Most Notable Snubs for the 2013 Emmy Awards

The 2013 Emmy award nominations were announced last week and, as always, there were some notable absences. Overall, it is a very strong group of nominees, with at least one representative from most of the acclaimed television of the past year. Critical and fan favorites such as Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Veep, Louie, and Game of Thrones were thoroughly recognized, and the first Netflix program, House of Cards, received surprising though not unearned attention. There is little reason to be indignant over their choices, but discussing the snubs is just as much part of the awards tradition as is taking sides regarding the actual nominees.

Everyone will have their personal list of “snubs” or people or series that were not nominated but should have been. Here I present six of mine, in the acting categories and those of overall best drama or comedy.

new girl

6. New Girl

This is a funny show with a great cast, and the Emmys very well may never recognize it given its broad appeal and weaker first season. As a series, it might not be in the top six but its stellar cast is certainly among the best. Jake Johnson is particularly terrific as the underachieving, self-deprecating emotional center of the group who has recently been promoted to romantic lead. His courtship of Zoey Deschanel’s Jess was one of the most endearing while simultaneously hilarious bits to watch this year. Few moments were as rewarding as their first kiss, which surprised viewers at the end of an episode that had delightfully built up their sexual tension but then seemed to remain in the platonic field. Despite the pay-off kiss, the show continued to play their chemistry for some witty story lines. Meanwhile, the other players – Max Greenfield as Schmidt and Lamorne Morris as Winston – were consistently good. The show appears to have a strong fan base, so it will have many more seasons ahead to convince voters it’s worth appreciating.


 5. Arrested Development

I will admit that much of the new season did not work for me, but there was so much great comedy to be had that it is hard to overlook. Jessica Walter, Will Arnett, and Tony Hale were the standouts, and Jason Bateman also nailed the straight-man comedy without which the eccentricities of the others would most likely fall flat. Bateman’s nomination was a nice treat, but it was overshadowed by the general lack of nominations for the rest of the cast and the series itself. Not only is the show one of the best comedies in the history of television, it managed a successful comeback after years of being cancelled. Within the given restraints – primarily of featuring actors with very busy schedules because they now work on other projects – the series pulled off a season with some moments of genius and a whole new set of gags as well as great rendition of old ones. It looks like it will continue to have life as Netflix has said there will be more seasons to come. Hopefully it won’t take the Emmys too long to recognize what ambitious comedy looks like.


4. Justified’s Timothy Olyphant and Walter Goggins

These guys are among the most watchable people on television and yet no nominations! I understand that the dramatic male acting categories are competitive, with people like Jon Hamm, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Peter Dinklage and Damien Lewis always taking priority. These are all wonderful actors who deserve their nominations. But Olyphant has been a powerful though subtle force on Justified, creating an intriguing and sexy lead while making room for some great supporting work, particularly from his cast mate Goggins. Olyphant’s Raylan Givens has come a long way, and every bit of his journey is made believable through his committed, spot-on performance. In addition to the great writing on the series, the charm of its men is really its strong point. Even if Goggins doesn’t have the classic good looks of Olyphant or his cowboy swagger, he is equally magnetic and so convincing as the morally ambiguous but thoughtful criminal. He is both a foil and friend to Olyphant, and the two together make for one of TV’s most intriguing, unpredictable pairs. These men deserve nominations, and if I had to swap out two other actors in order for them to take their rightful places, I would probably choose Jeff Daniels (who is good but The Newsroom is sad, disappointing television) and Jim Carter.


3. Parks and Recreation

What does a show have to do to get an Emmy nomination? Other than be funny, sweet, inventive, and unlike anything else on television? Despite its fairly familiar setup, Parks and Recreation has one of the most eccentric casts, helmed by one of the best talents of our time: Amy Poehler. It successfully integrated a few romances without giving up on its brand of comedy, presented its characters with plausible new challenges, and made stars out of its supporting cast – including Audrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman and Chris Pratt. It is highly quotable and will be remembered as one of the great comedies, yet was not nominated! It should be in the place of The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family, which are both fine comedies but not as thoughtful or innovative as Parks. Although Poehler was rightfully nominated, none of the truly outstanding supporting males were recognized. Instead of any of the Modern Family nominees, these guys should be up there.


