The actual Emmy nominations are in.

Comedy Series:

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Girls
  • 30 Rock
  • Veep
  • Modern Family
  • The Big Bang Theory

Hey, best comedy series is a strong category this year. Replace Modern Family and Curb with Community, Louie or Parks and Recreation and it’d be perfect.

Of course, while Community and Louie were always longshots, it’s strange that Parks and Rec wasn’t nominated again. Girls was unexpected; I honestly thought it’d get shut out entirely. Recognition for Veep’s first season is also nice.

Modern Family is far from a bad show, but is it really the best show on TV? Would anyone consider it one of TV’s best series if it hadn’t become a Emmy darling? It’s not even the best ABC show on Wednesdays! By now, Modern Family is essentially on auto-pilot, and doesn’t deserve to be singled out in an era rich with great comedies.

This year The Office and Glee are neglected entirely, showing that sometimes Emmy voters do make great decisions.

Should Win: Veep or Girls
Will Win: Modern Family

Comedy Writing:

  • Louie – “Pregnant”
  • Girls – “Pilot”
  • Parks and Recreation – “The Debate”
  • Parks and Recreation – “Win, Lose or Draw”
  • Community – “Remedial Chaos Theory”

Comedy writing is, besides Girls, all episodes from shows not up for best comedy series. Community finally gets its first competitive Emmy nomination, while Amy Poehler is up for writing “The Debate”.

Should Win: Any of them; I’d single out Community though.
Will Win: Girls

Comedy Directing:

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm – “Palestinian Chicken”
  • Girls – “She Did”
  • New Girl – “Pilot”
  • Louie – “Duckling”
  • Modern Family – “Virgin Territory”
  • Modern Family – “Baby on Board”

In contrast, directing is more boring. Great episodes of Girls and Louie are here, but Modern Family also shows up and will probably win this category, as it is an awards juggernaut, rolling up every other sitcom’s award chances as if the King of All Cosmos was Modern Family’s producer.

Should Win: Louie or Girls
Will Win: Modern Family

Comedy Lead Actor:

  • Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
  • Louis C.K., Louie
  • Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
  • Don Cheadle, House of Lies
  • Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Louis C.K. returns from last year, alongside perennial nominees Parsons, Baldwin and David. Jon Cryer has moved from supporting to lead thanks to Two and a Half Men remaining inexplicably popular without Charlie Sheen; and from what I’ve heard, Don Cheadle is a good actor on a bad show.

Should Win: Louis C.K.
Will Win: Jim Parsons

Comedy Lead Actress:

  • Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
  • Lena Dunham, Girls
  • Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
  • Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
  • Tina Fey, 30 Rock
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Melissa McCarthy, Mike and Molly

A fantastic category, with Poehler, Falco and Fey returning and three nods for the stars of new series. Then there’s the good Melissa McCarthy on the awful Mike and Molly. I honestly didn’t know it was still on, though I also didn’t know it existed until she won last year, so I am clearly not an expert in the field of Mike and Mollyism.

Should Win: Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey or Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Comedy Supporting Actress

  • Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
  • Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
  • Julie Bowen, Modern Family
  • Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
  • Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
  • Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives

Unsurprising but not quite as boring as supporting actor. Bowen, Wiig and Vergara return and we have recognition for the late Kathryn Joosten. I haven’t seen Nurse Jackie, but I’ve heard Merritt Weaver was long overdue. Mayim Bialik’s nomination is a welcome surprise: over the past two seasons, she’s brought new life to The Big Bang Theory, but I thought she’d get neglected again.

Should Win: Mayim Bialik
Will Win: Kathryn Joosten

Comedy Supporting Actor

  • Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
  • Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
  • Max Greenfield, New Girl

SIGH. The Emmys again single out the entire cast of Modern Family and give the last two slots to…Bill Hader and Max Greenfield? No Nick Offerman? Really?

Should Win: …Bill Hader, I guess?
Will Win: A member of some kind of Modern Family

Comedy Guest Actor: When I learned Paul Rudd wasn’t nominated for playing Bobby Newport on Parks & Rec, I lost all interest in this category.

Comedy Guest Actress: On the other hand, Margaret Cho’s nomination for playing Kim Jong-Il is kind of awesome.

Drama Series:

  • Breaking Bad
  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Downton Abbey
  • Mad Men
  • Homeland
  • Game of Thrones

The Good Wife wasn’t nominated, which means Drama is officially free of shows original to network TV. There aren’t any other surprises however. Downton Abbey, airing on PBS, is now competing as a drama series instead of a miniseries for…some reason?

Game of Thrones only had one other major nomination, for Peter Dinklage. No other actors – even though Lena Headey and Alfie Allen did great work and were deserving of a nomination.

Should Win: Breaking Bad
Will Win: Mad Men or Downton Abbey

Drama Lead Actress:

  • Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
  • Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
  • Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
  • Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
  • Claire Danes, Homeland
  • Glenn Close, Damages

The Good Wife is still recognized here. Indeed, Dockery and Danes are the only new nominees.  Kathy Bates is nominated for Harry’s Law, NBC’s most popular scripted show, which they cancelled after two seasons for having viewers that were too old.

