Call it the Emmy protest nominations. Industry observers looking more closely at the nominations announced on Thursday were struck by the fact that many of them seemed aimed at driving home a point of view. Today's (Friday) New York Times noted that it was the censored episodes of South Park satirizing the Prophet Muhammad that received a nod for outstanding animation program. (The newspaper noted that they have never been rerun and that they have been removed from the show's website.) Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler received best dramatic actress and actor nominations for their performances on Friday Night Lights , a show that has received much critical praise but is leaving the air after failing to attract decent ratings over five seasons. Lionsgate, the studio that has withstood a barrage of attacks from corporate raider Carl Icahn, who has accused its management of incompetency, picked up a record 17 nominations in the drama categories for Mad Men, Nurse Jackie and Weeds. And finally the academy nominated The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien in the variety, music or comedy series category and three lesser categories. On Thursday's Tonight episode, Jay Leno quipped good-naturedly, "The good news The Tonight Show got four nominations! The bad news I didn't get one of them." Today's Hollywood Reporter quoted an executive at a rival network as saying that the O'Brien nomination "seems like a political statement rather than a vote about the quality of the program itself."