There was so much ambitious television this year that even the Emmys had to look past the same old shows. When the nominations were announced July 18, the Academy made room for new faces (Kerry Washington!), weird comedies (Louie!), and… Netflix. We round up the winners, the previous winners who didn’t even get nominated this time, and the shamefully overlooked.
NETFLIX Finally, the argument about whether Netflix counts as ”television” is over. The streaming giant earned 14 nominations, including nods for the political thriller House of Cards (outstanding drama, lead actor Kevin Spacey, lead actress Robin Wright), marking the first time an online series was nominated in top categories. While Arrested Development didn’t make the cut for best comedy — a surprise given that its original iteration was regularly nominated and won — Jason Bateman ranked among the lead actors for his turn on the reborn show, and even the critically drubbed horrorfest Hemlock Grove was honored for visual effects and theme music.
Drama Queens The award for most exciting category goes to lead actress in a drama, which saw worthy underdogs (Vera Farmiga for Bates Motel) and major contenders breaking ground. Scandal‘s fierce Kerry Washington is the first black actress to score this nod since Cicely Tyson for Sweet Justice in 1995. And Elisabeth Moss will be doing double duty as a nominee in two lead-actress categories: drama for Mad Men, miniseries/movie for Top of the Lake. With Homeland‘s Claire Danes, Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery, House of Cards‘ Robin Wright, and Nashville‘s Connie Britton rounding out the list (a tie resulted in seven nominees instead of the usual six), it should be a close race.
FX The cable innovator was rewarded for two of the strangest, most adventurous shows on TV, earning six nods for Louis C.K.’s outstanding-comedy contender Louie and 17 more for American Horror Story: Asylum (which competes as a miniseries). FX’s Sons of Anarchy and The Americans were largely snubbed, but with creative risk-takers like Childrens Hospital getting recognition for other channels, it might be time for cult-TV lovers to start caring about the Emmys again.
30 Rock Ain’t no party like a Liz Lemon party: Tina Fey’s much-missed comedy racked up 13 nominations for its final season. (Teamster subs for everyone!) The Office, which ended in May, got no such love.
Movie Stars Hollywood stars have traditionally received Emmy attention for TV movies/miniseries, but this year, Michael Douglas and Matt Damon made the category feel like genuine art-house fare, getting nods for HBO’s Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra. And although film directors and big-screen actresses like Claire Danes and Glenn Close have flocked to dramas for ages, now leading men are following suit: Kevin Spacey’s up for House of Cards and Jeff Daniels for the critically panned The Newsroom. (Still, poor Kevin Bacon couldn’t catch a nod for The Following.)
Matthew Weiner Though Mad Men graced the major categories, its creator missed out on a writing nom for the first time since the show’s been eligible. (Last year Men got three writing nods.) Unlike the first five seasons, the just-concluded season 6 got a lukewarm reception for its slow, flashback-heavy storytelling — at least until its shocking and eventful finale. (Kids, Daddy grew up in a whorehouse.)
New Girl So Jess and Nick finally hook up, and all they get is a resounding meh? Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, and their costar Max Greenfield, who plays the lovably schmarmy Schmidt, were all left off the ballot, even though Deschanel and Greenfield have been nominated before and this has been the show’s best season so far.
Jon Cryer and Eric Stonestreet Both actors have long been Emmy favorites…until now. With seven nominations under his belt (including a 2012 win for lead actor in a comedy), Cryer was noticeably missing from this year’s ballot. Meanwhile, Modern Family scored three best-supporting-actor nods this year, but not one for Stonestreet, who’s won twice. The good news: His absence made room for quirky performances from Girls‘ Adam Driver and Veep‘s Tony Hale.
Tatiana Maslany Emmy voters regularly overlook genre (see: John Noble on Fringe, all of The Walking Dead), but it’s still shocking that they ignored the star of the BBC America sci-fi series Orphan Black. No one put more nuance into her job than Maslany, who played seven clones from five different countries (with authentic accents to match) and even kickboxed herself on screen. The 27-year-old Canadian delivered the performance of the year. Then she did it again, six more times.
The Men of Parks and Recreation You know you’re watching comedy gold when you’re treated to a performance inspired by an actor’s young nephews. That’s true for Chris Pratt, who always brings childlike glee to the role of Andy. And this season, his costar Nick Offerman showed us a new side of Ron Swanson, who fell in love so deeply, you could almost see an actual smile beneath that push-broom mustache.