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Emmy bait: Watch nominees in 25 of the year's best TV scenes

While much of the talk surrounding the announcement of the 2014 Emmy nominations focused on bigger-picture issues (snubs both critical and fan-enraging, the historical impact of a Simpsons omission, and so on), the year leading up to Thursday’s roll call was actually made up of many smaller flashes of brilliance on the small screen.

EW launched its 50 Best TV Scenes of the Past Year three weeks ago in an effort to highlight some of those moments—the most powerful, funny, touching, lusty, or sometimes just plain awkward moments over the 2013–14 season. It’s no surprise, then, that many of the key players involved with these scenes, both in front of and behind the camera, heard their names on Thursday morning. Maybe… EW launched its 50 Best TV Scenes of the Past Year three weeks ago in an effort to highlight some of those moments—the most powerful, funny, touching, lusty, or sometimes just plain awkward moments over the 2013–14 season. Unsurprisingly, many of the key players from those scenes (both in front of and behind the camera) heard their names on Thursday morning.

Simply put, the scenes below, which we think in had no small hand in earning the nominees their spots at the Emmys ceremony on Aug. 25, are the best of the best.

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Mike Judge on 'Silicon Valley' Emmy nods and dreams that (thankfully) don't come true

Mike-Judge.jpg

Before creating Silicon Valley— the new HBO comedy that Thursday morning garnered five Emmy nominations—Mike Judge says he “hadn’t had a hit in awhile.” Specifically, he was referring to a pair of high-profile 2009 projects: the ABC animated series The Goode Family and the Jason Bateman-led feature film Extract, both of which were received unenthusiastically by audiences. Despite those hiccups, flops have been the exception rather than the rule for the creator of Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill, Office Space, and Idiocracy. So when it was announced that Silicon Valley was up for Emmys in Best Comedy, Best Directing and Best Writing (as well as Art Direction and Main Title Design), it wasn’t just appropriate recognition for a deserving show: It was a restoration of order. Shortly after the nominations were announced, Judge spoke with EW about his latest hit.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations on the nominations. Where were you when you got word?
MIKE JUDGE: I was in bed, and I had just had a very realistic dream that we got zero nominations. In it, I was in the office and we were all kind of bummed but not really talking about it. Then I woke up—my son was laughing hysterically in his sleep—and I remembered someone saying they were announcing the nominees at 5:30a.m. [PST]. I looked at the clock and it was around 5. I went back to sleep and had another dream that we’d lost. I woke up from that dream and it was 5:45, but that was actually just a dream about waking up. Then I woke up for real at 5:40, and there were a bunch of messages on my phone. READ FULL STORY

Christine Baranski also laments that 'Good Wife' Best Drama snub

The Good Wife started production on season 6 Thursday, but since Christine Baranski wasn’t on the call sheet, she distracted herself that morning with coffee and a swim as the Emmy nominations were announced. “One doesn’t want to invest too much in it, but that said, when you find out that you’ve got a nomination, it’s always a wonderful thing and a great privilege,” the 12-time nominee says. With one win for Cybill, this is her fifth consecutive nomination for The Good Wife. “I always get the biggest kick to hear I’m in a category with Maggie Smith,” she says. “It just kind of blows my mind.”

Still, the day is a little bittersweet, Baranski admits. “The anticipation, for me, was my really great hope that the show would be recognized and get a nomination this year, because I thought, as so many people did, that it was an extraordinary year for the show. The Kings, Robert and Michelle, and our writers did an extraordinary job of crafting season 5 and taking the show in that brave place—so much drama, so much emotion, so much craftsmanship went into those 22 episodes. The audience was really invested in it,” she says. “We’ve got three actors with nominations [including supporting actor Josh Charles and guest actor Dylan Baker], and that’s largely because we’re just given such great writing. I don’t follow Twitter or anything,” she continues, with a laugh, “but I guess the show’s getting a lot of press for being snubbed.” READ FULL STORY

Jim Parsons on Emmy nods and 'Big Bang Theory' bobbleheads: 'What the hell is going on?'

Jim Parsons usually advises other potential Emmy nominees to sleep in the morning of the announcement. “It’s the only way to do it,” he told EW. Except he couldn’t follow his own advice this morning—he had a 6:30 a.m. appointment, so he was up anyway.

