Controversial opinion ahead:
It is bullsh-t that sketch comedy shows get their own category, but then sketch performers are lumped into the Supporting Actor/Actress in a Comedy category. Not that I begrudge anyone the nominations, let’s get that out of the way, but Leslie Jones and Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson are nominated for a body of work that involves a myriad of characters, against performers who are nominated for one role. Pick one! Either they’re separate categories or they aren’t!
Other than that, the Emmy Nominations are…
- Quite satisfying? Yes. Not going to pretend they aren’t, especially since, yes, Lainey, I’m happy to see the nominations for The Americans, including best Drama Series.
- Not that surprising as… allll the usual suspects are here. But still, a couple of joys here! Issa Rae! Sandra Oh! John Legend! JESSE PLEMONS. YOU GUYS, LANDRY IS NOMINATED FOR AN EMMY (again, he was nominated in 2016 for Fargo, but I’ll never get tired of saying it).
-Goddamn STACKED. I mean here’s the thing. When you look at the nominations for best series, in drama, comedy, and limited series, not to mention Variety Sketch and Variety Talk… it’s a list of everything anyone has been talking about all year. Which makes it hard. How do you look at a category like Lead Actor in a Comedy….
William H Macy
…and say one of those guys doesn’t belong there? You can’t. I’ve watched almost all of everything nominated here, except for Shameless, and it’s all legit great, even if some of the comedy is a hell of a lot darker.
Interesting development here though:
Bill Hader and Donald Glover each have four nominations this year… in ALL of the same categories. They’re each nominated for Lead Actor in a comedy, for Writing and Directing their respective shows, AND for their respective guest spots on SNL. It’s almost an episode of Black Mirror all on its own. Obviously everyone loves Atlanta and is rewarding it accordingly, but Barry is really, really great and deserves love. So will these two cancel each other out all the way through? “Oh I voted for Hader in writing, I’ll vote for Glover in directing?” AND both shows are nominated for Best Bomedy, and it’s understood that Glover and Hader are each the architects of their respective series. (PLUS both Barry and Atlanta have two episodes in in the writing category – one each not written by the series creators) So… this will be fascinating.
As for the rest of the categories – Drama is stacked:
The Handmaid’s Tale
Game Of Thrones
This Is Us
I assume Game of Thrones is out of sight out of mind for once, but people love to rewatch it so I wouldn’t count it out. Stranger Things can have a seat, and it’s possible, I guess, that people have The Crown fatigue. Even eliminating those, though, it’s still Westworld vs. Handmaids vs. This Is Us vs. The Americans, and those are some beloved dystopias in there, plus the opportunity to sob your feelings that is This Is Us. I don’t even know where the smart money goes.
The Outstanding Comedy Series category at least offers a few more chinks in the wall, sort of:
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
I feel like you can eliminate Silicon Valley and Kimmy Schmidt for being not that new, (Curb is-but-isn’t, and as we well know, people love a comeback) and Mrs. Maisel for being outside the traditional half-hour format and maybe throw Glow out for being a bit niche and not watched by as many people. But still. That leaves four slam-dunk series that everyone loves, or at least can see the good in. Now what do we do?
The rest of the performance categories are equally opaque. Again, not in a bad way. But, of these performers:
Outstanding Lead Actress, Drama
Evan Rachel Wood
Outstanding Lead Actor, Drama
Sterling K Brown
Outstanding Lead Actress, Comedy
… Issa Rae (yaaaaaay!) is the only first-time nominee. Elisabeth Moss has ten nominations. Lily Tomlin has twenty-five. These are big big heavy hitters.
In fact, the First-Timer’s Club is going to be my favourite to watch, I think. People who are nominated for their first-ever Emmy include (but are not limited to) Issa, John Legend, Joseph Fiennes, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (really!? this is his first one?), Zazie Beetz (!), Letitia Wright (!!!), aaaand of course, Tiffany Haddish. Oh, wait, and RuPaul. These are the people you want to watch…. the ones who are going to be having the most fun.
And you’ll want to watch Sandra Oh. Because she didn’t just get the show and the nomination, she came out and talked about it. That she couldn’t wrap her mind around a lead role being offered to a Korean-Canadian woman at first. Then she came, saw, and killed it, no pun intended. But now you know. She’s the first-ever Asian woman nominated for a Lead Actress Emmy. We’re still doing this ‘first-ever’ thing, here in 2018. But her nomination, and yeah, I’ll go ahead and say it, hopefully her win, means you can’t not know that anymore. You can’t not see what she pointed out to everyone… how very much this was not happening before now.
If anything is a lock – and I’d say almost nothing is – I’d say awards for American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace are going to be plentiful because there won’t be another opportunity to award it. For reference, in 2016 American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson won 9 of its 22 nominations, including Outstanding Limited Series… so there’s precedent.
But everywhere there’s a massive number of ‘of course’ nominations there’s a surprise – like when I discovered American Vandal got a writing nomination, but there’s no picture icon for the show on the Emmy site. Because what’s the only thing it could be? That’s right, a dick.
I’m already exhausted. I’m happy. In the coming weeks I will probably muster the strength to explain why The Americans should win all four of the Emmys it’s nominated for (including Keri Russell – even though I said above it should be Sandra Oh, and even though Tatiana Maslany does absolutely Herculean work in Orphan Black. How do you choose when you’re drowning in riches?) but for now, I’m exhausted. I’m overwhelmed.
Snubs? There’s a lot more great work on The Good Place than just Ted Danson, both in front of the camera and in the writing. People are mad about both Alison Brie and Mandy Moore, and I’ll grant them that, especially in the case of Glow, it’s kind of hard to see how a series can be an Outstanding Comedy without thinking its lead actress is also outstanding. Personally I could have used at least eight more American Vandal noms, but I guess Alex Trimboli and Pat Mickelthwaite would have cancelled each other out.
As a final note, I must point out one more member of the first-timer’s club: Jessica Biel is nominated for Lead Actress in a limited series for The Sinner. She won’t win (she’s up against Edie Falco, Laura Dern, Regina King, Michelle Dockery, and Sarah Paulson – like I said: stacked) but nonetheless, this is an opportunity for Justin Timberlake to dominate two months of press interviews. I can feel Lainey coming down with a headache as we speak.