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2009 Primetime Emmy Awards Nominees

30rockIt’s Emmy Time! Sure there’s a surprise or two, but I hope you weren’t expecting a revolution. Before we commence with the nominees, allow me to share my prejudices and problems. And you know I have them.

The problem with award shows: There’s a gazillion Grammy awards, and yet, there’s so much music out there across every genre, subgenre, underground genre, genre-spanning genre (pop, pop-country, pop-rock, rock-country, etc.) that narrowing down the nominees and then picking one winner (who tends to walk away with several awards), doesn’t seem fair. Or realistic. The Oscars rarely hold surprises in their nominations or winners (despite “breakout” movies like Slumdog Millionaire and Little Miss Sunshine. America loves their underdogs!). When comedies and minorities sweep the Oscar nominations, I’ll buy you all drinks. Until then, pick a role that requires you to cry, die, or burst into manic fits of emotion, and you’re practically guaranteed a “It’s an honor just to be nominated…”  Maybe a quirky character bit will land you a nod, but I think we can all pick the potential nominees just by reading plot summaries and watching theatrical trailers.

As for the Emmys, they suffer from a little of both the Grammy genre breakdown, and the Oscar predictability. So many categories, and yet not enough to do real justice to forgotten actors. And the predictability of seeing the same names and faces, year after year, even when some shows haven’t had stellar seasons, becomes a little disappointing for television fans.

And with that bitterness and cynicism in mind, I present to you this year’s list of nominees, complete with my thoughts on the snubs and the overhyped (or ridiculously repeated).  And just like the Oscars, there’s plenty of these I haven’t seen, so I’ll only share my thoughts where appropriate (ha!). Feel free to share yours!

Best Comedy Series: Entourage; Family Guy; Flight of the Conchords; How I Met Your Mother; The Office; 30 Rock; Weeds.howImetyourmother

Analysis: The Office deteriorated in terms of quality this season (way to go Emmy pandering!), and 30 Rock also suffered from too many “very special guest stars” – though it still remained Must See TV. Family Guy is long overdue for recognition, and a win. Missing: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Raunchy and hilarious, every week. And sadly, Scrubs continues to receive no love. But hey, why not nominate Entourage…again?

Best Actor, Comedy: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Steve Carrell, The Office; Jemaine Clement, Flight of the Conchords; Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory; Tony Shalhoub, Monk; Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men.

Analysis: Alec Baldwin, all the way, even though he was much better in earlier seasons. I refuse to comment on anything from CBS. However, I know for a fact Two and a Half Men should never be nominated for anything. Tony Shalhoub…still? Zach Braff, ftw!

Best Actress, Comedy: Christina Applegate, Samantha Who; Toni Collette, United States of Tara; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine;  Tina Fey, 30 Rock; Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds; Sarah Silverman, The Sarah Silverman Program.

Analysis: I’m against giving awards to people who are basically “acting” like themselves, no matter how funny they are (Denis Leary, Rescue Me) – so, good-bye, Sarah Silverman. And again, not 30 Rock’s most deserving season.

Supporting Actor, Comedy: Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men; Kevin Dillon, Entourage; Neil Patrick Harris, HIMYM; Jack MacBrayer, 30 Rock; Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock; Rainn Wilson, The Office.

Analysis: Despite what I just said re:  actors acting as themselves (we have no proof here!), Tracy Morgan in 30 Rock. Not your best season, Jack MacBrayer. Not with a full cast of Scrubs and Corbin Bernsen in Psych.bigbangtheory

Supporting Actress, Comedy: Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies; Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock; Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds; Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live; Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live; Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty

Analysis: Yawn.

Guest Actor, Comedy: Alan Alda, 30 Rock; Beau Bridges, Desperate Housewives; Jon Hamm, 30 Rock; Steve Martin, 30 Rock; Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live

Guest Actress, Comedy: Jennifer Aniston, 30 Rock; Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory; Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live; Gena Rowlands, Monk; Elaine Stritch, 30 Rock; Betty White, My Name Is Earl

Analysis: Okay, even I watched SNL again for Fey’s Palin imitations, and she was brilliant. More deserving here than for Best Actress. Elaine Stritch = Always Awesome.

Best Drama Series: Big Love, Breaking Bad, Damages, Dexter, House, Lost, Mad Men

Analysis: Damages had a good season, but not a great one when you have shows like Friday Night Lights being ignored. Even with characters like Jason Street. Though I usually like House, this season tanked until the last few episodes. Fringe was more consistent, even when it was being inconsistent.

Best Actor, Drama: Simon Baker, The Mentalist; Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment; Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad ; Michael C. Hall, Dexter; Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Hugh Laurie, House

Analysis: If Simon Baker wins, all is lost. The Mentalist is Psych, and not rewarding Psych while rewarding its ripoff is NOT RIGHT.

Best Actress, Drama: Glenn Close, Damages; Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters; Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU; Holly Hunter, Saving Grace; Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men; Kyra Sedgwick, The Closermadmen

Analysis: I’m told by people who watch Mad Men that Moss is “okay,” but January Jones should have been nominated. This category drives me crazy, because again – Glenn Close was great, but this season didn’t blow your mind, acting-wise. I like SVU, but I’ve never understood Hargitay’s nomination. I’m so over Kyra Sedgwick, like ten years ago – I’m ready to stop watching TNT for all the crazy promotion this woman and her show receives. Watch Leverage instead!