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Amy Schumer wants to give an Emmy to everyone on 'The Wire'

Amy Schumer listened to the Emmy nominations early this morning, but didn’t know her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer was nominated until a friend texted her with the news. “I was like, ‘What?’ I thought he was just confused.”

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Tony Hale on his Emmy nomination and what's really in Gary's bag

Tony Hale, who plays Gary on HBO’s critically acclaimed Veep, is on a roll: He received his second Emmy nomination for supporting actor in a comedy series early this morning. (Hale won in this category for Veep last year.) Hale joins his costars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Anna Chlumsky, who were nominated for lead actress in a comedy series and supporting actress in a comedy series, respectively; their show was also nominated for outstanding comedy series. We last saw Gary going to the White House alongside Selena, the newly instated president of the United States. Here, Hale talks about this crowning achievement and other standout moments from the season (hint: they squeak).

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You won the Emmy for outstanding supporting actor for Veep last year, and here you are nominated again in the same category.
TONY HALE: It’s awesome. Having been in the business for 20 years, I’m just so thankful to have a gig. I’ve spent years just looking for gigs, so to be on a list like this is kind of overwhelming. READ FULL STORY

How Colin Hanks celebrated his 'Fargo' Emmy nod: Playing Princesses and Castles

Colin Hanks was really hoping his FX drama Fargo would receive an Emmy nomination. It ended up getting 18, including a nod for the 36-year-old, who was recognized for his performance as conflicted cop Gus Grimly in the best supporting actor in a miniseries category. That one was a bit of a surprise, he admits.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congrats! How did you find out about the nomination? Were you even awake?
COLIN HANKS: No, no, I was asleep. I had woken up around 5:20 and sort of said, “Oh, okay, no phone calls. Well, I’m gonna go back to sleep,” ’cause in my mind they would just announce all of [the nominations] at once at 5:15. [Laughs] So I was like, “Oh, didn’t happen. Too bad,” and sort of went back to sleep, totally content. And then around 30 minutes later or so the phone rang and I just went, “Well, no one would be calling around this time unless it did actually happen.” I answered the phone and all I heard was screaming. And it was good screams. So it’s been a very surprising but very good morning.

Who were the screams coming from?
My publicist and my manager. My team of all-stars.

Who was the first person you then told about the good news?
Well really, I mean at that time on the West Coast, there’s really no one to tell. Obviously my wife was with me; as soon as the phone rang she woke up. But actually the first person I talked to, I called Allison [Tolman]. ‘Cause she’s in Chicago and I knew that she would be awake by that point, just based on time difference alone. And I had a nice, funny conversation with her about how surreal this all is and how happy I am for her and how proud I am of her. This whole experience has been so great, and Allison is so awesome. I called her and wanted to tell her how much I love her and how happy I am. Then all the other news has trickled in, I talked with Noah [Hawley, creator] and he filled me in on just how many nominations the show got, which is fantastic and incredible. And I’m really glad that a lot of people on the show are being recognized for it, ’cause it was a lot of hard work up there in minus-35 degree temperatures in Calgary, Alberta. READ FULL STORY

Fred Armisen talks working with his friends and 'Portlandia' Emmy nods

Fred Armisen is everywhere — Broad City, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Seth Meyers – and now, he can add being on 2014’s Emmy nominations list to his resume.

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Billy Bob Thornton post-'Fargo' Emmy nomination: 'I need a job'

Fargo villain Lorne Malvo was one of the most intimidating, fascinating characters of the 2013-14 television season. Fittingly, actor Billy Bob Thornton has received a best actor in a miniseries Emmy nomination for his portrayal of the cold-hearted hit man. He’s honored—but now that the season is over, the veteran actor says he’s also unemployed. We’re guessing that won’t last long.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations! How did you find out about the nomination?
BILLY BOB THORNTON: Well, I was asleep, so when I woke up I had a message from my publicist that said that I got a nomination. And I was thrilled, humbled by it. It’s a really exciting time, you know. During awards season, it’s like the holidays with a family. It’s like your entertainment family kind of all gets together, you know what I mean? [Laughs] And you kind of see some old acquaintances you haven’t seen in a while. It’s a real exciting time. It’s like Christmas for actors.

