Every Emmy nomination morning begins with hopes and dreams. Then, shortly after the Emmy nominations are announced they are replaced with hyperbolic talk of snubs and surprises. This year was no exception. Whatever the results, we just have to live with it.
After sitting on the nomination announcement for a few days to avoid diving going hyperbole heavy myself, here is my reaction to results. The goal here is not to scold the voters, nor will I make a futile case as to why so-and-so should be included – even after the votes have been counted. What I will do is point out some of the most exciting nominations alongside with those omissions that left me feeling a bit disappointed. At the same time I will be casting a spotlight on some deserving series whose last hurrah did not end with a nomination.
Let me start by saying, congratulations to all the nominees. I am sure it sounds cliche, but it is completely sincere. The idea of hearing your name on nomination morning only to hear your name announced must be thrilling. In no way am do I want to take away from that honor with my couch critic ‘corrections.’
Not finding the performances, series, and work on said series honored as part of the conversation leading up to the Emmy ceremony can be tough. But you must remember, just because your favorite did not receive a nomination that does not automatically qualify it as a snub. It feels like it, but that is not how this works.
As I stated in a tweet the morning after the nominations:
In the Drama categories, there were so many amazing series we honored Severance, Squid Game, Euphoria (16 total nominations) and Yellowjackets (7 total nominations) all delivering a good number of nominations including Drama Series. Then there was Succession taking in 25 nominations which includes a record-breaking 14 nominations in the acting categories.
The biggest surprise not only for the Outstanding Drama series category, but across all of Drama was the lack of love for This Is Us which seemed like a lock after its final season. Instead it walked away with one nomination for Music and Lyrics. My guess is the late, buzz-filled arrival of Stranger Things was the nominee that pushed it off the list. Things lucked out with one of the biggest songs of the summer, 1985’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ from Kate Bush.
The Drama acting categories welcomed a lengthy list of first time nominees driven by the cast of Squid Game (Lee Jung-jae for lead actor, Jung Ho-yeon for supporting actress, Oh Yeong-su and Park Hae-soo for supporting actor, Oh Yeong-su – 5 of its 14 total nominations.) Also on that list are some of my favorite performances of the year Adam Scott (Severance), Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria), Melanie Lynskey (Yellowjackets) and Rhea Seehorn (Better Call Saul) who had been considered one of the biggest snubs in recent years (she actually was nominated in two categories this year.)
A few names I would have liked to see make the list were Sadie Sink for her season-stealing work in the fourth season of Stranger Things. Also, Patrick Fabian who has been one of the more overlooked actors on a series filled with great performances, Better Call Saul – he or Michael Mando on this nomination list would be a great way to close out their work on the series. There’s also a pair of AppleTV+ names that needed to be considered, Lauren Ambrose for Servant whose work on the series seems to have missed the awards radar completely. There’s also Elisabeth Moss for her impressive work on Shining Girls, a series which also came up empty.
For me, the biggest actual snubs for the Drama categories come in the Lead Actress category – how you can nominate most of the cast of Severance bestow it with 14 nominations and still leave Britt Lower‘s powerful work off the ballot is beyond me. (Not to mention Zach Cherry and Trammell Tillman.) My only guess is their outies conspired against them.
In Comedy, there was a plethora of spectacular content to honor. In every category, no matter who I predicted or rooted for there were several names that fell off my list. One welcome addition, which did better than predicted, was Abbott Elementary. The ABC freshman series was nominated for Comedy Series in addition to 4 acting nominations (Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James and Sheryl Lee Ralph.)
While plenty of incredible work was honored with the nominations. I feel the pain of the loyal fans of this list of series that went home empty-handed: Our Flag Means Death, Ghosts, The Afterparty and Reservation Dogs to name a few. Each would have been welcome across numerous acting categories. Then there are the series which are closing shop; Dickinson, which never earned a single nomination over its three season run, and PEN15 which has had some nomination success and feels like another true snub. Giving a veteran series the honor over a consistently high-caliber series like PEN15 or a fresh new series seems like a misstep.
