Here at Bustle we love TV, which means we love sitting down with a big bucket of popcorn to watch the Emmy Awards every year. But make no mistake — just because we love the glitz and the glamor of our favorite well-dressed celebrities schmoozing and clutching trophies doesn't mean we necessarily agree with every Emmy winner or nomination... And this year's roster contains some of their most egregious snubs in recent memory.
No Best Drama Series nod for The Good Wife , despite it being better in its fifth season than most shows are in their first? Not one lousy nomination for the gorgeously filmed Hannibal, even in the technical categories? Downton Abbey continuing to get nominated over more deserving shows just because the actors wear fancy clothes and speak in fancy accents? We could go on. And on and on and on.
But instead of simply listing all the things wrong with this year's 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Award nominations, we've decided to be proactive and institute our own awards: Bustle's Anti-Emmys! These honors will serve to recognize the very best women working on television over the past season. Yes, we know there were men who were snubbed as well (remind us again how it's possible that Pedro Pascal was snubbed for Game Of Thrones?), but there are so many stellar actresses out there that they deserve their very own time in the spotlight.
So, without further ado, here are some of our very favorite performances by some very talented ladies who were ignored by the Television Academy:
Most Killer Cast
The Women of Hannibal
It's no secret that we're obsessed with Bryan Fuller's Hannibal . We love everything about the underrated serial killer drama, from the seductively charming titular antihero to the gorgeously plated dinners — and especially the killer women of the cast. Gillian Anderson's enigmatic Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier; Hettienne Park's dearly departed Beverly Katz; Katharine Isabelle's tortured Margot Verger; Caroline Dhavernas' resourceful Alana Bloom; Lara Jean Chorostecki's unscrupulous Freddie Lounds... we love them all. The fact that Fuller took several male characters from Thomas Harris' source material and gender-inverted them for his show just makes us appreciate his gorgeously gory show even more.
Most Jealousy-Inducing BFFs
Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson, Broad City
Sure, Ilana can be lazy. And okay, Abbi can sometimes be a bit embarrassing. But which of us aren't? Watching this Amy Poehler-produced Comedy Central show (based on a web series the real-life BFFs created together), just makes you mad that you don't have a friend so close you once accidentally got maced in the face together. Good thing Glazer and Jacobson are such good writers that you're able to get past your jealousy and laugh along with their hilarious misadventures. Broad City is reminiscent of everything from Girls to Workaholics to Louie to It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, but ultimately the show is its own animal, and that's thanks to the terrific chemistry between its leads.
World's Best Mom
Monica Potter, Parenthood
Raising a son with Asperger's. Battling breast cancer. Running for mayor. Founding a charter school. Reconciling with a daughter's sexuality. What hasn't Potter's Kristina been through on five seasons of NBC's Parenthood? Even though she's not even technically one of the show's central Bravermans, she quickly became our favorite character due to her incredible resilience in the face of adversity. Every week, Potter delivers subtle and often heartbreaking work: it's impossible not to cry along with her when her autistic son admits to her that his classmates' bullying makes him feel like a freak.
World's Worst Mom
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel
When people talk about motherly love, we're pretty sure they mean something completely different than that kiss that Norma and Norman Bates shared in the Season 2 finale of A&E's creepy drama. But regardless of her efficacy as a parent, there's no denying the sheer power of Farmiga's fearless performance. The woman who turned Norman Bates into a psycho easily could have been portrayed as a one-dimensional Mommie Dearest monster. But thanks to Farmiga's performance, Norma is both despicable and sympathetic, as she tries her very best to raise a son who occasionally murders people. Too bad her best just isn't good enough.
Best Speaker of the Truth
Zosia Mamet, Girls
"You guys never listen to me. You treat me like I'm a fucking cab driver. Seriously, you have entire conversations in front of me like I am invisible. And sometimes I wonder if my social anxiety is holding me back from meeting the people who would actually be right for me, instead of a bunch of fucking whiny nothings as friends."
For three and a half seasons, Girls' Shoshanna was the young, naïve tagalong who obsessed about boys and talked in Sex And The City clichés. Then, in the course of one booze-fueled evening, she somehow transformed into the show's sole voice of reason. The truth-palooza came at the culmination of a beach weekend where the four friends were trapped together in a Lynchian nightmare of spiraling tensions and unspoken resentments. When Shoshanna finally unleashed her hilariously awkward tirade, it signaled the beginning of Zosia Mamet's reign as our new favorite Girls actress.