Should/Will Win: Claire Danes

Drama Lead Actor:

  • Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
  • Michael C. Hall, Dexter
  • Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
  • Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men
  • Damian Lewis, Homeland

And another category with worthy nominees and no real surprises. Emmy voters seem to have finally realized how bad Dexter is now; Hall is its only major nomination.

Should/Will Win: Bryan Cranston

Drama Supporting Actress:

  • Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
  • Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
  • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
  • Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
  • Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
  • Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

Between The Good Wife and Mad Men’s perennial nominees, and two cast members from Downton Abbey, Anna Gunn has finally received a nomination after four seasons on Breaking Bad.

Should Win: Anna Gunn
Will Win: Maggie Smith

Drama Supporting Actor:

  • Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
  • Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
  • Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey
  • Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
  • Jared Harris, Mad Men
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Hey, Giancarlo Esposito got nominated too! Along with Mad Men’s Jared Harris, some people from Downton Abbey, and Dinklage, who remains Game of Thrones’ sole acting nominee.

Should Win: Giancarlo Esposito
Will Win: Peter Dinklage

Drama Directing:

  • Boardwalk Empire – “To The Lost”
  • Breaking Bad – “Face Off”
  • Downton Abbey
  • Mad Men – “The Other Woman”
  • Homeland – “Pilot”

The most blatant omission? Game of Thrones’ epic “Blackwater”, also not nominated in writing, even though Thrones was up in both categories last season.

Should Win: Breaking Bad
Will Win: Mad Men

Drama Writing:

  • Downton Abbey
  • Mad Men – “The Other Woman”
  • Mad Men – “Commissions and Fees”
  • Mad Men – “Far Away Places”
  • Homeland – “Pilot”

Should/Will Win: Mad Men

Miniseries or Movie:

  • Game Change
  • American Horror Story
  • Hemingway & Gellhorn
  • Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
  • Luther
  • Hatfields & McCoys

And here we see what remains of the miniseries and TV movie, once viable, wildly popular genres. Now? We have respectable but unengaging TV movies Game Change and Hemingway & Gellhorn; American Horror Story, which is a regular anthology series that barely qualifies; Hatfields & McCoys, which seems to be nominated just for existing; and two great series from Britain, where most dramas are short serials. Downton Abbey competed here last year, but now is a drama series. Meanwhile, Sherlock had three episodes but submitted one as a TV movie.

Should Win: Sherlock
Will Win: Game Change or Hemingway & Gellhorn

Lead Actress, Miniseries:

  • Julianne Moore, Game Change
  • Connie Britton, American Horror Story
  • Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn
  • Emma Thompson, The Song of Lunch
  • Ashley Judd, Missing

Two big-name stars in prestige movies for HBO and Britton in American Horror Story compete with Emma Thompson in another British import, The Song of Lunch. And Ashley Judd – really? Missing was advertised and planned as a regular series and submitted as a miniseries after ABC canceled it; they did the same with The River, which went unnominated.

Should Win: Connie Britton
Will Win: Julianne Moore or Nicole Kidman

Lead Actor, Miniseries:

  • Woody Harrelson, Game Change
  • Clive Owen, Hemingway & Gellhorn
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
  • Idris Elba, Luther
  • Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
  • Bill Paxton, Hatfields & McCoys

Once again the only interesting performances are in British imports, and they’ll be defeated by American stars in works no one really wants to watch.

Should Win: Benedict Cumberbatch
Will Win: Clive Owen

Supporting Actress, Miniseries:

  • Sarah Paulson, Game Change
  • Frances Conroy, American Horror Story
  • Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
  • Judy Davis, Page Eight
  • Mare Winningham, Hatfields & McCoys

Sigh. Again, so boring.

Should/Will Win: Jessica Lange

Supporting Actor, Miniseries:

  • Ed Harris, Game Change
  • Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story
  • David Strathairn, Hemingway & Gellhorn
  • Martin Freeman, Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
  • Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys

One Brit in something worth watching, versus…sigh.

Should Win: Martin Freeman
Will Win: Ed Harris

Directing, Miniseries:

  • Game Change
  • Hemingway & Gellhorn
  • Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
  • Hatfields & McCoys
  • Luther

Sigh.

Should Win: Sherlock
Will Win: Hemingway & Gellhorn

Writing, Miniseries

  • Game Change
  • Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
  • The Hour
  • Luther
  • Hatfields & McCoys

Given how few miniseries are actually made, I’m curious how The Hour ended up only being nominated here and nowhere else. At least it boosts the number of actually interesting writing nominees to…three.

Should Win: The Hour or Sherlock
Will Win: Game Change

Variety Series:

  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  • The Colbert Report
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Should/Will Win: The Daily Show

Animated Program:

  • American Dad – “Hot Water”
  • The Penguins of Madagascar
  • Futurama – “The Tip of the Zoidberg”
  • Bob’s Burgers – “BurgerBoss”
  • The Simpsons – “Holidays of Future Passed”

Remember when I called animation the Emmy’s worst category? Because that’s still true. Archer was over in favor of…American Dad, The Simpsons and a Madagascar spin-off, all clearly superior shows. Bob’s Burgers’ nomination is a nice surprise, but it and Futurama are the only worthy nominees here.

Should Win: Bob’s Burgers
Will Win: Futurama

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