Emmy Nominations 2011: What They Did Right and What They Did Wrong

Oh Emmy you’ve done it again. I know you can’t please everyone, as the old saying goes, but sometimes I wonder if you even watch television. There were so many glaring snubs among this year’s Emmy nominations that the whole thing has left me feeling a little distraught. I was going to write out all of the nominations and point out where the Emmy’s went wrong, but instead, let’s do the bullet points because, well, I just don’t feel like the Emmy’s are deserving of that much of my time and energy. If you’re interested in the full list of 2011 Emmy Nominations, you can check them out here. Now, let’s talk about where the Emmy’s got it wrong.

FX’s often overlooked Sons of Anarchy overlooked again.

Where’s the Love for SAMCRO?

No, really. Someone answer that for me because the whole thing has me confused. Sons of Anarchy is without question one of the best shows on television but it didn’t even receive one lousy nomination. Is that how this hallowed institution rewards sharp writing, powerful and real performances and genuinely original storytelling – by completely ignoring all of those things?

My problems with Sons of Anarchy’s Emmy snub lies in the fact that there are at least three major categories SOA should be nominated in; Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for Charlie Hunnam and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Katey Sagal. That isn’t even counting the numerous supporting roles that deserve a nomination. Please. Ryan Hurst? Maggie Siff? Kim Coates? Ron freaking Perlman? Each of them deserves Emmy love, but the snubs for the show, Charlie and Katey sting especially bad. And while we’re at it – how about a nod for Ally Walker’s excellent guest starring role as Agent Stahl.  Absolutely ridiculous.

An incredible performance as SOA’s Opie fails to earn Hurst an Emmy nod.

Let’s take a moment to talk about Ryan Hurst. While it’s obvious to everyone that watches Sons of Anarchythat Katey and Charlie turn in Emmy-worthy performances in each and every episode, Ryan gets overlooked much of the time, but his performance this last season was absolutely mind-blowing. Need proof? Check out the scene between Hurst’s Opie and Walker’s Stahl in the season finale and tell me why neither one received an Emmy nomination.

Love Hugh, but does he need another Emmy nom?

Hugh Laurie as House? Really?

I love Hugh Laurie and there was a time that I loved house, but come on – the show has been on a steady decline for the last several seasons and this past season may have been the lowest point. Hugh Laurie is ridiculously talented, but he’s only as good as the material he has to work with and this year, he was not given Emmy caliber material. It’s a shame that Hugh gets another nomination based on what he’s done in the past while Charlie Hunnam, Sean Bean (of Game of Thrones) and scores of other incredibly talented actors are left wanting.

Sean Bean is especially stunning in the Outstanding Actor in a Drama category considering, unlike Sons of Anarchy, the Emmy’s clearly have no problem showering Sean’s Game of Thrones with nominations. I also can’t imagine it’s an issue of wanting to give the same show too many nominations considering the piles of nominations for Modern Family and Mad Men.

Michael C. Hall? Yes. Dexter as a show? No.

All of the same things can be said for Showtime’s serial killer drama, Dexter but with a twist. While Dexter has never had a bad season, this past season was far from the show’s best. Michael C. Hall did an incredible job with the material he was given and I truly believe he deserved his nomination, as did Julia Stiles for her performance as Lumen Pierce (nominated for Outstanding Guest Appearance by an Actress in a Drama Series), but was Dexterreally one of television’s best drama series last year? The sad answer is no. The show lost its way. In trying to develop secondary characters like Angel Batista and Maria LaGuerta, the show distracted viewers away from the otherwise intense, dramatic and engrossing main story.

Sometimes secondary character development gets in the way of a good story.

Normally, I’m a big fan of character development. My only real problem with Nurse Jackie this season was that none of the characters really seemed to show any depth or growth. The problem with character development for secondary characters is simply that some shows don’t need it. There was just too much happening with Dexter, Lumen, Deb and Quinn – all of whom played a role in the main story and advanced the season to its conclusion – that Batista and LaGuerta felt like an after thought. Scenes with LaGuerta and Batista brought the action and building of that delicious tension that makes the show engrossing to a dead stop. Don’t get me wrong. Angel Batista (played by David Zayas) and Maria LaGuerta are excellent characters but their entire story line felt forced, tacked on and worse, tedious to sit through. For that reason, I really think another show with a stronger season, such as, oh, I don’t know, Sons of Anarchy should’ve gotten Dexter’s spot in the category.

