Reviewing the Emmy Nominations

I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about the nominations for the 69th annual Emmy Awards. Basically I LOVE television, and I love awards shows. Let me break it all down here.

Nominations I’m living for…

  • First and foremost. RuPaul’s Drag Race was nominated for EIGHT EMMYS, building off of the momentum of RuPaul’s Emmy win in 2016 for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program, a move from LogoTV to VH1, and the highest rated episode in the show’s herstory (which just happened to be a drama-packed, jaw-dropping, finale). Ru is nominated in the Host category again this year, but Drag Race, after 9 seasons and 2 All-Star seasons, is nominated for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program for the first time. The show also picked up a handful of technical nominations, including Outstanding Hairstyling and Outstanding Makeup, categories in which former Drag Race contestants Delta Work and Raven are nominated respectively. Untucked even nabbed a nomination! I’m honestly on such a high from this boon for Ru that it’s made some of the Television Academy’s oversights more palatable. Long may Ru reign.
  • Three cast members from Saturday Night Live were nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series. Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones were fairly easy picks to make it into the field, but Vanessa Bayer making it in for her final season on the show was a really nice surprise. SNL cleaned up, racking up a total of 22 nominations, tied with Westworld for most of any program.
  • Speaking of Westworld, while the number of nominations feels like overkill and like maaaaybe they filled in more than a few spots that are typically occupied by Game of Thrones (which didn’t air any episodes in this year’s eligibility period), I am beyond thrilled that Thandie Newton was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series. Her character, Maeve, was the most compelling character on the show, and maybe the most compelling new character on television this season.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale is Hulu’s first big Emmy player, with 13 nominations. Elisabeth Moss might be the favorite to with for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series as Offred. I have a couple of episodes left to finish the season, but from what I’ve seen so far, she would have my vote. I’m also fully here for Ann Dowd and Samira Wiley getting nominations in the Supporting Actress category.
  • The San Junipero episode of Black Mirror was nominated for Best Television Movie, and I, along with all of my feels, am thrilled. In these dark times, an 80s tinged look at a world where two people find love in a computer program their consciences have been uploaded to proved to be exactly what we needed.
  • Becky Ann Baker was finally nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series for Girls in its sixth and final season. She’s done great work as Hannah’s mom, Loreen, over the years and really delivers in the the episodes she appeared in this season. So thrilled for her!!
  • Stranger Things. Barb. Need I say more?
  • The Thanksgiving episode of Master of None, represents the show in the Writing category, and Angela Bassett was nominated in the Guest Actress category. Written by Aziz Ansari and Lena Waither, the episode tells the story of Denise, a black woman coming out as gay to her mother, and the events in the years leading up to and following that moment. It’s easily the best episode in a great second season of the show.

Nominations I could have lived without…

  • First things first, Modern Family has now been nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series all eight years it’s been on television. I never really got into it, but even the most ardent fans have to admit this is overkill.
  • I haven’t even bothered with this season of Veep and I can’t find anyone but the Emmys to convince me otherwise.
  • Viola Davis is one of my very favorite actresses who, by my count, should be a 3-time Oscar winner. How to Get Away with Murder was great in the first season, but petered off in season 2 and 3. This feels like an autopilot nomination, which is unfortunate because there were so so so many great possibilities for Lead Actress in a Drama.
  • Better Call Saul has now been nominated for Outstanding Drama Series all three years it’s been on the air. That feels…egregious.

Snubs that hurt…

  • I know 13 Reasons Why has its detractors, and there are legitimate arguments to be made that it’s not responsible story-telling. But surely Katherine Langford could have been recognized for her performance as Hannah. This wasn’t an easy story to tell, and she let you know it. Equally miffed that Kate Walsh as Hannah’s mom, Olivia, didn’t get any recognition. The scene where she find’s Hannah in the bath tub is disturbing for many reasons, but I was knocked out by the raw nerve of emotion she brought to that scene. I was weeping.
  • Nothing for Insecure? Not even Issa Rae makes the cut? That is bogus. This show had jokes on jokes, and brought us some very emotional friendship/relationship moments.
  • All Girls gets for its final season are a few Guest Actor/Actress nominations? Lena Dunham gave her best work to date in the sixth and final season, and Andrew Rannells (after becoming a true series regular in season 5) STOLE THE SHOW as Elijah in season 6.
  • American Horror Story: Roanoke was a big jump back to form after Freak Show and Hotel. Adina Porter emerged as the main character a little over halfway through the season, and chewed the scenery when she was given the opportunity (pardon the pun, if you’ve seen it, you’ll know it’s kind of a gross pun. sorry again!). One can only hope that she’ll have opportunities like that in future iterations of the series.
  • Dear White People was one of my favorite new comedy series this year. It couldn’t have come at a better time to fit the current political climate, often bringing humor to serious discussions, but leaving room to reflect real life situations. The stand out Chapter V episode, directed by Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), centers around an incident at a college party involving Reggie (played by Marque Richardson) and a campus police officer with a gun. It brutally shows how quickly things can escalate between people in positions of authority and young black men. At a bare minimum, Jenkins and Richardson should have been nominated for their work in this episode.
  • After three seasons of perfect television that critics consistently raved about for at least the last two of, The Leftovers has one paltry nomination for Ann Dowd in Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series to show for its efforts. Carrie Coon will never win (OR EVEN BE NOMINATED FOR) and Emmy for her performance as Nora. The tight writing and direction will never get the recognition it so richly deserves. Ann Dowd better freaking win that Emmy.

There you have it. In a few weeks I’ll probably be whining about the nominations for my favorite annual garbage fire, the MTV Video Music Award so…stay tuned.