The list of deserving performances seems endless this year. Some series like Ghosts would not have surprised me to be in the running for several spots alone. Under the heading of ‘pleasant surprises’ are the dual nominations for The Great with Elle Fanning and Nicholas Holt. Also on that list is Toheeb Jimoh, a previously unsung hero on Ted Lasso. His inclusion was probably the biggest and most welcome surprise for me.
On the other end of the spectrum, perhaps the biggest head scratcher is the biggest Emmy nomination snub of the year, Sarah Goldberg for Barry (taking home 14 nominations). Goldberg delivered her best work yet and stole scenes and episodes across the season. That omission makes zero sense and (along with others) kind of bums me out. Another hopeful that missed the list, Selena Gomez. I would not say it was quite the snub, instead another missed opportunity since the Only Murders In the Building magic rests on all three of the leads, not only Steve Martin and Martin Short. Murders killed it with 17 nominations. Two sophomore series whose laughs led to impressive nominations were Hacks (17) and Ted Lasso (20).
On the brighter side of things, Himesh Patel was a nice surprise for the under represented Station Eleven for Limited Series/TV Movie categories. It would have been nice to see Station Eleven make the cut for Limited Series, but they will have to settle for 7 nominations for the series. Another jaw-dropper was limited The Staircase to two lead acting nods, omitting a superb supporting cast and additional honors for the series as a whole. I was also expecting some love for Gaslit instead found it only ending the day with 4 noms, just not any in acting or series categories.
Overall, Limited Series is stacked with impressive work. Seeing the votes embrace Pam & Tommy with 10 nominations is nice since it does not play the more traditional rules. The White Lotus did as expected landing 20 nominations taking a whopping 8 of the 14 in the supporting acting category spots with Dopesick (which had a healthy 14 total noms) taking 5 of the remaining 6. Both were excellent, but the voters really need to make an effort to honor all of television, if possible. Luckily they saved a little room across the categories for Seth Rogan and Lily James for Pam & Tommy, Amanda Seyfried (The Dropout) and Margaret Qualley (Maid) – while her co-star Andie MacDowell (Maid) sadly did not find a spot.
When it comes to omissions not one superhero acting nod this year across categories. Here’s hoping next year the voters keep an eye to the sky for superheroes and sci-fi performances like Oscar Isaac‘s multiple personalities in Moon Knight, Danielle Harris, John Cena, and Freddie Stroma in Peacemaker, Ming-Na Wen in The Book of Boba Fett, or Anson Mount, Ethan Peck or other crew of the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Florence Pugh (Hawkeye). There are plenty of super performances – I named just a few.
In the Variety Talk Series category, a couple of somewhat surprising omissions Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. In these hyper-political times, it makes sense that voters would cast their vote for the show that speaks to the issues on their mind. At the same time, you would figure Fallon’s brand of entertainment would provide the exact escape so many of us could use. Maybe we can use the Variety Talk Series category as a gauge for where we are as a country. Conan, which slipped in with a few final episodes just before the deadline was also absent.
As you can see, the Emmy nominations were chock full of award-worthy selections. I touched on a small fraction of those whose work I loved this year – some made the cut, others not lucky. If you know someone who is ever completely pleased with all the nominations, I would like to meet them. Going forward it is time to stop the guesswork and focus on celebrating the nominees. That is exactly what we plan to do.
Stick around as the Awards Radar TV team continues to provide one-of-a-kind Emmy coverage from now right until Emmy night on September 12th (only to start up again the next day.) We have interviewed dozens of the nominees and potential nominees, provided reviews, predictions and features. That was just the beginning. Lock in now, it is going to be an interesting Emmys Phase 2. Don’t change that dial.
Let us know in the comments or on our Twitter page who you were happy to see earn a nomination or disappointed tp have missed out.