When Emmy nominations were announced last week, some were disappointed that Wendie Malick ? arguably the best thing about NBC's Just Shoot Me ? wasn't recognized in the Supporting Comedy Actress category. And among the throng of mourners was Malick herself.

"Having been nominated last year, I certainly was hoping to be nominated again," the actress tells TV Guide Online. "But also I understand the reality of what an incredibly competitive field the supporting actor category is ? on both sides. There are just so many talented people who are supporting actors on so many different shows. It's fierce competition."

Indeed, as TV Guide critic Matt Roush points out, it's hard to find a bad egg among the five nominated actresses, which include Friends stars Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow, Sex and the City's Kim Cattrall, Will & Grace's Megan Mullally and Everybody Loves Raymond's Doris Roberts. "I empathize with Wendie," says Roush, "but it's a very crowded category."

Malick was particularly bummed that the brains behind the critically acclaimed episode in which her Nina Van Horn character was the subject of an A&E Biography weren't recognized. "It was a very good season in many ways, but that was for me, and to many people that I've spoken to, one of the most groundbreaking episodes of a sitcom that has ever aired," she says. "I thought at the very least that [writer] Pam Brady deserved a nomination because it really took such an incredible amount of imagination and energy and commitment, and the people they amassed for that were just astonishing."

The spoof ? which included mock interviews with such celebs as Sydney Pollack, Cheryl Tiegs and Jerry Hall ? proved a strange parallel to Malick's own career. "It was particularly bizarre because so many of those photographs were actually of me from birth through now," she says. "So it was a very odd art-imitating-life-imitating-art sort of thing."