70th Primetime Emmy Award Nominations

Thursday, the Television Academy announced their nominations for the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. And with Game of Thrones and Westworld back in the running, Veep ineligible, and the #MeToo movement striking down consistent favorites like House of Cards and Transparent (both Kevin Spacey and Jeffrey Tambor were nominated just LAST YEAR…how long ago does that feel?), it’s time for a new wave of favorites to sweep in, as Atlanta and The Handmaid’s Tale confidently lead the pack of the best of television.

Let’s start with the biggest categories first and talk about Comedy and Drama. Atlanta surprisingly, but deservedly, received 16 nominations across the board. This not only includes the show and reigning Best Actor champion Donald Glover, but two writing nominations, two directing nominations (including the pinnacle of 2018 television “Teddy Perkins”), and nominations for Brian Tyree Henry (!) in Best Supporting Actor, Zazie Beetz (!!!!!) in Best Supporting Actress, and, perhaps most deserving of all, Katt Williams in Best Guest Actor (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). On top of being nominated for Best Actor, Best Writing, and Best Directing, Glover was also nominated as Best Guest Actor for his work on Saturday Night Live, bringing in a total of four individual nominations. This feat was only matched by one other performer: Bill Hader, who also received a slew of nominations for his new hit show Barry. Hader was also nominated for Best Actor, Best Writing, Best Directing, and Best Guest Actor on SNL, and will be directly competing with Glover every step of the way.

As for the Drama category, well, it all comes down to two shows. After taking a year off, the hit fantasy show Game of Thrones returned to screens with enough time to take home a slew of nominations. While star Emilia Clarke missed out after moving from Supporting to Lead Actress for the show, her fellow performers did manage to make the cut, including Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage (duh) for Best Supporting Actor, Lena Headey for Best Supporting Actress, and in perhaps the most deserved nomination, Diana Rigg for Best Guest Actress (she wins or we riot). The show also received 17 other nominations, including Best Writing and two for Best Directing. However, while the show won the category two years in a row during its previous run, it will face heavy competition from this year’s reigning champion, The Handmaid’s Tale. The show not only repeated nominations for reigning champions Elisabeth Moss and Ann Dowd, and swapped places for Alexis Bledel and Samira Wiley in the Supporting and Guest Actress categories – it also brought in nominations for Kelly Jenrette, Cherry Jones, and fellow lead performers Yvonne Strahovski and Joseph Fiennes. Honestly, if you’re a performer on this show and you’re not nominated, I would take it personally. The show also earned nominations for Best Writing and Best Directing.

Other shows to find great success included Westworld, which, beyond its usual nominations for Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton, earned two Best Actor nominations, for both Ed Harris and Jeffrey Wright, The Crown, which earned acting nominations for Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, and fan favorite Vanessa Kirby, and This Is Us, which still managed to earn nominations for Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia. You can consider Brown your favorite for Best Actor. However, while these nominations were all fairly predictable, perhaps the biggest surprise on the dramatic side of things was Sandra Oh for the critically acclaimed Killing Eve. The show has become renowned for being the only show on television to actually grow in viewers consistently every week, and Oh’s performance has proven she has always been one of our most underrated performers. Oh has the honor of being the first Asian woman of any country of origin to be nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series, which is a shocking statistic. Still, at least she’s there, and at least I can root for her.

