Emmy's Biggest Surprises and Snubs
Jemaine Clement, Sarah Silverman, Simon Baker
Here are the four biggest surprises among the nominations:
Rookie of the year: Sixteen million viewers can't be wrong, as CBS' breakout hit The Mentalist got some critical love for its charming, fair-haired star, Simon Baker, who received a nomination in the fiercely competitive Best Actor in a Drama category (see below).
Who else was nominated? Check out all the new and old Emmy faces
Therapy breakthrough: In a crowded field of cable dramas, HBO's tiny but intriguing, five-episodes-per-week psychotherapy drama In Treatment nabbed an impressive three acting nominations: Gabriel Byrne and Dianne Wiest nabbed their second nods for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress in a Drama, respectively (Wiest won in 2008). Cast newcomer Hope Davis cracked the Best Supporting Actress category as well this year.
High comedy: Putting aside Charlie Sheen for a second, the Emmys demonstrated a real sophisticated taste in ha-has this year. Jemaine Clement nabbed a Best Actor nod for HBO's quirky musical sitcom Flight of the Conchords, which was also nominated for Best Comedy. Sarah Silverman nabbed a nom for Comedy Central's The Sarah Silverman Program. Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig both snuck into the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy category for their chameleonic contributions to Saturday Night Live. Both Justin Timberlake and Tina Fey were honored for their SNL guest spots. And apparently all you had to do was show up for a 30 Rock guest-starring gig to be nominated, as Jon Hamm, Jennifer Aniston, Alan Alda, Steve Martin and Elaine Stritch all were.
A new 'toon: Somewhere, Matt Groening weeps softly under an afghan, as Family Guy becomes the first animated series to receive a Best Comedy Series nomination since The Flintstones did it in 1961.
And here are the four most shocking omissions:
Last dance: The 11th-hour hope that the Emmys are going to come to their senses and nominate promising shows for their final seasons sustains us through those dark, rainy evenings at home kneeling at our private Lauren Graham altars. Alas, no amount of prayer was able to score series nominations for the dearly departed Battlestar Galactica and The Shield, whose well-crafted finales rank among television's best. Similarly, Boston Legal and Pushing Daisies were ignored, having to make do with supporting nods for Legal's William Shatner and Christian Clemenson and Daisies' Kristin Chenoweth.
Hero worship: For sure, the Best Actor in a Drama field is a crowded one, especially with the arrival of Baker to the dance. But it's also traditionally a dark category. To wit: This year's nominees include a serial killer, a drug dealer, two ethically challenged doctors, a philandering ad exec and a quasi-psychic cop. Fittingly, the more heroic turns of people like Josh Holloway on Lost and Kiefer Sutherland on 24 were lost in the antihero shuffle.
What's old is new again: Where were all the new shows? It was nice to see The Mentalist and United States of Tara merit acting nominations for their stars, but where was the love for J.J. Abrams' spookfest Fringe or Alan Ball's Southern-fried vampstravaganza True Blood? Surely we could have done without another nod for three-time winner Tony Shalhoub.
Numbers game: When your show isn't the highest rated, it's hard for people to notice that you're doing some really fine acting. This might be why America Ferrera didn't score a nomination for the first time since Ugly Betty debuted. It also explains why Ian McShane's fine, blustery work as Kings' monarch, didn't even register a blip on the Emmy radar.
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