The big news, of course, is that the Academy followed Katherine Heigl’s instructions and didn’t nominate her.
Not a lot of surprises; Mad Men’s multiple nominations (including best drama) are a bit surprising to me, not because I think it doesn’t deserve them (it does), but because I didn’t think the Academy would go for what is still a relatively obscure show — beloved by critics, admired within the industry, but still not much watched. Maybe the period setting helped it; the younger Academy members vote for it because it’s the big new thing, while the older members vote for it because they remember that era.
And Boston Legal. God, Boston Legal. I actually like that show, still, but the Emmy voters’ love affair with that show is more inexplicable than the way Star Trek guest babes used to throw themselves at Denny Crane. James Spader’s victory last year was the single most puzzling moment of the whole show, and this year the show looks bizarrely out of place among the Best Drama nominees. It’s fun because it’s a dinosaur, the last and most self-indulgent in a long line of preachy, self-indulgent David E. Kelley shows about Weird Clients (“Weird clients,/Causing such a lot of pain/To Alan Shore and Denny Crane”), but it seems to get nominated for precisely that reason, that it represents the idea of what “quality television” used to be about twenty years ago.
Update: Also, The Wire didn’t get nominated, but that’s not really a surprise, unfortunately. The Academy has never been big on acclaimed shows that nobody watches, and besides, The Wire almost exists on the fringes of the TV business — since David Simon and Ed Burns are not primarily TV people — and the Academy prefers to recognize shows that are made by people who really belong to the industry.
Update # 2: File this in the “I contain multitudes” category: not long after I wrote that I was surprised by Mad Men’s nominations, I thought of reasons why it wasn’t so surprising — particularly the fact that Mad Men is hugely admired among TV industry people (who love period pieces as well as guys like Matt Weiner who get to produce the dream-project pilot scripts they had sitting around). Then I wound up on CTV Newsnet providing a few soundbites about the Emmy nominations (first-time sound-bite provider), and, wanting to say something about that last point I just mentioned, I found myself saying “I’m not surprised by Mad Men‘s nominations because…” No biggie, but remind me never to run for political office or any other position where contradictory statements can’t be explained away.