Most Delightful Semi-Reprisal of a Beloved Sitcom Character
Jane Kaczmarek, Playing House
If you haven't been watching USA's Playing House, then you're missing a few things: a terrific portrayal of female friendships, one of the funniest new shows this season, and the surprise return of one of our favorite sitcom stars from the early aughts. Jane Kaczmarek (aka Lois from Malcolm In The Middle) appears in four episodes of the show's freshman season as Gwen, the estranged mother of Jessica St. Clair's Emma. Boozy, loud-mouthed Gwen is a terrific counterpoint to strict and stubborn Lois — it's like watching the Malcolm matriarch finally let loose after her five sons have all flown the coop. In other words it's both hysterical and supremely satisfying, and we can't get enough.
Best Performance by an Actress who Might Actually Be Possessed
Eva Green, Penny Dreadful
There's plenty of stuff to be scared of on Showtime's supernatural creature feature: vampires, werewolves, and reanimated corpses galore. But without a doubt the single most frightening thing on Penny Dreadful is the show's lead herself. As the literally-haunted medium Vanessa Ives, Eva Green commits herself 100 percent to the role, body and soul. The second episode of the inaugural season revolved around a seance, in which Green impressed and repulsed us with her physical contortions, facial grimaces, and ever-changing voices. She's so good at acting possessed that we're a tiny bit afraid the actress has gone full-Method and actually ensorcelled herself with a few spirits.
Doctor We'd Most Like to Have Treating Us
Julianne Nicholson, Masters Of Sex
We were more than thrilled to see the Emmys include Masters Of Sex lead Lizzy Caplan on this year's short list of Lead Actress contenders. But we were equally heartbroken to see the Academy ignore the stellar work of her fellow cast member Julianne Nicholson. As the taciturn Dr. Lillian DePaul, Nicholson has been turning in the kind of subtle, un-flashy work that so often gets overlooked by awards circuits. But in many ways, she has served as the quiet heart of the show in her all-too-short time on the show. The cancer-ridden doctor was more concerned with advancing women's health than she was her own physical well-being. She was just as frustrated by her male colleagues' unwillingness to take pap smears seriously as she was by her own remission. (Spoiler alert!) In the most recent episode, Dr. DePaul finally succumbed to her battle with cancer, and the show just won't be the same without her.
Doctor We'd Least Like to Have Treating Us
Laurie Metcalf, Getting On
Chances are you didn't watch HBO's new comedy Getting On , an adaptation of the BBC series of the same name. It debuted to very little fanfare and garnered modest ratings, but those who (like me) stumbled across this gem while surfing HBOGo know exactly who delightfully uncomfortable it was to watch. Laurie Metcalf stars as Dr. Jenna James, the Director of Medicine at a fictional continuing care facility. As played by Metcalf, James is perpetually on the edge of a nervous breakdown. She's high-strung, insecure, and cares more about collecting stool samples than the wellbeing of her patients. Whether she's brandishing a scalpel at her nurses or butchering the Khmer language, Metcalf always knows how to make us cringe and laugh at the same time.
Best Performance Delivered Under Duress of Horrible Wigs
Keri Russell, The Americans
We can all agree that Margo Martindale is fantastic as KHB handler Claudia, but it's the crime of the century that her Guest Actress nod is the only nomination FX's captivating spy drama garnered this year. Even better in its sophomore season, The Americans continues to thrill us with the story of Elizabeth and Philip Jennings — their fake marriage is infinitely more interesting than most portrayals of real ones on television these days. As played by Russell, Elizabeth is a bevy of contradictions: a fiercely loving mother and a cold-blooded killer, a reluctant lover but a staunch ally. And all of this delivered masterfully while some of the most unfortunate wigs in history are perched on top of her head, to boot! There must be an award for that, right?
Best Under-Appreciated Comic Genius
Chelsea Peretti, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Despite the fact that FOX's hilarious new workplace comedy raked in the trophies at the Golden Globes, winning both Best Actor for Andy Samberg and Best Comedy, the Emmys chose to virtually ignore the series altogether, only deigning to recognize Andre Braugher's (admittedly brilliant) work as Captain Holt. But even the Golden Globes got one thing wrong: they didn't nominate Chelsea Peretti for her performance as sarcastic administrator Gina Linetti. Gina is narcissistic, she's mean to everyone, and she's a member of a dance troupe called "Floorgasm" — and we love her for it. Every workplace needs an employee with a dry sense of humor to bring everyone down a peg, and a police precinct is no exception. Peretti fills that role to a T and we can't wait to hear even more of her acid-tongued bon mots in Season 2.
