Before we here at The Wire get to our own picks for who should be nominated when the Primetime Emmy nominations are announced on July 10th, there's the small matter of these award-worthy performances who won't even get a chance because they were left off the ballot entirely.
Before we begin, it should be noted that names get omitted from the Emmy ballot for all sorts of legitimate (or at least understandable) reasons. Shows with giant ensemble casts (like, say, Game of Thrones) like to concentrate their Emmy hopes on a handful of most likely contenders, the better to avoid diluting their own votes. Some shows are more Emmy-aggressive than others. (Some performers are too, since you can submit yourself for consideration on the ballot if you pay the entry fee.)
Still, injustice is injustice, and until July 10, we should all be able to live in the fantasy land that the Emmy Awards will honor only the very best in their respective categories. A notion that the omissions of the following performers from the ballot damages significantly.
Gweldoline Christie - Game of Thrones - Supporting Actress in a Drama
As mentioned above, Game of Thrones finds themselves in a pickle, with dozens of performers spread out across the show's disparate storylines. In the end, nine performers were submitted — Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), Charles Dance (Tywin), Lena Headey (Cersei), Sophie Turner (Sansa), Maisie Williams (Arya), Kit Harrington (Jon Snow), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie), Emilia Clarke (Danaerys), and Natalie Dormer (Margaery) — in the supporting categories. (Two more — Pedro Pascal (Oberyn) and Diana Rigg (Olenna) — were placed for consideration among the guest actors.) That leaves a great many actors who made a big impact, chief among them Ms. Christie, whose Brienne of Tarth is among the show's more popular characters. It's tough for side characters to make their presence felt, particularly when even the lead characters are only on screen 10% of the time. Still, if only for that scene opposite Cersei at the Purple Wedding, not to mention that season-ending clash with The Hound, Christie deserved consideration.
Alan Cumming - The Good Wife - Supporting Actor in a Drama
How curious that Cumming, a two-time nominee for The Good Wife, was left off the ballot entirely. Which isn't to say that Eli Gold's storylines this season made him worthy of a nomination. But it still seems wrong to see the entire Good Wife main case up for consideration while he's not. Though I suppose it's telling that his best work of the season, when he needed to get Alicia onto the phone to learn that Will died, happened when he was out of focus (right).
Rory McCann - Game of Thrones - Supporting Actor in a Drama
All of the above about the pickle that Game of Thrones faces with regards to Emmys applies here too. Which is too bad, because it was something of a banner year for Rory McCann's The Hound, who chaperoned Arya on her tour of the Riverlands and helped her become her best murderous sociopath. Aw.
Hunter Parrish - The Good Wife - Guest Actor in a Drama
We can understand people who may have just blocked the whole unpleasant incident out of their minds, but there would have to be some serious transference happening in order for those submitting names to forget about Parrish, whose accused-murderer Jeffrey Grant underwent a mental breakdown which ultimately led to changing the entire course of The Good Wife forever. Narrative impact aside, Parrish played the role perfectly, over the course of three episodes. The image of Jeffrey desperately pulling the trigger of a spent handgun, trying in vain to kill himself, is one of the more indelible images of the whole series.
Sally Phillips - Veep - Guest Actress in a Comedy
One of the best episodes of Veep this season involved the not-at-all-welcome (by Selina Meyer and her team, at least) return of Finnish prime minister Minna Hakkinen. Selina was so unnerved by the recurrence of the "Finnish fart," mostly because of the unflappable obliviousness with which Minna brought unintended disaster on the campaign. Phillips played the whole thing as a perfectly unfazed innocent whose ever-so-slight sparkle in her eyes made her disaster so much fun to watch.
Amy Schumer - Girls - Guest Actress in a Comedy
Okay, for starters, Schumer has enough headaches to deal with considering she's not even allowed to submit as a lead actress on her own show. Which is why it would've been nice to be able to nominate her in a category she did belong in. Hands-down the funniest scene on all of television last season was the only scene where Schumer graced Girls with her presence. In the season's first episode, Hannah and Adam run into Adam's jilted ex (Shiri Appleby, who honestly would be worthy of a guest actress nomination herself and who is similarly off the ballot) and her particularly fired up friend (Schumer) who proceed to tandem berate the pair for being immature, semi-socialized child-people whose garbage lives should never be inflicted on a baby. It's the definition of a great guest performance — a single scene that raised the level of comedy in the entire episode.
Lindsay Sloane - Playing House - Guest Actress in a Comedy
To be honest, Playing House is going to have a hard enough time getting Emmy attention for its main stars, or for the show itself, which is one of TV's best comedies. Which is too bad, because Sloane's performance as "Bird Bones" in the show's second episode was one of the comic highlights of a season that had many of them. Not only would a guest-actress nomination for Sloane have been a nice way to recognize this incredibly underrated show, it would be something of an awards apologia for the film Bring It On, since Sloane played Big Red so memorably in that film.