It just f-cking figures, doesn’t it? In a year when the Emmy nominations are incredibly exciting, current (fewer than ever nominations for shows that have been on the air for eons, or for tired who-watches-that? network sitcoms), and most importantly, reflective of what people actually watch, there probably won’t be a typical Emmy ceremony at all. Which celebrities are going to cram themselves into sweaty outfits to sit beside 1500 of their sweaty peers?
Then again, maybe I’m giving that aspect of the Emmys too much credence. Because, no joke, the ‘live-from-home’ nominations this morning were nothing short of hysterical.
Here is how host Leslie Jones announced the comedy nominations, verbatim:
“Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dead To Me
THE GOOD PLAAAAAAAACE!!!!!
The Kominsky... did I say that right? The Kominsky Method?"
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
SCHITT'S CREEEEEEK!!! AAAAAHHHH!!!
What We Do In The Shadows”
Here’s the clip if you don’t believe me. It was spectacular:
Watch Leslie Jones announce the Emmy nominees for Best Comedy and Drama Series 2020 pic.twitter.com/iqVeD4VE5A— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 28, 2020
In fact, the entire live announcement was way more fun than it had any right to be, from Tatiana Maslany just constantly commenting, “I can’t hear anything… I can’t see them,” to Leslie Jones trying to surprise Laverne Cox with her nomination for Best Guest Actress and getting the live-TV equivalent of blue balls for her efforts… and then making that into amazing TV:
Leslie Jones told Laverne Cox sheâ€™s nominated for an Emmy live on air â€” and it didnâ€™t exactly go as planned pic.twitter.com/cnB1uObtRr— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 28, 2020
Truly you should watch the whole broadcast, but if you can’t, please let those clips above bring you joy. This is what it’s like when you actually hire someone truly hilarious, instead of someone network-approved who is deemed to be hilarious by… someone, and then make them read a dry as hell script.
The feeling of the nominations actually reflecting what we’re watching continued through all the major categories, including 15 nominations for Schitt’s Creek and The Mandalorian, 18 for Ozark, and 26 for Watchmen – though I continued to be caught between the twin thoughts of “I 100% bet everyone is working their asses off and these nominations are totally deserved” and “I wonder who’s watching this show” when it comes to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. A side of “Are these just retroactive apologies for ignoring Gilmore Girls?” sneaks in too.
But honestly, it’s an embarrassment of riches. I delighted in Jennifer Aniston’s very deserved nomination for The Morning Show (and Steve Carell’s as well) even as I chortled at Laverne Cox and Leslie Jones being utterly, biased-ly delighted at the inclusion of Zendaya in the Best Actress in a Drama category, and that so many shows with strong-as-hell performers don’t have to choose between their strengths. Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh are both nominated for Lead Actress in a Drama for Killing Eve (and yes, that category is so stacked it’s comedic – the ‘also rans’ are Laura Linney and freaking Olivia Colman!); Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini are nominated in Lead Actress in a Comedy for Dead To Me, and Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong from Succession are both nominated for Lead Actor in a Drama.
Yes, sure, it means they’ll cancel each other out in some cases, but you know what? Who cares? All of these performers being nominated beside each other (see also: all four leads on Schitt’s Creek, and ALL FOUR of the other leads in Succession – I can’t wait for Jacek to start saying “WAMBSGANS” ad nauseum again) proves that the shows themselves are spectacular, and that they shouldn’t have to choose a favourite child just so some other performance people don’t love as much can be nominated.
My personal joys are that both Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji are nominated, that Cate Blanchett got the nod (and really, really should get the win) for her most terrifying performance yet as Phyllis Schlafly in Mrs. America, and… and!
While I’m very happy for Paul Mescal’s somewhat surprising nomination in Normal People – it’s deserved and probably speaks to the diversification of the Emmys voting body, in that we’re finally at the point where young, hot people can do sex scenes and be seen as talented actors at the same time – I’m saving all my screaming, Leslie-Jones-esque energy for A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOOOOOOW!!!! It is easily the funniest sh-t I’ve watched all year, eerily prescient to boot, and I hope – I hope – that whatever the hell ABC does to shoot the nominees somehow includes the, um, performers in that show’s theme song. If you know, you know.
The only critique, I suppose, is that when shows are this good, the writing and directing nominations tend to reflect that too – but since writers or directors are nominated for a single episode, as opposed to actors’ collective bodies of work over a season, there are often two or three nominations for a single show, which tends to make those categories kind of an eventuality.
I’m glad for Unbelievable, and for Unorthodox. I’m glad for Ramy Youssef, and for Cecily Strong and for William Jackson Harper, who unquestionably has a stomachache right now. I’m also glad that Reese Witherspoon wasn’t nominated for The Morning Show or Little Fires Everywhere, because – and she would agree with me, if she were reading this – her strongest work this year has been behind the camera, and the Best Limited Series nom for Little Fires backs me up. I’m cautiously excited about the gender split in notoriously all-male writing and directing categories, though there are names that don’t automatically indicate a gender, and there’s still a major, disappointing lack of non-white nominees in those all-powerful categories (and, I bet money, on the names of the producers nominated for Best Everything).
Still, on star power and performances alone, this year’s Emmys should* be one of the most exciting in years… or would be, if there was gonna be an actual show. Come on, ABC, make this happen for us. We need it.