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ARTV Takes: The 2021 Emmy Nominations

The nominations for the 72nd Emmy Awards have been announced and as always we have our share of well-deserved nominees, a few surprise entries and some real head scratchers both in the snubs and the inclusions. So, in other words, a typical Emmy nomination morning.

We have reviewed the list of nominees and are quite pleased to see the official Emmy predictions of ARTV (the Awards Radar Television team – Steven Prusakowski, Mitchell Beaupre, Niki Cruz, Abe Friedtanzer, and Chris James) land so well. Several categories we nailed, many were nearly perfect, and for two categories we were way off. To be fair, we do not think many other Emmy prognosticators are not sharing the same results.

In the coming days we will be adding our updated rankings for each category, adding more to the lineup and then updating them all weekly. In addition, you can expect more nominee interviews, reviews, new ‘Previously On…’ entries starting with Ted Lasso, category breakdown pieces and much more. Check back frequently. Until then, here is a brief take on the nominees.




DRAMA CATEGORIES


As expected, the Drama categories were dominated by Netflix’s The Crown, which scored a whopping 24 nominations, tying with fellow Best Drama Series nominee The Mandalorian for the most any series received this year. That’s a strong showing for the Disney+ series, but it’s all about the Royals here, as they appear to be the ones to beat in most of the main categories, including Series, Leading Actress (Emma Corrin and Olivia Colman are both nominated), Leading Actor (Josh O’Connor), and Supporting Actress (Gillian Anderson).

Keep an eye out on a potential upset by Mj Rodriguez in Leading Actress, though, as the Pose performer made history as the first openly trans woman to ever be nominated in a main category at the Emmys. With a strong showing from Pose, also picking up nominations for Series, Leading Actor (Billy Porter, a previous winner), and Directing and Writing (both Steven Canals), the series could be a dark horse contender in quite a few categories.

While we predicted the FX series getting a much-deserved final season surge, the one notable surprise in Drama Series was the nomination for Amazon’s The Boys, which we thought might have been too edgy and genre-focused for the Emmys. The only other real twist on expectations in the Drama categories was Lovecraft Country’s Aunjanue Ellis pulling off a Supporting Actress nomination, as most outlets (including ourselves) were predicting her co-star, Wunmi Mosaku, to get the love instead. 

COMEDY CATEGORIES


Ted Lasso. Sorry, that’s not really a sentence. It’s Ted Lasso. Whoops, did it again. Really, though, does anything more need to be said for the Comedy categories this year? If Schitt’s Creek’s utter domination last year felt a little dull to you then you’re going to have a tough time with the Emmys ceremony this year. With a total of 20 nominations, the AppleTV+ comedy is as good of a lock as we’ve got to scoop up the wins in the large majority of categories where it’s nominated.

We predicted as much, with the writing on the wall for the series to dominate the acting categories, single-handedly bringing in four of the eight Supporting Actor nominations, and another two in Supporting Actress, on top of Jason Sudeikis’ inevitable winning performance in Leading Actor. Will the supporting players on the show get their love as well? Or could the yearly Saturday Night Live cast members get some time to shine, with Bowen Yang making history with his Supporting Actor nomination alongside Kenan Thompson, and the trio of Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, and Kate McKinnon all being up in Supporting Actress?

One breath of fresh air in the Comedy world was the outpouring of love for Hacks, including a surprise nod for Carl Clemons-Hopkins. A perhaps less pleasant surprise? After all of the disgust leveled at the Golden Globes for their Emily In Paris love, somehow the Emmys went ahead and nominated it for Best Comedy Series as well, leaving out very deserving series like Girls5Eva and Rutherford Falls. While we are happy for the nominees, it feels like they played it a little safe including some familiar faces instead of adding previously unrecognized and newer names to the nominations list.

LIMITED CATEGORIES


While the Emmys mostly played it as we predicted, creating a safe batch of nominations that relied far too heavily on checking off boxes for the same shows over and over again, the Limited Series categories is where things really took a hard left turn. For starters, the presumed locked nomination for Ethan Hawke for The Good Lord Bird was nowhere to be found. He wasn’t the only “locked” contender left out in the dust on Tuesday morning. In the Supporting Actor field, almost every “safe bet” somehow missed out.

John Boyega? Nothing. Donald Sutherland? Not happening. Brendan Gleeson? Sorry, the only Trump the Emmys care about is Alec Baldwin (again, really?). Even Bill Camp somehow couldn’t get in for The Queen’s Gambit, being replaced by a surprising nod for his co-star Thomas Brodie-Sangster. Another Queen’s Gambit switcharoo happened in Supporting Actress, as Moses Ingram secured a nomination, despite everyone and their mother’s predicting Marielle Heller for the series instead.

The real culprit of this onslaught of snubs was Hamilton, a title that arguably shouldn’t have even been considered eligible. The pre-recorded tape of the Broadway show earned seven nominations for its actors (three in Supporting Actor alone), as well as nods for Directing and Variety Special (not Limited Series or TV Movie, interesting). While clearly the debate of whether or not Hamilton should be eligible didn’t harm its chances, one has to wonder if that put a dent in Small Axe, with its sole nomination coming for Cinematography.

While we did predict it being the odd one out in the Limited Series category, the nearly total shutout was a massive surprise, and is not a good look for the Emmys, who also somehow left out the entire cast of The Underground Railroad while making sure to give WandaVision 23 nominations. It’s hard not to feel like these voters were just checking off the names of the series and actors they recognize when Don Cheadle gets a nomination for a 2-minute guest appearance in the premiere of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and then is gone for the rest of the series. We love Don Cheadle, but come on!

REALITY CATEGORIES

We more or less saw the usual suspects in the reality and variety series that take up the slots year in and year out, but there were a few shakeups. For starters, Conan delightfully pulled off a bit of a surprise nod for its final season. It’s a well-deserved sendoff, even if nothing stands a chance realistically of toppling Last Week Tonight with John Oliver for the crown. We predicted Conan just missing out, but one thing we didn’t expect at all was for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee to be snubbed in Talk Variety Series.


A confusing move came in the Variety Sketch Series category, where they only chose to nominate two series (the previously nominated A Black Lady Sketch Show and Saturday Night Live). One has to wonder what the point even is of having a category where you only nominate two programs, especially when you have very deserving contenders like How To With John Wilson and The Amber Ruffin Show right there ready to get some love. On the Competition Program side of things, we see the same five that everyone expected, with RuPaul’s Drag Race likely coming for another crown.

That being said, it was delightful to see Nailed It! pick up a nomination for the third year in a row, with Nicole Byer also getting her second consecutive nomination for Outstanding Host for the series.



Our new predictions will go live in the coming days. In the meantime, you can still see our phase one picks under the Predictions tab above – it is full of talented actors and series worthy of your attention. Also, be sure to check out our recent interviews with many of the nominees and others we found worthy of consideration. We will hold out hope to see them as part of this column next year.

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