One of the few guilty pleasures enjoyed by professional television critics every year at this time is the opportunity to rip into voting members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences about the egregious omissions and questionable choices inherent in their annual nominations for the Primetime Emmy Awards. It seems that once the nominees are announced there is always a level of palpable frustration and exasperation that makes for blistering copy if nothing else.
But the copy might not be so hot this year, because for the first time in a long time the Academy made smart choices all around. With one exception, there isn't an outrageous oversight or infuriating inclusion to be found. Not every terrific series was recognized, nor every great performance, but how could they be when there are so many outstanding shows and extraordinary actors working on television today? Perhaps the answer to that happy dilemma is to increase the number of nominations in each series and acting category to eight or even ten, allowing for more excitement within the industry, not to mention the all-important television audience. Note to all concerned: Please give this some serious thought. What's the downside, other than it taking a few more seconds to list the nominees in these categories during the Awards telecast itself?
The one distressing exception noted above is the failure of the Academy to nominate Kyra Sedgwick of TNT's The Closer for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, even though she has been nominated five times for her role on the show and won last year. I thought she had a strong chance of winning a second consecutive award, but she's not even in the running. What gives? Did Sedgwick piss off key voting members when she decided to leave her hugely popular show at the end of its seventh season?
There are other disappointing omissions throughout the series and acting categories, even if they aren't profound enough to warrant outrage. For example, and staying with the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category, where is the love for Katey Sagal of FX's intense biker drama Sons of Anarchy? She won a Golden Globe for her work on the show earlier this year. Shouldn't a Emmy nomination have followed?
Other notable snubs in the Drama arena include FX's Justified, which puzzlingly nabbed nominations in four acting categories but not one for Outstanding Drama Series; the absence of the singularly brilliant John Noble of Fox's Fringe and the endlessly fascinating Michael Shannon of HBO's Boardwalk Empire from the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category; and the exclusion of the disarming Kiernan Shipka of AMC's Mad Men from the nominees for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
This column continues here.