As for Comedy, Saturday Night Live surprised with a slew of acting nominations across the board. I’m a little disappointed to see Alec Baldwin back – while his performance as Donald Trump last year was shocking, subversive, and buzzworthy, this year he was a massive letdown, going for the cheap, easy jokes instead of building a character (like, say, The President Show, which also failed to earn a nomination) and resorting to hand gestures instead of building a character (unlike Tina Fey did with Sarah Palin, a performance she is once again nominated for this year). Still, if accepting that Baldwin is nominated is the price I must pay to write the sentence KENAN THOMPSON HAS FINALLY EARNED AN EMMY NOMINATION, I’ll gladly pay it. Thompson has been the best actor on the show for years, and the fact he is finally getting his due is the most exciting news of the entire ceremony. Reigning champion Kate McKinnon is also nominated for Best Supporting Actress, alongside former nominee Leslie Jones and first time nominee Aidy Bryant (yay!) Meanwhile, while Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has sadly lost a nomination for star and driving force Ellie Kemper, the show still managed to surprise in the Best Comedy category, and secret weapon Tituss Burgess still managed to earn a nomination for Best Supporting Actor (he better win before this show wraps up, or I WILL riot). While The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was expected to do well with the Television Academy, I don’t think many people were expecting it to do this well, earning nominations for Best Comedy, Best Actress for Rachel Brosnahan, Best Supporting Actor for Tony Shalhoub, Best Supporting Actress for Alex Borstein, and Best Writing and Directing, both of which are first-time nods for Maisel and Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. I’ll be cheering for her come Emmys night. Oh, and while I’m talking about surprises, I’m sure many people at home are excited about the news that Ted Danson managed to earn yet another Emmy nomination, this time for his role on network television’s most beloved comedy, The Good Place.

As for the Limited Series/TV Movie categories, The Assassination of Gianni Versace and Jesus Christ Superstar Live on Stage both had massive showings. Versace managed to earn a nomination – and expected win – for star Darren Criss, whose impeccably sleazy Andrew Cunanan has become a cultural icon this past year, as well as nominations for Édgar Ramirez, Ricky Martin, Penelope Cruz, Judith Light, and, perhaps most surprising of all, Finn Wittrock, who was excellent on the show but never managed to rake up any nominations. Meanwhile, Jesus Christ Superstar becomes the first of the televised musicals to break out into the acting categories, as John Legend earns a nomination for playing, um, Jesus Christ, alongside a well-deserved Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas Iscariot (who stole the show between his voice, his acting, and his many shirtless outfits), and Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene (whom I didn’t think was a very good actress in the role, but damn could she sing). The special was also nominated for directing. Meanwhile, beloved actor Jeff Daniels received not one, but two nominations for acting in a miniseries – one for Lead Actor in The Looming Tower, and one for Supporting Actor in Godless. This was a bit of a surprise, but for my money, no shock was as appalling or as startling as the nomination for Fahrenheit 451 in Best TV Movie. Fahrenheit 451 is one of the worst movies I’ve seen all year, on big screen or small, and its nomination is a blemish on the face of this otherwise-strong Emmys year.

Now that we’ve looked at the surprises and sweeps, let’s look at what shows were snubbed during the nominations. Despite many considering it the greatest artistic achievement of 2017, Twin Peaks: The Return failed to register in any of the major categories. That’s right: no Miniseries, no Kyle MacLachlan, no Laura Dern (although she was nominated for Best Actress in The Tale), nothing. It was a stunning revelation, and one that is sure to anger many people. Still, at least David Lynch earned nominations for Writing and Directing, remedying the mistake made in the original run all those years ago. Also snubbed was Will and Grace, expected by many to be the favorite due to near-record breaking numbers (and managing to hold onto those numbers without scandal, unlike other rebooted shows that found success), and which failed to earn nominations for Best Comedy, Best Actor for Eric McCormick, and Best Supporting Actor for Sean Hayes. The only nomination the show managed to earn was Megan Mullaly for reprising her beloved role as Karen Walker (honestly, no complaints here). And on a personal note, I’m personally appalled at the lack of nominations for BoJack Horseman and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Both had record-great seasons, and yet they failed to earn nominations in slam dunk categories – Ex-Girlfriend was left out of Outstanding Music and Lyrics, and Will Arnett, Paul F. Tompkins and especially Wendie Malick were left out of Character Voice-Over so that the Emmys could nominate Seth MacFarlane twice. No, really, take a look – that’s two MacFarlanes, zero perfect depictions of dementia. Shame on you, Emmys.

