The 2011-2012 Emmy Nominations That Actually Noticed My Shows, Great or Small

I’ve never watched a complete Emmy Awards ceremony. I follow several different TV shows each season, but I don’t watch nearly enough of the “right” shows to have a sizable stake in the proceedings. It’s with good reason that I don’t write about television seven days a week.

For fun, though, I decided for my very first time ever to read through today’s nominations and see if anything I watched in the 2011-2012 season qualified for honors. Any and all of them. The official Emmys site has a link to a handy PDF summarizing every single category and nominee for the media or obsessive TV stalkers to peruse at will. I encountered two surprises:


1. Yes, a few of my shows are loved. Heartening to know.

2. The complete list of categories and nominees is forty pages long. Four. Zero. Oh, my.

    Categories in which I have more than one dog in the fight:

Writing for a Comedy Series:
Community: Chris McKenna for “Remedial Chaos Theory”
Parks & Recreation: Amy Poehler for “The Debate”
Parks & Recreation: Michael Schur for “Win, Lose, or Draw”

Paul Rudd and the season-long wild ride of an election storyline made “Win, Lose, or Draw” and “The Debate” keepers for Parks & Rec, but the Community ep with the six parallel-universe pizza parties was an unparalleled achievement in the field of quantum mechanics humor.

Special Visual Effects:
Falling Skies, “Live and Learn/The Armory” (the two-hour series premiere)
Once Upon a Time, “The Stranger” (August Booth’s origin)
The Walking Dead, “Beside the Dying Fire” (the season 2 finale)

Like the Oscars’ own “Best Visual Effects”, this is the fun category for the popcorn viewer. As with many cinematic cousins, this was Falling Skies‘ only appearance on the list. Each of these was so proficient at their craft, I refuse to choose between them. The Emmys can have ties, right? Do they allow their voters to weasel out like that?

Animated Program:
Futurama, “The Tip of the Zoidberg”
The Simpsons, “Holidays of Future Passed”

Voice-Over Performance:
Futurama, Maurice LaMarche for “The Silence of the Clamps”, Clamps and five other characters
The Simpsons, Hank Azaria for “Moe Goes from Rags to Riches”, Moe and five other characters

I was under the impression that The Simpsons was denied Emmy love because of their evil elderly voting bloc. See what we learn when we move beyond the popular trophies?

    Categories where I can root for a lone nominee:

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Amy Poehler for Parks & Recreation

Special Class Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Programs: Parks & Recreation: “April and Andy’s Road Trip”. (I thought those were new-car ads, but if TV overlords want to reward them, I won’t fuss.)

Writing for a Variety Series; Directing for a Variety Series: Portlandia, “One Moore Episode” (It’s the only episode of the show I’ve ever seen, but the Battlestar Galactica DVD marathon and reunion had me in tears. I should probably watch more. But, y’know, not at the cost of my job.)

Costumes for a Series: Once Upon a Time, “Hat Trick” (Admittedly, Sebastian Stan as the Mad Hatter was pretty stylin’.)

Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or Special: Greg Nicotero and a team of five for The Walking Dead, “What Lies Ahead”. (With season 3’s introduction of the Governor, whose detestable shenanigans were the reason I walked away from the original comic book series, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be sticking with this show, but season 2’s struggles with family and faith were intriguing to me.)

Sound Editing for a Series: The Walking Dead, “Beside the Dying Fire”.

Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One-Hour): Person of Interest, “Pilot”. (I’m still kicking myself for losing track of the show halfway through the season, but the long gaps between new episodes were great for causing memory lapses on my part. Too bad the show wasn’t available On Demand, and doubly too bad that my browser absolutely loathed CBS’ online streaming portal.)

Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation: Parks & Recreation, “End of the World”

Stunt Coordination: Hawaii Five-O, “Kame’e” (I fell away from the show about a third of the way into the season, a bit soured when one seemingly benign recurring character turned evil and Masi Oka’s character turned into a stunted Big Bang Theory caricature, but I was still around for this episode about murdered ex-Navy Seals and Kono turning to the Dark Side.)

    Special Section for Strongest Multiple Nominees:

Mad Men presumably will sweep many of the following “Outstanding” categories:

Lead Actress in a Drama Series – Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson
Lead Actor in a Drama Series – Jon Hamm as Don Draper
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway Harris
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Jared Harris as Lane Pryce
Guest Actress in a Drama Series – Julia Ormond as Megan’s mom
Guest Actor in a Drama Series – Ben Feldman as Michael Ginsberg (He put in such a memorable showing, I didn’t even realize he was just a “guest”.)
Directing for a Drama Series – Phil Abraham for “The Other Woman” (the one where Joan and Peggy make, er, memorable career decisions)
Writing in a Drama Series: “The Other Woman”, “Commissions and Fees” (Lane Pryce’s final episode), and “Far Away Places” (the LSD trip and other self-discoveries)
Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series: “At the Cod Fish Ball”
Casting for a Drama Series
Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series: Christopher Manley, “The Phantom”
Single-Camera Picture-Editing for a Drama Series: Chris Gay, “Far Away Places”
Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series: a team of five stylists for “The Phantom”
Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic): a team of four for “”Christmas Waltz”

The Oscars are the only awards show of any kind that I watch every year. I don’t care about the grandeur, glitz, glory, or award-grubbing. For some reason I just like watching movies fight and fight and fight, even if my favorites lose and my nemeses win. I’m not sure why. The 84th Annual Academy Awards received nominations for “Outstanding”:

Special Class Programs
Directing for a Variety Special
Writing for a Variety Special;
Art Direction for Variety or Nonfiction Programming
Single-Camera Picture-Editing for Short-Form Segments and Variety Specials
Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Special
Sound Mixing for a Variety Series or Special
Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Miinseries, Movie, or a Special

If we add occasional clips I view via Facebook friends, I could technically add The Daily Show for Outstanding Variety Series and a few other related honors. I rarely sit still for entire episodes, though.

Serious question: how many of these categories did you know existed? I’ve left out a wide swath of categories that had zero to do with me, including anything related to reality TV. Obviously the acting awards steal the televised ceremony spotlight. I had assumed that technical categories existed, but the minute distinctions between them, meaningful though they might be to industry pros, are staggering to me. That’s an awful lot of awarding going on.

Congrats to people who make stuff I like! Condolences in advance for those who will lose because I jinxed them by liking them.

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