Of all seasons, you overlook Neil Patrick Harris for this one?

No Neil Patrick Harris?

What gets me about Neil Patrick Harris’ Emmy snub this year is the fact that this season on How I Met Your Mother, Neil really had the chance to show his range as an actor. In the past, Harris’ Barney Stinson has been very one dimensional and showed little, if any, growth offering Neil little chance to really show us his acting chops. This season’s story lines allowed that to change while still keeping the character true to what we’ve come to expect of him. If any season of How I Met Your Mother earned Neil an Emmy, it should’ve been this one and, in my humble opinion, he was robbed.

Did the Emmy’s Get Anything Right? Yes!

I was pleasantly surprised to see Timothy Olyphant’s name show up in the Outstanding Actor in a Drama category. FX’s Justified is an excellent show and Timothy’s performance in it is definitely worth of an Emmy nod. I have been a huge Olyphant fan since 1997 when I saw him in Scream 2 and would love nothing more than to see him take the trophy home. It’s worth noting that the nods for Justified seem to indicate the Emmy’s have no problem throwing nominations the way of FX shows, putting to rest the theory that Sons of Anarchyis simply on the wrong network. Anyway, that’s a whole separate rant and one I’ve already covered. Moving on to other happy Emmy news…

A so-so awards season for Glee.

A Mix of Good and Bad News for Glee

I was thrilled to see Chris Colfer get his second Emmy nod for his role as Kurt on Glee and equally thrilled to see Jane Lynch, this year’s Emmy host, get a nomination for her role as Coach Sue. Also grabbing nominations for Glee? Kristin Chenoweth and Gwyneth Paltrow for their guest appearances. I’m kind of rooting for Kristin on this one, but I’d be equally thrilled to see Gwyneth. They have some stiff competition though, facing off against none other than Tina Fey for her guest appearances on Saturday Night Live. I’m not on the pissed off at Emmy train for the lack of nominations for Lea Michele or Matthew Morrison as, quite simply, they didn’t have much in the way of Emmy caliber material. What’s the deal with no nod for this season’s Gleebreakout star, Darren Criss though?

A little well-deserved Emmy love for one of my favorites, Steve Buscemi.

I was shocked and elated to see Matt LeBlanc’s nomination for the woefully unappreciated Episodes and Andre Braugher’s nomination for Men of a Certain Age. It’s always nice to nice to see Steve Buscemi recognized for his talents, especially for his work on a show like Boardwalk Empire. On the same note, love seeing Boardwalk Empire up for Outstanding Drama Series as well. I’m also thrilled to see Christine Baranski nominated for her work on The Good Wife and Edie Falco’s continued recognition for her work on Nurse Jackie. While I didn’t feel this season gave her a lot to work with and I would’ve liked to have seen Toni Collette nominated for her ridiculously awesome performance on United States of Tara instead.

A Few Missteps Aside, Emmy Did Well with Comedies

Johnny Galecki The Big Bang Theory: Johnny Galecki gets a surprise nomination.

Where else did Emmy get it right? They definitely got it right when it came to The Big Bang Theory. While Jim Parsons’ nomination for his role as the deliciously neurotic Sheldon Cooper was expected as was the nomination for the show in the Outstanding Comedy Series category, rewarding Johnny Galecki’s flawless performance as Sheldon’s straight man Leonard was a welcome surprise. This nomination is long over do because Johnny is fabulous. Also a highlight in the comedy categories? Martha Plimpton’s nomination for Raising Hope, Parks and Recreation’s nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series (and the matching nomination for Amy Poehler in the Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Category) and Matt LeBlanc’s surprising nomination for Episodes and Ed O’Neill’s long deserved but long denied nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.

What are your thoughts on this year’s Emmy Nominations? What were the glaring mistakes? What did they get right? Let me know in the comments section below.