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SAG Awards: Why 'Homeland' was snubbed for 'Harry's Law'

December 14, 2011 | 11:50 am

Homeland_108_0365
When the Screen Actors Guild announced its award nominations Wednesday, somehow Showtime's "Homeland" -- a first-season terrorism thriller that virtually every critic loves -- was left off the list.

What made it? "Harry's Law," a legal drama very few critics love, and not that many viewers either, come to think of it.

"Is  'Homeland' ineligible   for the SAG Awards [?]," filmmaker and former critic Rod Lurie asked on Twitter. (The answer is no, it was eligible.) "How Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin did not get nominated is beyond me." Journalist Michael Ausiello created the Twitter hashtag #wtfsag.

Meanwhile, the "Harry's Law" nod for star Kathy Bates sparked similar shock. "Have you SEEN 'Harry's Law'?," Michael Wampler, a grad student, exclaimed on Twitter.

It's true that "Homeland" has a small audience -- fewer than 2 million for an average airing, according to Nielsen. But so what? "Mad Men" has a small audience too, and that hasn't stopped it from filling a trophy case with awards. NBC's "Harry's Law" has been drifting downward since its premiere last year and now barely draws 7 million viewers -- many of them age 50-plus, a liability for any network show. On top of that, reviewers have never cottoned to it: "Harry's Law" scored a subpar 48 out of 100 at Metacritic.com, a critical aggregation site. "Homeland's" tally was a lofty 91 -- and it's already landing on many TV critic's Top 10 lists.

But the SAG Awards are for actors, not shows. There may be more than a few SAG voters who haven't actually watched "Harry's Law." But Bates is a widely admired actor, she's at the laurels-gathering stage of her career and there's an understandable urge to applaud her appearance on prime-time TV even if her chosen vehicle barks like a dog.

As for Danes? Well, it's hardly that SAG hates her -- she won just last year for her work on HBO's "Temple Grandin." But unlike Bates (who is 63), she's young (32) and has many more years to snag nominations.

The same is probably true of "Homeland" itself, which has already been picked up for a second season - -and will probably be around a lot longer than "Harry's Law."

Better luck next year.

RELATED:

SAG Awards: The complete list of nominees

SAG Awards: TV nominations are announced

SAG Awards: Who should win the ensemble honor? [Poll]

-- Scott Collins

Twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT

Photo: Claire Danes in "Homeland." The Showtime drama was snubbed by the SAG Awards. Credit: Kent Smith / Showtime

 

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