2015 Emmy noms — surprises, snubs and more viewing options represented

Less major network, more cable and even non-cable outlets like Netflix and Amazon have provided this year's nominations.

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The 2015 Emmy nominations were released today, and as always there are some surprises and snubs. With so much content available now it’s impossible to get everything right. I listed the major categories most people care about below and added my thoughts on a few of the inclusions and some of the exclusions.

Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
Downton Abbey
House of Cards 
Mad Men
Orange is the New Black 

Outstanding Comedy Series
Modern Family 
Parks and Recreation
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 

Outstanding Lead Actor Drama Series
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Jeff Daniels, Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Outstanding Lead Actress Drama Series
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black 
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men 
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Outstanding Lead Actor Comedy
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Louie C.K., Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Will Forte, Last Man on Earth
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
William H. Macy, Shameless

Outstanding Lead Actress Comedy Series
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Julia Louis Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Outstanding Supporting Actor Drama
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline

Outstanding Supporting Actress Drama
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Outstanding Supporting Actor Comedy
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Tony Hale, Veep

Outstanding Supporting Actress Comedy
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Allison Janney, Mom
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Niecy Nash, Getting On
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent

I wasn’t surprised that the first season of Better Call Saul was good, I was shocked at exactly how good it was. Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould know how to make great television. Who knew. It’s not going to beat out titans like Mad Men and Game of Thrones, but its delightful to see it included in the Outstanding Drama Series category. As great as it is to see Better Call Saul included, it’s a travesty to not have The Americans nominated. It’s a far better show than House of Cards, Downton Abbey, and Orange Is The New Black, as much as I enjoy the latter. Sadly, its low ratings are what’s likely keeping it from the shine it deserves.

Silicon Valley has been the smartest and funniest comedy to come out in some time. Parks and Recreation, despite its low ratings, sits in the Mount Rushmore of comedies for me, even though its final season probably made me cry tears of joy more often than I laughed out loud. The Big Bang Theory was not included, I say as I give a little fist pump under my desk.

If this isn’t the year Jon Hamm wins for Outstanding Lead Actor, then something’s up. Two years ago Jeff Daniels hilariously won. Four years ago Kyle Chandler beat him out, even though Hamm submitted the all-time great episode “The Suitcase.” We don’t yet know which episode he’s chosen, but, dammit, give Don Draper an Emmy, or anyone in the Mad Men cast for that matter.

Taraji P. Henson stole the show on FOX’s surprising Empire. She commanded the room in every scene she was in. No one on television is asked to do more than Tatiana Maslany on Orphan Black. She’s not going to win, but a nomination is a good step forward in that direction.

As usual, Amy Poehler gets Parks and Rec's only acting Emmy nomination. She’s up against the steamroller that is Julia Louis Dreyfus, so don’t count on a victory. If anyone can find a way to steal a victory, though, it’s Leslie Knope.

Supporting Actor in a Drama is a stacked field. I’m rooting for Jonathan Banks, who turned in the most powerful single episode I’ve seen all season on Better Call Saul. Ben Mendelsohn was amazing in the lackluster Bloodline, but his greatness was more spread out over the season, and the Emmy’s are supposed to recognize only the single episode the actor submits. Then there’s always previous winner Peter Dinklage, looming large (get it?)

Lena Headey. Let Lena Headey win please.

I maintain that Andre Braugher is the funniest man on television, so it’s great to see him get a nomination. The previously unknown Tituss Burgess burst onto the scene in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and I’m glad the academy recognized his performance on the Netflix show.

Jason Alexander never won an Emmy for George Costanza. Steve Carrell never won for Michael Scott. At least they got nominated. Nick Offerman has now officially struck out as Ron Swanson. In the immortal words of Ron after learning the picnic was out of food, “I hate everything.” 

This year continues cable's dominance, and even non-cable outlets like Netflix and Amazon picked up an increasing number of nominations. Modern Family will likely win Outstanding Comedy as long as it stays on the air, but, as previously noted, The Big Bang Theory was left off in favor of newer, better, cable shows. Inbthe biggest shock of all, multiple Emmy winner Jim Parsons wasn't nominated. The only chance network TV has in the upcoming years is Empire, which singlehandedly saved FOX this year, yet only earned one major nomination. In the 1970s there were three networks and no real competition to be had, so sub-optimal programming was shoved down our throats. Now there's nearly 400 original scripted shows on networks you don't even know exist. Long live the new world order.

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