

As the enormous beating (and dancing) heart of The Mindy Project, television’s most charming romantic comedy, Messina shines with a dizzying combination of swoonworthy glances and emotional resonance that few actors could emulate. And while Kaling is pitch-perfect as his leading lady, her more egregious snub comes in the writing categories — where several of Kaling’s scripts (“All My Problems Solved Forever,” “You’ve Got Sext,” “Danny and Mindy”) could have held their own against Episodes, Veep, or Orange Is the New Black. —JW

16. 22. Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs)

ABC

Her nomination felt like a long shot given the competitive Best Actress in a Comedy category, and it’s hard to say which of the six nominated women I’d remove in order to make room for The Goldbergs star… oh wait, no, it’s not: Melissa McCarthy. I don’t want to make assumptions, but I know it to be 100% true that none of you have ever even seen Mike & Molly. Don’t lie. You are nominating McCarthy because she’s a mega-movie star and you see her name and think, “Ooh, she’s funny — let’s guarantee she has to come to our awards show and maybe we’ll get some of those Bridesmaids viewers on Aug. 25.” Nothing against McCarthy, whose Best Guest Actress in a Comedy nomination for Saturday Night Live is incredibly justified, but this is pandering. And she’s better than that. We’re all better than that. —JW

17. 23. Sofia Vergara 24. Ed O’Neill 25. Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)

ABC

ABC

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled we’ve moved away from Modern Family’s de facto domination, but it continues to vex me that two-time winner Eric Stonestreet (in 2010 and 2012) has been shut out the last two years. Has Cameron stopped being the colored-cuffed, screaming gay you once loved? The answer is no. No, he has not. And why follow up back-to-back-to-back nominations in 2011, 2012, and 2013 for Ed O’Neill with a snub? Ditto for Vergara, whose four-year streak just ended today. I’m all for slowly backing away from this show — lord knows viewers are — but finding out which cast members the Emmys continue to honor has become less interesting than the ones they don’t. —JW

18. 26. Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie)

Showtime

Do people remember last year’s Emmys? So long ago, I know. I barely remember my alarm going off at 5 this morning. Anyway, last year, many of the Emmy winners were so odd and unexpected that not only did no American win an Emmys pool, but #weirdEmmys trended on Twitter. Jeff Daniels for The Newsroom, for instance, was a shock. Tony Hale for Veep was another shock. Maybe they were good surprises for you! But they were not what people Thought Would Happen. Merritt Wever, who is beloved on Nurse Jackie, also benefited from #weirdEmmys. And then somehow wasn’t even nominated this year! Oh, Emmys. —KA

19. Best Writing in a Drama 27. The Good Wife 28. Mad Men

CBS

AMC

 

Look, another chance to harp on the exclusion of The Good Wife! How is it humanly possible that “Dramatics, Your Honor,” the episode in which Will died, was not nominated? Help me understand. There’s also the whole rest of the season to bemoan. If you see me today, I will be bemoaning it. Which takes me to Mad Men. There’s an idea out there that Mad Men is not as good as it used to be. In fact — and I use the word “fact” purposefully — it is better than ever! The seven episodes that comprised the first half of Season 7 were layered wonders, that managed to call back to the show’s past and to take the characters somewhere brand new. “A Day’s Work,” the episode in which Don and Sally come together, and “The Strategy,” in which Don and Peggy make up, dancing to “My Way” — I just got teary-eyed remembering both of them. These exclusions are a shame. —KA

20. 29. John Slattery (Mad Men)

Michael Yarish / AMC

Of all the characters on Mad Men, Roger has changed in the least expected ways, going from being a spoiled Greatest Generation scion to a libertine with a moral spine that surprises even him. He’s still quippy, which is the standout characteristic that perhaps got him nominated for Mad Men’s first four seasons, but he’s also sad. He’s deeper. You’d think John Slattery would be rewarded for that. Nope! —KA

21. Guest Drama Actors 30. Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal) 31. Carrie Preston (The Good Wife)

ABC

John Paul Filo / CBS

 

Maybe there’s some unwritten rule that actors who win in Guest categories shouldn’t be nominated for the same roles again. Because neither Dan Bucatinsky nor Carrie Preston was nominated this year for Scandal or The Good Wife, respectively. You would think that dying (in Bucatinsky’s case) or having a run-in with an anti-Semitic bear (in Preston’s case) would exempt them from the rule. But no. Stupid unwritten rule! —KA

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