Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Five Cents: The 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Nominations...

Every year, I put together my dream Emmy ballot, and every year I know that there are a handful of people and shows for which only I have such high hopes (and deep personal love). I don't expect the Academy to follow my lead-- that's why it's my dream ballot and not my "what I think will happen" ballot, but sometimes they surprise me with their ability to think outside of the box and pay respects to some performers and programs that are immensely talented, even if somewhat underrated and overlooked. And this year seems to be the pinnacle of that.

For a complete list of the 63rd Annual Primetime Emmy nominations, please click here.

Usually I pre-write articles about award shows because the same people get recognized over and over, so I can write a shell and then just fill in the few blanks later. But this time I had a lot of deleting to do, and you know what? Despite it being more work, I really can't complain because it meant some very deserving new kids on the block got nominated.

Sure, for every Parks and Recreation, there is a The Office, a show that has been on its last legs for a while but still gets the political nod. And of course, there are ample eleventh hour nominations for phenomenal players like Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler and (even though he's been nominated ample times) Steve Carell. When voters realize it is literally their last chance to vote for someone, they often kick their ass in gear and do the right thing. But as much as it warms my heart to finally see some Friday Night Lights on the ballot this year, I fear it's a case of "too little, too late."

I always have more at stake in the comedy categories than the dramatic ones. It's just my truth. And this year there were some welcome changes to the category, most notably including a Saturday Night Live cast member along side more traditionally scripted players. In this case it is Kristen Wiig, and could probably be an attempt to keep courting her for television now that she's a big time movie star, too (hell, the same could be said about Melissa McCarthy's lead actress nomination; she has been a powerhouse for years but never got nominated for her standout work on Gilmore Girls or Samantha Who!). It seems revolutionary now, but really, why is this being done more often? If there are comedic dramas and dramatic comedy hybrids that can go up against more traditional sitcoms, sketch shows should be fair game, too.

While it is no secret I would have loved to see Community get some critical recognition, too (in Outstanding Comedy, of course, but let's face it, also the entire cast in any and all of the individual acting slots), I can't hide my excitement that Amy Poehler and Martha Plimpton both received Outstanding Lead Actress nominations. I saw that as a personal victory for smart comedy, breathing new life into what has become a tired and predictable category. They took some liberties with Outstanding Lead Actor, too, reading a name I had all but given up on hearing-- perhaps ever, if I'm being completely honest-- Matt LeBlanc. And sure, nominating two awesome dudes from The Big Bang Theory against each other may split the vote among some, but no worse than with the supporting categories and the cast of Modern Family, where every adult castmember got pit against each other. Talk about literally asking the Academy to choose its favorite family member!

But while I revealed in the individual nominations here, I couldn't help but wonder just what the hell happened to Outstanding Comedy Series in general. No Showtime love, Academy? Really? I mean, really? I get it: glee is still the industry darling, and it does deserve each and every single one of its three guest star nominations because guest stars and music is all it really knows how to do. But selecting it as Outstanding Comedy over darker fare like Nurse Jackie, The Big C, or hell, even the snarky fun of Community and Cougar Town? That just feels like a huuuge step backwards!

And while we're on the topic of Cougar Town, I feel I must point out my disappointment that neither Courteney Cox nor Christa Miller received nominations this year. The show often has more fun with itself than just a casual viewer might appreciate, but both of these women take high-strung, could-be-caricaturistic characters and make you want to be their BFF. That is no easy feat and should not go unnoticed. But once again, it unfortunately was.

When it comes to drama, the only thing I really cared about was that FNL didn't get snubbed. I had even given up on hearing any individuals' names called, so when I actually did, I expressed my excitement aloud. And woke up my dog. He was not nearly as happy for the Taylors as I was.

Between The Killing, Dexter, The Good Wife, and FNL, I really can't complain about the dramatic categories. There was some inclusion of FX, and though admittedly not the particular FX program I really wanted to see represented, I still feel like its something of a breakthrough to include them at all.

Of course, if it were up to me, there would be a third major scripted column (no, I don't count miniseries). I would take more traditional comedies-- not just three-camera sitcoms but your always hilarious and at times off-the-wall shows-- and the serious dramas and keep them where they are, but I would separate out the hybrids-- the dramadies, if you will. Because while you can make the argument that every strong show is a slice of life and therefore has elements of both comedy and drama, especially these days, some obviously lean more heavily toward one than the other. And for those that blend and blur the line more evenly, they may get nominated, but for a variety of reasons, they very rarely win. And before Chuck, if nothing else, comes to an end, I want to see the Academy properly recognize all they do!

1 comment:

AC said...

what about poor Lauren Graham from Parenthood? shes been snubbed her whole life... that i find heartbreaking!