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Emmy Nominations: Something for (Almost) Everyone

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Tina Fey and Jon Hamm (whose Mad Men also cleaned up) on 30 Rock. / NBC

Tina Fey and Jon Hamm (whose Mad Men also cleaned up) on 30 Rock. / NBC

The 2009 Emmy nominations came out this morning, bigger and—well, yeah, bigger. To spread the nominee wealth, draw in more fans of more shows (and, maybe, to increase the odds that the broadcast networks won’t get shut out by cable), the major categories were bumped up to six and even seven nominees. 

The result: even more nominations for some longtime awards darlings. (30 Rock and Mad Men, in particular, cleaned up.) There were some surprising firsts, notably Family Guy picking up a Best Comedy nomination, as well as some offbeat actor/actress nods, like Sarah Silverman and Jemaine Clement (whose Flight of the Conchords also got a Best Comedy nom). The surprises tended to come from shows in their sophomore seasons or later, though, as very few new series picked up nods. 

My first reactions, plus a partial list of nominations (see the full official list here), after the jump: 

* Though the Emmys are loath to recognize new shows (with exceptions like Mad Men last year), it’s more understandable this year. Between the strike’s effect on new shows and a weak development season generally, there weren’t many must-nominate freshman series in the eligibility period. It would have been nice, though, to see some love for John Noble of Fringe or Anika Noni Rose of No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. 

* Simon Baker did get a first-time nomination for The Mentalist. And although the show itself doesn’t exactly push any creative boundaries, it’s a good choice: this show really lives and dies on his sly, alluring performance. 

* Even in an expanded field, shows like Friday Night Lights and Battlestar Galactica (relegated mainly to technical categories) are still going to get robbed. Big Love, the best-acted drama on TV, got not a single acting nomination. And as for Chuck? Um, it’s an honor just to be renewed. [Update: Tom Shaw reminds me of the snub of The Shield, which is not just egregious but kind of insane.]

* On the other hand, big woo-hoos! for—Big Love (Best Drama), How I Met Your Mother (comedy), Toni Collette (comedy actress), Elisabeth Moss (drama actress), Aaron Paul (supporting actor, drama), Jack McBrayer (supporting, comedy). 

* I’m torn between wanting to applaud the Emmys for recognizing that an animated show can compete for Best Comedy, and slamming it for making Family Guy that show. There’s no reason in a just world that it should get an honor that The Simpsons, King of the Hill or South Park—among others—never did. But then, you could say the same of The Flintstones, the last such nominee, almost 50 years ago. Hopefully we won’t have to wait 50 years for the next one. 

* In the nominated-after-their-best seasons-but-better-late-than-never category: Sarah Silverman, Flight of the Conchords (best comedy, Jemaine Clement as comedy actor). Incidentally, Best Song will be a toughie this year, with FOTC’s “Carol Brown” up against “Much Worse Things” from A Colbert Christmas.

* In the totally-expected-but-good-for-them category: The Office and Steve Carrell, pretty much everything Breaking Bad and Mad Men, Michael Emerson, Neil Patrick Harris. 

* In the will-be-receiving-Emmy-noms-for-years-after-they’re-dead category: Tony Shalhoub, Mariska Hargitay, Entourage (the series, though I don’t begrudge Kevin Dillon for Johnny Drama), William Shatner.

* I liked both Generation Kill and Little Dorritt, but when we’ve reached the point that we can only nominate two miniseries, should we even have a separate category anymore? In the future, will we start seeing more “limited-run series” (like the upcoming Torchwood: Children of Earth) here? 

Well, I’ll see you September 20, when Tina Fey wins everything. In the meantime, a partial list of nominees:

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner
Bros. Television
Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper

Flight Of The Conchords • HBO • Dakota Pictures and Comedy Arts in association with HBO Entertainment
Jemaine Clement as Jemaine

Monk • USA • Universal Cable Productions in association with Mandeville Films and ABC Studios
Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk

The Office • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions and Reveille LLC in association with Universal Media Studios
Steve Carell as Michael Scott

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal
Media Studios
Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

Two And A Half Men • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc., The Tannenbaum Company in association with Warner Bros. Television
Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series

Breaking Bad • AMC • High Bridge, Gran Via Productions, Sony Pictures Television
Bryan Cranston as Walter White

Dexter • Showtime • Showtime Presents in association with John Goldwyn Productions,
The Colleton Company, Clyde Phillips Productions
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan

House • FOX • Universal Media Studios in association with Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z
Productions and Bad Hat Harry Productions
Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House

In Treatment • HBO • Leverage, Closest To The Hole Productions and Sheleg in association with HBO Entertainment
Gabriel Byrne as Paul

Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television
Jon Hamm as Don Draper

The Mentalist • CBS • Warner Bros. Television
Simon Baker as Patrick Jane

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

The New Adventures Of Old Christine • CBS • Kari’s Logo Here in association with
Warner Bros. Television
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine

