The Emmy nominations came out this morning and honestly? They aren’t terrible! This is thanks to several factors:
- TV is just a lot better now. Between the sheer number shows to choose from, the removal of the stigma that used to taint TV and the creative boom we are in the middle of, TV is better than ever. This is not an exaggeration: I came up with 10 more series that could have been nominated for Outstanding Comedy than the seven that actually received nods.
- At the same time, this was a quiet year for drama. In part, I think everyone tried to stay out of the way of the final season of Game of Thrones, believing that it was going to drown out everything else, and in part, dramas have found a new home in the limited series category. As a result, I didn’t feel like too many shows were overlooked in this category and am relatively happy with the nominees.
- But back to that limited series thing: at some point when we weren’t looking, miniseries became the prestige format for television. I suspect the limited series has gained in popularity for creators and actors for the same reason: the word “limited.” It’s a project that they can commit to without having to potentially spend 8 to 10 years of their life doing, and it is by nature a project that has a concrete end — something storytellers are fond of. It’s created some memorable and important TV.
While I have a few quibbles with some of the nominees (The Kominsky Method is just taking up valuable real estate, guys), and some snubs — HER NAME IS D’ARCY CARDEN, DAMMIT — overall? It’s not a terrible list. Let’s examine it together, and maybe do just a tiny bit of screaming.
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
This Is Us
Better Call Saul, Killing Eve, Pose, Succession and yes, even Game of Thrones, are unquestionably among the best dramas of the year. As for Bodyguard, Ozark and This is Us, they are fine series, and I struggle to come up with shows that I would replace them with. The Good Fight, maybe? Homecoming, possibly? The Sinner? Is that a drama or a limited series? The only other shows I come up with are either classified as comedies or limited series, so.
Who Will Win: Game of Thrones. The Academy gave Game of Thrones a record 32 nominations this year and while I could definitely see the voting body giving the series some lesser Emmys and skipping this one just based on the negative reaction to the finale, I could just as easily see the Academy wanting to reward the biggest show on television. And honestly, though the storytelling was not maybe the most satisfying, it’s hard to deny that the final season wasn’t a spectacle. But I could see either Pose or Killing Eve being a spoiler if the voters are feeling like making a statement.
Who Should Win: As much as I love Pose, if I were the only one voting, this would go to Succession, just one of the darkest, most hilarious and delicious TV series of the past year and one that deserves a whole hell of a lot more love. I also wouldn’t be mad at Better Call Saul winning this year.
Who Should Have Been Nominated: The Good Fight, Homecoming
LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Billy Porter, Pose
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
Again, I’m not mad at this list of nominees. I might have replaced Milo Ventimiglia or Jason Bateman with either Jeremy Strong or Brian Cox from Succession, and it seems odd to nominate Bodyguard for Outstanding Drama without nominating the star of the series, Richard Madden, who was quite good. Then there’s Bill Pullman for The Sinner, but, again, I’m not sure if that’s considered a limited series or a drama? Anyway, I’m not angry.
Who Will Win: Billy Porter is having a moment and I fully expect the voters to keep him afloat this year.
Who Should Win: Billy Porter or Bob Odenkirk
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Richard Madden, Jeremy Strong, Brian Cox, maybe Bill Pullman?
LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Laura Linney, Ozark
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Now we are starting to get into the snubs. While it’s great to see Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh recognized, finally; Emilia Clarke did the best with what she was given; and Viola Davis, Laura Linney, and Robin Wright are all forces of nature, there are some missing names. Julia Roberts turned in a nuanced performance in Homecoming. Where is the great Christine Baranski for The Good Fight? Like I said above, I’m not sure if The Sinner is considered a drama or a limited series (I think they changed the rules so that it would be a drama this year), but Carrie Coon, she deserved a nod for her performance in whichever category. And Pose’s two lead actresses, MJ Rodriguez, and Angelica Ross, were emotional powerhouses, and it feels cowardly to not recognize at least one of them.