2. The Americans

For me, this new FX series with great writing and acting was the supreme snub in the drama category. Not only were the leads – Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell – fantastic, but the show also featured several outstanding supporting performances, particularly from Noah Emmerich, Derek Luke, and Margo Martindale, who received the sole nomination for the series. This is not surprising given that her work was previously recognized for her incredible contribution to season two of Justified. What The Americans managed was a great feat: to create well-rounded, likable yet utterly flawed leads; a magnetic supporting cast; and a plausible-enough spy story that is actually the platform for some interesting and dynamic reflections on love, family, friendship, and loyalty. It had great emotional range while remaining a thrilling show, delivering on its promise of a spy drama – assassination, kidnapping, tailing, eavesdropping, seduction and all. It smartly discussed the conflicting difficulties and pleasures of passion, marriage, parenting, and patriotism, while enticing audiences with enough scenes of chases, sex, hand to hand combat, and spy talk. The balance it struck promises great things for future seasons, and I hope the Emmys won’t be stupid enough to ignore it in the years to come.


1. Parker Posey and David Lynch for their guest spots on Louie

I am so thrilled for Louis CK, for his nomination as lead actor in a comedy and the series itself finally receiving the recognition it deserves. Both are my choices to win. It is a shame, however, that neither Posey nor Lynch were nominated. Lynch not only lay the groundwork for the series to deliver an apt homage, with episodes paying tribute to Lynch’s alternative and unique brand of television in his Twin Peaks, but he also guest starred as a mysterious television executive who was prepping Louie for his potential hosting of The Tonight Show. Thus, his contribution to the success of the series and its offbeat comedy deserve recognition. Parker Posey, meanwhile, was absolutely stunning in two of the season’s best episodes. She played a bookstore clerk who utterly charmed Louie, drawing him into a strange world of vertigo-inspiring rooftops, late night deli meats, and cross-dressing in changing rooms. She was not only so captivating and funny but also had amazing chemistry with CK, perhaps becoming his biggest female challenge on the show – even more so than Melissa Leo’s aggressive window-smasher who semi-coerced him into pleasuring her and also landed him a hard punch on the face. Honestly, I wouldn’t be against an all-Louie category for best guest star in a comedy.

Those are my most overlooked actors and series for the 2013 Emmys. We can only hope that next year bodes better for these talented people and their great shows. What are your disappointments? Whom do you wish were being recognized for their work this past year?

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Melina Gills is an avid film and television watcher who is studying to get her PhD in Comparative Literature. She is from Brooklyn and also known as Shoot the Critic.

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  1. Monica Potter, Parks & Rec, and Juliana Margolis were big snubs. Bill Hader was a good surprise. Southland was a big snub, too.

  2. The big bang theory over arrested development is ludracris, no michelle fairly and eric stonestreet, although a lot of deserving noms for House of cards and game of thrones congratulations khaleesi.

    • Agreed. TBBT can be funny but often lacks any kind of innovation in its humor. Arrested Development is where you go for daring, witty, surprising comedy. Maybe too good for the Emmys?

  3. I’m more miffed about the utter lack of nominations for absolutely breath-taking acting turns by the likes of Matthew Rhys for The Americans, Peter Sarsgaard for The Killing (I know the show is still on, so maybe that means he’ll get a nom next year? Here’s hopin! He’s absolutely mesmerizing on it!), Mads Mikkelsen & Hugh Dancy for Hannibal, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau & Charles Dance for Game of Thrones, Freddie Highmore for Bates Motel! All so amazing and perfect examples of what top-notch acting looks like!

    • Yes, I think several of the actors of The Americans, including Rhys, deserved nominations. I had earlier wrote about Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s great job this past year and would have also loved to see him nominated. If it were up to me, I’d probably also nominate the leads in The Killing, but that’s become I have a special place in my heart for the two of them. Thanks for the input!

  4. Ivy Decker

    I’m so glad to see New Girl as part of this list! I feel like for such a quirky comedy the show is very underappreciated, and you were spot on with your praise of Nick and Jess’s growing relationship. People are definitely anxious to see what’s next for them.

  5. Amelia Roberts

    I agree with all of these! Parks and Recreation especially deserved recognition, and Arrested Development not receiving any is surprising given how popular it is online. I think New Girl gets overlooked a lot, which is a shame given how genuinely funny it often is.

