Rising from the ashes of “Mad Men’s” defeat came new Emmy front-runner “Homeland,” which also beat critical favorites “Boardwalk Empire,” “Downton Abbey,” “Game of Thrones” and “Breaking Bad.” After taking home the award for Outstanding Drama series four years in a row, “Mad Men” appeared to have finally met its match, leaving the acclaimed period piece to a disheartening 17 losses.
Among the evening’s losers was leading man John Hamm — “Mad Men’s” driving force in his role as the now-iconic Don Draper. Hamm has suffered five losses in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series since “Mad Men’s” debut season. This year he fell prey to “Homeland’s” newcoming, though arguably undeserving, Damien Lewis. Perhaps the era of “Mad Men” idolatry has come to a close — its appeal exhausted by the oversaturation of ’60s-set imitators. Regardless of the past season’s stylistic shift, however, Hamm deserved recognition.
“Homeland” remained one of the few rookie series to garner much — if any — Academy recognition. “Veep’s” Julia Louis-Dreyfus stole the Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series from “Park and Recreation’s” Amy Poehler, who was thought to have delivered her most authentic, comedic and compelling performance to date. It was a snub for both Poehler and the show itself, as “Parks and Recreation” did not even receive a Best Comedy Series nomination this year.
The same can also be said for acclaimed ABC comedy “Suburgatory,” which did not receive a nomination as a series or for its breakout star, Jane Levy. HBO’s wildly popular, youth-infused “Girls” was also ignored even though its 26-year-old writer, director and actress Lena Dunham surely deserves a bit of the golden sheen shared by the cast and crew of ABC’s “Modern Family.”
The biggest travesty came for Fox’s “American Horror Story.” After 17 nominations and insatiable buzz, “Horror Story” was slated to win big. In the end, Ryan Murphy’s terrifying creation brought home only two awards. One was for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Miniseries or a Movie; the other went to the deserving Jessica Lange for Best Supporting Actress. As for the Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, the award went to HBO’s “Game Change,” an unexpected victor.
At times, the surprises at the 2012 Emmy Awards Show rivaled the nominees themselves in terms of drama. The awards narratives of several shows came to an abrupt and disappointing end. Deserved or not, these defeats added intrigue to the frequently uninteresting format of the awards show.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 25 print edition. Isabel Jones is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.
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