Still, while there were several snubs, a few people managed to surprise, mostly thanks to their incredible years outside of television (which isn’t to say they aren’t wonderful too). Laurie Metcalf may be nominated for reprising her game-changing, revelatory performance as Jackie Harris on Roseanne, but make no mistake – that nomination is 100% a “Welcome Home” after she (arguably incorrectly) lost for Lady Bird. Similarly, Letitia Wright and Tiffany Haddish may be nominated for Black Mirror: Black Museum and Saturday Night Live, respectively, but let’s not pretend that these nominations are code for anything other than “Black Panther and, um, literally anything Tiffany Haddish has ever done.” And as for my favorite surprises, I have a few. There’s the fact that Rick and Morty not only earned its first Emmy nomination, but it did so through Dan Harmon submitting the episode “Pickle Rick,” an episode intentionally designed as an “F*ck You” to the fans (ironically, it had the opposite effect). Two of my favorite shows of last year, Big Mouth and American Vandal, earned nowhere near the amount of awards they deserved (justice for Jimmy Tatro), but they still managed to earn awards where it counts – Vandal was nominated for its writing (because of course), and Big Mouth earned a nomination for the song “Totally Gay,” which was one of my favorite moments of television all last year, and Jordan Peele’s performance as Freddie Mercury not only clinched him as Entertainer of 2017, but made it that much harder for Rami Malek later this year. And to the delight of many fans (myself included, although it took me awhile to get into it), Queer Eye earned a nomination for Structured Reality Program! All hail the Fab Five!

The full list of nominees can be found below, with my current predictions marked with a *. The Primetime Emmy Awards will be held on September 17th. I’ll be back with live results that night.

Drama Series

  • The Handmaid’s Tale *
  • Game of Thrones
  • This Is Us
  • The Crown
  • The Americans
  • Stranger Things
  • Westworld

Comedy Series

  • Atlanta *
  • Barry
  • Black-ish
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • GLOW
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Silicon Valley
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Limited Series

  • The Alienist
  • The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story *
  • Genius: Picasso
  • Godless
  • Patrick Melrose 

Television Movie

  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Flint
  • Paterno
  • The Tale *
  • Black Mirror: USS Callister

Variety Sketch Series

  • Saturday Night Live
  • Portlandia *
  • Drunk History
  • Tracey Ullman’s Show
  • At Home with Amy Sedaris
  • I Love You, America 

Variety Talk Series

  • The Daily Show With Trevor Noah
  • Full Frontal With Samantha Bee
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver *
  • Late Late Show with James Corden
  • Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Reality Competition

  • The Amazing Race
  • American Ninja Warrior
  • Project Runway
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Top Chef
  • The Voice *

Structured Reality Program

  • Antiques Roadshow
  • Fixer Upper
  • Lip Sync Battle
  • Queer Eye *
  • Shark Tank
  • Who Do You Think You Are?

Unstructured Reality Program

  • Born This Way
  • Deadliest Catch
  • Intervention
  • Naked and Afraid
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked
  • United Shades of America With W. Kamau Bell *

Animated Program

  • Baymax Returns
  • Bob’s Burgers – “V for Valentine-detta”
  • Rick and Morty – “Pickle Rick”
  • South Park – “Put It Down”   *
  • The Simpsons – “Gone Boy” 

Children’s Program

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Alexa & Katie
  • Fuller House
  • Star Wars Rebels *
  • The Magical Wand Chase: A Sesame Street Special 

Lead Actor in a Drama Series:

  • Jason Bateman – Ozark
  • Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us *
  • Ed Harris – Westworld
  • Matthew Rhys – The Americans
  • Milo Ventimiglia – This Is Us
  • Jeffrey Wright – Westworld

Lead Actress in a Drama Series:

  • Claire Foy – The Crown
  • Tatiana Maslany – Orphan Black
  • Elisabeth Moss – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Sandra Oh – Killing Eve *
  • Keri Russell – The Americans
  • Evan Rachel Wood – Westworld

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series:

