How could “The Good Wife” not make the cut this year? That was the question top of mind for many bizzers Thursday morning as they digested the news of the 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards nominations.
No doubt the drama series competition was fierce this year but the universal acclaim for “Good Wife’s” fifth season made it seem a slam-dunk for a return to the top race. The fact that “Downton Abbey” made the cut in a year when buzz on the PBS period sudser was definitely down a few notches only magnified the surprise for “Good Wife” fans.
Among the other head-scratchers in this year’s race:
SNUB: Michael Sheen. Hard to believe that voters didn’t rally behind his fine slow-burn work as the repressed but adventurous sex research pioneer William Masters in Showtime’s “Masters of Sex.” Sheen’s omission from the very tough lead drama actor race stands in contrast to his research associate, Lizzy Caplan, landing a lead actress nod for her work as Virginia Johnson.
SNUB: Tatiana Maslany. How many roles does a woman have to play in one show to get voters’ attention? The “Orphan Black” star was seen as a very strong contender this year.
SNUB: Elisabeth Moss. This is just so Peggy. After landing a lead actress nom last year it seemed a shoo-in that Moss would be back after an incredible, if short, run in “Mad Men’s” season 7-A.
SNUB: “Girls.” Lena Dunham was recognized for lead comedy actress but not the show, after two consecutive comedy series bids.
SNUB: James Spader. His commanding performance in “The Blacklist,” the show that helped put NBC back on top, was expected to generate a little Emmy love. But not this year.
SURPRISE: “Treme.” David Simon fans long ago wrote off the Emmys for failing to recognize “The Wire” all those years. But his love letter to New Orleans got a last-minute reprieve with two noms (including writing for Simon and Eric Overmyer) for its final shortened season. Too bad it’s in the miniseries category that is all but assured to revolve around “Fargo” when the winners are handed out next month.
SURPRISE: Steve Buscemi. He deserves recognition for “Boardwalk Empire,” which has the misfortune of being overshadowed by buzzier shows even as the HBO period piece was never better than in its fourth season. Instead, Buscemi gets two noms for showing his funny side: as guest star for “Portlandia,” and for his AOL series “Park Bench With Steve Buscemi” (in the short-format nonfiction program category).
SURPRISE: “Killing Kennedy.” Admittedly it was a thin year for telepics — and the glossy, star-packed “The Normal Heart” is likely to steamroll to the win — but it was still a surprise that Nat Geo TV’s thriller beat out BBC America’s “Burton and Taylor” for a slot in the movie heat.
SURPRISE: Ricky Gervais. The comedian’s infectious charm — and incessant tweeting — paid off with a lead comedy actor nom for the low-profile “Derek,” a Netflix import from the U.K.’s Channel 4.
SNUB: “The Americans.” After landing multiple nods in the Critics Choice Television Awards and TCA Awards, momentum seemed to be building for the stylish FX drama. Matthew Rhys in particular would have been a sexy choice in the lead actor derby. He and fellow Brit Michael Sheen might be heading to a pub to commiserate.
SNUB: Anna Faris. The star of CBS’ “Mom” went through a lot in the show’s first season, showing her range and comedic chops. This hard-working single-mom deserved better.
SNUB: Mariska Hargitay. The star of NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” went to hell and back in the show’s 15th (yes, 1-5) season. And she directed her first episode. Usually that kind of work ethic impresses voters.
SURPRISE: “The Simpsons.” The toon titan was left out of the animated series race for the first time since 1994.
SURPRISE: “The White Queen.” The Starz/BBC miniseries about a feisty contender to the throne made the cut in the top miniseries race while the more critically appreciated “Dancing on the Edge,” another Starz-Beeb tango, did not.
SNUB: Damian Lewis. “Homeland’s” provocateur swung from the gallows in his big farewell from the show. That probably would have been enough for a nom in a less competitive year.
SNUB: Andy Samberg. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s” wisecracking cop will have to console himself with his Golden Globe for lead actor in a TV comedy (which was also snubbed for best comedy).
SURPRISE: Jeff Daniels. Yes, he won last year, but this wasn’t exactly a standout season for “The Newsroom” star. And his inclusion meant that others were left off: Michael Sheen, Matthew Rhys, Spader, Liev Schreiber.
SNUB: Emmy Rossum. You can argue whether “Shameless” belonged in the comedy race, but you can’t argue that she gave the performance of her career this season.
SNUB: Bellamy Young. “Scandal” did get a fair share of love from Emmy, with noms for Kerry Washington, Joe Morton, and Kate Burton. But the First Lady — who won the Critics’ Choice Award — deserved recognition for her deft portrayal of what could have been a one-note character.