Oh, Emmy. How you constantly elude hard-working actors and intelligent writers. Each year, you poke your head through the curtain to announce which shows were the ones we should have been paying attention to all year, which actors and actresses we should have been lusting after as the months passed by, and, of course, which reality show host not named Jeff Probst will be disappointed after losing for another year in a row (though not this year, but we’ll get to that below).
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced its nominees Thursday for this year’s telecast, which will air Sept. 23 on ABC with Jimmy Kimmel hosting, hopefully making up for Jane Lynch’s pedestrian effort last year (and by the way — what happened to “Glee?” You couldn’t get away from that show for years and now it seems to be about as popular as “Whitney”). Much like we did last year around this time, below are five quick, knee-jerk, completely nonsensical bullet points for the upcoming ceremony’s slate of contestants.
Why do it? Because, as we like to say around these parts, how else would we get that number next to the “Awards” category at the top to increase? Besides, to have a blog with the letters T and V combined in its title twice and not write about the primetime Emmys would be a little like having a blog with the word “sports” in its title and not writing about the first round of the NBA playoffs until after the finals are concluded (hey, I’m not saying, but I’m just saying). For those who hate either me or this blog or both, the fabulous Michael Hunley over at the newly-ledPop Goes The Culture blog will tackle some of the biggest surprises from this morning’s announcement later tonight. Yes. The Frederick News-Post: Your place for male-dominated Emmy coverage.
Onward and upward …
1. Chasing history: The biggest headline out of this year’s ceremony will be whether AMC’s “Mad Men” can set the record for wins in the best drama category. Right now, the show has four trophies for that category, which ties it with “The West Wing,” “L.A. Law” and “Hill Street Blues.” (Side — I have been told by many, many people that “Hill Street Blues” is one of the best television shows ever created. Is that true? I still feel like I need to make time to sit down with it). Early money says “Mad Men” is the front runner — and as we should all know by now, this blog approves of such acclaim — but the show’s biggest challenger just may be PBS’s “Downton Abbey,” which won last year’s award for best miniseries, but has been placed in the drama category because the academy considers it to have “transitioned from a stand-alone miniseries, ‘based on a single theme or story line, which is resolved within the piece’ — Rules Book, p. 122 — to a Drama Series, ‘in which the ongoing theme, storyline and main characters are presented under the same title and have continuity of production supervision’ — Rules Book, p. 119.” More confusing? Because of the stranglehold “Mad Men” seems to have on the category, FX’s “American Horror Story” will now be considered a miniseries, after trying for the best drama award at the Golden Globes last year. Also related, the sky is orange and Dennis Haskins is still skinny. Anyways, the story of “Mad Men” and its possible success continues to grow intriguing because …
2. “What comes after happiness? More happiness:”… Not one single actor on that show has ever won an award for his or her performance. That will be tested again this year when Jared Harris, “Mad Men”‘s dearly departed financial guru, is up for best supporting actor; Elisabeth Moss (who clearly knows how to play the Emmy bait card well after her final scene within the walls of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce left most everyone without a dry eye) will have a go at best actress; Jon Hamm, of course, is once again invited to the party he’s never been able to fully crash by being up for best actor; and Christina Hendricks will be crossing her fingers when the best supporting actress award is announced. Can any of these people come away with the award that has alluded them throughout almost all of the show’s five seasons? Harris, though widely beloved, would have a hard enough time just knocking off Aaron Paul (who I think should win every single award in the history of television for his “Breaking Bad” work). Now, he’s got to contend with the same show’s Giancarlo Esposito, whose Gus is as terrifying a bad guy as a television series could ever see. Moss probably offered up her best season yet this past year on “Mad Men,” though Juilanna Margulies seems to have that trophy on lock down (speaking of shows I need to get into tonight …) from her work on “The Good Wife.” Hamm has never beat Bryan Cranston and because he missed his chance last year due to “Breaking Bad” being delayed, (as Lisa Des Moraes said last year on her Washington Post chat to me: “Nope. Not ever. If that episode of ‘Mad Men’ Hamm submitted for consideration, which was designed to push all the academy members’ buttons — yes, he wept — didn’t do it, I don’t think there’s anything else to be done to get him an Emmy win. Unless he dies in some gloriously grisly fashion or something on the show…”) Emmy lore suggests he’ll never have his named called. And Hendricks now has to contend with Anna Gunn from the academy’s aforementioned obsession, where she plays Cranston’s on-screen wife. Or, well, ex-wife. Or, well, I don’t know. Either way, it doesn’t look good for the Weinettes.
