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Mj Rodriguez as Blanca in Attitude Michael Parmelee/FX hide caption
Mj Rodriguez as Blanca in Attitude
This year’s Emmy nominations relate to a time when the coronavirus pandemic rocked the TV industry. So it makes sense that the shows and performances announced today could feature some picks that are a little… unconventional.
Netflix’s continuation of The karate kid franchise, Cobra Kai, Nominated for Best Comedy Series? lovecraft country, a series that was essentially canceled by HBO when they decided not to make a second season, with 18 nominations, including Best Drama Series? Netflix’s mediocre comedy Emily in Paris, widely ridiculed for landing a Golden Globe nomination earlier this year, also nominated for a Best Comedy Series Emmy?
Fortunately, the nominations announced this year were largely devoid of mind-bending choices and did an admirable job of reflecting both promising newcomers and old masters at a time when lockdowns threatened to cripple the industry. It’s an encouraging sign that it will take more than a global pandemic to wipe out innovation and quality work in today’s TV universe.
Here are five more takeaways I had from the 73rd Emmy award nominations:
Of course, the most nominated media platform is HBO with 130 nods. But they only got there by including the nominations for streaming business sibling HBO Max among their total. Still, streaming giant Netflix had the second-largest number of nominations with 129, and the fledgling Disney+ came in third with 71.
A Look At Netflix’s Most Nominated Shows Reveals The crown and Disney+s The Mandalorian Tied with 24 nominations, quickly followed by Disney+’s WandaVision (23) and Hulus The Handmaid’s Tale (21) Indeed, in the top 10 most nominated shows, only three – NBC’s Saturday Night Live, together with Mare by Easttown and lovecraft country on HBO – are not made by streaming services.
It was great to see Attitude star Mj Rodriguez nominated as Best Actress in a Drama, recognizing her powerhouse performance on that show with the first lead acting nomination for a transgender person. And for a critic like me, who has championed ethnic diversity on TV for decades, seeing nominations for ambitious black-focused shows like lovecraft country, Amazon Prime Videos The Underground Railroad and ABCs blackish right next to important nods for experienced black artists like Bridgerton‘s Regé-Jean Page and Uzo Adubo out Under treatment is like a dream come true. Best of all, Emmy academy recognized Michaela Coel and her groundbreaking series serie I can destroy you when the Golden Globes didn’t.
But it’s time for the Emmy academy — and the TV industry in general — to spread that wealth beyond black performers and black-centered shows. Yes, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rosie Perez, Anthony Ramos, Bowen Yang and Phillipa Soo all received major nominations. But if Disney+’s version of Hamilton had not been eligible, many of those nominations would not have happened. So I’m hopeful that this is a first step toward bringing even more — and more rounded — diversity to the major Hollywood award nominations.
True enough, Game of Thrones used to gobble up a lot of nominations. But this year, several shows in the horror/superhero space, so often overlooked by major Hollywood awards, got love in key categories, including: WandaVision, The Mandalorian, Lovecraft Country and Amazon Prime Video’s dark satire of superheroes the boys (which was the biggest surprise for me). We saw that powerhouse studio Marvel got its first Emmy nominations this year, which probably means this is just a taste of future geekdom.
Every few years, a snoring critic writes an epitaph for this annoyingly inconsistent, but often brilliant sketch-comedy landmark. And then SNL collects the Emmy nominations to prove just how premature those death rumors really are. It’s not just that their 21 nominations in total beat the comedy favorite Ted Lasso with one kink; they had a significant presence in supporting and guest acting comedy categories. Kenan Thompson even landed a nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Comedy for his sitcom kenan, while still starring on SNL – where he was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy.
Part of their dominance this year certainly came from reduced competition in the comedy space (the pandemic seems to have cleared up more comedy shows than drama). But SNL also put on some brilliant shows as the entire cast and writing staff worked remotely from home, following those episodes by welcoming a live audience well before vaccines were widely available. Not bad for a series that is almost ready for its own AARP card.
Whatever was nominated for best limited series, big shows would be left out – just because the competition in this space has grown tremendously thanks to the big names signing up for projects designed to last only one season. This includes series such as Kate Winslet’s Mare by Easttown.
Still, it was a shame that Steve McQueen’s tribute to black immigrants in Britain, small axe, was omitted from the category along with Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird, HBO Maxs It’s a sin and HBOs undo it. likewise, Undo star Nicole Kidman’s lack of an acting nomination had to be one of the most notable acting sweets, along with Ethan Hawke of The Good Lord Bird. And the Emmy Academy also seemed to turn its back on the third season of Netflix master of none, passing up the opportunity to honor Naomi Ackie and Lena Waithe’s portrait of a crumbling marriage. This stupid comment made me wonder if the #metoo controversy from one-time series star Aziz Ansari had an impact.
And how I love the last season of Conan get nominated as best variety talk series and A Black Lady Sketch Show nominated for best variety sketch series, Emmy dropped the ball by showing no love for NBC’s voor Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Amber Ruffin Show on Peacock in those categories (Late at night got a directing nod and Amber Ruffin was nominated for writing). Time to expand these categories a bit so that more great work can earn its due.
The winners of the 73rd Emmy Awards will be announced at a ceremony broadcast and streamed on CBS and Paramount+ on September 19, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer.
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