Emmys TV

2021 Emmy Nominations: Biggest Shocks and Surprises

Hosted by father-daughter duo Ron and Jasmine Cephas Jones, nominations for the 73rd Emmy Awards went ahead on July 13, with the nominations being a usual mix of the expected, surprising (and baffling).

HBO took the crown as the network with the most nominations, with 130 in total. Yet it was only an inch ahead of Netflix, who received 129. With the pandemic delaying the return of many shows, the drama and comedy series’ that dominated last year’s categories (“Succession,” “Ozark,” “Schitt’s Creek,” “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel”,) were out of the race. Therefore, this year saw a welcome wave of first-time nominees.

The Lasso Way

Jason Sudeikis as Ted Lasso | Photo courtesy of Apple TV+

Critical darling “Ted Lasso” scored big for its first season, with the AppleTV+ comedy netting 20 nominations. This included nominations for Comedy Series, writing, directing as well as seven acting nominations, including Jason Sudeikis, Hannah Waddingham, Juno Temple and Brett Goldstein. Such an enthusiastic response from Emmy voters proves that Apple TV+ have a hit on their hands. The show now holds the record for the most Emmy nominations received for a comedy series in its first year.

“The Crown” Reigns Supreme

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana | Photo courtesy of Netflix

The Emmys have always adored Netflix’s “The Crown,” and proved it again this year, gifting the drama series 24 nominations. Stars Olivia Colman, Gillian Anderson and Helena Bonham Carter received nominations in the Leading and Supporting Actress categories, with newcomers Emma Corrin and Josh O’Conner receiving their first ever nominations for Leading Actress and Actor respectively. Even Claire Foy got a nomination for Guest Actress, despite appearing in one scene in season four. With its fourth season causing a sensation, the Netflix series proves it’s the one to beat in September.

“WandaVision” Casts a Spell

It was difficult to gauge how voters would receive Marvel’s “WandaVision.” Despite the series having great performances, Marvel’s television universe has previously failed to break through at award shows. Yet Marvel’s start on Disney+ proves this has all changed, with “WandaVision” receiving a whopping 23 nominations. This included nominations for stars Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany and Kathryn Hayn. Yet the best nomination was for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, where ‘Agatha All Along’ was nominated.

“I May Destroy You” Makes its Mark

Michaela Coel as Arabella Essiedu | Photo courtesy of HBO/BBC.

After the controversy earlier this year surrounding the Golden Globes’ failure to nominate the BBC/HBO series, it was hoped that Emmy’s would not follow suit. Thankfully, the Emmys proved they have some sense, with “I May Destroy You” getting nine nominations. Not only did the show get nominated for Best Limited Series, but so did creator and star Michaela Coel for Best Leading Actress, alongside Paapa Essiedu for Best Supporting Actor.

Best Nominations

The Boys
Antony Starr as Homelander | Photo courtesy of Amazon
  • “The Boys” receiving a nomination for Best Drama Series for its bizarre and brilliant second season.
  • Elizabeth Moss making it into the Leading Actress category for “The Handmaid’s Tale” after getting snubbed last year.
  • NBC’s “This is Us” making it back into the Best Drama Series category, after missing out last year.
  • Evan Peters getting his first (!) ever Emmy nomination for his great performance in “Mare of Easttown.” Here’s hoping he continues to steer clear of Ryan Murphy projects!
  • MJ Rodriguez receiving her first nomination for the final season of “Pose.” She makes history as the first transgender performer nominated in a major acting category.
  • Bo Burnham’s Netflix special “Inside” getting six nominations, including for Outstanding Variety Special and Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics.
  • Jean Smart being a double nominee for her work in HBO’s “Hacks” and “Mare of Easttown”.

Biggest Shocks/Snubs

Small Axe': Steve McQueen's Anthology Drama Gets BBC Premiere Date –  Deadline
John Boyega as Leroy Logan | Photo courtesy of BBC/Amazon
  • The lack of nominations for BBC/Amazon’s “Small Axe.”. The Steve McQueen anthology was heavily praised by critics, winning both Golden Globes and Bafta’s. Yet confusingly, none of the cast were nominated, not even John Boyega, who won both a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice award for his performance.
  • Barry Jenkins’s “The Underground Railroad” not getting any nominations in the acting categories.
  • “Emily in Paris” getting a nomination for Best Comedy Series. Yes really! Either Emmy voters genuinely believed “Emily in Paris” counted as one of the best comedy shows of the year, or they pulled the names out of a hat.
  • The Best Limited Series category still only having five nominees, rather than eight like Best Drama and Comedy. Here’s to the shows that should have also been nominated such as “It’s a Sin”, “Small Axe”, and “The Undoing”.
  • “Hamilton” being eligible in the first place. No-one is going to deny the brilliance of “Hamilton,” nor the incredible talent of its cast. Even so, a filmed performance of a stage show being classed as a TV movie is unfair. While seven performers getting nominations from work they did five years ago is wholly unnecessary.

The 73rd Emmy Awards will be broadcast live on Sunday, September 19, on CBS, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer.

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