This year’s primetime Emmy nominees seemed to have more surprises than we’ve seen in years, which is saying a lot, given some of the shockers we’ve seen in the recent past.
Not all surprises, though, are good ones.
Let’s take a look at the surprises and the major snubs from the 2011 primetime Emmy nominations:
Louis C.K. nominated as lead comedy actor: C.K. has gotten a lot of press for his low-budget FX comedy showcase “Louie,” and his surprisingly good acting has been one of the big reasons why. He also got a writing nomination; alas, he didn’t get a directing nod, which would have given him a trifecta achieved by very few (if any) in TV history.
Matt LeBlanc nominated as lead comedy actor: While C.K. excelled at playing himself, LeBlanc did… OK. In fact, everything about “Episodes,” the show he was nominated for, was OK. Maybe the fact that he played a jerkier version of himself is what convinced academy voters to give him a nomination.
Kathy Bates nominated as lead drama actress: “Harry’s Law” was one of the more critically reviled shows from last season, despite the good ratings it got. And Bates’ over-the-top performance as Harriet Korn wasn’t so much bad as it was annoying. Any nomination from this show, though, would have been considered a surprise.
Cat Deeley nominated as outstanding reality host: Cat’s done a great job on “So You Think You Can Dance” since she started there, displaying less corniness than her fellow nominee, Tom Bergeron of “Dancing With The Stars.” It’s also nice to see a new face in what has become a very static category.
Melissa McCarthy and Martha Plimpton as lead comedy actress: Both actresses deserved nods for their performances this year. Sure, “Mike & Molly” wasn’t the greatest show out there, but McCarthy rose above the material and gave Molly more depth than we expected. And Plimpton’s Virginia Chance has become the breakout character on “Raising Hope,” a tough feat when two of your co-stars are Cloris Leachman and Garret Dillahunt.
“Game of Thrones” and Peter Dinklage getting nominations: It wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and genre shows like “Thrones” almost never get Emmy love, but the show earned the recognition, as did Dinklage, a damn fine actor in whatever he’s done (and, yes, we know he was in the American version of “Death at a Funeral”).
All six adult actors from “Modern Family” got nominated. That might be too many — the supporting actor in a comedy category is dominated by “Family” actors. But it’s good to see Ed O’Neill finally get a nod. Maybe next year, they’ll start nominating the kids (Let’s start that Nolan Gould campaign now).
“Friday Night Lights” for best drama. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton have been nominated before, but it’s good to see the series itself get a nomination, especially at the end of its highly praised run.
“The Killing” did not get a best drama series nomination. Put this in the category of “pleasant surprises.” The show seemed like a lock for a nomination — before it aired its much-derided finale — because the rationale was that most academy voters submitted their ballots early, when “The Killing” was still getting high praise. Apparently, that wasn’t the case, and it showed that the voters might actually watch the shows they vote for. Imagine that.
Neither “The Tonight Show” nor “The Late Show” got a nomination. We can’t remember the last time that happened, as either Jay, Dave or both have been in the variety-comedy-musical category for decades. But, on the other hand, we give a thumbs up to the nominations for “Conan” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”
“The Kennedys.” We could see maybe the acting nominations being justified, but the series itself was pretty darn bad. The fact that it got a nomination means it was a pretty thin movie and miniseries field this year.
No lead actors from “Glee” got nominated. Given how uneven the show was last season, maybe we should put that in the “pleasant surprises” category.
“Louie” for best comedy. The show was innovative and created on a shoestring. For that alone it should have gotten a nod.
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” Kimmel stepped up his game this year, and “JKL” is finally getting recognized as one of the best late-night show
s. Ferguson has the most creative show in late night. At the very least, his robotic sidekick Geoff should have gotten recognized for outstanding robotic sidekick, don’t you think?
Ray Romano and most of the rest of “Men of a Certain Age” got snubbed.
Andre Braugher got a nomination, because the voters remembered him from “Homicide.” But at the very least, Romano should have gotten a nod as well.
“Fringe” gets shut out. The show just keeps chugging along, gaining fans and complexity every season. But no nominations.
“Pawn Stars.” We figured the show would be just classy enough to break into the stodgy reality category, but it didn’t make it. We wonder if the academy voters thought it was about a biker gang or something.
“The Voice.” We really thought this would get a reality competition nod, given the attention it got, as well as its overall quality. But that category seems to be a tough one to crack.
“Community.” It got nothing in the major categories. Nothing for writing. Even the animated episode didn’t get nominated. This show and the ever-creative Dan Harmon deserved better.
Kyra Sedgwick for “The Closer.” She won last year. Was Kathy Bates that much better that she got the nod over Kyra this year?
Neil Patrick Harris for “How I Met Your Mother.” This especially doesn’t make sense because he’s a perpetual nominee, and he did a great job in the episodes where Barney tries to find his father. If the academy can keep giving Jon Cryer nominations, why not NPH? Jason Segel also got robbed, as he did his best acting work on “HIMYM” this year.
Nick Offerman for “Parks and Recreation.” Good to see “Parks” and Amy Poehler get nominations, but how the hell could the academy not vote for Offerman’s performance as Ron F—in’ Swanson, who we think is one of the best sitcom characters since Kramer?
What nominations surprised you? Who did you think got snubbed?