  • Donald Glover – Atlanta *
  • Bill Hader – Barry
  • Anthony Anderson – Black-ish
  • William H. Macy – Shameless
  • Larry David – Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Ted Danson – The Good Place

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series:

  • Pamela Adlon – Better Things
  • Rachel Brosnahan – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Tracee Ellis Ross – Black-ish *
  • Allison Janney – Mom
  • Lily Tomlin – Grace and Frankie
  • Issa Rae – Insecure

Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie:

  • Antonio Banderas – Genius: Picasso
  • Darren Criss – The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story *
  • Benedict Cumberbatch – Patrick Melrose
  • Jeff Daniels – The Looming Tower
  • John Legend – Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert
  • Jesse Plemons – Black Mirror: USS Callister

Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie:

  • Jessica Biel – The Sinner
  • Laura Dern – The Tale *
  • Michelle Dockery – Godless
  • Edie Falco – Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
  • Regina King – Seven Seconds
  • Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story: Cult 

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – Game of Thrones
  • Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones *
  • Joseph Fiennes – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • David Harbour – Stranger Things
  • Mandy Patinkin – Homeland
  • Matt Smith – The Crown

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Alexis Bledel – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Millie Bobby Brown – Stranger Things
  • Ann Dowd – The Handmaid’s Tale *
  • Lena Headey – Game of Thrones
  • Vanessa Kirby – The Crown
  • Thandie Newton – Westworld
  • Yvonne Strahovski – The Handmaid’s Tale

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Louie Anderson – Baskets
  • Alec Baldwin – Saturday Night Live
  • Tituss Burgess – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Brian Tyree Henry – Atlanta
  • Tony Shalhoub – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel *
  • Kenan Thompson – Saturday Night Live
  • Henry Winkler – Barry 

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Zazie Beetz – Atlanta
  • Alex Borstein – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Aidy Bryant – Saturday Night Live
  • Betty Gilpin – GLOW
  • Leslie Jones – Saturday Night Live
  • Kate McKinnon – Saturday Night Live *
  • Laurie Metcalf – Roseanne
  • Megan Mullally – Will and Grace

Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Jeff Daniels – Godless *
  • Brandon Victor Dixon – Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert
  • John Leguizamo – Waco
  • Ricky Martin – The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
  • Édgar Ramirez – The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
  • Michael Stuhlbarg – The Looming Tower
  • Finn Wittrock – The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

  • Sara Bareilles – Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert
  • Penelope Cruz – The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
  • Judith Light – The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story *
  • Adina Porter – American Horror Story: Cult
  • Merritt Wever – Godless
  • Letitia Wright – Black Mirror: Black Museum 

Guest Actor in a Drama Series

  • Murray Abraham – Homeland
  • Cameron Britton – Mindhunter *
  • Matthew Goode – The Crown
  • Ron Cephas Jones – This Is Us
  • Gerald McRaney – This Is Us
  • Jimmi Simpson – Westworld

Guest Actress in a Drama Series

  • Viola Davis – Scandal
  • Kelly Jenrette – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Cherry Jones – The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Diana Rigg – Game of Thrones *
  • Cicely Tyson – How To Get Away With Murder
  • Samira Wiley – The Handmaid’s Tale 

Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Sterling K. Brown – Brooklyn Nine Nine *
  • Bryan Cranston – Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Donald Glover – Saturday Night Live
  • Bill Hader – Saturday Night Live
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda – Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Katt Williams – Atlanta 

Guest Actress in a Comedy Series 

  • Tina Fey – Saturday Night Live
  • Tiffany Haddish – Saturday Night Live *
  • Jane Lynch – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Maya Rudolph – The Good Place
  • Molly Shannon – Will and Grace
  • Wanda Sykes – Black-ish

Character Voice-Over Performance

  • Alex Borstein – Family Guy
  • Dan Castellaneta – The Simpsons
  • Seth MacFarlane – American Dad!
  • Seth MacFarlane – Family Guy *
  • Russi Taylor – The Scariest Story Ever: A Mickey Mouse Halloween Spooktacular 

