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Emmys 2012: Snubs, Shockers and Surprises!

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Jul 19, 2012 | 6:43am EDT

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Maggie Smith in 'Downton Abbey'Well, the Emmy Awards nominations are out, and they've definitely shaken up the system. Although shows that were expected to win big — Mad Men, Modern Family and Hatfields & McCoys, to name a few — received their due, other programs dominated the categories in surprisingly adept sweeps.

If my crazed e-mail inbox is any indication, the noms are certainly throwing Hollywood for a proper whirl (seven nominees for leading comedy actress!?). We thought we'd take a look at what's got the television industry buzzing, swearing and celebrating.

SURPRISE: Downton Abbey sweeps (like a butler!)
I predicted that the little diamond-in-the-PBS series would go big or go home, and go big it did, nabbing six (!) acting nominations and 16 nominations overall. Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery and — of course — Dame Maggie Smith were all on the shortlist, and although the latter is no surprise (she won last year), it's a very welcome celebration for Bonneville, Dockery and the three other happy house-servants who were honored by the Academy. Downton was either going to earn a ton of love or no love at all, and it's very clear that the Academy went with the former.

SNUB: Hugh Laurie locked out of his House

Laurie was never a stranger to the Emmys — he was nominated six times for the medical drama — but he never won. It was widely believed that given House's departure from network television last May, Laurie would not only be a lock for a nod, but a serious contender for the prize as well. Well, riddle me this, Emmy nominators: why the snub for Laurie? Was it lupus?

SNUB/SURPRISE: Uma Thurman's a Smash, Megan Hilty is not

Let's be real for a second: Smash isn't a bad show. It just suffers from bad qualities, and one of the oddest was the sudden appearance of movie star Uma Thurman as movie star Rebecca Duvall. Not to say that Thurman's performance wasn't good, but her character was a total zany nightmare. Then again, maybe that's exactly why she was nominated for guest actress in a drama. On the other hand, powerhouse performer Megan Hilty was thoroughly ignored for her impressive turn as a fame-hungry Broadway ingenue. Let her be your star!

SNUB: Ron Swanson's swan song
Technically, Nick Offerman isn't going anywhere, but after such a remarkable season on Parks & Recreation (which itself didn't even earn a nomination — that is a degree of blasphemy that Zorp won't stand for), Emmy voters really had some nerve to ignore what may be the breakout television character of the last five years (save for Madeleine Stowe on Revenge). It's a hard pill to swallow — not only did Offerman not get to announce the nominees this morning (we're still looking into that one), but now we won't get to see his sure-to-be-fantastic acceptance speech. (It's also worth a mention that Amy Poehler was the seventh nominee announced for her Leading Comedy Actress category, which definitely made this reporter's heart skip a beat for a second when I thought she'd been snubbed. I blame local government.)

SNUB: Mandy Patinkin goes Home(land) empty handed

Patinkin's costars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis both earned nominations, and rightfully so. But the pinnacle of the series' sanity — the viewer's rock onto which to cling, allowing us to watch the hectic Homeland without totally going berserk — is more than worthy of a nomination himself. The Showtime series would suffer tremendously without such an exceptionally delivered Saul. The man deserves more gratitude than he gets from Carrie, and the Emmys should have made up for that.

SURPRISE: Breaking good!
Everyone was a little hesitant that AMC's cult drama wouldn't get the recognition it really deserved — it's been shunned in the past in certain acting categories — but there was no reason to get your khakis in a twist. Welcome nominations came today for Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Giancarlo Esposito, Anna Gunn and Mark Margolis as wacky, bell-ringin' Tio! As Jesse Pinkman might say: Emmys, bitch!

SNUB: The Good Wife gets no love

CBS' dramatic series The Good Wife did snag a nomination for its lead, Julianne Margulies, but the series itself didn't earn anything in the Best Drama Series category: a shocker considering the serious upswing in excitement that TGW took in its recent third season.

SURPRISE: It's a Hargitay knock life
It's not quite a snub (every nominee in the leading drama actress category deserved it more), but it's still a surprise. Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay usually can count on an Emmy nomination to cheer her up, but the procedural star failed to earn a nod for what many thought would be her final year as Olivia Benson (it's not). This will be the first year since 2004 that Hargitay won't be in her category. Case... closed?

SNUB: A nightmare for Awake's Jason Isaacs

Although the NBC series won't be rising again for a second season (the show has been set to rest), Jason Isaacs' wholly impressive turn as the troubled Michael Britten, struggling with his middling grasp on reality, definitely deserved some recognition among this year's Emmy nominations. He won't even get another chance at a nod, due to the show's demise; hopefully, fans and critics will wake up to Isaacs' obvious talent in the future.  

[Photo Credit: PBS]

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