2012 Emmys: Meet The Five First-Time Nominees

From Girls to Downton Abbey, meet the five TV actresses who’ve earned their first Emmy nominations

Photo Courtesy of Astral

Photo Courtesy of Bell Media

Lena Dunham

Photo Courtesy of Astral

Photo Courtesy of VisionTv

Photo Courtesy of Rogers Media

This year’s Emmy nominations holds all of the usual suspects: 30 Rock’s Tina Fey, SNL’s Kristen Wiig, Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen. But five other actresses have caught our eye for finally getting the recognition they deserve. Meet this year’s top five first-time nominees:

Zooey Deschanel, New Girl, Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Deschanel is a girl who needs no introduction: she sings, she acts, she wears cutesy outfits. And now she’s brought her multi-faceted talent to the small screen. Her wacky role as Jess on New Girl proves that women can and do rule comedy (plus, we also can’t wait to see what she wears on the red carpet!).

Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey, Lead Actress in a Drama Series: They do say the Brits do it best. Dockery, a relatively unknown English actress before landing her role on Downton Abbey, has finally gotten some recognition for her feisty, stylish role as Lady Mary Crawley. But this isn’t about fashion: Dockery deserves to win for her serious dramatic acting chops.

Lena Dunham, Girls, Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Love it or hate it, Girls already has a cult following. Creator and leading lady Dunham has scored four nominations for the show this year, including best comedy actress, best comedy series and best director. We love her quirky and honest look at career struggles, relationships, and friendship.

Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory, Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: You may know her from the ’90s series Blossom, or you may even know her from TLC’s What Not To Wear, but Bialik is catching critical acclaim for a different reason this year: her hilarious role as the eccentric Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory. Bazinga!

Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie, Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: It’s hard to outshine Edie Falco on the hit show Nurse Jackie, but Wever manages to hold her own as comical nurse Zoey Barkow. Unlike unnecessary Grey’s Anatomy nurse nominations (yes you, Katherine Heigl), New York-native Wever deserves the attention she’s about to get. Someone even made the Facebook page “Isn’t it time Merritt Wever won an Emmy?” last year. – Christian Allaire