Yes, there are a lot of elements of the Emmy nominations that we are bitter about, but we also found reason to cheer this year. Here are some of the Emmy picks we thought were most deserved.
Josh Charles’ send-off nomination
Charles got nominated once before for the show’s second season, but he’s been sadly absent from the Emmy rolls since then. Although the show’s stellar fifth season deserved even more awards recognition that it got, thankfully his incredible final arc on the show got the credit it deserved. Dying on-screen is always a good way to get awards, but Charles’ work in episodes like “Hitting the Fan” and “The Decision Tree,” as he wrestles with Alicia’s betrayal of the firm, is what really got him in there. - DS
Lizzy Caplan sneaking in for Masters of Sex
Downton Abbey’s stubborn refusal to move gently into that good night continues to clog up the drama category, which really only had room to add True Detective, but the superior Masters of Sex at least managed to grab a Best Actress nomination for its luminous lead, Lizzy Caplan. - DS
Lena Headey replacing Emilia Clarke for Game of Thrones
Clarke’s nomination for Supporting Actress last year was perfectly worthy: she had a bunch of impressive content in Thrones’ third season revolving around her liberation of the slave army. But a repeat nomination this year would have smelled a little stagnant, considering that Daenerys’ plot was one of the less-popular elements of the fourth season. Instead, Lena Headey’s underpraised work as Cersei got in, a worthy recognition of the difficult job she does making one of the show’s most villainous characters relatable. - DS
Diverse Variety Series Writing nominations: Key & Peele, Inside Amy Schumer, Portlandia
The Variety Series category has long been one of the least exciting in Emmy history, and half of the writing slate is very familiar: The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and The Tonight Show all got their upteenth nominations. But two great Comedy Central series (Key & Peele and Inside Amy Schumer) made it here for the first time, suggesting that voters are actually paying attention to the explosion of new exciting sketch comedy. Portlandia’s nomination is actually its third, but it still has that “little engine that could” feeling nonetheless. - DS
Orange Is the New Black's success
The Emmys do a lot wrong when it comes to showering their love on certain series, but we are very happy that Orange Is the New Black joined the club. Netflix’s show may not exactly belong in the comedy category, but it’s blessedly unlike anything else on television, and focuses on telling stories about people who aren’t often represented on screen, and certainly aren’t awarded at the Emmys. So! Congrats, Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Laverne Cox, and Natasha Lyonne! We’re pulling for you. - EZ
Allison Janney and Beau Bridges on the Guest Acting list for Masters of Sex
Masters of Sex should have gotten an even bigger haul, but happily the two best-regarded elements of the first season made it in. Janney and Bridges’ great work as a married couple wrestling with his closeted homosexuality and her resulting sexual repression were widely praised, and it helps that both actors are Emmy favorites, but that doesn’t make the nominations any less deserved. - DS
Steve Buscemi sneaking in to Guest Actor as Celery
I was charmed by Buscemi’s submission in the Guest Actor in a Comedy category for his work as “Celery” in the episode about vegetable branding. I was not that hot on Portlandia last season but that was the one episode that really stuck out to me, largely because of Buscemi’s work as the haggard vegetable exec, and I’m amazed and happy the performance stuck in the Emmy voters’ minds too. Sure, he’s not grabbing nominations for Boardwalk Empire anymore, but maybe he can sneak his first trophy for this one. - DS
(Do It On My) Twin Bed
The original music and lyrics category is always a fun reminder that silly things that just bring you joy can get nominated for awards. Last year, 30 Rock’s “Rural Juror” song was nominated, and this year recognition went to SNL’s “(Do It On My) Twin Bed,” the parody song about having sex in childhood bedrooms. Now, it certainly is a whole thing with, Jean. - EZ
Saturday Night Live had a very transitional season with a lot of new talent, but its inarguable MVP was Kate McKinnon, by acclimation the show’s new breakout star who has proven a particularly vital addition to the Update desk. The Emmys, who have recently taken a shine to nominating SNL’s best performers in the Supporting categories, recognized this too and gave Kate her first nomination. Likely the first of many! - DS
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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