The Emmy nominations were just announced, and we’ll split our analysis over a few posts, including Sarah's Quinta Brunson piece before this, but let’s discuss history here because Squid Game just made history as the first non-English language series to be nominated for Outstanding Drama. But the Television Academy didn’t just wave at Squid Game to check a box…
Squid Game has been nominated in 14 categories including FOUR acting nominations – which is huge, because in the past, at these western award shows, for example with Parasite, the projects are acknowledged as a whole but individuals aren’t singled out. The Emmys, however, have recognised Lee Jung-jae in the Lead Actor category; Jung Ho-yeon in the Supporting Actress category; and Park Hae-soo and Oh Young-soo in the Supporting Actor category. Squid Game also came through in writing and directing.
The favourite, of course, in the Drama category is Succession leading the way with the most nominations – Sarah will have more on this later – but with Squid Game represented in so many major categories, it just might be Succession’s biggest competition. Remember, this is Netflix’s most watched series EVER, of all time, in any language. Millions and millions of people have seen Squid Game around the world, probably more people than Succession. This show is not an underdog and it’ll be interesting to see now what Netflix puts into the campaign.
But while the Television Academy definitely celebrated Squid Game, the Outstanding Drama category isn’t without its problems, at least in my opinion. There are a total of eight drama series nominated – including Stranger Things and excluding This Is Us which just ended its run. This Is Us only secured one nomination overall, for music and lyrics. It’s a major snub for one of the most popular shows on network television – and a continuing snub for This Is Us which has never gotten much love from the Emmys. Instead, the Academy went with Stranger Things, a series that is also popular, but in a different way.
I can’t say I’m a regular watcher of either series but the Academy’s rejection of This Is Us bites my ass because I see it as a rejection of sentiment, and family and female-focused programming. Which has always been the case with awards boards. Like This Is Us, Stranger Things secured zero acting nominations so it’s not exactly punching in the same weight class as Squid Games or Succession – and, frankly, it doesn’t deserve to. The reason it was chosen was for “genre” …or, rather, the reason This Is Us didn’t make it was for its “genre”. This is bullsh-t.
More Emmy nomination coverage to come.