Today the latest crop of Emmy nominations were announced, and they include the typical fare you’re used to seeing get recognized this time of year, as well as some welcome surprises and sour snubs.
HBO’s widely popular fantasy drama Game of Thrones earned a whopping 23 nominations, leading the pack by a narrow margin; FX’s The People Vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story (22 nods) and Fargo (18), as well as HBO comedy Veep (17) aren’t trailing far behind.
The following series vie for Best Drama: The Americans (!), Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, and Mr. Robot. That’s right–FX Cold War period drama The Americans, after four seasons on the air, is finally being recognized, and in more ways than one. In addition to landing in the Best Drama field, its stars Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell are in the race for Best Lead Actor/Actress. Both are facing some serious competition. Rhys joins Kyle Chandler (Bloodline), Rami Malek (Mr. Robot), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan), and Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) in the Best Lead Actor category; Russell makes good company with Claire Danes (Homeland), Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder), Taraji P Henson (Empire), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black, for the second consecutive year!), and Robin Wright (House of Cards).
The following series are in contention for Best Comedy: black-ish, Master of None, Modern Family, Silicon Valley, Transparent, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Veep. Best Lead Actors include Anthony Anderson (black-ish), Aziz Ansari (Masters of None), Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth), William H Macy (Shameless), Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley), and Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent). Best Lead Actresses include Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Laurie Metcalfe (Getting On), Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish), Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer), and Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie).
Over in the Limited Series field, American Crime, Fargo, The Night Manager, The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, and Roots were all nominated for a top prize. Yes, many of the OJ actors you loved watching in that series were nominated for their captivating portrayals including Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Vance, Cuba Gooding Jr, Sterling K. Brown, David Schwimmer, and John Travolta. Equally happy to report that AMC’s The Night Manager high praise also extends to its leads Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie.
The snubs that leave a sour taste in my mouth including the complete shunning of HBO’s The Leftovers, which came off an incredibly artistic and gripping second season featuring master-class acting and direction; the lack of love for A&E’s Bates Motel is appalling as leads Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore gave painstakingly breathtaking performances this year; also nada for Netflix/Marvel’s Jessica Jones and its stars Krysten Ritter and David Tennant, AMC’s Billions and its stars Paul Giamatti and Damien Lewis, and Netflix’s Orange is the New Black which is fresh off another solid season. And then, of course, there’s the yearly tradition of scratching one’s head over the lack of overall recognition for AMC’s The Walking Dead which year after year produces not only ratings gold but also creative powerhouse television. What makes all of these snubs somewhat more palatable is knowing that Louie Anderson squeezed into the race with a wholly deserved nod for his hysterical and nuanced turn as Zach Galifianakis’ mother in FX’s Baskets.
The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards airs live Sunday, September 18 at 7pm (EST) on ABC. Click here for the full list of nominees.