Hey, where’s the Emmy love for critically praised ‘Justified’?

In our recent comparison of how drama series fared with the critics versus their Emmy chances, “Justified” ranked third with reviewers but only 13th among the top Emmy contenders for Best Drama Series. Why is that? 

We turned to our editors to offer insights into this bizarre disconnect between the critics and Emmy voters when it comes to this FX series about a US Marshal (Timothy Olyphant) in Kentucky that recently wrapped its fourth season.

Leading off the discussion is Gold Derby founder Tom O’Neil, who writes: 

There will probably be little Emmy justice for “Justified” again because Emmy voters are snobs who may punish this great TV series for being about rascally hillbillies. Voters are Hollywood elitists who prefer stylish dramas about Madison Avenue (“Mad Men”) and the White House (“The West Wing”). At least this voting trend tends to be true in the race for best series.

When voting occurs within the peer groups to determine best acting, directing or the crafts, however, TV academy members tend to be more forgiving and open minded because they’re asked to focus on specific artistic achievement. That explains why “Justified” has had five acting noms in the past and two in the tech crafts, but continues to be snubbed for best series despite the fact that it’s received two nominations for best drama from the TV Critics Assn.

“Justified” has a good shot this year at nabbing new nominations for Olyphant and Walton Goggins. They’ve broken into the Emmy acting races in the past, proving their clout with the TV academy, and they both just gave outstanding performances this past season. Buzz has been terrific and that’s hard for Emmy voters to ignore. 

Says Chris Beachum

While “Justified” is one of my favorite shows, it just doesn’t seem to be all that well liked by Emmy voters. Yes, it has two acting wins (Margo Martindale and Jeremy Davies) but only five other nominations total for its first three seasons. Nothing at all has been achieved in the directing or writing categories. At its Emmy peak in 2011 when four of its actors received bids, it should have easily gotten in as Best Drama Series but did not. I am hoping for even more acting nods this time (Olyphant, Goggins and quite a few guest stars are deserving), but a series bid seems like a long shot.

For Daniel Montgomery:

It’s loved by critics, but in a very crowded field of dramas it may already have peaked. Regular stars Olyphant and Goggins received their first nominations in 2011 for the show’s second season, at which point the show seemed to be on the rise with Emmy voters, but in season three, when both actors were dropped from their respective categories, and it received no new nominations except for a Creative Arts bid for Art Direction, it seemed that its time had come and gone at the Emmys, which perhaps don’t take the show seriously enough as a character study because, on its surface, it may look like just a Kentucky fried cop show.

Says Rob Licuria:

Yep, it’s the “hillbilly factor”. As great as the show is, and although voters have duly honored some of its cast, Emmy doesn’t like poor people. Working class, “white trash”, name them what you will. It’s why comedy classic “Roseanne” was never nominated for Best Comedy Series. Ditto “My Name Is Earl.” 

And Marcus Dixon concludes: 

There are simply TOO MANY great dramas to choose from, I don’t blame the Emmy voters for letting this very deserving show slip through the cracks. Ten year ago, “Justified” would be a shoo-in for a Best Drama Series nomination. In this day and age, it’s a miracle any of the top six get a chance in the spotlight.

Why do you think “Justified” can’t break into the top Emmy race?

Let us know in the comments section below and make all your Emmy predictions here

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