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Netflix’s House of Cards Headlines a Pack of Both Predictable & Surprising 2013 Emmy Nominations

The 2013 Primetime Emmy Nominations were announced earlier this morning.  But, first…

Is it possible to look at a list of nominations without merely looking to see if the people you like the most made it in and then rallying to their defense when they don’t?  Yeah, it’s certainly possible.  However, if you don’t actually work in film or television what is the point of looking at a list of Primetime Emmy nominations other than to seek out validation, i.e., either you are right because the things you like got nominated (“the majority of people agree with me”) or you are right because the things you like didn’t get nominated  (“I’m clearly smarter and less mainstream than those idiots”).  So, is it cool that Anna Clumsky was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in Veep or crappy that Casey Wilson wasn’t for Happy Endings in the same category?  (duh, it’s both).

Now, let’s look to the nominations to find out if we should feel angered, vindicated, or an uneasy mixture of both.  As per usual, the nominations revealed some big surprises, snubs and slightly unmerited over-nomination of a show which has now aired its final season.  The breakdown is this:

Most nominated shows? American Horror Story (17), Game of Thrones (16), Saturday Night Live, Behind the Candelabra (both at 15 a piece), and 30 Rock (13 plus 2 additional nominations for 30 Rock-related web content that does not technically count as a nomination for 30 Rock). 

Most nominated networks? HBO (108), CBS and NBC (54), ABC (45), Showtime (31)

Biggest surprise nominations? Vera Farmiga for her crazy-town bonkers work on Bates Motel!, Emilia Clarke recognized for finally getting to say more than just “Where are my dragons?” on Game of Thrones, Kerry Washington for the soap-tastic Scandal.

Biggest surprise non-nominations? No Julianne Marguiles for The Good Wife, no Zooey Deschanel for New Girl, no Eric Stonestreet for Modern Family, no Jon Cryer for Two & Half Men (that last one is a very welcome surprise).  These are all people normally nominated who were not this year.

Biggest surprise shutout? New Girl did not receive a single nomination.  One would have thought the episode “The Cooler” (the big Jess-Nick kiss one) would have been a shoe-in for some kind of writing or directing nomination, or that at the very least Deschanel would repeat as a nominee for Best Actress.  But nada. Even with its non-stop critical lovevest, the shutout of Orphan Black is not as surprising because it is from a genre-science fiction-the Emmys usually ignores.  The same can’t be said of FX’s Justified, which critics love but clearly the Emmys do not. At least The Americans received 2 nominations.

Least surprising shutout? Community.  It has a reputation as being a critical darling which brings NBC critical acclaim, but this is not entirely true because networks measure acclaim by awards show nominations.  How often is Community nominated?  Almost never, just an occasional writing nomination.  Plus, let’s be honest here – outside of its puppet episode Community probably didn’t have any real Emmy-worthy material this season.

The canceled show hilariously nominated for a bunch of awards? USA’s Political Animals, nominated for two acting awards (best actress-Sigourney Weaver, best supporting actress-Ellen Burstyn), and a series award in the “Miniseries or TV Movie” category as well as for 2 technical awards for a total of 5 nominations.

The beloved show which has now ended showered with nominations? 30 Rock (13 nominations plus 2 related nominations, as previously explained)

The once-beloved show which has now ended mostly ignored? The Office (4 nominations, all on the writing/directing/technical side of things)

The show which continues to muck everything up? Saturday Night Live.  The Emmys consider it to be both a Variety Series and a Comedy Series.  So, Bill Hader is nominated as Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series much as Kristin Wiig had been as Actress in the past.  However, it still feels odd to have a sketch performer nominated alongside comedic actors playing the same character in 13 to 22 episodes across an entire season.  It’s not a fair comparison for either party.

Biggest Headline? The Netflix original series House of Cards was nominated for 9 awards, including Best Drama, and the Netflix-exclusive new season of Arrested Development for 3 awards, including Best Actor for Jason Bateman.  These are not the first online-only shows to be nominated.  For example, Netflix’s other exclusive, Hemlock Grove, was nominated for 2 technical awards, which is where online-only shows usually prosper.  However, House of Cards and Arrested Development are the first to be nominated in such high profile categories. Traditional TV networks?  Netflix and the Emmys just put you on notice!


Comedy Series

  • 30 Rock
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Girls
  • Louie
  • Modern Family
  • Veep

Drama Series

  • Breaking Bad
  • Downton Abbey
  • Game of Thrones
  • House of Cards
  • Homeland
  • Mad Men

Miniseries or Movie

  • American Horror Story
  • Behind the Candelabra
  • The Bible
  • Phil Spector
  • Political Animals
  • Top of the Lake

Variety Series

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

Variety Special

  • The Kennedy Center Honors
  • Louis C.K.: Oh My God
  • Mel Brooks Strikes Back! With Mel Brooks And Alan Yentob
  • Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update Thursday (Part One)
  • 12-12-12: The Concert For Sandy Relief

Reality-Competition Series

  • The Amazing Race
  • Dancing With the Stars
  • Project Runway
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • Top Chef
  • The Voice

Animated Program (sadly, no Gravity Falls)

  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Regular Show
  • The Simpsons
  • South Park


Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
  • Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
  • Louis C.K., Louie
  • Don Cheadle, House of Lies (even Cheadle is embarassed by his inclusion on this list at the exclusion of others)
  • Matt LeBlanc, Episodes (same goes for LeBlanc’s perfectly fine but not Emmy-fine work on Episodes)
  • Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Laura Dern, Enlightened (another already canceled show, but a deserving nod)
  • Lena Dunham, Girls
  • Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
  • TIna Fey, 30 Rock
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

