The 2012 Emmy Award nominations are out, and from the looks of it, the best TV shows and actors definitely got the nods they deserved. The front-runners -- Mad Men, American Horror Story, Downton Abbey, and Hatfields & McCoys -- are givens. For the most part, the Academy is honoring the shows that boast writing and acting leagues beyond most of the trash TV airing today. Unfortunately, that means the nominee list features few surprises and many old staples, like Curb Your Enthusiasm and 30 Rock.
At the same time, they have thrown a handful of talented newcomers -- particularly female newcomers -- a bone this year. And as much as I love seeing awards predictably handed to Christina Hendricks or Elisabeth Moss, thank goodness! Here, five of the hottest new ladies on the block who totally deserved their Emmy nods ...
- Zooey Deschanel - Quirky and sweet, Zooey's charmed the pants off of us in her primetime comedy on Fox, New Girl, so it really shouldn't come as a surprise that she was nominated for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. But you never know if the Academy is going to give credit where credit is due! Obviously they have by honoring this modern day Mary Tyler Moore.
- Lena Dunham - Love it or hate it, HBO's Girls made quite the splash with its mid-season premiere. Creator/writer/actress Lena's not only being feted with a nom in the Leading Actress category, but Girls is up for Outstanding Comedy Series. Well done, 26-year-old I greatly envy!
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Okay, so she's not a newcomer on TV by far, but her new HBO show, Veep, is. And it's awesome to see the Seinfeld vet being recognized for her new role in the Leading Actress in a Comedy Series category.
- Claire Danes - Like Julia, Angela Chase Claire's plenty established on the tube, but her Showtime series Homeland has only aired for one season and has already proven its worthy of its critical acclaim.
- Michelle Dockery - Downton Abbey is a runaway success on this side of the pond, so it's no wonder 30-year-old Dockery, who has made a name for herself playing Lady Mary Crawley, is up for Leading Actress in a Drama Series.
Who is your favorite "newcomer" nominee?
Image via FOX