At the unveiling ceremony for this year’s Emmy nominations, Television Academy Chairman and CEO Frank Scherma exulted at the large number of submissions, noting that the industry had produced an all-time high volume of television content.
So, why did performers from only a few performances dominate so many categories?
As though academy voters couldn’t be bothered to look over the whole casts of all qualifying series, this dynamic appeared often in the supporting acting categories. The White Lotus on HBO and Dopesick on Hulu dominated the supporting actress category for limited series, with all seven nominations going to the same women. (Seth Rogen of Hulu’s Pam & Tommy made it into the supporting actor category, which had space for one additional performer).
Award show experts have been worried about this trend for years since it suggests that TV academy voters haven’t examined a broad enough variety of prospective Emmy candidates and winners.. Instead, there are just a few programmes that are nominated many times in each of the major categories.
Among the most nominated programmes, Succession of HBO’s comic drama series took the top spot this year with 25 nominations, including for best drama series. Succession actors occupy three of the eight supporting actor roles in a film.
The White Lotus and Ted Lasso, both on Apple TV+, are the next most nominated series, each with 20 nominations. Ted Lasso, the most nominated comedy, also dominates the supporting categories, with a total of six candidates in the slots for best supporting actor and actress in a comedy.
ABC’s blockbuster comedy Abbott Elementary received seven Emmy nominations, including best comedy series and best actress in a comedy for Quinta Brunson, the show’s star and creator. Only Murders in the Building and its limited series Dopesick, Pam & Tommy and The Dropout, as well as Apple TV+’s eccentric hit Severance and Showtime’s Yellowjackets, were all nominated for Emmys this year.
For the first time in television history, Squid Game, a Netflix sensation from South Korea, was nominated for best drama series at the Emmys (the show got 14 nods overall, including five acting nominations).
It was nonetheless a shame that the Emmy nominations for this year’s awards were so narrowly focused on a field that has never had more great content deserving of recognition. From today’s announcements, here is a summary of the most important things I learned.
Though They Had Disappointing Seasons, Emmy Favourites Were Not Penalised
Fans and reviewers alike were pleased to see new programmes like as Abbott Elementary and Severance nominated, but returning favourites like Squid Game, Yellowjacket, and What We Do In The Shadows were also nominated, even though their most recent seasons didn’t generate as much love from critics or fans.
After a season that didn’t quite live up to expectations, Rachael Brosnahan, Tony Shaloub, and Alex Borstein have all received nods for their roles in Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which has been nominated for best comedy and best actors. Both Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, actresses of AMC’s Killing Eve, were nominated for best actress in a drama, despite the show’s last season being widely panned by critics. Netflix’s Ozark was nominated for best drama series, along with actors Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, and Julia Garner, despite the show’s disappointing conclusion.
And I’m still perplexed as to how HBO sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm, created by Larry David, was nominated for best comedy series while receiving zero acting nominations.
It Was A Mixed Bag When It Came To Diversity
Squid Game and actresses like Sandra Oh and Bowen Yang from Saturday Night Live helped Asian artists and series with Asian protagonists do well this year.
The total number of non-white candidates decreased dramatically because of programmes like This Is Us, Black-ish, Lovecraft Country, Bridgerton, and Hamilton being either snubbed or not eligible.
Acting categories this year saw 25 non-white nominations, down from previous year’s 41. There were fewer Latino and Black nominations this year, which lowered the total number of nominees. Considering how many chances there were for non-white actors to be recognised by the TV academy, this is a troubling trend.
Controversy Had Little Effect
The Closer, Dave Chappelle’s Netflix comedy, received Emmy nominations despite the backlash it received from critics and activists who branded it transphobic and homophobic — including myself. Despite some criticism that the show may have exploited some of its female talent or presented young subjects in overly explicit situations, HBO’s Euphoria also scored a nomination for best drama series and nods for stars Zendaya and Sydney Sweeney for best actress and best supporting actress in a drama.
Shocking snubs, particularly for broadcast and cable television series.
Many Emmy favourites, such as ABC’s Black-ish and NBC’s This Is Us, were left out of the running for the best drama series award this year. As Rebecca Pearson, the matriarch of NBC’s family drama, Mandy Moore’s performance deserves attention for its nuance, complexity, and breadth. The omission of Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner and airing on the Paramount Network, was also surprising.
“Better Things” and “Reservation Dogs” were also ignored by the network following their last seasons, as were Pamela Adlon’s sensitive, intelligent family dramas for FX.
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There were a few more stars who didn’t do so well: Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Kenan Thompson, David Hyde Pierce, Samuel L. Jackson, Selena Gomez, and more.
The Amber Ruffin Show’s omission in the best variety sketch category was particularly disappointing to me, given that the category had two nominees from previous year: A Black Lady Sketch Show and Saturday Night Live. Many new series with diverse casts, such as Showtime’s Desus and Mero and HBO Max’s That Damn Michael Che, may be excluded due to a shortage of nomination slots.
There Was Less Focus On Superheroes
Stranger Things, Netflix’s horror/supernatural thriller, was nominated for best drama this year. Marvel’s WandaVision on Disney+ and Amazon’s The Boys received huge nods last year. Superhero weariness seems to have reached Emmyland in 2022, as Loki and its actors Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson have been notably snubbed in the film awards.
A Few Of Great Add-Ons
That Rhea Seehorn from Better Call Saul got an Emmy nomination, even if it was for best supporting actress in a drama (considering she is the show’s only female lead, I assume she was nominated for supporting actress to land in a less competitive category, which succeeded) was fantastic. Celebrities like comedian Jerrod Carmichael (for SNL and his stand-up special Rothaniel), actress Jennifer Coolidge (from The White Lotus), and actors Colman Domingo (from Euphoria) and Andrew Garfield (from The Under the Banner of Heaven) received their first nominations, which was especially heartening. I also enjoyed watching Lizzo’s Amazon series Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls challenge RuPaul’s Drag Race’s hold on the greatest competition category.
W. Kamau Bell’s We Need to Talk About Cosby on Showtime and Netflix’s jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, both nominated for best documentary/non-fiction series, were two of my particular favourites.
The 74th annual Emmy Awards will air live on NBC on September 12th.
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