  • Adam Driver, Girls
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
  • Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
  • Tony Hale, Veep

Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

  • Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
  • Jane Lynch, Glee
  • Julie Bowen, Modern Family
  • Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
  • Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
  • Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
  • Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Guest Actor In A Comedy Series

  • Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
  • Nathan Lane, Modern Family
  • Bobby Cannavale, Nurse Jackie
  • Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
  • Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live
  • Will Forte, 30 Rock

Guest Actress In A Comedy Series

  • Molly Shannon, Enlightened
  • Dot-Marie Jones, Glee
  • Melissa Leo, Louie
  • Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
  • Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
  • Elaine Stritch, 30 Rock


Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
  • Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
  • Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
  • Jon Hamm, Mad Men
  • Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
  • Damian Lewis, Homeland

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Connie Britton, Nashville
  • Claire Danes, Homeland
  • Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
  • Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
  • Kerry Washington, Scandal
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards

Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

  • Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire
  • Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad
  • Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
  • Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
  • Peter Dinklage, Game Of Thrones
  • Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

  • Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
  • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
  • Emilia Clarke, Game Of Thrones
  • Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
  • Morena Baccarin, Homeland
  • Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Guest Actor In A Drama Series

  • Nathan Lane, The Good Wife
  • Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
  • Rupert Friend, Homeland
  • Robert Morse, Mad Men
  • Harry Hamlin, Mad Men
  • Dan Bucatinsky, Scandal

Guest Actress In A Drama Series

  • Margo Martindale, The Americans
  • Diana Rigg, Game Of Thrones
  • Carrie Preston, The Good Wife
  • Linda Cardellini, Mad Men
  • Jane Fonda, The Newsroom
  • Joan Cusack, Shameless


Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie

  • Benedict Cumberbatch, Parade’s End
  • Michael Douglas, Behind The Candelabra
  • Matt Damon, Behind The Candelabra
  • Toby Jones, The Girl
  • Al Pacino, Phil Spector

Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie

  • Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
  • Laura Linney, The Big C: Hereafter
  • Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
  • Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake
  • Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals

Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie

  • James Cromwell, American Horror Story: Asylum
  • Zachary Quinto, American Horror Story: Asylum
  • Scott Bakula, Behind The Candelabra
  • John Benjamin, The Big C: Hereafter
  • Peter Mullan, Top Of The Lake
Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie
  • Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Asylum
  • Imelda Staunton, The Girl
  • Ellen Burstyn, Political Animals
  • Charlotte Rampling, Restless
  • Alfre Woodard, Steel Magnolias


Writing For A Drama Series

  • George Mastras, Breaking Bad • Dead Freight
  • Thomas Schnauz, Breaking Bad • Say My Name
  • Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey • Episode 4
  • D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, Game Of Thrones • The Rains Of Castamere
  • Henry Bromell, Homeland • Q&A
Writing For A Comedy Series
  • Jeffrey Klarik and David Crane, Episodes • Episode 209
  • Louis C.K and Pamela Adlon, Louie • Daddy’s Girlfriend (Part 1)
  • Greg Daniels, The Office • Finale
  • Robert Carlock and Jack Burditt, 30 Rock • Hogcock!
  • Tina Fey and Tracey Wigfield, 30 Rock
Writing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special

  • Richard LaGravenese Behind The Candelabra
  • Abi Morgan, The Hour
  • Tom Stoppard, Parade’s End
  • David Mamet, Phil Spector
  • Gerard Lee and Jane Campion, Top Of The Lake

Writing For A Variety Series

  • The Colbert Report
  • The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Portlandia
  • Real Time With Bill Maher
  • Saturday Night Live
Writing For A Variety Special
  • Louis C.K.: Oh My God
  • Night Of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together For Autism Programs
  • Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update Thursday (Part One)
  • 66th Annual Tony Awards


Directing For A Drama Series
  • Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire • Margate Sands
  • Michelle MacLaren, Breaking Bad • Gliding Over All
  • Jeremy Webb, Downton Abbey • Episode 4
  • Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland • Q&A
  • David Fincher, House Of Cards
Directing For A Comedy Series
  • Lena Dunham, Girls • On All Fours
  • Paris Barclay, Glee • Diva
  • Louis C.K., Louie • New Year’s Eve
  • Gail Mancuso, Modern Family • Arrested
  • Beth McCarthy-Miller, 30 Rock • Hogcock! / Last Lunch
Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special
  • Steven Soderbergh, Behind The Candelabra
  • Julian Jarrold, The Girl
  • David Mamet, Phil Spector
  • Allison Anders, Ring Of Fire
  • Garth Davis and Jane Campion, Top Of The Lake • Part 5

Directing For A Variety Series

  • James Hoskinson, The Colbert Report
  • Chuck O’Neil, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
  • Andy Fisher, Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Jerry Foley, Late Show With David Letterman
  • Jonathan Krisel, Portlandia
  • Don Roy King, Saturday Night Live 
Directing For A Variety Special
  • Louis J. Horvitz, The Kennedy Center Honors
  • Hamish Hamilton and Bucky Gunts, London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony
  • Louis C.K, Louis C.K.: Oh My God
  • Don Mischer, The Oscars
  • Michael Dempsey, 12-12-12: The Concert For Sandy Relief

You can view the full list of nominations (seriously, there are a crap-ton more – when you download them as a word document it’s over 70 pages long) at

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