1. Guest Actress in a Drama Series
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Carrie Preston
Not all surprises are bad, and this is the perfect example. Preston is one of the busiest working actresses on television, appearing on three television programs at the current time as a cast member onTrue Blood and recurring guest roles on Person of Interest and The Good Wife. She is nominated for her work as Elsbeth Tascioni on The Good Wife, who remains both a fan favorite and a critical darling of the shows diverse cast of recurring characters.
BIGGEST SNUB: Shirley MacLaine
MacLaine absence from this category is downright shocking, as Downton Abbey racked up the nominations this year, and MacLaine is a dignified movie star appearing on television. Furthermore, her return was one of the highlights of the season. He absence opens up the competition in the category extensively.
3. Guest Actor in a Drama Series
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Dan Bucatinsky
Another pleasant surprise was Bucatinsky’s nomination for his work on Scandal, one of only two nominations for the hit sophomore show. While Bucatinsky hasn’t interacted with much of the cast, his work with Jeff Perry has been some of the best Scandal has had to offer.
BIGGEST SNUB: Jim Beaver
Justified has had some fantastic guest roles before, bringing Emmy Awards to Margo Martindale and Jeremy Davies. It is a surprise to find Beaver on the outside looking in, as Season 4 of Justified leaned hard on the character actor and he delivered every step of the way in what developed into a showcase role for him. Original hired for one episode, Beaver became a key part of the show’s fourth season, and the season’s plot twists may have seen silly with another actor in the role.
5. Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Emilia Clarke
Can the biggest surprise not be much of a surprise at all? Because that’s what happened in the Supporting Actress race, where the nominees were (about) what was expected. It’s a mild surprise that Clarke got in for genre work when there was such a field of competitors this year, but that speaks more for the history of Emmy voters than it does for Clarke’s work and talent.
BIGGEST SNUB: Monica Potter
What does Parenthood co-star Monica Potter have to do to get an Emmy nomination? Potter had been on many critic’s short lists for a possible winner of this award, and to see her fail to even get nominated comes as a bit of a shock, despite Parenthood’s relative lack of Emmy success in the past.
7. Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Jim Carter
As stacked as Supporting Actress was this year, Supporting Actor was even more competitive. As such, it was a bit of a surprise to see Downton’s Mr. Carter show up on the list of nominees. If anyone from Downton had made this category, I would have anticipated it being Rob James-Collier.
BIGGEST SNUB: Corey Stoll
This category was loaded. Sam Waterson, Noah Emmerich, Alan Cumming, Michael Cudlitz, John Slattary, Jeff Perry and Mads Mikkelsen all failed the make the field. But the most surprising thing, as House of Cards made history and picked up several nominations, was that Corey Stoll wasn’t among the Supporting Actor field. Peter Russo was easily the standout figure of the shows first season, and the program’s most realized character. Stoll’s Russo gave the show not only its heart, but was also pivotal to the season as a whole.
9. Lead Actress in a Drama Series
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Vera Farmiga
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Farmiga is nominated. She is an Academy Award nominee (for 2009’s Up in the Air) and her work on Bates Motel is superb. Yet still, it somehow feels odd that Farmiga is sharing the category with Claire Daines, Kerry Washington and Elisabeth Moss, among others. Perhaps it’s the nature of the program Bates Motel that creates the feeling.
BIGGEST SNUB: Keri Russell
The number of meaty, leading roles for women has grown exponentially over the last few years. Remember when Mariska Hargitay work on the procedural Law and Order: SVU was a mainstay in this category? The Americans did not get much respect from the Emmys this year, only earning a pair of nominations, as FX in general struggled (Justified got no nominations despite a strong season). No snub was more surprising for The Americans as Russell’s lead turn on the spy thriller.
11. Lead Actor in a Drama Series
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Hugh Bonneville
It’s hard to really call this a surprise at all. It’s a surprise in the same way that having your friends throw you a surprise birthday party for the third year in a row is a surprise. The Lead Actor category was extremely competitive this year, and Bonneville will be going up against three actors playing some of the most iconic characters of the past few years (Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston and Damien Lewis) and two movie stars (Kevin Spacey and Jeff Daniels). Not bad for a man who co-starred in a TV film with Pudsey the Dog last Christmas.
BIGGEST SNUB:Timothy Olyphant
It’s hard to get a Lead Actor nod these days. Olyphant joins Steve Buscemi and Michael C. Hall as past nominees to fail to make the cut this season. While Buscemi has been consistent and Dexter has lost much of it’s charm, Justified gave Olyphant some of his meatiest work to date, finally losing enough layers to start to explore who Raylan Givens really is, and Olyphant delivered every second of the way. As such, it’s a shame his work sits on the outside looking in this year.
13. Drama Series
BIGGEST SURPRISE: House of Cards
The nomination of House of Cards seems to have caught some people by surprise. I don’t think it should have. The show is loaded with A-List talent including several Academy Award winners, and features a talented and expansive cast that delivered episode after episode. Netflix put a ton of money behind the show, and it’s been a hit. Furthermore, it cemented the internet as a way to get quality, first-run television programming. It seems unlikely that the show would have not been nominated.
BIGGEST SNUB: The Americans
The Americans came out a year too late, it seems. In order to break into the top six Drama Series nominees it had to go head-to-head with fellow spy series Homeland, which had already established itself dominating the major categories last year. While a couple slots will open up in the coming years with long running mainstays ending their runs, it’s possible that The Americans will be able to break through in the category if they keep the quality up, but the almost total lack or recognition for their fantastic debut season has to sting.
So what do you think? Who was snubbed? What nominees didn’t deserve to make the field. Sound off below. Be sure to keep an eye out for a similar breakdown of the Comedy nominees, coming soon.