The nominations for the 2011 Emmy Awards were announced early this morning, with plenty of surprises mixed in with the evergreens. (See the full list here.)
The Los Angeles Times spoke to a number of nominees about the Emmys and the roles that nabbed them a chance at an award.
Some nominees -- like "Justified's" Walton Goggins -- didn't even try to downplay their excitement: "I feel like I’m floating in a vat of liquid gratitude," he said. "It’s surreal. This may never happen again in my lifetime but to go through this experience now, it doesn’t get better than this."
Idris Elba, who was nominated both for his role in "Luther" and a guest role on "The Big C," was doubly knocked out : "It’s incredible. You wait for one bus and two come along. They’re both great surprises."
Matthew Weiner is no Emmy newbie, but he still seemed thrilled: "There’s something extra sweet about it because, four years into it, you just don’t expect to be in it." He also revealed that he already had an ending in mind for the series, three seasons down the line. "I do. I do. I do. I do have an ending in mind." So what is it? We'll have to wait, apparently. Said Weiner, "I’m keeping it close to the vest in case I change my mind."
"Mad Men's" John Slattery -- who has received a supporting actor nomination for every season "Mad Men" has been on the air -- spoke eloquently about inhabiting the role of Roger: "On TV, the most challenging thing is not to assume you know how your character would react just because you’ve played it for years. You want to deliver the joke, but you don’t want your character to be a joke. Also, people wonder about the clothes and the cigarettes and the drinks -- but you don’t play the period, you play the scene. You play each moment as it comes."
Michael C. Hall, who is nominated once again for his role on "Dexter," talked about the particular challenges this past season: "In the fifth season we sort of had to take responsibility for the mess in Dexter’s world. He had a big share in Rita’s death. It was difficult to try to play this guy who maintains some sort of disconnect from his emotions and still process all of that."
And Johnny Galecki of "Big Bang Theory" spoke about playing a character smarter than he is: "I’d say he’s much more intelligent than I am. I can only pretend to think like this guy. I can understand how he feels as [if he's] the underdog outcast. That is something I can relate to. I wasn’t the most popular kid growing up."
Matt LeBlanc knows all about awards: "I’m familiar with not winning," he joked. Asked if he'd spoken to any of his costars from "Episodes," he quipped, "They’re probably bitter and angry. I’ll call them and rub it in. They’re all in London."
For Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton of "Friday Night Lights," the nominations are a lovely complement to the end of the series. Said Britton, "After five seasons, it just feels incredible to have the show recognized. It was long deserved, I think." Chandler talked about hearing the news: "My wife came out and said, 'Guess what, you just got nominated!' I immediately asked, 'What about Connie?' She told me that she got one too. Then she shoved me in the swimming pool."
Mireille Enos of "The Killing" talked about the backlash to the show's finale. "I loved the reaction," she said. "It's evidence of how attached people had gotten to the show. My hunch is that the people who are screaming loudest are the ones who are going to be the first to watch the next season."
Who was overlooked? Slattery mentioned "Mad Men's" Vincent Kartheiser, who plays Pete Campbell.
And what about the stiffest competition among fellow nominees? "Modern Family" star Sofia Vergara pointed to certain popular octogenarian: "Betty White is on the list, that can’t be good for anyone."
Michael C. Hall couldn't choose one name. "Oh, gosh, I don’t know. It’s strange," he said. "We’re not running a 100-yard dash. We’re all doing very different things. It’s a strange thing deciding whose is best. Good luck to the voters doing that."
Full Awards Tracker coverage of Emmy 2011 nominations
Tweeters Digest: Hollywood twitters about the Emmys nominations
-- Joy Press
Photo: Top: Michael C. Hall at The Los Angeles Times' 3rd Annual The Envelope: Primetime Emmy Screening Series panel in Los Angeles. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images. Bottom: Sofia Vergara in "Modern Family." Credit: ABC.