This year’s Emmy nominations cover a time when the coronavirus pandemic has rocked the television industry. It is therefore logical that the shows and performances announced on Tuesday include choices that are a little… unconventional.
Netflix’s pursuit of The Karate Kid franchise, Cobra Kai, nominated for best comedy series? Lovecraft Country, a series that was essentially canceled by HBO when it decided not to make a second season, racking up 18 nominations, including Best Drama Series? Netflix’s average comedy Emilie in Paris, widely ridiculed for landing a Golden Globe nomination this year, also nominated for Best Emmy Comedy Series?
Thankfully, the appointments announced this year were mostly devoid of overwhelming choices and did an admirable job reflecting both promising newcomers and old masters during a time when lockdowns threatened to cripple the industry. It’s an encouraging sign that it will take more than a pandemic to wipe out innovation and quality work in today’s television world.
Here are five more takeaways from 73rd Emmy nominations:
Streaming services are more dominant than ever
Of course, the most nominated media platform is HBO with 130 nods. But he only got there by including the streaming nominations from sister company HBO Max with his tally. Despite this, streaming giant Netflix had the second most nominations with 129, and the new Disney + landed in third place with 71.
Top Rated Shows Sneak Peek Reveals Netflix The crown and Disney + The Mandalorian tied with 24 nominations, quickly followed by Disney + WandaVision (23) and Hulu The Handmaid’s Tale (21). Indeed, among the 10 most nominated shows, only three – those of NBC Saturday Night Live, in the same way Easttown mare and Lovecraft Country on HBO – were not created by streaming services.
Lots of diversity, although still often black focused
It was wonderful to see Pose star Mj Rodriguez nominated for Best Actress in a Drama, acknowledging her outstanding performance on this show with the first lead actor nomination for a transgender person. And for a critic like myself, who has advocated for ethnic diversity on television for decades, seeing nominations for ambitious black-centric shows such as Lovecraft Country, Amazon Prime Videos The Underground Railroad and ABC Blackish right next to nods for accomplished black performers such as Bridgertonby Régé-Jean Page and Uzo Adubo from Processing is like a dream come true. Better yet, the Emmys recognized Michaela Coel and her groundbreaking series, I can destroy you, when the Golden Globes didn’t.
But it’s time for the Emmys – and the television industry as a whole – to spread this wealth beyond black performers and black-centric shows. Yes, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rosie Perez, Anthony Ramos, Bowen Yang and Phillipa Soo all got key nominations. But if the Disney + version of Hamilton had not been eligible, many of these appointments would not have taken place. So I hope this is a first step towards even greater – and more complete – diversity in Hollywood Grand Prize nominations.
The geeks rejoice! Superheroes and Genre Shows Get More Love Than Ever
Quite true, Game of thrones often absorbed loads of appointments back then. But this year, several shows in the horror / superhero space, so often overlooked by Hollywood greats, drew love in major categories, including WandaVision, The Mandalorian, Lovecraft Country and the dark satire of Amazon Prime Video’s superheroes, The boys (which was the biggest surprise for me). We’ve seen the mighty Marvel studio get their first Emmy nominations this year, which probably means that’s just a taste of future geekdom to come.
Saturday Night Live remains an influential power
Every few years, a sarcastic reviewer writes an epitaph for this annoying and inconsistent, but often brilliant, sketch comedy landmark. So what SNL racking up Emmy nominations to prove just how premature these death rumors really are. It’s not just that his 21 nominations beat the comedy favorite Ted lasso by a nod of the head; he had a significant presence in the supporting and guest comedy categories. Kenan Thompson even managed to land a nomination as best lead actor in a comedy for his sitcom, Kenan, while remaining a major player on SNL – where he was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy.
Part of its dominance this year has come from reduced competition in the comedy arena, of course. (The pandemic seems to have wiped out more comedies than dramas.) But SNL also put on brilliant shows when all of the cast and editorial staff were working remotely from their homes, after those episodes by welcoming a live audience again long before vaccines were widely available. Not bad for a series almost ready for its own AARP card.
Fewer notable rebuffs, but intense competition made some inevitable
No matter what was nominated as Best Limited Series, there were bound to be some major shows left out – simply because the competition in this space has grown immensely, courtesy of big-name stars signing on for designed projects. to last only one season. This includes series such as Kate Winslet’s Easttown mare.
Yet it was unfortunate that Steve McQueen’s ode to black immigrants to Britain, Small Ax, has been excluded from the category, along with Showtime’s The good Lord bird, HBO Max It’s a sin and HBO The defeat. Likewise, Loss Star Nicole Kidman’s lack of an acting nomination was to be one of the more high-profile acting rebuffs, with Ethan Hawke of The good Lord bird. And the Emmys also seemed to be turning their backs on Netflix’s third season. Master of None, passing up the opportunity to honor Naomi Ackie and Lena Waithe’s portrayal of a ruined marriage. This snub made me wonder if the #MeToo controversy of series star Aziz Ansari had had an impact.
And although I loved seeing the final season of Conan be nominated as the best variety series and A black lady sketch show nominated for Best Variety Sketch Series, Emmy dropped the ball by showing no love for NBC Late night with Seth Meyers and Amber Ruffin’s show about Peacock in these categories. (Late at night got a nod of direction, and Amber Ruffin was nominated for writing.) It’s time to expand these categories a bit so that other great work can earn its due.
The winners of the 73rd Emmy Awards will be announced at a ceremony that airs and airs September 19 on CBS and Paramount +, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer.
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