The Year's Most Awkward Dance Routine
Christine Woods, Hello Ladies
Speaking of floorgasms... (How's that for a segue?) Hands down the most awkward dance routine of the year belongs to HBO's one-season wonder Hello Ladies. The show was known for its cringe-worthy moments, most at the hands of Stephen Merchant's gangly wannabe-lothario Stuart — but the most memorable scene of the whole series belongs to his costar Christine Woods. It would have been easy for Stuart's female roommate to be his lucky-in-love foil, so the fact that Woods' Jessica was just as socially inept as him was a refreshing surprise. In one episode, the roomies worm their way into a swanky dinner party, where Jessica unwisely decides to impress the guests by doing a tap dance. So she tapes some quarters on her shoes and goes to town on the host's floor. Her pitch-perfect desperation, the awkward silence of the onlookers, and the host's withering faux-compliment ("That was very brave.") all combined to make this sequence the perfect storm of uncomfortableness.
Biggest Badass (Adult-Sized)
Melissa McBride, The Walking Dead
Who would have guessed, four years ago, that meek abused Carol would grow to become a hardened, badass leader — and a fan-favorite character, to boot. In the world of The Walking Dead, characters face difficult life-or-death decisions in pretty much every episode (if not every scene). And yet, Carol had to make arguably the toughest decision of anyone to date when she chose to put a bullet in the head of 11-year-old Lizzie Samuels. Of course, sociopathic Lizzie had just stabbed her own sister Mika to death in a misguided attempt to bring her back as a zombie, but it was still an impossible decision to make. The anguish, regret, and resignation that McBride was able to convey in one pull of a trigger was chilling and proves her to be an indispensable part of Dead's success. "Just look at the flowers..."
Biggest Badass (Child-Sized)
Maisie Williams, Game Of Thrones
Of course, Carol has nothing on Arya Stark when it comes to sheer cold-blooded badass-ness. Heck, Arya is capable of killing somebody and not feeling bad about it! Granted, her victims are usually child-killers or rapists, but it still takes a spine of steel to slide a sword through a man's throat. We loved Maisie Williams all the way back in Season 1, but she's only impressed us more as the years have passed. In her hands, Arya has grown from a fun-loving rebel to a hard-hearted assassin-in-training. Her travels around Westeros with the Hound were some of the highlights of Season 4 (not to mention that amazing laugh), and while we're said to see them part ways, we can't wait to see what Arya gets up to in Essos next year.
Actress Who Made Us Laugh So Hard We Peed Ourselves
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Although Amy Schumer and her colleagues at Inside were nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, Schumer herself failed to earn a nod for acting. And make no mistake: she's as essential in front of the camera as she is behind it. Whether she's working at an Aaron Sorkin-esque fast food joint, being a celebrity prom date, having conversations with god, or teaching her mom how to send an email, Schumer makes us laugh by putting herself in familiar situations... and then being unafraid to show herself in an unflattering light. We often see the worst parts of ourselves reflected in Schumer's sketches, which is what makes her performance so brave and her comedy so subversive. Next time you find yourself scrolling through OnDemand movies on date night, think of Amy Schumer — and don't pick Cocktail .
(Also, we want to hand her a trophy just for giving us more Josh Charles so soon after he betrayed us all with his surprise Good Wife departure.)
Best Genre-Defying Comeback
Lisa Kudrow, Scandal
Kudrow's zany Showtime series Web Therapy may be in its third season, but the former Friends actress proved this year that she can do more than be funny when she dropped by ABC's Scandal for a 4-episode arc as Josephine Marcus, a Congresswoman from Montana who was running for President. She hired Olivia Pope to help her keep her life-long secret: that her sister (and campaign manager) was actually her daughter, who she gave birth to when she was 15. Talk about a scandal, amiright? In her short time on the show, Kudrow showed off some serious dramatic chops. Add to that the recent announcement that her one-season cult HBO comedy The Comeback is returning for a second season nine years after its debut, and Kudrow has had quite the year.
