Thursday, July 19, 2007

I'll See You In Hell, Emmy Voters! (Part 2)

After learning that Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell wasn't among the nominees for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama, I figured that this year's Emmy ballot would be nothing but a disappointment. At least in that sense, I wasn't disappointed.

Once again, the voters for the best in television prove they don't actually bother to watch the medium.

To wit, here's the complete list:

Drama Series: ‘‘Boston Legal,’’ ABC; ‘‘Grey’s Anatomy,’’ ABC; ‘‘Heroes,’’ NBC; ‘‘House,’’ Fox; ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ HBO.
Comedy Series: ‘‘Entourage,’’ HBO; ‘‘The Office,’’ NBC; ‘‘30 Rock, NBC; ‘‘Two and a Half Men,’’ CBS; ‘‘Ugly Betty,’’ ABC.

Actor, Drama Series: James Spader, ‘‘Boston Legal,’’ ABC; Hugh Laurie, ‘‘House,’’ Fox; Denis Leary, ‘‘Rescue Me,’’ FX; James Gandolfini, ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ HBO; Kiefer Sutherland, ‘‘24,’’ Fox.
Actress, Drama Series: Sally Field, ‘‘Brothers & Sisters,’’ ABC; Kyra Sedgwick, ‘‘The Closer,’’ TNT; Mariska Hargitay, ‘‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,’’ NBC; Patricia Arquette, ‘‘Medium,’’ NBC; Minnie Driver, ‘‘The Riches,’’ FX; Edie Falco, ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ HBO.

Supporting Actor, Drama Series: William Shatner, ‘‘Boston Legal,’’ ABC; T.R. Knight, ‘‘Grey’s Anatomy,’’ ABC; Masi Oka, ‘‘Heroes,’’ NBC; Michael Emerson, ‘‘Lost,’’ ABC; Terry O’Quinn, ‘‘Lost,’’ ABC; Michael Imperioli, ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ HBO.
Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Rachel Griffiths, ‘‘Brothers & Sisters,’’ ABC; Katherine Heigl, ‘‘Grey’s Anatomy,’’ ABC; Chandra Wilson, ‘‘Grey’s Anatomy,’’ ABC; Sandra Oh, ‘‘Grey’s Anatomy,’’ ABC; Aida Turturro, ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ HBO; Lorraine Bracco, ‘‘The Sopranos,’’ HBO.

Actor, Comedy Series: Tony Shalhoub, ‘‘Monk,’’ USA; Steve Carell, ‘‘The Office,’’ NBC; Alec Baldwin, ‘‘30 Rock,’’ NBC; Charlie Sheen, ‘‘Two and a Half Men,’’ CBS.
Actress, Comedy Series: Felicity Huffman, ‘‘Desperate Housewives,’’ ABC; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, ‘‘The New Adventures of Old Christine,’’ CBS; Tiny Fey, ‘‘30 Rock,’’ NBC; America Ferrera, ‘‘Ugly Betty,’’ ABC; Mary-Louise Parker, ‘‘Weeds,’’ Showtime.

Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Kevin Dillon, ‘‘Entourage,’’ HBO; Jeremy Piven, ‘‘Entourage,’’ HBO; Neil Patrick Harris, ‘‘How I Met Your Mother,’’ CBS; Rainn Wilson, ‘‘The Office,’’ CBS; Jon Cryer, ‘‘Two and a Half Men,’’ CBS.
Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Jaime Pressly, ‘‘My Name Is Earl,’’ NBC; Jenna Fischer, ‘‘The Office,’’ NBC; Holland Taylor, ‘‘Two and a Half Men,’’ CBS; Conchata Ferrell, ‘‘Two and a Half Men,’’ CBS; Vanessa Williams, ‘‘Ugly Betty,’’ ABC; Elizabeth Perkins, ‘‘Weeds,’’ Showtime.

OK, so now we know the hundred people who watch "Boston Legal" - they all work for the academy. How else to explain all of the nominations for a series that no one else barely acknowledges?

Hey, I love The Shat as much as anyone, but wasting a nomination in Best Supporting Actor for William Shatner is a crime, as is James Spader in Best Actor.

And "2 1/2 Men" proves to be the "Boston Legal" of the comedy world, though at least that show does have legitimate ratings. That Emmy voters continue to show it the love they have is mind-boggling, however.

It's amazing that Emmy voters expanded many of the categories to six nominees, yet still managed to make so many mistakes.

