EW's inside view of this year's Emmy nominations

When it comes to this year’s Emmy nominations, it was no surprise that there were so few surprises. The lineups have become a tradition: Anthony Edwards, Jimmy Smits, and Dennis Franz were all nominated for best lead dramatic actor for the fourth straight year. “Frasier,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” and “Seinfeld” are all best comedy series nominees for the fifth year running. And then there are mainstays like John Lithgow (third nomination for “3rd Rock From the Sun”) and Helen Hunt (sixth for “Mad About You”). (To brush up on the other nominees, see EW Online’s complete list..) “It’s the same thing every year,” says EW general editor Mary Kaye Schilling. “There are other people out there doing good work but the Academy can’t see beyond their regular shows.” Here are more of Schilling’s thoughts on important Emmy races:

Best Comedy Series “Critically and qualitatively it was not a great year for ‘Seinfeld.’ However, the fact that it’s only won once (in 1993) for Best Comedy is shocking. It should win just because it was the most groundbreaking sitcom of the ’90s. But the big oversight was ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ not being nominated. There’s no way that ‘3rd Rock From the Sun’ comes close to ‘Raymond.’

“Then there’s ‘Ally McBeal,’ which is emphatically not a comedy. But David Kelley, who created it, also has ‘The Practice’ nominated for best drama. I’m sure he didn’t want them going head to head. Plus, ‘Ally’ is too slight to go up against heavy hitters like ‘ER’ or ‘Law & Order.’ It would never be taken seriously in drama and would have no chance to win. It could possibly win for comedy, but I have a feeling the Academy will feel it’s misplaced there.”

Best Actress in a Comedy “It’s great that Jenna Elfman and Calista Flockhart are in there because they’re both newcomers and both terrific. It will be interesting to see if voters stick with the old school. Helen Hunt just won an Oscar, and they’re going to lean toward her for credibility.”

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy “Phil Hartman probably got nominated because he died, which is a shame: He deserved it while he was alive. He was very subtle, a comedian’s comedian, but he was probably too quiet for the nominating committee. I have a funny feeling they’ll give it to him this year, although it would be nice if Jason Alexander got it. With six nominations, he’s never won, which is mind-boggling.”

“From the Earth to the Moon”‘s 17 nominations “HBO’s ‘Oz,’ which wasn’t nominated, took far more risks and was far more ambitious than ‘Earth,’ which simply spent a lot and hired Tom Hanks to do one of the dullest explorations of space that I’ve ever seen. It would be a smarter choice if ‘George Wallace’ or ‘Moby Dick’ won. They were both terrific but didn’t spend that much money and don’t have Hanks attached and may suffer for that reason.”

Ally McBeal
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