  6. Robert Humphrey

    As a huge TV buff, the Emmys are really the only awards show I look forward to. But every year, I come to expect some ridiculous snubs, and even some ridiculous wins. (I’m thinking last year when Jon Cryer actually won the Emmy for lead actor for the dreadful ‘Two and a Half Men.’ Really? Most ridiculous win in recent memory.) The snubs this year were definitely felt. ‘Parks and Recreation’ getting snubbed in the best comedy category is beyond words, though not unexpected. The Academy, for whatever reason, has failed to really show any love to that amazing show. ‘Arrested Development,’ as you said, was another huge snub. Tony Hale consistently cracks me up in AD, but I can live with his nomination for ‘Veep.’ The snub for Juianna Margulies was rather shocking. She’s always been an Emmy’s darling, and truthfully she had a great season this past year on ‘The Good Wife.’ In the lead categories, the lead actors in ‘The Americans’ were completely and wrongfully snubbed. I am thrilled that the Academy showed so much love, and rightfully so, for ‘House of Cards.’ My goodness, that’s one of the best shows of the past year. Though at the same time, even with all of their nominations, this show produced one of the biggest snubs in Emmy history, in my opinion; a bigger snub than any of the ones I’ve listed. And that is the snub for Corey Stoll as supporting actor. His character of Peter is so tragically flawed and brilliantly troubled that it hurts. You actually feel genuine hurt for his character. That’s not easy to pull off, and Stoll does it effortlessly. HUGE snub. Before I stop (because I could go on and on), I just want to mention the supporting drama race. I truthfully think Anna Gunn should win, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. What she did in the episode Fifty-One alone is worthy of an Emmy. As much as I admire and respect the incomparable and amazing Maggie Smith, I don’t think the Dowager was given enough good material this last season on ‘Downton’ to warrant her winning again (though this is not to say that Smith didn’t kill with ease the material she was given).

    • I couldn’t agree more, particularly regarding Anna Gunn. She is my pick to win for best supporting actress in a drama. I was also really happy to see Tony Hale nominated for Veep. He is so great as Buster but also very good on his new show. Thanks for your thoughts! Hopefully next year, there will be many more nominations for such series as House of Cards,The Americans, and Arrested Development.

  7. I think the whole concept of ‘snubs’ is daft. Opinions are subjective, and to say your opinion is more right than other is pretty unfair. As even the nominations are voted on, its unreasonable to say that something was more deserving. This isn’t a slight at the author as I understand this is a common topic and there a literally hundreds of articles like this, more a statement about the industry as a whole.

    I also thought it was ironic that in an article about series being ignored, House of Cards was declared Netflix’s first program, ‘snubbing’ Lilyhammer.

  8. I understand your point, but discussing what was not nominated is also a big part of this process and not necessarily a negative one. Critics will note absences that then get filled in the next years; voters sometimes take convincing from such critics to take a series more seriously. As for Lilyhammer, I didn’t really think of it as a Netflix series since it was co-produced with and first premiered on a Norwegian channel, thus following a more traditional release format (whereas House of Cards bypassed all of that). But you’re right, it was its first official program.

  9. Brett Siegel

    I couldn’t agree more about Parks and Rec! It’s probably the best comedy on network TV and the fact that the Emmys continue to shower 30 Rock, Modern Family, and Big Bang Theory with nominations while ignoring the folks in Pawnee is extremely disappointing. I can’t believe Modern Family keeps hogging the supporting actor category in favor of comedic talents like Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, and Chris Pratt, but then again the Emmys are notorious for not spreading the wealth. That said, I’ve been very impressed with their recent inclusion of Louie!

    • Robert Humphrey

      I’m gonna come clean. I’m still kind of a sucker (maybe the only one) for Modern Family. Though I will shout from the rooftops that its over-saturation in the supporting categories isn’t really warranted. And as much as I still enjoy the show, I was glad to see that Eric Stonestreet was left off the nomination list this season. Some would say he’s already won twice, so that’s enough. I don’t look at it like that. He simply just had his weakest season to date, in my opinion. And I thought he was the least funniest out of the cast this past season. All that said, Nick Offerman being excluded (once again) from the supporting actor category is in my top 3 of the Emmy 2013 exclusions that hurt the most.

  10. Jon Lisi
    Jon Lisi

    Your number one choice is spot on. Although most average viewers won’t care about the Guest acting categories, you are right in highlighting these snubs. The Daddy’s Girlfriend and Late Show episodes are among the best of the year. What bothers me about award shows is the inconsistency and almost arbitrary nature of them. On the one hand, the Emmys strive to be more inclusive by adding more nominees in categories (some categories have SEVEN!), but on the other hand they still leave worthy contenders off of the list, and they still ultimately pick a so-called “best” winner. So where should the line be drawn?

  11. Christopher Dibsdall

    How did Parks not get anyhting this year? This season was amazing.

    • Robert Humphrey

      Amy was nominated (and she should win, but we all know that likely won’t happen). But that’s pretty much it. The last season was absolutely amazing. No nominations for Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, or the show itself is a crime.

  12. Spencer

    Cannot agree more for the Parks snub. Even though Amy has – thank God! – been nominated this year it’s outrageous how much such a strong show has been overlooked!

  13. Arran Benzie

    Another big snub was Tatiana Maslany. She gave an astonishing performance in Orphan Black. Also the lack of Fringe, Dexter and Hannibal nominations is disturbing…

  14. Nilson Thomas Carroll

    Parker Posey in Louie was a genius performance…! Thank you for mentioning this.

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