Among the most glaring: Nothing, zip, nada for "Friday Night Lights," one of TV's finest dramas. No mention of the series, nothing for actors Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton (the most shameful and glaring omission, IMO) nor any of the talented young actors that make up the core of the cast, such as Zack Gilford and Scott Porter.

Zilch also for "The Shield," when CCH Pounder was getting a lot of notice for Best Supporting Actress and Walton Goggins ought to have been a slam dunk for Best Supporting Actor. But then, "The Shield" has been shockingly ignored over the past few years despite the superior work turned in by lead Michael Chiklis and supporting actors Glenn Close, Anthony Anderson and Forest Whitaker, among others.

At least fellow FX show "Rescue Me" earned one nod for Dennis Leary as Best Actor, but nothing for Andrea Roth as Best Supporting Actress.

Part of the problem is that Emmy voters fall so much in love with one show, they stuff the category. With Best Supporting Actress in Drama, for example, you have Sandra Oh, Chandra Wilson and Katherine Heigl. For God's sake, just pick one. Emmy voters will have to pick one anyway for the statue, so why not knock out two of them and spread the wealth around with the nominations?

And pick supporting actors who appear in more than just five episodes, such as Lorraine Bracco and Aida Turturro of "The Sopranos." I like both actresses, but neither had the impact of someone like Mitchell or Roth.

And stop going with the same actors year in and year out. Mariska Hargitay? Kiefer Sutherland? Patricia Arquette? (Seriously?) I've given up hope that actors and actresses on shows like "Veronica Mars" or "Battlestar Galactica" will ever earn nominations, but when a show like "Friday Night Lights" or "The Shield" or "The Wire" is passed over, there is something seriously wrong with the process.

I will give the Academy credit for getting a few picks right, however. I was pleased to see Hugh Laurie finally get a nom for Best Actor, and Edie Falco return to the ranks of Best Actress. I was happy to see "Lost's" Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn be so honored. And I had all but given up hope that Neil Patrick Harris would be recognized for "How I Met Your Mother," but I was glad to be proven wrong.

I'll save my Emmy predictions for later in the year when the show is broadcast, but this seems like another year worth skipping.

BEST BETS: American Movie Classics airs one of my favorite shows, "Hustle," and now is adding to its original programming with the debut of "Mad Men" (AMC, 10 p.m.) The show, created by "Sopranos" writer Matthew Weiner, is set in the rather politcally incorrect 1950s and in the world of advertising. The show has generated a lot of critical buzz, so it's worth catching the pilot.

"Burn Notice" (USA, 10 p.m.) continues to be a lot of fun, with Jeffrey Donovan as the unemployed secret agent who finds himself helping people of all sorts, and Bruce Campbell as one of his sidekicks. Think "The Equalizer" with a much lighter tone.


zodin2008 said...

Oh the Emmy nominations...the most depressing time of the year for real TV fans.

First, I am going to start off aiming my venom at you...and I will say it again....I didn't watch "House" BECAUSE of Hugh Laurie. Even though many of you think this man is some brilliant actor for limping around snarking wildly at people, his show certainly doesn't deserve a nomination, not at the expense of "Lost", "Battlestar", "Rescue Me" or "Friday Night Lights".

Plus, you also get my ire way way way way up when you rip on Kiefer. Say what you will about a down year for "24", but Sutherland is what keeps bringing the fans (like myself, my wife and many of my friends) back to the show. If they lose Kiefer, there's no "24".

But other then our huge divide between "House" and "24", I pretty much agree across the board.

Let's start with the Emmy shame.

First, you are dead on about "Boston Legal", which isn't really even a Drama. How does "Legal" get a Dramatic nod and "Housewives" or "Betty" are seen as the comedies. These shows are similar in vein. It only further begs the point that maybe we need to look at a 3rd, DRAMEDY category. But another point for another day.

And, once again you are absolutely right on in your attack on "2 1/2 men". Yes, it has ratings but we have already pretty much established that most of the shows that get big ratings show that as a country, we (as a whole) don't have good taste in Television.

We care more about the easy, cheap, dumb laugh ("2 1/2 men") then we do about the smart, sophisticated show ("The Office" which has the Emmy nods but middling ratings).

The bottom line is that when it comes to Drama, the Emmys got more right then it did wrong...the bad of course was Boston Legal and actors, House and Laurie, the Grey's actresses, Mariska Hargitay (terrible actress), Minnie Driver (the worst thing about "The Riches"!!!!!) and ridiculous nominations for bit "Sopranos" players like Bracco and especially, the over acting Sida Turturro. Unlike you, Phillip, I am not a fan.