Did you reach out to your fellow castmate nominees this morning?
I have to a couple of them, but [my publicists] kind of put me on the phone quickly. But I have communicated with Allison, and Martin’s in England so I’m gonna… I guess it’s probably a good time, I’ll get Martin here in a little bit, and Colin. I think Colin’s like I am—he’s not real big on mornings. [Laughs] READ FULL STORY

'Scandal' star Joe Morton reacts to Emmy nom, reveals the secret to evil Papa Pope

Joe Morton entered the Scandal world in season two, but it wasn’t until Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope identified him as her “Dad” in the finale that Papa Pope really came to life. In season three, Morton perfected the art of powerful monologues as Papa Pope, delivering mesmerizing speech after mesmerizing speech all while slowly taking over Olivia’s entire world (and that of B-613). But after this morning’s news—that Morton has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama—the actor could be delivering a new type of speech come August 25.

EW spoke with Morton soon after his nomination to get his reaction—and find out how he’s so good at being so evil.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where were you when you found out this morning?
JOE MORTON:
I was down in the basement working out, watching CNN on the television and going through the morning news trying not to think about what might or might not happen today. Of course, they moved into their Emmy segment and the first thing they was, “Well, the Emmy announcements have been made. The announcements are over.” And I thought, “Oh, well…” And then they talked about who was going to be best actor nominations, best actress nominations, best show so on and so forth, and I thought, “Well, the phone hasn’t rung; I must assume that I didn’t get a nomination.” No sooner than I think that and it was Lauren, my publicist on the phone, with the good news. READ FULL STORY

'Orange is the New Black' star Kate Mulgrew on her Emmy nomination and that magical chicken

After 42 years in this crazy acting business, Orange is the New Black‘s Kate Mulgrew has received her first Emmy nomination for her work as Red in the first season of Netflix’s hit show.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where were you when you found out this morning?
KATE MULGREW:
I was in bed fast asleep.

So this was the perfect way to wake up.
Yeah, it really was. I had taken an Advil PM ’cause I burned my hand on the stove last night. So I was awakened this morning and I thought, “Oh, what’s the news?” And I said, “Oh how great! I’m jumping out of bed; the pain is gone!” [Laughs]

This is such an amazing character. Looking back, what has been one of your favorite moments or scenes to film with her?
There’s a scene in the kitchen where I describe the chicken. I have a dream about the chicken, and I loved this. I just loved the way I describe the chicken, how the chicken looks, its sensibility, its mysteriousness. And in that moment Red, herself, is transformed, and you see not only her wonderful eccentricity, but [also] the depth of her complexity. And you realize that this woman is living on many, many different levels at all times, not the least of which is this [said in character] “mysterious chicken whose power I must have.” READ FULL STORY

Allison Janney talks 'Masters of Sex' and 'Mom' Emmy nods

Allison Janney had a good reason to skip the gym this morning: As she was getting ready to work out, her publicist let her know that she had scored two Emmy nods. One nomination is for her role as a struggling alcoholic looking to reconnect with her daughter in CBS sitcom Mom; the other’s for her guest role as Margaret Scully in the Showtime drama Masters of Sex. “It was a great way to start my day,” Janney told EW.

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'Fargo' star Allison Tolman reacts to her first Emmy nomination

Fargo scene-stealer Allison Tolman was the heart—and brains—of FX’s movie-to-TV adaptation. Playing dogged deputy police officer Molly Solverson was Tolman’s first major acting role—and now it’s her first Emmy-nominated role. The 32-year-old is in the running for best supporting actress in a miniseries or movie. Spoiler alert: She’s pretty stoked about the nod.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congrats! Were you awake when the nominations were announced? How did you find out you’ve been shortlisted?
ALLISON TOLMAN: Thank you! It’s awesome that the show is so well-represented in so many categories. I was awake; I didn’t have to wake up much earlier than usual. I was awake and logged in with my cat in my lap. I’m at home in Chicago right now, so it was nice to be able to be home while I got this news, and be in a familiar place with familiar surroundings. READ FULL STORY

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