Samantha Who? • ABC • ABC Studios
Christina Applegate as Samantha Newly

The Sarah Silverman Program • Comedy Central • Central Productions/Eleven Eleven
O’Clock Productions/Oil Factory Inc.
Sarah Silverman as Sarah Silverman

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal
Media Studios
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

United States Of Tara • Showtime • Showtime presents in association with DreamWorks Television
Toni Collette as Tara Gregson

Weeds • Showtime • Showtime Presents in association with Lionsgate Television and
Tilted Productions, Inc.
Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series

Brothers & Sisters • ABC • ABC Studios
Sally Field as Nora Walker

The Closer • TNT • The Shephard/Robin Company in association with Warner Bros.
Television
Kyra Sedgwick as Brenda Leigh Johnson

Damages • FX Networks • FX Productions and Sony Pictures Television
Glenn Close as Patty Hewes

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit • NBC • Wolf Films in association with Universal
Media Studios
Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson

Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson

Saving Grace • TNT • Fox Television
Holly Hunter as Grace Hanadarko

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

Entourage • HBO • Leverage and Closest to the Hole Productions in association with
HBO Entertainment
Kevin Dillon as Johnny Drama

How I Met Your Mother • CBS • 20th Century Fox Television
Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson

The Office • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions and Reveille LLC in association with
Universal Media Studios
Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal
Media Studios
Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal
Media Studios
Jack McBrayer as Kenneth Parcell

Two And A Half Men • CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc., The Tannenbaum Company in association with Warner Bros. Television
Jon Cryer as Alan Harper

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

Boston Legal • ABC • A David E. Kelley Production in association with Twentieth
Century Fox Television
William Shatner as Denny Crane

Boston Legal • ABC • A David E. Kelley Production in association with Twentieth
Century Fox Television
Christian Clemenson as Jerry Espenson

Breaking Bad • AMC • High Bridge, Gran Via Productions, Sony Pictures Television
Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman

Damages • FX Networks • FX Productions and Sony Pictures Television
William Hurt as Daniel Purcell

Lost • ABC • Grass Skirt Productions and ABC Studios
Michael Emerson as Ben Linus

Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television
John Slattery as Roger Sterling

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series

Pushing Daisies • ABC • Living Dead Guy Productions, The Jinks/Cohen Company in
association with Warner Bros. Television
Kristin Chenoweth as Olive Snook

Saturday Night Live • NBC • SNL Studios in association with NBC Studios and Broadway Video
Amy Poehler as Various Characters

Saturday Night Live • NBC • SNL Studios in association with NBC Studios and Broadway Video
Kristin Wiig as Various Characters

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal
Media Studios
Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney

Ugly Betty • ABC • ABC Studios
Vanessa Williams as Wilhelmina Slater

Weeds • Showtime • Showtime Presents in association with Lionsgate Television and
Tilted Productions, Inc.
Elizabeth Perkins as Celia Hodes

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

Damages • FX Networks • FX Productions and Sony Pictures Television
Rose Byrne as Ellen Parsons

Grey’s Anatomy • ABC • ABC Studios
Sandra Oh as Dr. Christina Yang

Grey’s Anatomy • ABC • ABC Studios
Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey

In Treatment • HBO • Leverage, Closest To The Hole Productions and Sheleg in association with HBO Entertainment
Dianne Wiest as Gina

In Treatment • HBO • Leverage, Closest To The Hole Productions and Sheleg in
association with HBO Entertainment
Hope Davis as Mia

24 • FOX • Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox Television in association with
Teakwood Lane Productions
Cherry Jones as President Allison Taylor

Outstanding Comedy Series

Entourage • HBO • Leverage and Closest to the Hole Productions in association with
HBO Entertainment

Family Guy • FOX • Fox Television Animation

Flight Of The Conchords • HBO • Dakota Pictures and Comedy Arts in association with HBO Entertainment

How I Met Your Mother • CBS • 20th Century Fox Television

The Office • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions and Reveille LLC in association with Universal Media Studios

30 Rock • NBC • Broadway Video, Little Stranger, Inc. in association with Universal
Media Studios

Weeds • Showtime • Showtime Presents in association with Lionsgate Television and
Tilted Productions, Inc.

Outstanding Drama Series

Big Love • HBO • Anima Sola Productions and Playtone in association with HBO Entertainment

Breaking Bad • AMC • High Bridge, Gran Via Productions, Sony Pictures Television

Damages • FX Networks • FX Productions and Sony Pictures Television

Dexter • Showtime • Showtime Presents in association with John Goldwyn Productions,
The Colleton Company, Clyde Phillips Productions

House • FOX • Universal Media Studios in association with Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z
Productions and Bad Hat Harry Productions

Lost • ABC • Grass Skirt Productions and ABC Studios

Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television

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