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Emmy Nominees Include Some Welcome Surprises

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It was with anticipation and dread that I scanned the Emmy nominee list this morning. The top 10 finalists named earlier this month gave some hope: Would Kyle Chandler be nominated for his excellent work on Friday Night Lights? Would someone from Battlestar Galactica (in this case, Mary McDonnell for her alternately frustrating and sympathetic President Roslin) finally be nominated for an Emmy?

No, and no.

Still, some very welcome news accompanied the fist-shaking omissions and the head-scratching return of nominees who prompt critics to question whether people are nominated for merit or name recognition. My favorite happy surprises:

1. Pushing Daisies! Its first season was cut short thanks to the writers’ strike, but this series was a highlight of the TV year. It’s one of those shows that places one foot in comedy and one in drama, making it difficult to define. Perhaps that’s why it didn’t make the cut for Best Comedy (while Two and a Half Men did). One could call the voters insane, except that Lee Pace and Kristen Chenoweth received nominations for Lead Actor and Supporting Actress, on top of art, makeup, writing, directing, and other nods.

2. Zeljko Ivanek! As Ted Danson’s conflicted lawyer overwhelmed by personal and professional turmoil in Damages, Ivanek was my top pick in this category. I am thrilled to see he managed a Supporting Actor nomination alongside Danson, who was also great, and I hope he somehow manages a win. And speaking of Damages — bleak, dark, violent Damages — cheers to its Best Drama nod and to Glenn Close for Lead Actress.

3. Lost’s return. A hearty “yes!” to its Best Drama nomination for a strong season four, and to Michael Emerson for another good year as despicable, manipulative, occasionally sympathetic Benjamin Linus.

I can’t expect every Emmy nominee to reflect my personal opinions about who is most deserving in each category (particularly considering that I only watch so many TV shows, having never seen most that come from HBO and Showtime, or a full episode of some critic favorites like Mad Men). But I can appreciate the few times our opinions align, and root for those who do make it, whether or not they win.

And in my heart, Boston Legal is nominated in the comedy category (it seems funny to me in the occasional scene I catch). James Spader, William Shatner, and the show itself, if worthy, get the slots currently taken up by, say, Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Two and a Half Men. Spader’s Lead Actor in a Drama slot goes to Kyle Chandler, and Matthew Fox gets shoehorned into that group somehow too. The open Best Drama place goes to Battlestar Galactica, with the open Supporting Actor spot going to pretty much any Battlestar Galactica actor, even if they are leads (because, hey, it works for Jon Cryer in the comedy category). Perhaps Jamie Bamber, Michael Hogan, Edward James Olmos or James Callis? Just some starter suggestions; maybe Emmy will listen in time for next year.

And in the meantime, to which nominations do you give your hearty thumbs-up?

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About Melissa Cuppett

  • http://blogcritics.org/ Phillip Winn

    For some reason, the Emmys don’t tend to suggest new shows to me like the Oscars suggest new movies. Maybe because I tend to already be watching the nominated shows?

  • http://blogcritics.org/video Lisa McKay

    While I do chuckle occasionally at Two And A Half Men, I don’t get the Emmy love at all. On the other hand, I’m thrilled to see Mad Men get some well-deserved recognition, and sad to see Battlestar Galactica largely ignored.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Was Season 3 or 4 for BSG eligible, because if it was the latter, it deserved to be ignored

  • Melissa Cuppett

    I agree that season 4 has been BG’s weakest. It looks like the nominated shows have to fall between June 1, 2007 and May 31, 2008, so that would include season 4. I do think Michael Hogan and Edward James Olmos delivered Emmy-worthy performances this year, as did Mary McDonnell.

    P.S. While reading Emmy coverage I was reminded of yet another overlooked actress: Connie Britton in Friday Night Lights. She holds her own against the Supporting Actress nominees.

  • Ivana

    I don’t agree with comments no. 3 and 4. Season 4.0(the first 10 episodes of season 4, which aired this year) of Battlestar Galactica was very good (apart from episode 8), and much better than the second part of season 3. 3.5 which was the weakest BSG season, and it still had some amazing episodes.

    I don’t think Jamie Bamber was Emmy-worthy, particularly not this year, but Michael Hogan, James Callis (whose names were submited to the supporting actor category, even though there is no way in hell Baltar is a supporting character…but hey, they also submit Katee Sackhoff to the SUPPORTING actress category, which is even more absurd!) and Edward James Olmos (whose name always gets submited to the Lead Actor category, I guess because he’s the first in the credits and a bigger name) were… I can understand EJO not being nominated this time because the season finale (in which he had his big moment this season) was not available for submission because of the submission date. But all three actors have been great throughout BSG. However, the BSG actor that most deserved an Emmy this year was Aaron Douglas, for his amazing performance in episodes 4 and 5 which showed Chief Tyrol’s breakdown. But this time, the Academy can’t be blamed: BSG folks failed to submit his work to the Academy for Supporting Actor category. I wonder why? Is he low in the pecking order?

    And Mary McDonnell was indeed robbed, pure and simple. She was amazing in the complex role of President Roslin, who wasn’t even one of my favourite character until this year. This was her strongest season on BSG. Granted, episode 9 “The Hub” which showed her best work, was not available for submission, but she was also amazing in the submited episode. (I guess it’s too much to actually expect the voters to watch entire seasons of TV shows.)

    I also think Michelle Forbes deserved a guest actress spot for her role as tragic villain Admiral Cain in “Razor”.