The 86 members of the Broadcast Television Journalists Assn. — which hands out the Critics’ Choice TV Awards — really loved “American Horror Story: Asylum” and “The Big Bang Theory” this year. They top the list of nominees for the third annual edition of these kudos with six bids each, up from two apiece last year. (For the complete list of nominees, click here.)
Popular CBS sitcom “Big Bang” returns to the two categories it was nominated in last year — Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Actor (Jim Parsons) — and adds four more: Best Comedy Supporting Actor (Simon Helberg), Best Comedy Supporting Actress (Kaley Cuoco and Melissa Rauch), and Best Comedy Guest Performer (Bob Newhart).
“American Horror Story” returns to the races for Best Movie/Miniseries and Best Movie/Mini Actress (Jessica Lange), while also earning acting bids for supporting stars James Cromwell, Zachary Quinto, Sarah Paulson, and Lily Rabe.
While those two returning programs led the nominations, the rest of the lineup is filled with new series and fresh faces. “The Americans” earned a Best Drama nomination, making it the only freshman program to earn a bid in a top series race this year. It also earned lead-acting nods for stars Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell and a supporting bid for Noah Emmerich.
Other notable newcomers to make the cut include Best Comedy Actress nominee Sutton Foster (“Bunheads“), Best Drama Actor nominee Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards“), Best Drama Actress nominee Vera Farmiga (“Bates Motel“) and, perhaps most surprising, Best Drama Actress nominee Tatiana Maslany for BBC America’s sci-fi series “Orphan Black,” in which she plays several cloned women searching for clues to their origins.
To break through in that competitive race Maslany beat out high profile stars including, among others, Kerry Washington (“Scandal“), Connie Britton (“Nashville“), Robin Wright (“House of Cards“), Michelle Dockery (“Downton Abbey“), and Glenn Close (“Damages“).
However, while welcoming new blood, the BTJA snubbed old favorites. Last year’s Best Comedy winner, “Community,” was dropped from that race entirely, as were all of its actors except Danny Pudi, whose Comedy Supporting Actor nomination is the show’s only bid this year. This may be a response to the cult comedy’s change of creative direction this season following NBC’s controversial firing of showrunner Dan Harmon last year. And reigning three-time Emmy champ “Modern Family,” which won top laffer at the first BTJA kudos in 2011, was snubbed save for a bid by Sarah Hyland.
Also surprisingly missing from the Critics’ Choice lineup is “Mad Men,” which won Best Drama in 2011 and was nominated in that category again in 2012. The only returning nominee from the series is Elisabeth Moss, who received a Best Drama Actress bid in addition to her Best Movie/Mini Actress nod for Sundance Channel’s “Top of the Lake.” Even Christina Hendricks, who won Best Drama Supporting Actress two years in a row, was snubbed this year.