Emmy nominations reveal suprising snubs
Critically acclaimed dramas True Detective and Fargo have pushed their way to the top of the Emmy totem pole, but where was Girls? And Brooklyn Nine Nine? And The Good Wife?
Why no nominations for James Spader? Or Sofia Vergara?
In true form, the nominations for the 66th annual Emmy Awards were full of surprises and oversights, though it is clear in the key drama, comedy and miniseries categories they are bulging under the weight of the world's best TV programmes.
This year's list of nominees is notable not for who appears in it, but who does not.
Where is The Good Wife, which delivered what many consider to be one of the finest seasons on record? It is a show which delivers top-notch writing, with at least twice the volume of most of the nominated TV drama series: 22 episodes compared to a dozen or less.
Where is Ray Donovan, arguably one of the best cable dramas? And, for that matter, where is a nomination for Liev Schreiber whose performance as the conflicted fixer is one of the most mesmerising on TV? Schreiber's performance is breathtaking.
Where is The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin's brutal deconstruction of the modern television media?
Where is Homeland, not just a former nominee but a former winner for outstanding drama series in 2012 and outstanding writing in a drama series in 2013. From there to no nomination at all? That's a fall from grace indeed.
Where is The Blacklist and James Spader? Was it excluded because it's a network drama and, for the most part, the key categories of the Emmys are now the province of cable programming? Or simply because there was no room?
And where is The Walking Dead? A decade ago "genre" shows (fantasy, horror, science fiction) never placed in the key categories but in the post-Game of Thrones, post-American Horror Story world nothing could be further from the truth. So how come the world's most successful cable drama is so poorly represented in the nominations?
The two key categories - outstanding drama series and outstanding comedy series - once again proved to be near-impenetrable clubs.
Only one new series managed to push into drama, the HBO crime series True Detective. It will face off against five well established nominees: Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, House of Cards and Mad Men.
And only two new series pushed into comedy: HBO's Silicon Valley and Netflix's Orange is the New Black, joining The Big Bang Theory, Louie, Modern Family and Veep.
Of those, Netflix's Orange is the New Black is the most contentious because it is, essentially, a "comedy/drama" which leans towards the latter and is basically pushing its luck with the Emmy's self-submission rules.
Knowing it has no hope of getting traction in the drama category, and that it technically qualifies for either, it has instead been submitted as a comedy where it is up against three-camera half-hour comedies and single-camera cable comedies.
In a similar fashion, the FX drama Fargo technically qualifies as both a drama and a miniseries, and has, for the same reason, elected to submit as the latter, landing in the outstanding miniseries category where the competitive heat is less likely to burn.
There, Fargo is up against American Horror Story: Coven, Bonnie and Clyde, Luther, Treme and The White Queen. And with a slip of the pen its chances go from zilch to very, very real.
True Detective, meanwhile, could have been submitted in either drama series or miniseries - it's story and cast will change for the second season - but HBO elected to submit as a drama series, no doubt confident that the sheer force of the show's film star cast could push it to a win.
Those categorical blips illustrate the biggest challenge an event like the Emmy Awards has in an era where genre boundaries are heavily blurred, and competitive force has never been higher.
They also illustrate the inequity of pitting one hour dramas against half hour sitcoms in the comedy category, or indeed using the short commitment of a miniseries to draw A-list film actors to a TV project and then using their force of personality to upset the apple-cart.
On a program basis, HBO's epic fantasy drama Game of Thrones leads the tally with 19 nominations, plumped up in creative areas such as costume and makeup, but well represented in the drama, actor and actress categories as well.
The rookie drama, Fargo, which became one of the most talked about new series and a breakout hit on the US schedule, sliced off 18 nominations for itself and is the second most nominated program. Not bad for a kid on its first outing to the ball game.
American Horror Story: Coven took out 17 nominations and the HBO drama The Normal Heart a commanding 16 nominations. Coming fifth with 16 nominations was Breaking Bad, the critically exalted cable drama which bowed out last year with a compelling final season.
On a network or channel basis, HBO leads the charge with 99 nominations. Its nearest competitor, CBS, is a long way behind with 47 nominations. Proof, if you needed it, that the Emmy Awards have been overtaken by a wealth of quality cable dramas and comedies in the last few years.
The network NBC was third with 46 nominations, followed by FX (45), ABC (37), PBS (34), Netflix (31), AMC (26), Showtime (24) and Comedy Central (21).
The announcement of the nominations was made by comedian Mindy Kaling and television host Carson Daly at the headquarters of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in LA's North Hollywood.
The winners will be announced at the Creative Arts Emmys on August 16 and the 66th annual Prime Time Emmy Awards on August 25.