Host for Reality/Reality Competition Program

  • W. Kamau Bell – United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell
  • Ellen DeGeneres – Ellen’s Game of Games
  • RuPaul Charles – RuPaul’s Drag Race *
  • Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn – Project Runway
  • Jane Lynch – Hollywood Game Night

Writing for a Comedy Series

  • Atlanta – “Alligator Man” by Donald Glover
  • Atlanta – “Barbershop” by Stefani Robinson
  • Barry – “Chapter One: Make Your Mark” by Alec Berg & Bill Hader   *
  • Barry – “Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast and Keep Going” by Liz Sarnoff
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – “Pilot” by Amy Sherman-Palladino
  • Silicon Valley – “Fifty-One Percent” by Alec Berg

Writing for a Drama Series

  • The Americans – “START” by Joel Fields & Joe Weisberg
  • The Crown – “Mystery Man” by Peter Morgan
  • Game of Thrones – “The Dragon and the Wolf” by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – “June” by Bruce Miller   *
  • Killing Eve – “Nice Face” by Phoebe Waller-Bridge
  • Stranger Things – “Chapter Nine: The Gate” by The Duffer Brothers

Writing for a Variety Series

  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee *
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • Late Night with Seth Meyers
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
  • Saturday Night Live 

Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

  • American Vandal – “Clean Up” by Kevin & Matthew McManus
  • The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story – “House By The Lake” by Tom Rob Smith
  • Black Mirror: USS Callister by William Bridges & Charlie Brooker   *
  • Godless by Scott Frank
  • Patrick Melrose by David Nicholls
  • Twin Peaks by Mark Frost & David Lynch 

Directing for a Comedy Series

  • Atlanta – “FUBU” by Donald Glover
  • Atlanta – “Teddy Perkins” by Hiro Murai   *
  • Barry – “Chapter One: Make Your Mark” by Bill Hader
  • The Big Bang Theory – “The Bow Tie Symmetry” by Mark Cendrowski
  • GLOW – “Pilot” by Jesse Peretz
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – “Pilot” by Amy Sherman-Palladino
  • Silicon Valley – “Initial Coin Offering” by Mike Judge

Directing for a Drama Series

  • The Crown – “Paterfamilias” by Stephen Daldry
  • Game of Thrones – “Beyond the Wall” by Alan Taylor
  • Game of Thrones – “The Dragon and the Wolf” by Jeremy Podeswa   *
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – “After” by Kari Skogland
  • Ozark – “The Toll” by Jason Bateman
  • Ozark – “Tonight We Imrpove” by Daniel Sackheim
  • Stranger Things – “Chapter Nine: The Gate” by The Duffer Brothers 

Directing for a Variety Series

  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – “Episode 2061” by Andre Allen
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – “Episode 421” by Paul Pennolino
  • The Late Late Show with James Corden – “Episode 0416” by Tim Mancinelli
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert – “Episode 438” by Jim Hoskinson
  • Portlandia – “Riot Spray” by Carrie Brownstein
  • Saturday Night Live – “Donald Glover” by Don Roy King   *

Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special

  • The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story – “The Man Who Would Be Vogue” by Ryan Murphy
  • Godless by Scott Frank
  • Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert by David Leveaux & Alex Rudzinski
  • The Looming Tower – “9/11” by Craig Zisk
  • Paterno by Barry Levinson
  • Patrick Melrose by Edward Berger
  • Twin Peaks by David Lynch   *

Main Title Music

  • Godless
  • Marvel’s The Defenders
  • Somebody Feed Phil *
  • The Last Tycoon
  • The Putin Interviews
  • The Tick

Music and Lyrics

  • “The Buddy Song” – Steve Martin & Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget For The Rest Of Your Life
  • “Come Back Barack” – Saturday Night Live
  • “In The Market For a Miracle” – A Christmas Story Live!
  • “Just Getting Started” – If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakdfast
  • “Totally Gay” – Big Mouth *

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