A scary thing happened this year when Emmy nominations were announced. Controversial anthology series "American Horror Story" tied Emmy favorite "Mad Men" to secure 17 total nominations, the most of any other program for the 2011-2012 season.
When "AHS" head honcho Ryan Murphy made the decision to switch categories from the Drama Series race to Movie/Miniseries, he created quite a stir. Not only did the program begin with a standard "Pilot," but the show had already been picked up for a second season, a rarity for a traditional Miniseries. Furthermore, "AHS" had competed at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards as a Drama Series, and even performed quite well for a new show with Jessica Lange winning a trophy at each ceremony.
So why the switch over to Movie/Miniseries at the Emmys?
Murphy announced at the end of the first season that "AHS" was actually an anthology series, meaning each season would be a self-contained original story with all-new characters. Emmy chairman Bruce Rosenblum defended the switch by saying, "If a show qualifies in more than one category that producer is entitled to choose which category they want to submit. The way the show is designed, it's a very close-ended series this year. Our academy was convinced that this belonged in the Miniseries category and voted accordingly."
Another reason for the Emmy move is more obvious. Murphy wisely decided to enter the Movie/Miniseries race because the competition there was much less, well, scary. Instead of facing off against Drama Series frontrunners like "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "Homeland," "Game of Thrones" and "Boardwalk Empire," Murphy's new rivals are "Game Change," "Hatfields and McCoys," "Hemingway and Gellhorn," "Luther," and "Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia."
This year's Emmy host Jimmy Kimmel disagrees with the switch. He recently joked, "It’s not a Miniseries, let’s be honest. I’m going to try to qualify ["Jimmy Kimmel Live"] as a Miniseries next year. It seems like a soft category."
According to Gold Derby's Experts, Editors and Users, "AHS" is currently in second place to win the top prize with odds of 3 to 1. "Game Change" remains the frontrunner with odds of only 10 to 9. It remains to be seen how the controversy will help or hurt the program come Emmy time.
Below, the 17 nominations earned by "American Horror Story," with episode titles listed where applicable:
BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES ACTRESS
Connie Britton as Vivien Harmon
BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES SUPPORTING ACTOR
Denis O'Hare as Larry Harvey
BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES ART DIRECTION
BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES or SPECIAL COSTUMES
"Halloween, Part 1"
BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES SINGLE-CAMERA PICTURE EDITING
BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES or SPECIAL SOUND EDITING
BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES SOUND MIXING
BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES or SPECIAL CASTING
BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES HAIRSTYLING
BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES MAKEUP (NON-PROSTHETIC)
BEST MOVIE/MINISERIES MAKEUP (PROSTHETIC)
BEST STUNT COORDINATION
BEST MAIN TITLE DESIGN
OTHER EMMY NEWS: