"I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention," she tells Gold Derby. "In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials."As if the "Grey's Anatomy" set weren't an already awkward place, that next meeting between Heigl and Shonda Rhimes -- whom Heigl just accused of not giving her anything award-worthy to play -- is going to be just splendid, don't you think?
Meanwhile, the complete list of submitted performers has the usual interesting tidbits about what genres and categories certain shows and people were submitted in. (Keep in mind that the studio and/or producers choose comedy vs. drama, while it's up to the actors themselves to declare whether they think they're a lead or supporting actor.) Matt at Throwing Things has a break-down of some of the more noteworthy decisions, and so after the jump I'm going to do something simpler: based on where people were submitted, I'm going to pick my ideal Emmy nominees in the series acting categories.
First up, I have to say that this isn't as easy as you'd think. Yes, I have an advantage over your average Emmy voter in that I actually watch most of the shows up for consideration, but there are categories where I was hard-pressed to come up with a list of five names (for lead comedy actress, I just gave up), and in others there were at least 10 people who immediately went onto my must-list. So we'll just take it category-by-category, as I try to explain how I got here:
Lead actor in a comedy series
Because there are so few traditional comedies on TV these days -- it seems like half the submitted shows are hour-longs that just have some comedic elements -- there aren't a lot of comedy leads, period, let alone award-worthy ones. Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock") is my obvious choice as the winner, and I'd have to put Steve Carell ("The Office") on any ballot, if only for his work in the season finale (he was quite great for most of the season, in fact). Beyond that? I thought about old pros Brad Garrett and Kelsey Grammer (the latter all but guaranteed of a nomination, because he's popular, because he just had a heart attack and because, even though "Back to You" wasn't much, he's great), and other usual suspects like Larry David ("Curb" was terribly uneven and he wasn't close to the funniest performer this time), Jason Lee, Zach Braff, etc., before finally settling on Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement from "Flight of the Conchords," who were so unusual and funny (and you can't nominate one without the other), plus Zachary Levi, who had to do a lot of heavy lifting on "Chuck" and rarely seemed to break a sweat.
Lead actress in a comedy series
Again, can we just pass on this one? Tina Fey ("30 Rock") is the only submitted performer I can endorse wholeheartedly, and I felt okay about choosing Christina Applegate ("Samantha Who"), who's great on a show that doesn't really deserve her. Unless the rules required me to fill out a full five names, I'd be done after that, but if forced to, I guess I'd add Anna Friel from "Pushing Daisies," Mary-Louise Parker from "Weeds" (the show annoys me these days but at least she's interesting on it) and, just because it would amuse me and make some people's heads explode, Miley Cyrus from "Hannah Montana."
Lead actor in a drama series
Such a strong category that I could come up with two completely separate ballots where I wouldn't feel the least bit self-conscious about including anybody. The five who didn't quite make the cut: Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights"), Tim DeKay (who was one of the two reasons I watched "Tell Me You Love Me," a show I otherwise despised), Damian Lewis ("Life"), Edward James Olmos ("Battlestar Galactica") and Dominic West ("The Wire"). I really can't give you a good reason to exclude any of them, except that the next five were just a tiny bit better: Gabriel Byrne ("In Treatment"), Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad"), Michael C. Hall ("Dexter"), Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") and Hugh Laurie ("House").
Lead actress in a drama series
It's all-cable here: Ginnifer Goodwin and Jeanne Tripplehorn from "Big Love" (a show I have issues with, but where the performances by several of the actresses, notably these two, are brilliant), Holly Hunter from "Saving Grace" (like "Samantha Who," a performance better than the show probably earns), Ally Walker (the other reason I stuck it through "Tell Me You Love Me") and, my favorite, Mary McDonnell from "Battlestar Galactica."
Other than Hunter, I would be stunned if any of these people were to get an actual Emmy nomination.
Supporting actor in a comedy series
God, there's a lot of good talent here that I couldn't find room to include, whether it's people being hilarious in tiny roles (Leslie David Baker, Rhys Darby) or more multi-layered performances that didn't have the best material this year (Donald Faison, John C. McGinley, John Krasinski). I have to go with Jim Gaffigan (who single-handedly elevates "My Boys" from amusing time-waster to something I really look forward to), Neil Patrick Harris (hilarious and well-rounded on "How I Met Your Mother"), J.B. Smoove (painfully funny in almost every second of "Curb" screen time), Rainn Wilson (who even got some dramatic notes to play after Dwight got dumped on "The Office") and Ray Wise as the perfect Devil on "Reaper."
Supporting actress in a comedy series
The "Saturday Night Live" actors are now eligible in these categories, and so I have to give some love to the current cast's MVPs, Kristin Wiig and Amy Poehler. Jenna Fischer didn't have anything as blatantly award-baiting on this season of "The Office" as she did last year but was still splendid, as was Angela Kinsey, who's become sort of the first among equals of the show's actors not in the opening credits. For the last slot, I'll go with Dana Delany, who, outside of one or two episodes, didn't have a ton of funny things to do on "Desperate Housewives" but was the best (and at times, only) reason to watch it this year.
Supporting actor in a drama series
Oy. I could fill this with nothing but people from "Lost" and "The Wire," and I still would have too many names (and that's even though certain "Wire" actors like Clarke Peters didn't even bother to submit their names, no doubt knowing their award chances were lost causes). Plus, if I just went with those shows, I'd be leaving out John Slattery's brilliant, oily work on "Mad Men." In an attempt to spread the wealth while also recognizing as much great work as possible, I'll fill out the category with Jorge Garcia and Michael Emerson as my token "Lost" choices, Andre Royo as the lone "Wire" representative (with great apologies to Wendell Pierce and Michael K. Williams), and Michael Hogan and his amazing acting eye from "Battlestar Galactica."
(Other names briefly considered: the men of "Friday Night Lights," Justin Chambers from "Grey's," Blair Underwood from "In Treatment," Robert Sean Leonard from "House" and Scott Foley from "The Unit.")
Supporting actress in a drama series
Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights") for the win, please. After that, some tough decisions. I thought about Sandra Oh from "Grey's" and Yunjin Kim from "Lost," but while they had some strong individual moments, they didn't register enough over the whole season. Also considered, then dismissed: Maura Tierney (who was great in the Abby-off-the-wagon arc on "ER"), Katee Sackhoff (who brought the crazy on "Galactica") and January Jones (I can never decide how much of what makes her "Mad Men" character work is her performance and how much is the hair, makeup and wardrobe). My other four nominees: Mia Wasikowska and Dianne Wiest (both superb on "In Treatment"), Tricia Helfer for "Galactica," and Amanda Seyfried as another of those great "Big Love" women.
But that's just me spit-balling. Give me a few weeks to really slave over the list and I could be talked into some major changes.
What do you think?