The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards hosted by Seth Meyers took place this past Monday night, but you wouldn’t be blamed for having a strange feeling that the only difference from past ceremonies was not airing on its usual Sunday.
Can’t shake off that feeling of déjà vu? Don’t worry, it’s not you; it’s just the Emmys. Here are the staggering stats for this year’s acting winners:
- Ty Burrell – Supporting Actor in a Comedy, Modern Family
- 2nd win, 5th consecutive nomination
- Allison Janney – Supporting Actress in a Comedy, Mom
- 6th win, 2 wins this year, 8th nomination
- Jim Parsons – Lead Actor in a Comedy, Big Bang Theory
- 4th win, 7th nomination (2 noms this year)
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Lead Actress in a Comedy, Veep
- 3rd consecutive win, 5th career Emmy, 18th nomination
- Kathy Bates – Supporting Actress in Miniseries/Movie, American Horror Story: Coven
- 2nd win, 11th nomination
- Martin Freeman – Supporting Actor in Miniseries/Movie, Sherlock: His Last Vow
- 1st win, 3rd nomination (2 noms this year)
- Jessica Lange – Lead Actress in Miniseries/Movie, American Horror Story: Coven
- 3rd win, 6th nomination
- Benedict Cumberbatch – Lead Actor in Miniseries/Movie, Sherlock: His Last Vow
- 1st win, 3rd nomination
- Aaron Paul – Supporting Actor in a Drama, Breaking Bad
- 3rd win, 5th nomination
- Anna Gunn – Supporting Actress in a Drama, Breaking Bad
- 2nd consecutive win, 3rd nomination
- Julianna Margulies – Lead Actress in a Drama, The Good Wife
- 3rd win, 10th nomination
- Bryan Cranston – Lead Actor in a Drama, Breaking Bad
- 5th win, 12th nomination
Did you catch that? In series acting, every single winner had won an Emmy before. There were only two first-time Emmy winners in Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
Now let’s look at the series winners:
- The Amazing Race – Outstanding Reality-Competition Series
- 10th win, 11th nomination [UGHHHHHHHHHH]
- Fargo – Outstanding Miniseries
- 1st win, 1st nomination [YAY!]
- The Colbert Report – Outstanding Variety Series
- 2nd consecutive and last win, 9th nomination
- Modern Family – Outstanding Comedy Series
- 5th consecutive win, 5th nomination [UGHHHHHHHHHH]
- Breaking Bad – Outstanding Drama Series
- 2nd consecutive win, 5th nomination [YAY!]
This is not to put down any of the impressive talents of this year’s winners, as there are certainly well-deserved winners in this bunch (well, not you, The Amazing Race). The Emmy voters are broken, sticking with familiar nominees in a brazenly predictable fashion. This voting pattern becomes increasingly frustrating year after year, especially when there are dynamic fresh faces nominated or overlooked perennial nominees. But why do we collectively groan at Jim Parson’s or Ty Burrell and Modern Family‘s wins, but cheer wildly for the wins of Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Bryan Cranston, and Breaking Bad? There’s a perceived difference here between voting complacency and voting for excellence.
In its first season, Modern Family was an excellent series, but five years later, it is simply an OK one. Its wins are simply passé and uninspired, surpassed by Veep‘s sharpness and Orange is the New Black‘s audacity. There are clearly more vibrant—and funny—series elsewhere. Breaking Bad, however, is in the pantheon of all-time greatest television shows. As the show progressed, it just kept getting better. Last season’s gut-wrenching “Ozymandias” was one of Breaking Bad‘s, if not television’s, finest hours. It rightfully won Moira Walley-Beckett an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series and was the submission episode for both Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston. No one will argue that the Breaking Bad actors were undeserving of an Emmy trophy.
Other Emmys thoughts:
- Allison Tolman was ROBBED! Seriously and utterly robbed. Tolman was the beating heart within the dark, twisted soul of FX’s Fargo. While not as showy as her fellow scenery-chewing nominees or even Fargo costars, her steadfast and star-making turn as the cool and collected Molly Solverson was such a joy to watch. Damn you, Kathy Bates’ racist severed head!
- Thank GOD Fargo won Outstanding Miniseries. It was one of my favorite scripted series of the year. Intriguingly off-kilter characters amidst a fantastically rich landscape. It’s a darned shame that series creator Noah Hawley didn’t win for Outstanding Writing.
- Kudos to Louis C.K. for winning for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for the Louie episode, “So Did the Fat Lady.” Even more kudos to Louis C.K. for immediately thanking actress Sarah Baker for owning those words.
- Seth Meyers was a fine, if not memorable, host. I am a huge Seth Meyers fan, but this material wasn’t the sharpest. However, he did excel when riffing off his SNL friend or celebrity audience members who were game for participation.
- Sorry HBO, looks like your decision to move True Detective out of Movie/Miniseries and into Drama Series backfired spectacularly. HBO logic followed that by submitting True Detective as a Drama series, The Normal Heart would be able to reap all the Emmy bounty in the Movie/Miniseries category. Unfortunately for HBO, not only did Matthew McConaughey lose the Emmy, but so did every single nominated actor from The Normal Heart: Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Joe Mantello, Alfred Molina, Mark Ruffalo, and Julia Roberts. Whoops!
- No to Weird Al parodies.
- No to Sofia Vergara objectification.
- Yes to Billy Crystal tributes: “Robin Williams: What a concept.”
- Jon Hamm will probably never win an Emmy for Mad Men.
- Amy Poehler will probably never win an Emmy for Parks and Recreation.
- If the groundbreaking Orange is the New Black couldn’t stop the Modern Family juggernaut, what can?
- Billy Eichner and Billy on the Street will always be a goddamned delight.