The British Invade the 2012 Primetime Emmys, But Only Dame Maggie Smith Triumphs

It was a British Invasion at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards this year, with sixteen nominations for Downton Abbey and thirteen for Sherlock, along with several other UK series grabbing nods, including Page Eight, Great Expectations, The Song of Lunch, Luther and The Hour.

Sadly, while many of our favorite British stars were nominated for a variety of awards, only the Dowager Countess emerged victorious, as Dame Maggie Smith won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama.  Smith was not present to pick up her statue, which is extra sad when one imagines how fantastic her acceptance speech probably would have been. Oh, well.

(And to be honest, I’m being a bit unfair – Damian Lewis also took home a Best Actor statue, but since his win was for his performance in American series Homeland, I therefore can’t in good conscience add him to the official Brit TV winners list. )

Click through for a full list of Emmys winners and a little ranting about how certain nominees (cough Benedict Cumberbatch cough) got completely robbed were sadly over looked in their respective categories. Let’s discuss this travesty the results in the comments!

Biggest snub of the night? No statues for Sherlock, which was up for Best TV Mini-Series or Movie, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Directing in the TV Mini-Series/Movie category and came away with zero wins. This is staggeringly, staggeringly wrong and I think I shall have to write a sternly worded letter to someone expressing my displeasure. 

Weirdly, due to some ridiculousness with the way that the Emmys rules work – Sherlock doesn’t have enough episodes to qualify as a mini-series or a full drama, so has to pick one episode to submit as a standalone TV movie, basically – only the episode A Scandal in Belgravia was considered for any awards.  If you watched the ceremony, you’ll have noticed it was only ever referred to as Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia, which is disappointing when you think about the fact that this ridiculous categorization keeps any of the series’ other stunning work (i.e The Reichenbach Fall) from being considered. Personally, I wish Reichenbach had been selected as Sherlock’s Emmy episode, as I can’t imagine that any Academy member forced to watch the last ten minutes wouldn’t be just throwing statuettes at the TV by the end.

I love all the Downton Abbey crew who scored nominations – Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Jim Carter,  Brendan Coyle and Smith – but out of all of them thought that the show’s only acting win would likely come in the Supporting Actress category (as it did). I was prepared for Bonneville to lose to Bryan Cranston (though he actually lost to Lewis), Dockery to lose to Claire Danes, and Carter and Coyle to lose to one of the guys from Breaking Bad (who turned out to be Aaron Paul).

But Cumberbatch’s loss really shocked me – Kevin Costner, Academy, really?? – and I truly thought Downton had a fighting shot at being a dark horse Best Drama winner. Alas, neither was to be.  Here’s hoping that Series 3 will be the big award winning year for both Sherlock and Downton Abbey!

A full list of last night’s Emmy winners is below:

Best comedy
The Big Bang Theory
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Girls
Modern Family
30 Rock
Veep

Best drama
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
Mad Men

Lead actress in drama
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Lead actor in a drama
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Michael C. Hall, Dexter

Best competition reality show
The Amazing Race
Dancing with the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
The Voice
Top Chef

Lead actress in a comedy
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Lead actor in a comedy
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Best supporting actress, comedy
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live

Best supporting actor, comedy
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Max Greenfield, New Girl
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live

Best supporting actress, drama
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Best supporting actor, drama
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Jared Harris, Mad Men 

Best miniseries or movie
Game Change
American Horror Story
Hatfield & McCoys
Hemingway & Gellhorn
Luther
Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia

Best variety series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live 

Best reality show host
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Betty White, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance

Best lead actress in a miniseries or movie
Connie Britton, American Horror Story
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Ashley Judd, Missing
Emma Thompson, The Song Of Lunch (Masterpiece)

Best lead actor in a miniseries or movie
Woody Harrelson, Game Change
Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Bill Paxton, Hatfields & McCoys
Clive Owen, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Idris Elba, Luther
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia

Best supporting actress in a miniseries or movie
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Sarah Paulson, Game Change
Mare Winningham, Hatfields & McCoys
Judy Davis, Page Eight (Masterpiece)

Best supporting actor in a miniseries or movie
Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story
Ed Harris, Game Change
Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys
David Strathairn, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Martin Freeman, Sherlock: A Scandal In Belgravia (Masterpiece)

Best writing for a comedy
Chris McKenna, Community
Lena Dunham, Girls
Louis C.K., Louie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Michael Schur, Parks and Recreation

Best writing for a drama
Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey
Alex Gansa, Gideon Raff, Howard Gordon, Homeland
Semi Chellas, Matthew Weiner, Mad Men
Andre and Maria Jacquemetton, Mad Men
Erin Levy, Matthew Weiner, Mad Men

What are your thoughts? Upset about Downton, Sherlock or some other nominee? Or do you think the Academy got it mostly right this year? Sound off below.