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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

5 Biggest 2014 Primetime Emmy Snubs

I recently wrote a post for the 2014 MLB All Star Game and who was snubbed. In that post, I mentioned my definition for a snub and how there's two parts to being considered a true snub. I'm going to borrow that definition and tweak it for this particular post. The first part to being considered an Emmy snub is that you have to have done incredible work to deserve being nominated in this first place. This first part of the definition is obvious, but it is not the only criteria. While The Internet may believe it to be so, there's one more aspect to being considered an Emmy snub. The second part of the definition, is that the Emmy's needed to have been aware of the show/performance, and reasonable minds needed to have predicted that a nomination was evident. In the aftermath of the nominations being announced, many articles were written about how Keri Russell from The Americans should have gotten a nomination. However, Keri Russell is not a snub. While she may fit the first part of the definition, she absolutely does not fit the second part of the definition. You may enjoy The Americans and believed its second season was Emmy worthy, but it was a show that Emmy voters were not even remotely aware of as evidenced by the fact that the show only received one nomination- and that was for Emmy darling Margo Martindale's guest performance. In a world dominated by a litany of great TV, Emmy voters just can't watch it all, and The Americans was just a show they missed. So now that you know the definition of what makes up a snub, here is the list for the 6 Biggest 2014 Primetime Emmy Snubs:

Rian Johnson (Breaking Bad)
Outstanding Direction in a Comedy Series

Rian Johnson is a decently well known film director (Looper, Brick) who is now in charge of Star Wars Episodes 8 & 9. He is also the director of many Breaking Bad episodes including Fifty-One and Fly. Johnson is also the director of probably the greatest Breaking Bad episode ever made: "Ozymandias". The final 8 Breaking Bad episodes are eligible this Emmy period, and "Ozymandias" was episode 6 of 8, and in my mind, the true season finale with Episodes 7 & 8 being the epilogue to the show. It included two of the greatest scenes ever these past 12 months including the aftermath of the Nazi shoot out in the desert, and the scene where Jesse and Flynn fight back against Walt. In fact, the latter was so good, that Entertainment Weekly named it as The Single Greatest Television Scene of 2013.

Breaking Bad is clearly a show that Emmy voters watch. It's currently the reigning champion of the Outstanding Drama Series category, Bryan Cranston has three Emmy's, Aaron Paul had two, and Anna Gunn, has one. Even worse, the writer of "Ozymandias", Moira Walley-Beckett, earned an Emmy nomination for writing the episode. While that nomination was extremely well-deserved, it's astonishing that the director wasn't rewarded as well. Even worse, Downton Abbey and House of Cards each earned a directing nomination this year. I don't know how any rational human being can suggest that an episode of House of Cards or Downton Abbey is better than Breaking Bad's "Ozymandias".

Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Speaking of Breaking Bad, let's move right along to Dean Norris. For the past two years, Breaking Bad has had two actors nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category, Aaron Paul and someone else. Two years ago it was Paul and Giancarlo Esposito for his incredible work as Gus Fring. Last year, it was Paul and the stoically brilliant Jonathan Banks for his work as Mike Ehrmantrout. This year, it seemed inevitable that Aaron Paul's Breaking Bad Emmy buddy was going to be Dean Norris. Not only did Norris' Hank Schaeder have a more prominent role in the final 8 episodes of Breaking Bad, but he's been so damn good throughout the series' run, including the eligible episodes, that his nomination seemed inevitable. I predicted he was going to earn a nomination, GoldDerby predicted he was going to earn a nomination, and Hitfix's Daniel Feinberg had Norris ranked 5th on his Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series power rankings. Yet come nomination time, we have the likes of Downton Abbey's Jim Carter (who was barely in the terrible 4th season of the show) and Josh Charles from The Good Wife earn nominations over Dean Norris.

Jeffrey Wright (Boardwalk Empire)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Another actor that should have been nominated right alongside Dean Norris was Jeffrey Wright. Wright was first introduced on the latest season of Boardwalk Empire as the new big bad for the show. Last year's Big Bad was Bobby Cannavale who played the over-the-top, sex fiend Gyp Rosetti. Cannavale's character and performance was so great, that the Emmy's rewarded him with a win in this category last year. For all the love that Breaking Bad (deservedly) receives in this category, it's Boardwalk Empire that's the reigning champion. While there wasn't a "Boardwalk Empire" spot the way there seemingly were two "Breaking Bad" spots, it seemed like a no-brainer that character actor Jeffrey Wright would earn an Emmy nomination this year. I thought he would earn a nomination, and Hitfix's Daniel Feinberg had Wright 4th on his Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series power rankings. Wright underplayed his Valentin Narcisse character which added more treachery to him. But apparently this low-key approach, while it made for great television, didn't translate very well to Emmy voters.

The Good Wife (CBS)
Outstanding Drama Series

While Dean Norris and Jeffrey Wright may not have earned an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series nomination, Josh Charles from The Good Wife was able to rise from the dead and earn a nomination. After both Charles, as well as his co-star Julianna Marguiles, failed to earn a nomination for the down 4th season of the CBS legal show, both of them earned a nomination this year, and both in competitive categories as well. Charles and Marguiles were joined by Christine Baranski and Dylan Baker as actors from The Good Wife who earned a 2014 Primetime Emmy nomination for their work on the show. The 5th (and eligible) season of The Good Wife was excellent, and nominations for Charles, Marguiles, Baranski, and Baker reflect the Emmy's love for the show. Yet, for all of this love, The Good Wife failed to earn an Outstanding Drama Series nomination this year. What's even worse is that the terrible 2nd season of House of Cards and the even worse 4th season of Downton Abbey were able to steal Outstanding Drama Series nods away from more worthy competitors like The Good Wife.

Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Like The Good Wife, another seemingly Emmy staple that failed to earn a nomination this year was Elizabeth Moss. Moss plays Peggy Olson on Mad Men, and is the only character worth rooting for on the show. In fact, you can argue that Peggy Olson is the true star of Mad Men. After failing to earn a nomination during the show's rookie year, Moss earned five straight Emmy nominations for her work on the AMC drama, and she deserved to make it six in a row this year. In my Emmy Question series piece, when discussing Mad Men, I originally wrote that Elizabeth Moss not only didn't deserve a nomination, but was not going to get one. However, I wrote that first draft before the show's final two episodes aired. Once "The Strategy" and "Watrerloo" came out, I changed my tune and thought that Moss was a lock to earn a nomination this year. I was wrong. I understand that the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series is by far and away the deepest and hardest category to earn a nomination in, but I was confident Elizabeth Moss would be able to do it. Her Burger Chef pitch along should have sealed the deal. For all the talk that Tatiana Maslany and Keri Russell are Emmy snubs, Elizabeth Moss is the true snub in this category.

Those are my selections for the biggest snubs for the 2014 Primetime Emmy's. I'm sure many of you will argue that Tatiana Maslany failing to earn a nomination is the biggest snub of all, but I suggest you read my piece on why she didn't earn a nomination. She doesn't fit my definition of a snub, because it was unrealistic to expect this specific Emmy governing body to have voted for her. That same logic goes for why The Americans and Hannibal earned few or no nominations. I chose not to put anyone from Masters of Sex or Justified on this list because the drama series category is just so damn deep, that not everybody can be considered a snub. Sometimes, being the 7th or 8th best at something means you don't earn an Emmy nomination.



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