Connie Britton was one of this morning's more unexpected Emmy nominees.
Connie Britton was one of this morning's more unexpected Emmy nominees. NBC
Historically, the Emmy nominations have a way of being particularly enraging, even compared to other awards. The years that The Wire spent not getting nominated, the years that Friday Night Lights has spent not getting nominated, the years and years in which the same people have been (snore) rewarded ... it gets very frustrating.
But this morning's announcements, while there were still painful snubs, had a surprising number of genuinely encouraging inclusions.
The pack of delightful shockers has to be led by Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, the Friday Night Lights leads who have been overlooked so egregiously that there probably wasn't a prognosticator in the world who would have put money on either of them being nominated, let alone both of them. Friday Night Lights also grabbed a writing nomination for the wrenching episode "The Son." (Where it will compete against, among other drama series' episodes, the highly controversial finale of Lost.) These are FNL's first nominations for writing or acting, which is scandalous — but better to see that miserable streak come to an end.
Perhaps the most amusingly eyebrow-raising nomination went to The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien, which was nominated for Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series, and managed a writing nomination as well. There aren't many nominations that read "Take That!" quite as clearly as that one does.
But there were other lovely surprises, too. Chris Colfer was recognized (Supporting Actor, Comedy) for his great work as Kurt on Glee, and Mike O'Malley (Guest Actor, Comedy), got a nod for playing his father. Other Glee nominations for actors included Lea Michele (Lead Actress, Comedy), Matthew Morrison (Lead Actor, Comedy, Jane Lynch (Supporting Actress, Comedy), Neil Patrick Harris (Guest Actor, Comedy) and Kristin Chenoweth (Guest Actress, Comedy). The show also cleaned up in other categories — writing, directing, hair, makeup, art direction, casting ... you name it, pretty much.
Three men from the Modern Family cast were nominated for Supporting Actor in a Comedy (all the actors submitted themselves in the supporting categories) — though surprisingly, not Ed O'Neill, the most famous face when the show started. Instead, nominations went to Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Ty Burrell, who will face off against Neil Patrick Harris of How I Met Your Mother, Chris Colfer, and — inevitably — Jon Cryer of Two And A Half Men. Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen were both nominated for Supporting Actress in a Comedy, meaning that five of the six adult actors (everybody but O'Neill) were nominated. That's a remarkable accomplishment for a first-year show.
On the drama side, Mad Men did well for itself again, earning nominations for drama series (naturally), for Jon Hamm and January Jones in the lead categories, and for John Slattery, Christina Hendricks, and Elisabeth Moss in supporting categories — along with Robert Morse, who qualifies as a guest actor. The other Outstanding Drama Series nominees are Breaking Bad, Lost, Dexter, The Good Wife, and True Blood.
Lost had a good year, with that writing nomination, as well as directing nominations and nominations for actors Matthew Fox, Terry O'Quinn, Michael Emerson, and Elizabeth Mitchell. Not every show gets a nice send-off — 24 didn't land any major recognition other than a Guest Actor nomination for Gregory Itzin — but Lost sure did.
Also coming on strong was CBS's first-year lawyer show The Good Wife, which was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series and for the writing of its pilot, for its lead actress Julianna Margulies, for supporting actresses Christine Baranski and Archie Panjabi, and for guest actors Alan Cumming and Dylan Baker.
Particularly on the drama side, there are still noteworthy holes. There are going to be people very unhappy that there wasn't a better showing for HBO's Treme, which only scored directing and original music nominations (not a huge surprise, given The Wire's inability to break in), for FX's acclaimed Sons Of Anarchy, which was entirely ignored, and for FX's Justified, which only made it into the theme music category.
On the comedy side, there wasn't much room for Parks And Recreation, but at least Amy Poehler was nominated for her lead performance. (And for the awesome theme music. Hooray!) But there was absolutely nothing at all for Community, a truly exceptional comedy that frankly could have taken the spot that went to The Office this year.
Moreover, Craig Ferguson was completely skunked for his marvelous late-night talk show.
In fact, the Outstanding Comedy Series category was a little surprising on the whole, with nominations going to The Office, 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Glee, Modern Family, and Nurse Jackie. It's interesting to see what now seem like fairly automatic nominations for Curb, 30 Rock and The Office, but nothing for Community, Parks And Recreation, or — perhaps most surprisingly — The Big Bang Theory, which is both a critical and popular success.
There is, as always, a lot to complain about on this list, but on the whole, there were far more moments worth cheering for than many years have offered.