The Emmy Nominations Are In, Here’s What to Make of Them

The Emmy Award nominations were announced yesterday and if you like middlebrow cable television you’re going to be very pleased by this year’s slate.

Outstanding Drama Series

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

The West Wing beat The Sopranos in this category on three separate occasions, so it’s always been obvious that playing to voters’ politics is a good route. The cinematically beautiful but, in my opinion, kind of boring Mad Men was also a perennial favorite of Emmy voters. With that in mind, I think The Handmaid’s Tale will repeat its previous win here; it’s a show that was basically created in a lab to appeal to awards show voters in the Trump era.

As for what show deserves to win, there’s really only one answer, and that answer is Twin Peaks, which wasn’t even nominated, which is basically the biggest travesty since Elon Musk didn’t get stuck in a cave in Thailand.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt got robbed three years ago when its first season lost to Veep. That’s not to say Veep isn’t a great show, but Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘s first season was one of the funniest and most original seasons of television ever made. Unfortunately, even though Veep was on hiatus this year, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt hasn’t managed to capture the same magic it had then in its final season.

Curb Your Enthusiasm garnered its eighth nomination but has never actually won. My prediction is that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will take home the gold here; it’s nominated for 14 Emmys and there’s nothing more deserving on the slate.

Outstanding 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

If Ed Harris doesn’t win this award I don’t know what’s wrong with the world. There’s really no discussion to be had here. I think This Is Us is severely overrated, but Milo Ventimiglia might pull an upset here, which is a thing I never thought I’d say when he was on Gilmore Girls. And Emmy voters, don’t think I didn’t notice the snub of Kyle MacLachlan here. Twin Peaks may have been nominated for nine statues, but you still missed the boat here.

Outstanding 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

Elisabeth Moss could repeat her win here, which has only happened a handful of times in the Lead Actor or Actress categories, just on the strength of The Handmaid’s Tale in the zeitgeist. But Tatiana Maslany deserves to have won five years in a row for believably playing an entire ensemble cast herself.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

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

The academy started to love Black-ish so much after it traded being funny for being preachy that I thought they might have sent the ballots to the Golden Globes voters, so Anthony Anderson could be a real contender here, but my money is on Donald Glover. People don’t always win these awards based exclusively on their performance in the show, like the time Melissa McCarthy won for Mike and Molly: we know that award was really for Bridesmaids because we’ve seen Mike and Molly and even Emmy voters aren’t that dumb. Donald Glover is excellent in Atlanta, but he’s going to win this award for “This Is America.”

It really should go to Ted Danson, though, he gave the performance of a lifetime in The Good Place.

Outstanding 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

Whoever wins this award should probably just go ahead and thank Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s breast cancer, because we all know that’s the only reason anyone else has a chance of winning this. She’s possibly the greatest comedic actress of all time; it’s definitely between her, Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Burnett.

As for who actually does walk away with the Emmy, Rachel Brosnahan winning as a part of a virtual sweep by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a strong possibility. But that’s only because The Good Place‘s Kristen Bell was passed over for some inexplicable reason. Seriously, quit sleeping on The Good Place.

The supporting actor and actress categories are dominated by Saturday Night Live performers and anyone who played a Lannister on Game of Thrones. Lena Headley is, in my mind, the greatest villain in the history of television and I’m hoping Tituss Burgess finally gets recognized for his role on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, he’s been a consistently funny bright spot as the show has struggled to find an identity after its first season. And while Saturday Night Live, with its popular Trump-focused cold opens, looks like a lock for Outstanding Variety Sketch series, Sarah Silverman’s I Love You, America is a hilarious appeal to empathy that deserves to win.

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