Who Will Win: I see a scenario in which Emilia Clarke could win this. Between it being Game of Thrones‘ final season, the news of her terrifying health scare, and Comer and Oh splitting the Killing Eve vote, it’s possible the Queen of Dragons could take home the Emmy.
Who Should Win: Sandra Oh
Who Should Have Been Nominated: MJ Rodriguez, Angelica Ross, Christine Baranski, Julia Roberts, and Carrie Coon
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones
Julia Garner, Ozark
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve
Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
Holy moly, that’s a lot of Game of Thrones nominations, and for the most part, I think they’re warranted. But Lena Headey? As much as I love her and Cersei, unless this is an award for “Best Staring Out of a Window,” NOPE. ABSOLUTELY NOT. Instead, how about a nomination for Indya Moore on Pose? Or Rhea Seehorn for Better Call Saul? Or, and this is a stretch but she was great fun, Juno Temple for her show-stealing performance in Dirty John?
Who Will Win: I think there is an equally good chance for the three Game of Thrones ladies (minus Lena Headey), but they might split the vote, handing Fiona Shaw the win.
Who Should Win: Fiona Shaw
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Indya Moore, Rhea Seehorn
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Alfie Allen, Game Of Thrones
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game Of Thrones
Peter Dinklage, Game Of Thrones
Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul
Michael Kelly, House Of Cards
Chris Sullivan, This Is Us
Yeah yeah yeah, but where is the single best supporting actor performance of the year: Nicholas Braun as Cousin Greg in Succession? ROBBED. Also robbed, Kieran Culkin for the same series — he is brilliant as Roman Roy. Or Matthew Macfadyen as Tom. Honestly, if there was going to be one show with three nominations in this category, it should have been Succession. And then there is Elisha Henig who was a brooding wonder in The Sinner (but again — is it a limited series?).
Who Will Win: It’s entirely possible that the Game of Thrones guys split the vote on this one, but I suspect Peter Dinklage will still take it home one last time for Tyrion.
Who Should Win: Giancarlo Esposito, but I wouldn’t be mad at Peter Dinklage, Johnathan Banks or, honestly, Chris Sullivan on This is Us.
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Nicholas Braun, Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfadyen, Elisha Henig
GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Laverne Cox, Orange is the New Black
Cherry Jones, The Handmaid’s Tale
Jessica Lange, AHS: Apocalypse
Phylicia Rashad, This Is Us
Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away With Murder
Carice van Houten, Game of Thrones
I’m going to be honest: when it comes to the guest actor categories, I don’t really give a fuck? So let’s just hurry through these.
Who Will Win: Phylicia Rashad
Who Should Win: Jessica Lange
Who Should Have Been Nominated: ???
GUEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Michael Angarana, This Is Us
Ron Cephas Jones, This Is Us
Michael McKean, Better Call Saul
Kumail Nanjiani, The Twilight Zone
Glynn Turman, How to Get Away With Murder
Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale
I mean, sure.
Who Will Win: Bradley Whitford
Who Should Win: Michael McKean
Who Should Have Been Nominated: ???
The Good Place
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Comedy has been huge this year, so while I’m not mad at any of these nominees — honestly, they’re all wonderful — I just wish there was more room for Better Things, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, You’re the Worst, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which had a criminally brilliant season), SMILF, What We Do in the Shadows, GLOW, Pen15, Ramy, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. But I’m especially bummed that they didn’t finally recognize Sunny.
Who Will Win: Veep will be the sentimental favorite, and if it wins, I will be thrilled.
Who Should Win: Fleabag
Who Should Have Been Nominated: It’s Always Sunny, Better Things, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and You’re the Worst, and probably all the others I mentioned, too.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
All of these nominees are brilliant and deserving, but it continues to infuriate me that Kristen Bell is consistently snubbed for The Good Place. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE? Aya Cash was wonderful in You’re the Worst this season; Pamela Adlon is everything in Better Things; and Rachel Bloom is a genius who deserved to finally be recognized for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. And where the hell is Tracee Ellis Ross, you guys?
