Neil Patrick Harris, Britney Spears, How I Met Your Mother


Ted and Barney weren't the only ones to give Abby the receptionist the brushoff.

Britney Spears' hyped two-episode appearance on How I Met Your Mother didn't catch the eye of Emmy voters, who left her off their list of semifinalists for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, per the latest round of Emmy scoopage from the L.A. Times' Gold Derby blog.

Spears shouldn't feel too snubbed, though—fellow twentysomething Mary-Kate Olsen, who played a pot-dealing proselytizer on Weeds, didn't make the cut, either. And she's been acting all her life!

But this year, only two under-40 thesps made the first cut, the relative young'uns being Sarah Silverman, who could be a two-time Emmy nominee thanks to her turn as a psycho fan on Monk, and Oscar nominee Amy Ryan, who made quite the impression as the Michael-liking "new Toby" on The Office.

In addition to needing way more experience, it also probably would have helped if Spears and Olsen had guest-starred on 30 Rock or Desperate Housewives. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences singled out three seasoned stars apiece from each—Edie Falco, Elaine Stritch and Carrie Fisher for shaking things up at NBC and elder Housewives Polly Bergen, Shirley Knight and Kathryn Joosten, the last of whom also won the Emmy in 2005 for her role as Lynette's neighbor, Mrs. McClusky.

Also well-served by their sharp comedic chops were Christopher Guest regular Jane Lynch, who appeared in Two and a Half Men, Curb Your Enthusiasm's Vivica A. Fox and Ugly Betty's Annie Potts.

On the masculine side of things, there's a lot to like about the short list for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy, despite the pitiful absence of Ugly Betty's Michael Urie, any of the dudes from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Entourage's Jeremy Piven...

The Office

NBC Photo: Justin Lubin

Kidding! Of course Piven has the chance to win his third Emmy in a row for playing Ari Gold. The Office's Rainn Wilson, Two and a Half Men's Jon Cryer, How I Met Your Mother's Neil Patrick Harris and Piven's Entourage costar Kevin Dillon have their second shot in a row for a trophy, as well, but they'll face some stiff competition from, among others, everyone's favorite NBC page.

Jack McBrayer, who plays the infectiously funny Kenneth on 30 Rock is facing off against costar Tracy Morgan, as well as The Office's John Krasinski, Weed's Justin Kirk and Back to You's Fred Willard, whose performance looks to be the only one the Academy singled out from the already canceled Fox sitcom.

On a more serious note, House's Hugh Laurie, Rescue Me's Denis Leary and defending champ James Spader of Boston Legal are back in the hunt for Lead Actor in a Drama, where they join Golden Globe winner Don Hamm of Mad Men, Patrick "McDreamy" Dempsey of Grey's Anatomy and a host of captivatingly conflicted characters—Dexter's Michael C. Hall, Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, The Riches' Eddie Izzard and In Treatment's Gabriel Byrne.

Holding down the fort for the woefully underwatched Friday Night Lights is best actor possibility Kyle Chandler, who proves that nice guys don't have to finish last.

Mary McDonnell, Edward James Olmos, Battlestar Galactica

Justin Stephens/Sci Fi Channel

Speaking of overlooked, the fate of Battlestar Galactica (its Emmy fate, anyway) might really rest on President Roslin's shoulders.

It's not confirmed at the moment, but a tipster has indicated to Gold Derby that Mary McDonnell is a semifinalist for best actress in a drama...finally.

In all likelihood, her fellow competitors will be past winners Sally Field of Brothers & Sisters, Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: SVU and Patricia Arquette of Medium; The Riches' Minnie Driver and The Closer's Kyra Sedgwick, both nominees last year; Damages' Glenn Close, Big Love's Jeanne Tripplehorn (seeing as she's Wife No. 1 and all), Saving Grace's Holly Hunter and, possibly, Elisabeth Moss from Mad Men.

The blog has also confirmed seven of the semifinalists for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy (again nothing shocking here): 30 Rock's Alec Baldwin, The Office's Steve Carell, Curb Your Enthusiasm's Larry David, Golden Globe winner David Duchovny of Californication, Pushing Daisy's Lee Pace, Monk's Tony Shalhoub and Two and a Half Men's Charlie Sheen.

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