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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

4 Biggest Emmy Surprises That Shouldn't Have Been A Surprise

There are three things that are guaranteed in life: Death, Taxes, and Award Snubs. No matter how much an award show gets right, they will always get something wrong. Always. That same holds true for the 2014 Primetime Emmy's. They of course got things wrong. Many, many things wrong. Don't believe me, check out my 5 Biggest Emmy Snubs. Just ask any Tatiana Maslany fans. However, many of the fan's vitriol was misplaced. If they just had the correct expectations, then they would have expected the "snub", and then they wouldn't be so angry. Life is all about expectations. Here are some of the things Emmy fans should have expected and the 4 Biggest Emmy Surprises That Shouldn't Have Been A Surprise.

Downton Abbey Remains Strong

Hitfix's Daniel Feinberg does some amazing work predicting both the Emmy nominations as well as the winners. He incredibly predicted that Homeland would win Outstanding Drama Series and that Damien Lewis would beat out Bryan Cranston for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series three years ago. But I didn't understand why he was continually discounting Downton Abbey. He didn't think the PBS show was going to earn any nominations in the Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, or Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series categories. I asked him why (I think on Twitter?) and he said the decrease in quality of the show's last season combined with an incredibly deep field means no Downton Abbey this year. GoldDerby also agreed with Fienberg. I, however, disagreed. I predicted Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Joanne Froggatt, and the show itself would all earn nominations. The only one I was wrong about was Bonneville. The conventional wisdom was that only Smith (and maybe Froggatt, maybe) would earn a nomination. I even wrote on Twitter the day before the nominations were released that Downton Abbey's downfall was severely overstated. I was right. While this may have frustrated everybody (including me, as much as I love being right, Downton Abbey is a terrible show), it was obvious that the British show was going to remain strong. Do you know why? Emmy voters are lazy and are nothing but creatures of habit. The Emmy's have gotten a lot better recently nominating quality over everything, even if that means nominating a fringe candidate, but they are still human. I'd bet you dollars to donuts that most Emmy voters didn't get around to watching the last season of Downton Abbey, but still voted for it based upon its reputation and past seasons. That's just the way the Emmy's role.

Ricky Gervais earns an Outstanding Lead Actor nomination

In 2013, Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) and Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Obviously, neither Baldwin nor Batemen were eligible in 2014, which means that there were two open spots in this field. The conventional wisdom was last Golden Globe winner Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) was a lock to earn one of those spots and either Williams H. Macy (Shameless) or Robin Williams (The Crazy Ones) was going to earn that last spot. Daniel Feinberg had Gervais NINTH behind the 4 returning 2013 nominees, Samberg, Macy, Williams, and Michael J. Fox in his power rankings. I personally didn't even consider Gervais a real contender to earn a nomination this year. Boy were we all wrong. But we all missed the obvious. Not only is this category extremely shallow, but the Emmy's LOVE Ricky Gervais. Gervais has more Primetime Emmy nominations than I can count including two acting nominations and one win for his work on Extras. Gervais has nominations for his work on The Office, Extras, and The Ricky Gervais Show along with a handful of other specials. Gervais is actually doing some acting on his Netflix show "Derek" with a specific walk, talk, and gait unlike acting like his normal self. This nomination should not have been a surprise. 

Fred Armisen is an Emmy nominee

While I am still in shock that Fred Armisen is considered a supporting actor on Portlandia, a show in which he's in every sketch and probably runs creatively, I shouldn't be surprised that he's an Emmy nominee. OK, we should all be a little shocked that an IFC show garnered a major nomination, but we all missed the fact that Emmy voters like great actors in sketch comedy shows. And why shouldn't they? I'd argue it's more difficult for a sketch actor to be continually great than a normal actor on a normal sitcom. For the past two years, Bill Hader from Saturday Night Live earned an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series nomination and Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig both earned Emmy nominations for their work on SNL. With Hader obviously not eligible in 2014 and no obvious candidate from SNL to take his place, the Emmy's had to look elsewhere for their sketch comedy actor, and who better than a former SNL alum with his own brand of humor. 

Tatiana Maslany from Orphan Black gets snubbed

The Internet was in a tizzy when Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) did not earn an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series nomination. They were extremely upset when she failed to earn one last year, but at that time, absolutely nobody heard about Maslany or the BBC America show itself until Maslany was snubbed. But this time, Emmy voters have had a full year to catch up on Tatiana Maslany! She of course was going to earn a nomination this year, right? Nope. I recently wrote specifically why Maslany failed to earn an Emmy nomination, but basically it comes down to this: there are just too god damn many good dramas out there, that Emmy voters just don't have the time to check out Orphan Black. Add to the fact that the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series turned into probably the deepest major category at the Emmy's with five-time nominee Elizabeth Moss, 2013 nominees Connie Britton and Vera Farmiga, and fan favorite Keri Russell also not earning a nomination, it's very easy for Tatiana Maslany to get "snubbed". 



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