The nominees for the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards were announced this morning, with Jimmy Kimmel filling in for a weather-delayed Ron Swanson ... errr ... Nick Offerman. The last-minute hosting change was just about the only surprise, as perennial favorites like Mad Men, Modern Family, and Breaking Bad once again dominated the nominations. Though the titans of television each got double-digit nods for everything from art direction to guest actors, there are a few noteworthy newcomers in the ranks as well. Of course, making room for the newbies means snubbing some big names and other fan favorites. Here are the top 5 notable story lines from the grand unveiling.
1. No Nod for Parks and Recreation
The biggest snub of the morning was definitely Parks and Recreation not getting a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. Having been nominated in the past, and coming off their strongest season yet, Parks and Rec should have been an absolute shoe-in. Instead, HBO roared back onto the scene with nods for Curb Your Enthusiasm, and their new shows Girls and VEEP. Despite Amy Poehler and Michael Shur each getting individual nominations for their writing on Parks and Rec, the show won't contend for the evening's highest honors.
Fox's Glee, a polarizing program to say the least, seems to have fallen out of favor with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 2011, Glee received a dozen nominations in the comedy category, including Outstanding Series and Outstanding Supporting Actress. This time around, the fading sensation managed a paltry three nods, one for Outstanding Guest Actress (Dot-Marie Jones), and two minor technical awards. Glee's detractors will also be pleased to note that the writers of Community, longtime champions of the Anti-Glee movement, were nominated for their work in the episode, “Remedial Chaos Theory.”
3. Anna Gunn Gets Hers
Arguably the best show on television, Breaking Bad is no stranger to the Emmys. Lead actor, Bryan Cranston, has won the award for each of his first three seasons as Walter White, and is a strong favorite to make it a perfect 4/4. While Cranston's talents have been lauded for years, Anna Gunn, who plays Skyler White, has often been called the boring, weak link on the otherwise stellar program. But season four of Breaking Bad showed us a new side of Skyler, and Gunn was more than up to the challenge, delivering a breakout performance. Her nomination is truly deserved, giving credibility to the overall process.
4. A Surplus of Funny Women
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series will be a crowded category at the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, with seven women getting the nod rather than the usual six. Heavy-hitters and perennial nominees Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Edie Falco all made the list, joined by last year's winner, Melissa McCarthy, and newcomers Zooey Deschanel and Lena Dunham. This marks the 13th nomination for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, having received multiple nods for her work as Seinfeld's Elaine Benes and the titular character on The New Adventures of Old Christine.
5. Strategy Pays Off
FX's American Horror Story, dubbed the weirdest show on television, stayed true to their outside-the-box ethos by entering as a miniseries rather than a drama. Their strategy of avoiding powerhouses like Mad Men and Breaking Bad paid off in spades, earning them an astounding 17 nominations. Unsatisfied, fans of the show are still crying “snub!” at Evan Peters being left out of the running for Outstanding Supporting Actor. Snubs notwithstanding, this borderline gerrymandering has many questioning the legitimacy of the Emmys as a whole. Is American Horror Story setting a dangerous precedent, or just making things interesting? We'll have to wait until September to see how it all plays out.