Who Will Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Who Should Win: Either Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Phoebe Waller-Bridge or Natasha Lyonne
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Rachel Bloom, Kristen Bell, Pamela Adlon, Arya Cash, Tracee Ellis Ross
LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Anthony Anderson, black-ish
Don Cheadle, Black Monday
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Bill Hader, Barry
Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
I mean, sure. But Rob McElhenney in It’s Always Sunny this past season, y’all. He was amazing. He gave a heartfelt and genuinely heartbreaking performance as Mac coming to terms with his homosexuality. It was a huge risk and deserved more love than Michael Douglas’ performance in The Kominsky Method, goddammit. Chris Geere also deserved a nod for his work in You’re the Worst this season.
Who Will Win: Bill Hader
Who Should Win: Ted Danson
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Rob McElhenney, Chris Geere, Ramy Youssef
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Sian Clifford, Fleabag
Olivia Colman, Fleabag
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Sarah Goldberg, Barry
Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
D’ARCY CARDEN. GODDAMMIT ACADEMY, LEARN HER FUCKING NAME. I KNOW IT HAS THAT WEIRD APOSTROPHE IN IT, BUT IT’S NOT. THAT. HARD. Look, I’m thrilled Fleabag‘s Sian Clifford and Olivia Colman were nominated; Kate McKinnon is Kate McKinnon and should be nominated in every comedy category; Betty Gilpin and Anna Chlumsky are both terrific, BUT D’ARCY CARDEN, ASSHOLES. Also, Kether Donohue is wonderful as Lindsay in You’re the Worst — she’s the perfect supporting actress, in fact. And this is a long shot, but it’s a shame there wasn’t room for Kia Stevens in GLOW, as she delivered one of the most amazing episodes in a strong season.
Who Will Win: Olivia Colman
Who Should Win: Anna Chlumsky
Who Should Have Been Nominated: D’ARCY CARDEN. FOR THE ONE-THOUSANDTH FUCKNG TIME.
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
Anthony Carrigan, Barry
Tony Hale, Veep
Stephen Root, Barry
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Henry Winkler, Barry
Take Alan Arkin out, put William Jackson Harper and Manny Jacinto of The Good Place in, or Desmin Borges of You’re the Worst or Andrew Scott as the sexy priest in Fleabag or Timothy Simons for Veep, and we’re good.
Who Will Win: Henry Winkler or Alan Arkin
Who Should Win: Tony Hale or Stephen Root
Who Should Have Been Nominated: William Jackson Harper, Manny Jacinto, Desmin Borges, and Andrew Scott
GUEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Jane Lynch, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Sandra Oh, Saturday Night Live
Maya Rudolph, The Good Place
Kristin Scott Thomas, Fleabag
Fiona Shaw, Fleabag
Emma Thompson, Saturday Night Live
OK, so the exception to my rule about not giving a fuck about guest actors in series is for Jessie Giacomazzi, the young actress who played Lily in the craziest — and most hilarious — episode of Barry in either season. She was perfection.
Who Will Win: Jane Lynch
Who Should Win: Kristin Scott Thomas
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Jessie Giacomazzi
GUEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Matt Damon, Saturday Night Live
Robert de Niro, Saturday Night Live
Luke Kirby, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Peter MacNicol, Veep
John Mulaney, Saturday Night Live
Adam Sandler, Saturday Night Live
Rufus Sewell, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
OK, but where is Hugh Laurie for Veep? He did a hell of a lot more for Veep than Robert de Niro did for SNL.
Who Will Win: Matt Damon
Who Should Win: John Mulaney
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Hugh Laurie
Escape at Dannemora
When They See Us
Boy, this year the limited series really came through — and they were actual limited series this year, mostly focusing on historical events, thereby preventing another season being made down the line, RIGHT, BIG LITTLE LIES? The problem is, all of the limited series nominated this year are really strong, and it’s a shame that the likes of Fosse/Verdon and Sharp Objects — two limited series that if they had come out in any other year, would be shoo-ins for an Emmy — will surely lose to either Chernobyl or When They See Us.
Who Will Win: When They See Us, because ACTING!