I mean, nominating 3 Grey's actresses and 2 bit "Sopranos" actresses, yet ignoring CCH Pounder and Elizabeth Mitchell (along with people we epxect them to ignore like the wonderful women of "Battlestar") is not only sickening and shows the process to be a complete joke, but it shows a larger problem: the voters only watch their favorite shows and ignore everything else.

It's obvious they probably watched maybe one "Lost" episode or one "The Shield"--because if they had sat and watched both show sthroughout, Walton Goggins and Elizabeth Mitchell would be nominees for God's sake.

As for Comedy, every year the Emmy folks now seem to do much better here, but it is mostly that there is a lack of a lot of great comedies, rather then the Emmy voters being remotely competent.

An example of how the Emmy voters "Ellen Burstyn'd" it this year, they nominated Vanessa Williams (a deserving nominee) from the terrific freshman series, "Ugly Betty" and yet failed to nominate the far funnier, Becki Newton, as smack talking assistant Amanda. (They also ignore Michael Urie as Amanda's partner in crime, Marc).

So, while the Emmys correctly paid attention to "Ugly Betty", a great show deserving a comedy nomination and several actor nods, they only nominate the so called big name actress (Williams) but ignored the funnier supporting players, (like Urie and Newton) because Urie and Newton are not household names (though they should be).

Same thing happend with the wonderful "30 Rock". The show, Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey all garnered deserving nominations. That's great. But the breakout performer of "Rock" (besides Baldwin who should win best actor) was Macon, Georgia's own, Jack McBrayer, as Kenneth the innocent page. McBrayer was the definition of a scene stealer.

There was some good, heartwarming stuff for me. The Emmy folks not completely ignoring "Lost" with well deserved nominations for Terry O'Quinn and Phillip's pal, Michael Emerson. The Emmys not ignoring Neil Patrick Harris this year was excellent. (though continuing to ignore "Scrubs" John C. McGinley is a joke).

Also, while I love Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold on "Entourage", the nomination for the overlooked Kevin Dillon had me raising my arms and fists in the air (Johnny Dram,a style) and yelling "Victory!".

Overall, the Emmys got the total list about 55% right. I suppose that's the best we can all expect this year. or any year.

Phillip Ramati said...

I'm not ripping Kiefer Sutherland, but to nominate him in what was a weak year (which even you agree with) for 24 at the expense of someone else is frustrating. It's not as if he hasn't won before, either.

You criticize the choice of Laurie, but the fact that he has won 2 Golden Globes and is the choice of most critics speaks to the fact that you are in the minority on this. But, as with any opinion, if you choose to disagree, that makes it your right. There is no right or wrong, just personal choice.

I mean, I can criticize choices like Patricia Arquette or James Spader all day long, but the fact is, someone thought them worthy enough for nominations ahead of someone I might have chosen.

And I'm willing to give the voters some slack as well. Personally, I would have loved Becki Newton to have snagged a nomination, but as I said in a previous post, Vanessa Williams did strong work, so I won't quibble about the choices.

It's the love that the Academy shows mediocre shows like Boston Legal ahead of the quality TV such as Friday Night Lights that offends me.

BTW, Michael Emerson said thanks and that the news of the award took away some of the pain of going to the dentist today. (Try finding stuff like that out at!)

zodin2008 said...

Well, pass along to Michael from your most loyal Blogger, that his nomination was one of the few nice surprises this year.

I am sure Michael would probably agree with us that Elizabeth Mitchell and Matthew Fox deserved nominations as well.

I will argue till I am blue in the face in favor of Kiefer.

Perfect example for the Oscars...most critics agree that "The Pursuit of Happyness" was a mediocre film. But all the same critics said Will Smith's performance was excellent.

This year, my wife & I saw "A Mighty Heart", a decent but not great movie, but with an extraordinary performance from Angelina Jolie. She likely gets an Oscar nomination, but not the film.

Why the same can't be true for Kiefer Sutherland and "24"...oh wait, it's because you hate all things "24" and you can step aside for a second to give Sutherland his due. He absolutely deserved his nomination.

My five emmy picks for lead actor in a Drama...Kiefer Sutherland, Denis Leary, James Gandolfini, Matthew Fox and Kyle Chandler.

Certainly a better list then the Emmys.