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The Emmys are doing it (mostly) wrong

Posted by Jesse Tigges | July 18, 2013 01:56 PM

The Emmy Nominations were announced this morning, and as usual there’s much to be upset/confused about. The Emmys have never been particularly great at giving credit where it’s due, and this year has some seriously egregious snubs. And truly undeserving nominees. There were also a few nice surprises, though. It’s what we should expect from a group that gives “American Horror Story: Asylum” the most nominations with 17 in all.

Yes, the big winner was Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story: Asylum” which is far from the best show on TV. By submitting the series in the miniseries/movie category, the gothic FX drama was able to dominate a lesser field. There’s no chance it gets nominated in drama series category with the likes of “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones.” I hope “Top of the Lake” wins the categories it shares with “American Horror Story: Asylum” because it actually is a miniseries, and it’s quite amazing. If Elisabeth Moss loses to Jessica Lange …

The other top earners were “Game of Thrones” with 16 nominations, “SNL” and (HBO movie) “Behind the Candelabra” with 15, “Breaking Bad” and “30 Rock” with 13, and “Mad Men,” “Downton Abby” and “Modern Family”  with 12. Last year’s big winner “Homeland” came in with 11 and Netflix’s “House of Cards” made a strong showing with 9 nominations. Nexflix earned a total of 14 nominations for its original programming.

Frist, let’s start with the welcomed (and occasionally surprising) nominations before the bad. The comedy nominations are pretty solid — outside of “Big Bang Theory” which I’m no fan of, but I’ll admit a ton of people really like it — and there aren’t too many complaints.

It’s nice to “30 Rock” getting recognition for its strong final season, and hopefully it can end the domination of “Modern Family” in the comedy category with a few wins. Seriously, “Modern Family” just sucks now.

It’s great to see Louis C.K. and “Louie” earn six nominations, including comedy, and lead actor for C.K. who also earned four nominations for his standup special “Oh My God.” Kudos, for recognizing Melissa Leo in her incredible and frightening guest performance on “Louie.” I wish David Lynch would have paired with Leo in the guest actor category.

It was also a nice surprise to see Adam Driver get a nod for his frenzied performance on “Girls.” Creator/star Lena Dunham also got a well-deserved nomination in the lead actress category as did “Girls” for comedy series.

One the drama side, it’s nice to see “Game of Thrones” be recognized for its best season to date, and “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” doing so well is appropriate. Jonathan Banks’ nomination in the supporting actor field is particularly pleasing. He killed it this season on “Breaking Bad” and might steal the win out from Aaron Paul, but if Giancarlo Esposito couldn’t last year, no one is beating Paul. And that’s okay because Paul is giving one of the best performances on all of television.

Now to the bad, which is plentiful. I’m often disgruntled about awards in general, but the choices made by the Emmys — and Golden Globes for television — often leave me dumbfounded. Seriously, “American Horror Story: Asylum” gets 17 nominations?! Alright, I think I’ve got that out of my system.

Like I said, I have minor complaints about the comedy field, but the drama side is frustrating. First off, “Homeland” nearly sweeping the drama categories last year was disappointing. It was a very good show in its first season, but didn’t deserve the wins for drama series and lead actor. In Season 2, “Homeland” had a drastic drop in quality, yet earned more nominations. Although, Mandy Patinkin is more than worthy.  I hope “Homeland” doesn’t win best drama series this year, and I don’t think it will. Unfortunately my predicted winner doesn’t make me happy either.

“House of Cards” will be the big story coming off the nominations because it’s a Netflix series and doesn’t even air on television. Netflix as a new paradigm is interesting, but “House of Cards” really didn’t deserve most of its nominations. Yet I think it’s going to be the big winner at this year’s Emmys.

I predict Kevin Spacey win will lead actor and the series will win best drama. This is sad. Spaecy gives a good performance, but Matthew Rhys on “The Americans” is more deserving of the nomination, as is Hugh Dancy of “Hannibal.” (“Hannibal” and “The Americans” really got the shaft today. I would rather see both in the drama field over “House of Cards” or “Downton Abby. Although Mags Mikkelsen and Keri Russell getting left out is most disheartening.) So Spacey probably gets the win because he’s Kevin f---ing Spacey, and Bryan Cranston — although Walter White’s “say my name” speech will be really tough to beat — and Jon Hamm don’t. How in the hell Hamm doesn’t have a win is beyond me.

My biggest issue with “House of Cards” is the series just isn’t one of the six best. Not even close. Besides, “The Americans” and “Hannibal,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Justified” were better. And there’s a couple series I’m catching up with that I’m favoring more.

Lastly, the most deserving actor from “House of Cards,” Corey Stoll, didn’t get nominated in the supporting and I wouldn’t mind if he actually won — as much as I love Paul’s work on "Breakling Bad." Stoll was that great.

Finally, I have to mention Jeff Daniels’ nomination for “The Newsroom.” Oh boy. Daniels gives a fine performance that enhances his poorly written character, but it’s absurd having him here. You can’t tell me he’s better than Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire”), Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”), Timothy Olyphant (“Justified”) or Dancy and Rhys. Or a number of others for that matter.

The Daniels nomination — along with Spacey, and especially if he wins — proves that awards are often given to the biggest name, not the most deserving. This has been the case for far too long, but with more “movie” actors doing television it’s becoming a problematic trend. Thanks Emmys, but better luck next year.

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