Who Should Win: Chernobyl
Who Should Have Been Nominated: The Haunting of Hill House, but a horror series will never be taken seriously, so.
Bandersnatch: Black Mirror
Deadwood: The Movie
My Dinner With Hervé
I really don’t have strong feelings about this one, to be completely honest.
Who Will Win: Deadwood: The Movie
Who Should Win: Bandersnatch: Black Mirror
Who Should Have Been Nominated: I think they really covered all the bases here.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Amy Adams, Sharp Objects
Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora
Aunjanue Ellis, When They See Us
Joey King, The Act
Niecy Nash, When They See Us
Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon
Michelle Williams, Michelle Williams, Michelle Williams.
Who Will Win: Michelle Willaims
Who Should Win: Michelle Willaims
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Michelle Willaims, twice over.
LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Mahershala Ali, True Detective
Benecio del Toro, Escape at Dannemora
Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal
Jared Harris, Chernobyl
Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us
Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon
This is a trickier category because all of these performances are fantastic and I have no idea how the voters are going to lean. True Detective the series wasn’t great, but Mahershala Ali was; Jared Harris was riveting in a very quiet performance in an amazing series; Sam Rockwell became Bob Fosse; Hugh Grant and Benecio del Toro are both amazing, and the rising star, Jharrel Jerome, gave an emotional performance. It’s really a six-way tie.
Who Will Win: I genuinely don’t know, Jharrel Jerome?
Who Should Win: Mahershala Ali or Jared Harris
Who Should Have Been Nominated: I think category this is well-covered.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Patricia Arquette, The Act
Marsha Stephanie Blake, When They See Us
Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects
Vera Farmiga, When They See Us
Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon
Emily Watson, Chernobyl
These are all terrific, but Eliza Scanlen really should have been nominated for her terrifying performance in Sharp Objects. In fact, it’s remarkable that she was not mentioned.
Who Will Win: Patricia Clarkson
Who Should Win: Emily Watson
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Eliza Scanlen
SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Asante Blackk, When They See Us
Paul Dano, Escape at Dannemora
John Leguizamo, When They See Us
Stellan Skarsgard, Chernobyl
Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal
Michael K Williams, When They See Us
I’m fine with this list, but I might have added Chris Messina for his role on Sharp Objects?
Who Will Win: Paul Dano
Who Should Win: Stellan Skarsgard
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Chris Messina
REALITY SHOW HOST
James Corden, The World’s Best
Ellen DeGeneres, Ellen’s Game Of Games
Marie Kondo, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo
Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, Making It
RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race
These are all great with the notable exception of the charming and hilarious Nicole Byer of Nailed It!
Who Will Win: Ellen DeGeneres or maybe RuPaul?
Who Should Win: Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Nicole Byer
REALITY SHOW COMPETITION
The Amazing Race
American Ninja Warrior
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Ok, so we nominate Nailed It! here, but not Nicole Byer for Reality Show Host, and we nominate Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman in Reality Show Host but Making It isn’t nominated here? This makes no sense.
Who Will Win: I don’t know, probably Top Chef or The Voice
Who Should Win: RuPaul’s Drag Race
Who Should Have Been Nominated: Making It, dammit.
VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
At Home With Amy Sedaris
I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman
Saturday Night Live
Who Is America?
I am so happy Documentary Now! was given a nomination; it continues to be a wonderful nerdy little show that only about 17 people actually watch, so yay for nerds. But Who is America? The cringe-inducing Sacha Baron Cohen project? Really? I would sub in the perfectly weird I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson over on Netflix, but then no one asked me.
Who Will Win: Saturday Night Live
Who Should Win: Documentary Now!
Who Should Have Been Nominated: I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson
VARIETY TALK SERIES
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
The Late Late Show With James Corden
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
WHAT DOES SETH MEYERS HAVE TO DO TO GET A NOMINATION FROM YOU PEOPLE? JESUS CHRIST.
Who Will Win: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
Who Should Win: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
Who Should Have Been Nominated (and won): Late Night with Seth Meyers
THOUGHTS? FEELINGS? BETS?
The Emmys will air Sunday, Sept. 22 on Fox.