Why Isn't 'Orange Is The New Black' Nominated For The 2016 Emmys? It All Comes Down To Timing

When viewers tune into the 68th annual Primetime Emmy Awards this Sunday, they will see an eclectic assemblage of some of their favorite television shows being honored — from reigning champions Game Of Thrones and Veep to reliable standards like Modern Family and Downton Abbey to buzzy new programs like Master Of None and Mr. Robot. The Outstanding Drama Series race in particular will look familiar to those who watched the ceremony last year; every show that was nominated in 2015 that was still eligible this season (RIP, Mad Men) is once again nominated in 2016… with one glaring exception. Why wasn't Orange Is The New Black nominated for any Emmys this year?

Drama Series isn't the only category the Netflix prison dramedy was left out of, either. In the past, it has also been nominated for writing, directing, and six of its supremely talented actors — including Uzo Aduba, who has won twice. (Once for Guest Actress in a Comedy, once for Supporting Actress in a Drama; confusing, I know.) But this year, OITNB was only nominated for one measly award: Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series, which isn't even presented during the Primetime ceremony. (The award was already given during the un-televised Creative Arts ceremony; OITNB lost the category to Game Of Thrones for a second year in a row.)

Of course, snubs are part of the game when it comes to awards ceremonies. I could spend all day listing amazing shows that went unrecognized by Emmy voters this year. But something about OITNB's snub feels particularly egregious, in part because it's not a show that is habitually snubbed by the Television Academy like The Leftovers or Hannibal — in fact, it's a proven award-winner — but also in part because it's hot off one of its most successful and acclaimed season yet.

How could voters ignore a season that tackled the Black Lives Matter movement, the prison industrial complex, and the tragic death of a fan-favorite character? Well, the answer is surprising simple: because Orange Is The New Black Season 4 isn't up for consideration this year. Unlike the Oscars, whose eligibility period covers an entire calendar year from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, the Emmys hew closer to the school year with a period spanning from June 1 of one year through May 31 of the next.

That means that OITNB Season 4, which premiered on June 17 of this year, falls just outside of the period of eligibility for the 2016 ceremony. The season of OITNB that was up for consideration this year was actually Season 3, which premiered 15 long months ago on June 11 of 2015. Of course, that doesn't explain why exactly OITNB was completely shut out this year — but it should at least lessen the outrage over the idea that it was snubbed for arguably its strongest season yet. Don't worry: it will still get a chance to compete for that season next year.

Season 3 certainly wasn't bad, but neither was it was as universally praised as Season 4, nor did it have the advantage of the attention-grabbing headlines brought about by that season's tackling of topical societal issues. It's a bit mistifying that Aduba — last year's reining champion in the Supporting Actress category — wasn't even nominated this year. But it's hard to make an argument against either of the series that broke into the Outstanding Drama category this year over OITNB: FX's The Americans , which finally broke into the field after being ignored for three straight years, and USA's Mr. Robot , inarguably the buzziest new show of last season.

Hopefully Emmy voters will remember this summer's terrific and compelling season of Orange Is The New Black long enough to cast their ballots in its favor next year. The ladies of Litchfield deserve as much… and so do their ardent fans.

Images: JoJo Whilden/Netflix (3)