It’s been one heck of a morning. Snubs, surprises, and the now mundane HBO domination (99 nominations? What? You couldn’t crack 100?) made the 66th Annual Nominations as exciting as ever — but what’s next? After pouring over this morning’s Emmy nominations, Indiewire Awards Editor Peter Knegt and Assistant TV Editor Ben Travers have a deeper take on the race.
Ben: All right, so we’ve got a lot to talk about after a busy morning at the Television Academy, but to start things off: Matthew AND Woody? I’m in heaven. “True Detective” made a strong push with writing, directing, and two lead actor nods to pair with its successful run at Best Drama Series. That’s probably the best news I’ve seen today, and there’s plenty of good (and bad) out there.
Peter: Definitely all sorts of both. Though basically the one and only “True Detective” snub was Michelle Monaghan — which wasn’t entirely surprising, but it brings up the most annoying part of today’s announcement… All these “Downton Abbey” nominations. Joanne Frogratt? Michelle Dockery? Jim Carter? The show itself? (Though I’ll give them Maggie Smith.) This was simply too amazing a year for “Abbey” to dominate again. Especially at the expense of “The Americans,” “Orphan Black,” “Hannibal,” and, to a lesser degree, “Masters of Sex.”
Ben: It was shocking to read the name Joanne Frogratt at 5:40am, I’ll tell you that. How “Downton Abbey” has tricked voters into thinking it’s anything other than a soap opera in fancy dress is beyond me, and seeing it wreak havoc on the field this year is truly shocking considering the buzz has dipped considerably. But can I get a little nitpicky over a comedy most critics adored in 2014? “Silicon Valley” stole the sixth comedy series slot, knocking out the incumbent nominee “Girls” (which I’m fine with) but also toppling highly-touted newcomer “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and my unheralded favorite, “Parks and Recreation.” How it did this without scoring any acting nods — not even for the late (and deserving) Christopher Evan Welch — bummed me out just as much as “Downton” when compared to the immense talent and consistent hilarity on “Parks and Rec.”
Peter: Oh God, you poor west coast folks. 8:40am was hard enough over here. But yeah, I second that Christopher Evan Welch bummer. Though at least it was only to two of the four “Modern Family” dudes instead of all of them. For the first time, Emmy voters showed some restraint for “Modern Family,” and THAT was probably the thing that made me the happiest this morning. As a result, we finally saw the comedy supporting categories get all mixed up. While it’s a shame that didn’t include Welch, I was very pleased to see Allison Janney (“Mom”) and Kate Mulgrew (“Orange Is The New Black”) get fairly expected nominations, and even more pleased to see Fred Armisen (“Portlandia”) and Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”) get not-so-expected nominations. It was definitely true that for every bummer there was an Armisen or a McKinnon. What were some of your favorite nominations, beyond “True Detective”?
Ben: I know we had some disagreements over “The Normal Heart,” but I was pretty pleased to see Alfred Molina snag a nod (along with most of the cast, Taylor Kitsch notably absent and Jim Parsons frustratingly present). I was also pretty excited to see Ricky Gervais land an extreme long shot nomination for Best Comedy Actor in “Derek.” I’ve written how Season 2 was a tad disappointing, but his performance didn’t dip a bit. Finally, I’m relieved to see Jon Hamm and “Mad Men” still in the race. I know they won’t win, but next year there better be an enormous push for Hamm to take home Best Drama Actor, and it would’ve been much harder for him had he missed the cut in 2014.
Peter: Yeah, overall they held onto “Mad Men” a bit more than I suspected/feared. Though Elisabeth Moss not getting nominated was a disappointment (while Christina Hendricks got in for what wasn’t much of a season for her). As for “The Normal Heart,” I can at least agree I was happy to see Molina get in, but overall they went so over-the-top in nominating it that I can’t help but roll my eyes — six acting nominations!? That puts it in “Angels in America” territory, and “Angels in America” it was not. To the same accord, the love for “American Horror Story: Coven” was equally frustrating. I loved “Asylum,” but this season was a mess. It almost makes me wonder if some voters just saw the name recognition of all those actresses and just checked them all off… In total, it made for a pretty insane ELEVEN of 20 TV movie/miniseries acting nods coming from folks being directed by Ryan Murphy.
Ben: The Academy did show the love to Murphy this year, though I was most upset he scored a directing nod for “The Normal Heart,” by far the weakest element of the film. Did you have any other notable below-the-line surprises or snubs? I found it interesting Jodie Foster earned a nod for directing “Orange is the New Black” but not “House of Cards,” but then I was happy to see Jane Fonda score a Guest Actress nomination for “The Newsroom” and David Crane (“Friends”) get a writing nod for “Episodes.” There’s plenty more in the vast heap of nominees I’m sure is good, but I think I’ll need a few days to sift through them all.
Peter: Yeah, there are lots of nice surprises here and there. I love that Natasha Lyonne, Uzo Aduba and Laverne Cox ALL got guest acting nominations for “Orange is the New Black” (even though they were kind of more supporting actresses). And that Steve Buscemi got a guest nod too, for “Portlandia.” Even deeper into the categories, there’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler getting a writing nomination for the Golden Globes (the first time the Globes got a nod in that category while the Oscars did not), “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis” got a nomination for “outstanding short-format live-action entertainment program,” whatever that means, and check out the nominations for “outstanding narrator”: Jeremy Irons, Daniel Craig and Jane Lynch are competing against each other for narrating shows about animals.
Ben: Steve Buscemi is a dual-nominee, it turns out. I saw he scored a nod for his web series “Park Bench” but missed his inclusion for “Portlandia.” Hear hear for “OITNB” and especially Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They can’t get enough love. You know, maybe it wasn’t such a bad year after all.
Peter: Well, not to end things on a bad note, but it’s never a good year when “The Simpsons” is snubbed in the animated series category for the first time ever.
Ben: Touche and d’oh!