EMMY NOMINATIONS IN KEY CATEGORIES
Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad (AMC)
Downton Abbey (PBS)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
House of Cards (Netflix)
Mad Men (AMC)
True Detective (HBO)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Woody Harrelson (True Detective)
Matthew McConaughey (True Detective)
Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex)
Claire Danes (Homeland)
Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey)
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)
Kerry Washington (Scandal)
Robin Wright (House of Cards)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jim Carter (Downtown Abbey)
Josh Charles (The Good Wife)
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
Mandy Patinkin (Homeland)
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Jon Voight (Ray Donovan)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Christine Baranski (The Good Wife)
Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey)
Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)
Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
Breaking Bad (AMC) for Moira Walley-Beckett
Breaking Bad (AMC) for Vince Gilligan
Game Of Thrones (HBO) for David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
House Of Cards (Netflix) for Beau Willimon
True Detective (HBO) for Nic Pizzolatto
Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire (HBO) for Tim Van Patten
Breaking Bad (AMC) for Vince Gilligan
Downton Abbey (PBS) for David Evans
Game Of Thrones (HBO) for Neil Marshall
House Of Cards (Netflix) for Carl Franklin
True Detective (HBO) for Cary Joji Fukunaga
Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Modern Family (ABC)
Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Don Cheadle (House of Lies)
Louis C.K. (Louie)
Ricky Gervais (Derek)
Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham (Girls)
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)
Melissa McCarthy (Mike and Molly)
Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)
Taylor Schilling (Orange Is the New Black)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Fred Armisen (Portlandia)
Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Adam Driver (Girls)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
Tony Hale (Veep)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is the New Black)
Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)
Anna Chlumsky (Veep)
Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series
Episodes (Showtime) for David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik
Louie (FX) for Louis C.K.
Orange Is The New Black (Netflix) for Liz Friedman and Jenji Kohan
Silicon Valley (HBO) for Alec Berg
Veep (HBO) for Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche and Armando Iannucci
Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series
Episodes (Showtime) for Iain B. MacDonald
Glee (Fox) for Paris Barclay
Louie (FX) for Louis C.K.
Modern Family (ABC) for Gail Mancuso
Orange Is The New Black (Netflix) for Jodie Foster
Silicon Valley (HBO) for Mike Judge
American Horror Story: Coven (FX)
Bonnie and Clyde (History/Lifetime)
Luther (BBC America)
The White Queen (Starz)
Outstanding Made for Television Movie
Killing Kennedy (National Geographic)
Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight (HBO)
The Normal Heart (HBO)
The Trip to Bountiful (Lifetime)
Sherlock: His Last Vow (PBS)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries
Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock: His Last Vow)
Idris Elba (Luther)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dancing on the Edge)
Martin Freeman (Fargo)
Mark Ruffalo (The Normal Heart)
Billy Bob Thornton (Fargo)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries
Helena Bonham Carter (Burton and Taylor)
Minnie Driver (Return to Zero)
Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Coven)
Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story: Coven)
Cicely Tyson (The Trip to Bountiful)
Kristen Wiig (Spoils of Babylon)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries
Matt Bomer (The Normal Heart)
Martin Freeman (Sherlock: His Last Vow)
Colin Hanks (Fargo)
Joe Mantello (The Normal Heart)
Alfred Molina (Return to Zero)
Jim Parsons (The Normal Heart)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries
Kathy Bates (American Horror Story: Coven)
Angela Bassett (American Horror Story: Coven)
Ellen Burstyn (Flowers in the Attic)
Frances Conroy (American Horror Story: Coven)
Julia Roberts (The Normal Heart)
Allison Tolman (Fargo)
Outstanding Writing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special
American Horror Story: Coven (FX) for Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk
Fargo (FX) for Noah Hawley
Luther (BBC America) for Neil Cross
The Normal Heart (HBO) for Larry Kramer
Sherlock: His Last Vow (PBS) for Steven Moffat
Treme ... To Miss New Orleans (HBO) for David Simon and Eric Overmeyer
Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special
American Horror Story: Coven (FX) for Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Fargo (FX) for Adam Bernstein
Fargo (FX) for Colin Bucksey
Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight (HBO) for Stephen Frears
The Normal Heart (HBO) for Ryan Murphy
Sherlock: His Last Vow (PBS) for Nick Hurran
Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Program
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)
Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
Saturday Night Live (NBC)
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
Outstanding Reality Competition Program
The Amazing Race (CBS)
Dancing With the Stars (ABC)
Project Runway (Lifetime)
So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)
Top Chef (Bravo)
The Voice (NBC)
Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program
Betty White's Off Their Rockers (Lifetime) for Betty White
Dancing With The Stars (ABC) for Tom Bergeron
Hollywood Game Night (NBC) for Jane Lynch
Project Runway (Lifetime) for Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn
So You Think You Can Dance (Fox) for Cat Deeley
The Taste (ABC) for Anthony Bourdain
Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Series
American Masters (PBS)
Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (Fox/NatGeo)
Pioneers Of Television (PBS)
The World Wars (History)
Years Of Living Dangerously (Showtime)
Outstanding Animated Program
Bob's Burgers (Fox)
Futurama (Comedy Central)
South Park (Comedy Central)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project (Nickelodeon)
Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance
Disney Mickey Mouse (Disney Channel) for Chris Diamantapolous
Dog With A Blog (Disney Channel) for Stephen Full
Family Guy (Fox) for Seth MacFarlane
Futurama (Comedy Central) for Maurice LaMarche
Robot Chicken DC Comics Special II: Villains In Paradise (Cartoon Network) for Seth Green
The Simpsons (Fox) for Harry Shearer
Outstanding Special Class Program
The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards (NBC)
The Oscars (ABC)
Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony (NBC)
The Sound Of Music Live! (NBC)
67th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program
Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: President Barack Obama (FunnyOrDie.com)
Children's Hospital (Adult Swim)
Parks And Rec In Europe (NBC.com)
The Soup: True Detective (E!)
Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show Starring Bruno Mars (Fox)
Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Program
Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee (Crackle.com)
Cosmos: A National Geographic Deeper Dive (NationalGeographic.com)
I Was There: Boston Marathon Bombings (History.com)
Jay Leno's Garage (NBC.com)
Park Bench With Steve Buscemi (AOL)
30 For 30 Shorts (ESPN)
Sydney Morning Herald