TV Feature: The 10 Biggest Emmy Snubs of 2011

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CHICAGO – Before getting too deep into what the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences did wrong this year, they deserve a few moments of high praise. First-time Best Series nominations for “Boardwalk Empire,” “Game of Thrones,” “Friday Night Lights,” and “Parks and Recreation” — those were stellar choices to fill those slots.

And some of their acting choices were inspired with special shout-outs to recognizing the incredible talents of Louis C.K.(“Louie”), four actors from “Justified” (Timothy Olyphant, Margo Martindale, Walton Goggins, Jeremy Davies), the notable ensemble of “The Good Wife,” and even the mega-talented Melissa McCarthy (“Mike & Molly”). The cast of “Modern Family,” all six of which were nominated, may have been deserving but those were obvious choices. I was more pleasantly surprised to see the Academy make a few calls that weren’t as obvious.

But they didn’t always make the right ones. As we do every year, we’re back to speak for the underappreciated, the shows and actors who should have been nominated. Sometimes it’s an entire show being ignored. Sometimes it’s just a deserving nominee or two that we wanted to see make the cut. For the most part, there were ten programs that the Academy should have shown more love.

10. “The Closer”

Kyra Sedgwick
Kyra Sedgwick
Photo credit: TNT

How does Kyra Sedgwick go from winning the Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama in 2010 to not even being nominated in 2011? Does that seem right? I’ve never been a huge fan of TNT’s mega-hit but it’s just illogical to me for Sedgwick to go from the best of the six to #7 or lower a year later. Was the last season that bad? I didn’t see all of it, but what I saw certainly wasn’t bad enough for that kind of a fall from glory. And you simply can’t convince me that Sedgwick didn’t deliver as memorably as Kathy Bates for “Harry’s Law” or the always-nominated-always-overrated Mariska Hargitay of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” Maybe they signed a pact that they’d give Sedgwick the trophy last year and not even invite her to the party this year. It just doesn’t make sense.

9. “True Blood”

True Blood
True Blood
Photo credit: HBO

Like most people, I believe that season three of “True Blood” was a bit of a step down creatively but to see the program completely shut out of all major categories was a bit disappointing nonetheless. I would have loved a left-field supporting nod for Alexander Skarsgard or even Nelsan Ellis (over Andre Braugher or Alan Cumming). And Anna Paquin would have made a smarter choice than Bates or Hargitay. The Academy briefly recognized “True Blood” last season but seems to have woken up with a bit of a hangover. The Emmys rarely recognize genre, having ignored shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” for their entire run, so maybe the few nods that “True Blood” got in the past were the anomaly, not the program being left out this year. But this won’t be the last time we mention problems with the Emmys and genre.

8. “Big Love” & “In Treatment”

Big Love
Big Love
Photo credit: HBO

While we’re on the HBO tip, the network said goodbye to two of its best dramatic series this year with final seasons of “Big Love” and “In Treatment” and I thought at least one acting nomination per show would have been a nice way to send these excellent programs into history. Who should have made the cut? Emmy voters love a comeback and when film stars come to their medium (the only way to explain the Bates nomination) and so I’m honestly stunned that Debra Winger didn’t land a nod for “In Treatment.” I also would have finally nominated Jeanne Tripplehorn, who delivered the best work of her career on the final season of “Big Love.” The adoration for “The Good Wife” was clear with its five acting nods, but I’d pick Winger & Tripplehorn over both of those ladies.

7. “Luther” & “Carlos”

Photo credit: BBC America

Both were eligible for Best Movie/Mini-Series. “The Kennedys” was nominated instead. Let that sink in for a minute. “The Kennedys” deserved maybe a single nomination for Barry Pepper, who found a way to keep his head above water despite some of the worst writing on TV this year, but that’s IT. I might even let a few tech nods slide because of the scope of the piece, but to suggest that the overall series was in the same league as fellow nominees “Downton Abbey” or “Mildred Pierce” isn’t just wrong, it’s disturbing. This is a choice on par with “Burlesque” getting a Best Picture nomination from the Golden Globes. In that case, there weren’t that many obvious alternates but the Academy clearly saw “Luther” and “Carlos,” nominating both Idris Elba and Edgar Ramirez for Lead Actor. So, they saw “Luther” & “Carlos” and thought “The Kennedys” was better. No, wait, that sentence doesn’t make any sense. My head hurts.

6. “Parks and Recreation”

Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation
Photo credit: NBC

The funniest show on television landed a much-deserved Best Comedy series nod, one for Amy Poehler for Best Actress, and….well, nothing. The ensemble on this program is spectacular and I’d like to think that perhaps votes canceled each other out instead of Academy members thinking none were worthy. The problem this year is that “Modern Family” took up 66% of Best Supporting Actor and 50% of both supporting categories combined and, while I love that show as much as the next critic, it left a lot of worthwhile nominees snubbed. Perhaps next year there needs to be a representative from “Modern Family” so the voters don’t take the easy route to filling these categories. Who should have gotten in from “Parks and Rec”? Well, Rob Lowe stupidly submitted himself as lead, so screw him, but they could have nominated Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott, or Chris Pratt. But my choice would be the great Nick Offerman (in place of Ty Burrell or Jesse Tyler Ferguson, both great but not as good as the other two “MF” men and someone’s got to go.)

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