5 Takeaways From The 2021 Emmy Nominations

11 min read

This year’s Emmy nominations cover a time when the coronavirus pandemic turned the TV industry the wrong way up. So it is sensible that the shows and performances announced Tuesday might include some choices that are a touch … unconventional. Netflix’s continuation of The Karate Kid franchise, Cobra Kai, nominated as best comedy series? Lovecraft Country, a series that was essentially canceled by HBO when it decided to not make a second season, racking up 18 nominations, including best drama series? Netflix’s middling comedy Emily in Paris, widely ridiculed for snagging a Golden Globe nomination this year, also nominated for the best comedy series Emmy?

Thankfully, the nominations announced this year were mostly barren of head-scratching choices and did an admirable job of reflecting both promising newcomers and old masters during a period when lockdowns threatened to cripple the industry. it is a heartening sign that it’ll take quite an epidemic to wipe out innovation and quality add today’s TV universe. Here are five more takeaways I had from the nominations for the 73rd Emmy Awards: Sure, the foremost nominated media platform is HBO with 130 nods. But it only got there by including the nominations for streaming corporate sibling HBO Max with its total. Even so, streaming giant Netflix had the second-largest number of nominations at 129, and upstart Disney+ landed in third place with 71.

A peek at the most-nominated shows reveals Netflix’s The Crown and Disney+’s The Mandalorian tied with 24 nominations, followed quickly by Disney+’s WandaVision (23) and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale (21). Indeed, among the highest 10 most-nominated shows, just three – NBC’s Saturday Night Live, alongside Mare of Easttown and Lovecraft Country on HBO – weren’t created by streaming services. it had been wonderful to ascertain Pose star Mj Rodriguez nominated as the best actress during a drama, recognizing her powerhouse performance thereon show with the primary lead acting nomination for a transgender person. And for a critic like me, who has advocated for ethnic diversity in TV for many years, seeing nominations for ambitious, Black-centered shows like Lovecraft Country, Amazon Prime Video’s The Underground Railroad and ABC’s Black-ish right next to key nods for accomplished Black performers like Bridgerton’s Regé-Jean Page and Uzo Adubo from In Treatment is sort of a dream come true.

better of all, the Emmys recognized Michaela Coel and her groundbreaking series, I’ll Destroy You when the Golden Globes didn’t. But it’s time for the Emmys — and therefore the TV industry at large — 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 got key nominations. But if Disney+’s version of Hamilton hadn’t been eligible, many of these nominations wouldn’t have occurred. So I’m hopeful this is often a primary step toward bringing even more — and more well-rounded — diversity to big Hollywood awards nominations. True enough, Game of Thrones often soaked up a lot of nominations back within the day. But this year, several shows within the horror/superhero space, so often overlooked by major Hollywood awards, got love in major categories, including WandaVision, The Mandalorian, Lovecraft Country, and Amazon Prime Video’s dark superhero satire, The Boys (which was the most important surprise for me).

We saw powerhouse studio Marvel get its first Emmy nominations this year, which likely means this is often just a taste of future geekdom to return. Every few years, a snarky critic writes an epitaph for this annoyingly inconsistent-yet-often-brilliant sketch comedy landmark. then SNL racks up the Emmy nominations to prove just how premature those rumors of death truly are. it isn’t just that its 21 nominations beat comedy favorite Ted Lasso by one nod; it had a big presence in supporting and guest acting comedy categories. Kenan Thompson even managed to snag a nomination as best lead actor during a comedy for his sitcom, Kenan, while still starring as a serious player on SNL — where he was also nominated for the best supporting actor during a comedy. a part of its domination this year came from reduced competition within the comedy space, for sure. (The pandemic seems to possess cleared out more comedy shows than dramas.) But SNL also achieved some brilliant shows when the whole cast and writing staff were working remotely from home, following those episodes by welcoming back a live audience well before vaccines were widely available. great for a series nearly ready for its own AARP card.

regardless of what was nominated as best limited series, there have been sure to be major shows overlooked — simply because the competition during this space has grown immensely, because of big-name stars signing on for projects designed to last only one season. This includes series like Kate Winslet’s Mare of Easttown. Still, it had been unfortunate that Steve McQueen’s ode to Black immigrants in Britain, Small Axe, was overlooked of the category, alongside Showtime’s the great Lord Bird, HBO Max’s it is a Sin and HBO’s The Undoing. Similarly, Undoing star Nicole Kidman’s lack of an acting nomination had to be one among the highest-profile acting snubs, alongside Ethan Hawke from the great Lord Bird. and therefore the Emmys also appeared to turn their back on the third season of Netflix’s Master of None, passing up the chance to honor Naomi Ackie and Lena Waithe’s portrayal of a crumbling marriage. This snub made me wonder if onetime series star Aziz Ansari’s Me Too controversy had an impression .

and far as I loved seeing the ultimate 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 not showing love for NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers and therefore the Amber Ruffin Show on Peacock in those categories. (Late Night got a directing nod, and Amber Ruffin was nominated for writing.) it is time to expand these categories a touch so more great work can earn its due. Winners for the 73rd Emmy Awards are going to be announced during a ceremony aired and streamed Sept. 19 on CBS and Paramount+, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer.

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