Robbed? I hate to jump on the FNL bandwagon, but Connie Britton is amazing. So’s Kyle Chandler while we’re at it. But then we couldn’t nominate Baker, I guess.

Best Supporting Actor, Drama: Christian Clemenson, Boston Legal; Michael Emerson, Lost; William Hurt, Damages; Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad; William Shatner, Boston Legal; John Slattery, Mad Men

Best Supporting Actress, Drama: Rose Byrne, Damages; Hope Davis, In Treatment; Cherry Jones, In Treatment; Sandra Oh, Grey’s Anatomy; Dianne Wiest, In Treatment; Chandra Wilson, Grey’s Anatomy

Analysis: William Hurt was awful, and though Rose Byrne was much better in her second season, emoting two emotions (vengeance and befuddlement) do not a three dimensional character make. Waste of nominations!

Guest Actor, Drama: Edward Asner, CSI: NY; Ted Danson, Damages; Ernest Borgnine, ER; Michael J. Fox, Rescue Me; Jimmy Smits, Dexter

Guest Actress, Drama: Brenda Blethyn, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; Carol Burnett, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; Ellen Burstyn, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; Sharon Lawrence, Grey’s Anatomy; CCH Pounder, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Analysis: Like you didn’t see the Carol Burnett nomination coming the moment you saw the promos for her guest appearance.

Reality Competition Program: The Amazing Race; American Idol; Dancing with the Stars; Project Runway; Top Chef

Reality Show Host: Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars; Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race; Heidi Klum, Project Runway; Padma Lakshmi (Host) and Tom Colicchio (Co-Host), Top Chef; Jeff Probst, Survivor; Ryan Seacrest, American Idol

Analysis: Most Pointless Category – aren’t they all window dressings reveling in the drama and stirring the pot? However, as long as Andy Cohen NEVER receives a nomination, I don’t care.

Reality Series: Antiques Roadshow, Dirty Jobs, Dog Whisperer, Intervention, Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List, MythBustersgrey'sanatomy

Variety, Music, or Comedy Series: The Colbert Report, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Late Show With David Letterman, Real Time With Bill Maher, Saturday Night Live

Analysis: I love me some Dave, but The Colbert Report, hands down. I mean, come on. And come on.

Variety, Music, or Comedy Special: Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome America. A Final Night With George W. Bush; Ricky Gervais: Out of England; Kathy Griffin: She’ll Cut a Bitch; The Kennedy Center Honors; Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger

Analysis: Chris Rock. Period.

Miniseries: Generation Kill; Little Dorrit

Made for TV Movie: Coco Chanel; Grey Gardens; Into The Storm; Prayers For Bobby; Taking Chance

Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: Kevin Bacon, Taking Chance; Kenneth Branagh, Wallander: One Step Behind; Kevin Kline, Cyrano de Bergerac (Great Performances); Brendan Gleeson, Into the Storm; Sir Ian McKellen, King Lear (Great Performances); Kiefer Sutherland, 24: Redemption

Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Drew Barrymore, Grey Gardens; Jessica Lange, Grey Gardens; Shirley MacLaine, Coco Chanel; Sigourney Weaver, Prayers For Bobby; Chandra Wilson, Accidental Friendship

Analysis: Obviously, I don’t watch miniseries or made for TV movies.

Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: Len Cariou, Into the Storm; Tom Courtenay, Little Dorrit; Ken Howard, Grey Gardens; Bob Newhart, The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice; Andy Serkis, Little Dorrit

Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Shohreh Aghdashloo, House Of Saddam; Marcia Gay Harden, The Courageous Heart Of Irena Sendler (Hallmark Hall Of Fame Presentation); Janet McTeer, Into The Storm; Jeanne Tripplehorn, Grey Gardens; Cicely Tyson, Relative Stranger

Analysis: Marcia Gay Harden. The one person from this seasons of Damages who should have been nominated for it.rescueme

Well, that’s all I’ve got. The good news is, True Blood received zero nominations. How Anna Paquin walked away with a Golden Globe is beyond me. Michael Emerson as Lost’s only nominee also seems rightly deserved; I don’t understand the love affair with Elizabeth Mitchell, so please don’t complain to me about a “snub” here. I’m praying she remains dead when the show returns next year. Michael J. Fox in Rescue Me is a wonderful nod, but clearly the voters aren’t actually watching the shows, or Rescue Me would have at least received writing or directing nominations. As usual, no scifi recognition (John Noble, almost everyone on Battlestar Galactica), but I’m not sure why we scifi fans even get our hopes up.

Despite 30 Rock’s major Emmy love, the recognition of Family Guy, and other standouts (Jeremy Piven’s welcome absence, and, supposedly, the guy from The Big Bang Theory), Emmy isn’t more edgy or more welcoming this year. Too many of the nominees are the same, for lackluster seasons and repetitive performances. Which is why I won’t be watching the show again this year, just catching the highlights on youtube that someone will pass along. Instead, I’ll watch all my favorite episodes from shows and actors who didn’t receive nominations. At least I know I’ll be in for a great evening!

The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards will air on Sunday, September 20 at 8/7c on CBS

Originally published July 16, 2009

Photographs courtesy of NBC, CBS, AMC, ABC, FX, and IMDbPro

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