The Emmys are nothing if not reliable: They surprise and disappoint us every year. The July 19 announcement revealed perennial faves, blatant snubs, and a refreshingly strong showing by critically acclaimed newcomers. Best comedy saw three new-to-the-category nominees: Entourage, 30 Rock, and Ugly Betty joined Two and a Half Men and The Office; while Heroes and Boston Legal (who knew?) are up against the veteran best-drama crowd of Grey’s Anatomy, House, and The Sopranos (which earned 15 nods for its final season). ”It feels really good to be noticed, especially in the fourth year,” says Entourage creator Doug Ellin. ”We’re just kicking along, and hopefully we keep getting better.” (In what’s become par for the Emmy course in recent years, HBO nabbed the most nominations — 86 in total.) Now for the bad news: NBC’s inspired drama Friday Night Lights scored two measly nods (in directing and casting), and HBO’s critically idolized The Wire received a big, sad goose egg. Other frustrating Emmy nonhappenings: the omissions of Gilmore Girls‘ Lauren Graham, The Shield‘s Michael Chiklis and Walton Goggins, and Michael C. Hall, the leading man/maniac on Showtime’s Dexter.
Those actors who did manage to get on Emmy’s good side represent a similar mix of old and new. Law & Order: SVU‘s Mariska Hargitay, Legal‘s William Shatner, and 24‘s Kiefer Sutherland received their fourth, fifth, and sixth nominations, respectively, while several others managed first-time scores: The Riches‘ Minnie Driver, Ugly Betty‘s Vanessa Williams, Entourage’s Kevin Dillon, and How I Met Your Mother‘s ”awesome” scene-stealer Neil Patrick Harris, who nabbed a nomination for best supporting actor in a comedy. ”It’s hard to compete in a world of 30 Rocks and Extras and Weeds,” says Harris, who cops to experiencing a bit of that first-timer’s glee. ”It feels kick-ass superfly!”