Emmy Award nominations will be announced tomorrow morning. They do a really crappy job of rewarding the best in television, so we thought we'd call out some great people who will never get nominated in a million years.
Just remember, last year Family Guy was nominated for Best Comedy and Two and a Half Men actually took home a trophy. Do Emmy voters realize that there is actual quality programming on the air, not just the crap they perpetually give trophies to? Unfortunately it tends to be the same few shows rewarded year after year, no matter how good or bad they are. Shit, Kelsey Grammar was nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy last year and Frasier hasn't been on since 2004.
Here is a list of actors (and one host) who shouldn't expect a phone call tomorrow morning, but to whom we would happily give both a nomination and a trophy if we could.
Cat Deeley host of So You Think You Can Dance: Yes, Jeff Probst is great and Heidi Klum is never out of style, but how is it that every year Cat Deeley is overlooked in the Best Reality Show Host category? Not only is she stately, gorgeous, and British, but she's caring and nurturing to the contestants in a way that doesn't come off as fake, and she can disagree with the judges without making it all about herself. She could really teach perpetual nominee Ryan Seacrest a thing or two.
Khandi Alexander on Treme: This show about post-Katrina New Orleans was only so-so in its debut season, but the ensemble was stellar every week. No one was better than Alexander as the tough and tortured LaDonna who hunted for her convict brother who was lost in the storm and lied to her family about all sorts of things, large and small.
Matthew Fox on Lost: The much showier roles of John Locke and Benjamin Linus always get the attention and the (deserved) nominations. This is the Emmys' last chance to recognize Fox's understated but moving portrayal or Dr. Jack Shepard, a man who literally went to hell and back during the final season. And he looks really good with his shirt off. That deserves something!
Keir Gilchrist on United States of Tara: Yes, we have a weakness for gay teens, but while Emmy winner Toni Collette is chewing up the scenes as the multiple personality star of the show, the silent rage inside her gay son Marshall is building and building. In the least showy role on this series, he always manages to stand out.
Merritt Weaver on Nurse Jackie: We have a hard time believing this show is a comedy. Yes, we laugh at every episode, but the drama that star Edie Falco brings to the title role makes it overwrought at times. It's Weaver who always brings in the laughs as ditzy do-gooding nurse Zoe, energizing every scene and upstaging her far more experienced costars.
Eva Longoria Parker on Desperate Housewives: This show isn't as good as it used to be and we don't even watch it any more so we don't know how good she was last season, but Parker has always been this show's secret weapon. She does a sassy diva better than almost anyone on television and still manages to be likable, which is more than we can say for some of the other characters on the show. And, strangely enough, with a killer body like hers, her comedic timing is always her best asset.
Anyone but Neil Patrick Harris on How I Met Your Mother: We would marry NPH if we could (and he wanted us), but he gets all this attention for a show that's nothing if not an ensemble. How about a little bit of love for the rest of this cast, or the show as a whole? It may not be the coolest thing on the tube, but is good for a dependable laugh.
Busy Philipps on Cougar Town: I do not want to admit I watch Cougar Town. I do not want to admit I like Cougar Town. I do not want to say that if Philipps' wacky Laurie doesn't get nominated that I am going to kick Emmy voters asses all the way to Cougar Town. But, yeah, all of those things.
Lily Tomlin on Damages: On this FX show's best season yet we had a ton of big movie stars doing great things with plum roles. No one was better than Lily Tomlin as a shrewd Ruth Madoff-esque Ponzi schemer's wife. Oh wait, a big movie star taking chances on TV? Nevermind, she's a lock for a nomination.
Jonathan Banks on Breaking Bad: One of the best things about this brilliant show's face-meltingly good third season was the increased presence of Mike, the creepy ex-cop and go-to ice man for the Southwest's most ruthless drug dealer (the also wonderful Giancarlo Esposito). Sure, Banks' grimly efficient murder/rescue scene was terrific to watch — and Banks played the weary ordinariness of such a bloody task perfectly — but it was Banks' haunting and foreboding monologue about "half measures" that really delivered. Banks' performance is subtle and devious, lovable and terrifying. Give this man some hardware.
Christine Baranski on The Good Wife: Just like Brian is loath to admit that he watches Old Lady Land or whatever that show is, I must reluctantly confess that I have often curled up under my self-knitted afghan with a mug of herbal tea (held with both hands) and watched an episode of this surprisingly sharp CBS legallady lovejam. And Baranski is at her imperial best as the head of a brusquely corporate Chicago law firm. She's doing her usual steely Baranski shtick (her other mode is drunken-manic society doyenne), but who cares if it's a little familiar. She's totally firecrackers at it and gives the sometimes lethargic show reliable shots of energy. Her romance with Gary Cole's character was especially odd and enjoyable.
Matt Ross on Big Love: On an erratic and disastrously overstuffed season, we could at least always rely on Ross' Alby Grant to bring not just the creep factor but a wrenching and painful humanity to every scene. His tortured love affair with an equally deeply closeted Mormon official was a marvel of passion and torment, and Ross never went for the obvious notes — he never played cheaply to our simplest sympathies, rather he kept us hating Alby while sneakily demanding a strange kind of pity. Ross has been a standout on the show since the first season, but this was really his year to shine. This series is mostly about the three ladies, yes, but given its increasingly large (and strong! give Mary Kay Place an award too please!) ensemble, someone should get plucked from its ranks and singled out for giving the show its muscle. Why not Alby?
Charlie Day on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The weird, wild heart of the funniest show on television, Charlie Day plays gonzo slacker as only he can. While the series floundered a bit in its fourth season (in 2008), it came roaring back to life with a wonderfully out-there fifth, with Day as the tattered drum-beater leading the way. Really only two words need to be written to explain why Day (and the rest of the show) deserves all the awards: Kitten mittens.
Lisa Kudrow on Web Therapy: Sure it's on the internet and each episode is only a few minutes long. But she's hysterical on it and it would be a good way to keep apologizing for the untimely demise of The Comeback.
[Late Addition!] Connie Britton on Friday Night Lights: Oops, totally forgot to mention this perpetually overlooked performance (ironic, huh?). Though the show has weakened a little bit in its move to East Dillon, Britton remains as sturdy and beguiling a performer as you're likely to find on television. She's saddled with a deceptively hard task — playing a genuinely good person — but she adds so many layers of shading and nuance that the character, who could become flat and drab in a lesser actor's hands, is so wonderfully and impossibly (this is scripted television, after all) alive. There's more intelligence in one of Britton's small changes in facial expression than there is in an entire season's worth of, say, perpetual nominee Mariska Hargitay's work.
Those are our picks. Who do you think will be undeservedly ignored tomorrow morning?