3. Please leave the island: Who could have thunk that the race for best reality television show host would be so interesting? In a first — literally, a first — this year’s winner will not be Jeff Probst of “Survivor.” It’s true. Each year this category has existed, that pearly-white smile has taken home the award. His dominance has been so noted that even the “Dancing With The Stars” guy once said that they should name the thing “The Jeff Probst Award.” This year? Dude’s not even nominated. Who took his spot? Betty White. Yes. That Betty White for her work on that NBC show that used to be called “Howie Do It.” Except now it has old people. And now it has a host that may be on the brink of an award typically reserved for a guy who forces people to eat worms for breakfast. The world’s Betty White infatuation: When does it end?
4. Quotes, quotes and more quotes: The Associated Press complied a list of memorable reactions and just like we did last year, here’s a few that might make you chuckle …
– “It’s insane. I can’t believe it. And we’re the show that’s been there, too. That’s weird, too. I can’t believe we are on the air.” — “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner stupidly trying to appear unbelievably fake and humble.
–“I was a little nervous, and then I walked past my phone this morning and noticed it blinking. I had a text from Julie Bowen that said ‘wowie,’ so I thought it can’t be that bad. We’re at least at a ‘wowie’-level of excitement here. … If you put a numerical value on that, a ‘wow’ would be an eight or a nine, and ‘wowie’ is probably in the teens.” — “Modern Family” executive producer Christopher Lloyd trying to appear excited and surprised while adding a zinger that he thought would make people laugh.
– “I was lying in bed and couldn’t sleep and feeling foolish for not being able to. I’m lying there thinking it feels so good to get nominated, I’m hoping this isn’t the year it all ends. You never know. Is this the year we’re gonna get shut out? A little bit of hope can drive you crazy. It never gets old. You never get tired of waking up to news like this.” — Vince Gilligan, executive producer of “Breaking Bad,” trying to appear as though he didn’t expect any nominations, even though he knows members of the academy need a bib every time they watch his show.
– “I’m so excited to have been nominated for an Emmy, especially for ’30 Rock,’ which is an incredible show, and also for playing a deranged and deceased world dictator who has divided the small country of my origin in two. That’s the best part. I think that’s what I’d call Iron Curtain irony.” — Margaret Cho, trying to appear funny for the first time in her life.
5. Things that don’t fit anywhere else:
– HBO again led the field with 81 nominations. CBS topped all other networks with 60. PBS came in at 58, NBC had 51 and ABC finished with 48, which, oddly enough, appears to be the same amount of people who will continue to watch “Cougar Town” on TBS.
– Even though he won the Golden Globe for his efforts, Matt LeBlanc and “Episodes” was shut out this year in favor of Don Cheadle on Showtime’s “House Of Lies.” Word has it that Showtime is allowed only one nomination for a comedic actor who nobody thinks is any good on a show nobody will ever actually watch.
– Jimmy Kimmel showed up to the announcements made at … wait for it … 4:40 a.m. on the west coast in pajamas. People laughed.
– The CW tweeted the following: “Emmy nominations day! Or as we call it, Thursday.” Naturally, the network didn’t garner a single nomination. This, friends, is more funny than pajamas.
– The biggest snub? It’s got to be Hugh Laurie, right? One final time around the track and the dude can’t even get an invite to the party? Sad.