Kevin Costner, Julia Louis Dreyfus, HBO's Girls and British dramas score big in 2012 Emmy awards nominations
It was an invasion of the the Brits and funny women at the Emmy awards, as new names from acclaimed British dramas and female-led comedies upended the usual list of nominees, announced today in Los Angeles.
Lena Dunham from HBO's Girls scored her first nomination as best actress in the show's inaugural season -- the series got three nominations overall -- while Seinfeld alum Julia Louis Dreyfus also landed a nod for HBO's comedy Veep and Zooey Deschanel got her first nomination as the lead in Fox's highly touted comedy The New Girl.
Actors from British dramas Downton Abbey (ITV via PBS), Luther (BBC) and Sherlock (BBC) also nudged into the top acting categories, with Sherlock leads Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman nominated as best actor and supporting actor in the miniseries drama category. Downton's Hugh Bonneville snagged a nomination as Best Actor -- which may have led to the day's biggest snub -- while castmates Joanne Froggett, Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery also earned major nominations.
Film stars Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton landed their first nominations as best actor in a miniseries or movie for the History channel's Hatfields & McCoys, while star Uma Thurman also earned her first Emmy nod, as a guest actress on NBC's Broadway-themed drama, Smash.
And FX's American Horror Story surprised with 17 nominations as a miniseries, equaling the haul of top drama Mad Men and raising questions of exactly what constitutes a miniseries in the modern TV landscape.
The biggest snub of the day seemed to land on British actor Hugh Laurie, who went unnominated for the final season of his long-running Fox medical drama House. Mad Men's John Slattery also went unrecognized, his spot in the supporting actor category seemingly taken by co-star Jared Harris, who had a mesmerizing turn as an advertising executive who killed himself this past season.
The comedy influx spelled bad news for Glee, The Office, The Big C and The Big Bang Theory, which saw their nominations curtailed or cut off completely. And comedy geek favorite Parks and Recreation landed no major nominations.
Drama-wise, the list of overlooked shows was also long: Justified, Dexter, the Good Wife, The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy. Personally, I couldn't believe Emmy passed up both Lucy Liu and Regina King, who did some amazing work on TNT's often-overlooked Southland.
Once again, Mad Men scored the most nominations for a drama series ,with 17 nods, while ABC's Modern Family earned the most in comedy. Indeed, every adult actor on Modern Family scored a nomination this year, with actors Ed O'Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Ty Burrell crowding into the supporting actor category, while female stars Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen landed supporting actress nods (none of the actors nominate themselves as leads.)
Late night host and comic Jimmy Kimmel helped announce the nominees this morning, stepping in for Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman, who was trapped on the East Coast by bad weather. Walking onstage in brightly colored pajamas just hours after hosting his ABC show, Kimmel cracked "this is a sex dream isn't it?" to his fellow announcer, Scandal star Kerry Washington.
The influx of BBC shows also squeezed American broadcasters out of the prestigious drama categories -- among the Best Drama series nominees (Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland and Mad Men), none of them aired on commercial broadcast television. No broadcasters landed in the top miniseries and movie category either, with nominees including FX's American Horror Story, HBO's Game Change and Hemingway & Gelhorn, History's Hatfields & McCoys and the BBC's Sherlock and Luther.
Likewise in the top acting categories. Among best actor and actress in a drama, just two names came from a broadcast show: Kathy Bates from the now-canceled NBC drama Harry's Law (she also got noinated as guest actor for playing Charlie Sheen's deceased character on Two and Half Men) and Juliana Margulies from CBS' The Good Wife.
FX showed a bit of strategy, entering American Horror Story in the miniseries category for a 12-episode season -- just one less episode than drama series nominees Mad Men and Breaking Bad and same number of episodes as drama series nominee Homeland.
The explanation -- that American Horror Story's second season will feature a new cast and location, thus is an anthology rather than continuing series -- also allowed it to compete in a less-crowded category.
Diversity-wise, the Emmys continued its habit of honoring a handful of actors of color, adding Don Cheadle as best actor in a comedy for Showtime's House of Lies, Margaret Cho as Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il on 30 Rock and Giancarlo Esposito as best supporting actor in Breaking Bad to a list which usually includes Vergara, The Good Wife's Archie Panjabi and Luther's Idris Elba.
If anything, the nominees show that broadcasters need to work harder to avoid being seen as a home for reality TV shows, sports broadcasters and comedies.
Because, according to Emmy voters, most of the high quality series seem to be elsewhere.