Most Prolific Guest Star
June Squibb, Getting On/Girls/Glee
Lisa Kudrow's not the only one who had a banner year; even 84-year-olds were getting in on the comeback game. Hot off her Academy Award nomination for her hilariously profane role in Alexander Payne's Nebraska, June Squibb seemed to pop up everywhere last season. First she appeared as foul-mouthed bipolar patient Varla Pounder on HBO's medical comedy Getting On. She was seen on HBO again as Hannah's ailing grandmother Flo, whose condition pulls Hannah away from the Big Apple for a bottle episode with her extended family. And finally, she guest starred on Glee in the episode that Chris Colfer wrote as Maggie Banks, a resident of an old folks home who Kurt bonds with during a production of Peter Pan. The only thing we have to say about the delightfully unexpected renaissance of Squibb's career is: Betty who?
Most Satisfying Conclusion to a Character Arc
Mireille Enos, The Killing
Those who tuned into AMC's The Killing for the murder mystery were likely frustrated by the show's unapologetic disregard for answers. It took two whole seasons to find out who killed Rosie Larsen — but along the way, those who stuck with it were graced with one of the most dynamic and compelling portraits of a female character on television. The series finished its run on Netflix this month, and the story of Detective Sarah Linden came to a surprisingly satisfying close for such a gloomy show.
For four seasons, Mireille Enos brought Sarah and all her flaws to vivid life. A product of the foster system, Detective Linden was a terrific cop but a damaged human crippled by fear of attachment. Not only was she more concerned with providing justice for dead children than parenting her own child, she was painfully aware of this imbalance — and either unwilling or unable to correct it. So when the series seemed to be ending with Sarah driving away from Seattle and the one true relationship in her life — her partner, Stephen Holder — viewers were prepared for a typical downer of an ending. Color us surprised, then, when Holder exited his AA meeting to find Sarah standing there waiting for him. For once in her life, Sarah had made the decision to not run away; and seeing her stay was the most satisfying way the show could possibly have ended.
We're not saying we need every show to have a happy ending, but after four seasons of darkness and a lifetime of emotional numbness, Sarah Linden deserved happiness. We're so grateful for showrunner Veena Sud for providing us with this ending, and to Mireille Enos for breathing life into such a complex character.
The Shonda Rhimes Queen of TV Award
Mindy Kaling, The Mindy Project
Shonda Rhimes basically owns television these days. ABC has given the producer her own night on their channel (all three of her shows air in a row on Thursdays), she's single-handedly responsible for much of diversity on network television, and we can't get enough of her. So it seemed only appropriate to present an award in her name to another of the most hardworking women on television: Mindy Kaling.
Kaling's self-titled sitcom, The Mindy Project, is about to debut its third season next month on FOX. Apart from starring in the series, Kaling is an executive producer on the show, is on the writing staff for every episode, and gets personal writing credit for a handful of eps every season. And this isn't the first time she's had that multi-hyphenate job description, either. She was also an actress-producer-writer on NBC's The Office , appearing onscreen in 157 episodes and writing 25 of them. (She also directed two episodes of that show, a feat she has yet to replicate on Mindy, although it's certainly only a matter of time.) It's worth pointing out that The Mindy Project is the first show on television created by and starring an Indian-American. It's sad that we're still tallying up representations of diversity in this day and age, but it's impossible to deny Mindy 's historical significance. The fact that the show has made it to its third year while continually garnering positive review is due virtually single-handedly to Kaling and her hard work.
Plus, anyone who's responsible for gracing us with this dance deserves all of the prizes.
Best Actress. Period.
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
This stunning actress should have easily walked away with the trophy this year. The fact that she wasn't even nominated is a travesty of unparalleled proportions. You could perhaps forgive the Academy for snubbing her work last year, as Orphan Black was still a relatively niche show in a genre they typically ignore. But now that the show and Maslany have exploded into the public consciousness this season, there's no longer any excuse for ignoring the mind-blowing performances she continues to deliver. Every episode of Orphan Black is like watching a master class in character studies. The intricacies and subtleties with which Maslany layers each individual clone is impressive on their own. Start thinking too hard about how each character is played by the same woman and your brain starts hurting. This one was a no brainer, but it bears repeating: Tatiana Maslany is the best actress on television. Period.
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