Another year and another set of Emmy nominations are under the belt to be discussed, dissected and argued about. I have to say, this morning’s nominations were largely quite good? I’m questioning myself even saying that as year after year I feel like hitting my screen when something unworthy makes it in over something much more deserving. But, since that is an entirely subjective viewpoint and I’m not an Emmy voter it’s also an imperfect one. My joy that The Americans finally gets recognized could stand in the way of someone who thinks Outlander deserved those nominations. Still, this year’s nominees showed us a lot things; that sometimes being a huge Emmy magnate like Louis C.K. nets you nothing and that sometimes a farewell can conjure up the feelings of a first episode (The Good Wife‘s writing nomination for its finale was the first and only since the show’s pilot).
So yes, The Good Wife did receive a Writing nomination and a handful of Guest Acting nominations but previous winner Julianna Margulies was snubbed as was the show in Drama Series, but that was always a reach. The more shocking snub here was actually Christine Baranski who, up until today, was the only consistent nominee from the show.
Horace and Pete came from multi-Emmy winner Louis C.K., who went bankrupt paying for this show and paid for FYC copies of his show to get in the hands of nearly 19,000 Television Academy voters but that wasn’t enough to get the show anything outside of a Guest Actress nomination for Laurie Metcalf (one of three for her today) and Multi-Camera Picture Editing nod. Not even Alan Alda, one of the biggest Emmy winners of all time cracked into his category. There seemed to be a lack of industry interest and the money/campaign issue obviously took a toll when trying to compete with billboards all across L.A.
Orange is the New Black continued its downward Emmy spiral earning one measly nomination, for Casting. Not even two-time Emmy winner Uzo Aduba survived. That switch from comedy to drama for the show was the nail in its coffin. Although Transparent earned 10 nominations, including multiple acting nods, Anjelica Huston missed out on Guest Actress and the show didn’t end up in the Writing category, which it won last year. The Daily Show, after winning 23 Emmys and a bazillion nominations went without a single nomination today, the first time in its 15 years.
The Americans breaking through is probably the biggest story of the day. After languishing for three seasons with nothing more than a Margo Martindale Guest Actress win (and nominations) and that glimpse of hope Writing nomination last year it seemed like the Emmys were just fine not caring about one of the most celebrated shows on television. That all changed this year, and amazingly with no changes in FX’s campaign for the show, when it grabbed nominations for Lead Actor (Matthew Rhys), Lead Actress (Keri Russell) and Drama Series – a first for all. It also managed another writing nomination. This is a bigger deal than some might make of it. It means that the Emmys, even a bit late, can vote for something they believe in and not simply name-check who they’re working with or who was nominated last year.
HBO’s The Leftovers, especially the episode “International Assassin” seemed to be poised for some possible Emmy love in its second season but alas, it went without yet again. Outlander may have a rabid fan base and gotten Globe attention but the Emmys weren’t biting for this period piece. Probably because for the Drama category Game of Thrones is fantasy enough for them. Traditional dramas have and will keep a tight hold on this category. Speaking of the Golden Globes, we see the Hollywood Foreign Press Association reward new people and new shows pretty routinely only to have them snubbed by the Television Academy. This year was no different as Hulu’s Mozart in the Jungle only managed a Sound Mixing Emmy nom despite winning Comedy Series and Actor in a Comedy Series or Musical at the Golden Globes earlier this year. Same goes for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s Rachel Bloom. She won Actress in a Comedy Series or Musical but wound up snubbed in the Emmy version of that category. But, she did manage two nominations in the music categories.
Another big story of the day was the very diverse nature of the acting nominees. For the first time ever there is a non-white/person of color nominated in every Lead category (Drama, Comedy, Limited Series/TV Movie). Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish) became the first black actress nominated for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series since Phylicia Rashad in 1986, 30 years ago. This comes after the very public #OscarSoWhite controversy at the Academy Awards this year but also as we saw just last year Viola Davis becoming the first woman of color to ever win the Lead Actress in a Drama Series Emmy. The Emmys, and television in general, have always been more open and fluid about gender, race and sexual orientation visibility than feature films (there is simply more content) but this year really showed how diverse it can be. That said, that Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat) isn’t an Emmy nominee today almost makes me take all of that back. Now, that was a snub. Next year, Wu, next year.
Ok, get to some trivia and factoids on this year’s nominees.
2016 Emmy Nomination Trivia and Stuff
–The Americans becomes the first FX show to get a Drama Series nomination since Damages in 2009.
-FX breaks its own Emmy record with 56 nominations this year (previous best was 45).
-20 of the acting nominations went to non-white actors and for the first time in Emmy history every Lead category has a person of color.
-This is the first year since 2000 that The Daily Show got zero nominations.
–Saturday Night Live extends its record as the most nominated television program in Emmy history with 209. It is also the most nominated Variety Program (16 between 2011-2016).
-Sheila Nevins ties Hector Ramirez as the most nominated individual in Emmy history with 74.
-Aziz Ansari received his first Emmy nominations this year – 3.
-RuPaul Charles received his first Emmy nomination (Reality Host) for his show’s 8th season.
-Laurie Metcalf is a triple nominee this year (Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – Getting On; Guest Actress in a Comedy Series – The Big Bang Theory; Guest Actress in a Drama Series – Horace and Pete).
–Game of Thrones 2016 nomination total (23) just one shy of last year’s total.
–Orange is the New Black went from 12 nominations in its first season (as a comedy) to 4 last year and 1 this year (both as a drama series).
-Tracee Ellis Ross is the first black actress to be nominated for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series since Phylicia Rashad in 1986.
– Sarah Paulson has been nominated for five consecutive years with six nominations for playing six different characters.
– This year is the first year that South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been nominated for a Voice Acting Emmy in the show’s nineteen years on the air.
– With David Schwimmer’s nomination for Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Television Movie for The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime story, not only is Courtney Cox the only Friends alum to not get nominated for Friends, but since the show ended, all the actors have been Emmy nominated for other projects…. except Cox. Someone get her an HBO comedy, now.
First time acting nominees:
Sterling K. Brown
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Tracee Ellis Ross
Courtney B. Vance
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Premium Cable Sees Chink In Its Armor
Every single one of premium cable’s freshman shows earned a whopping zero nominations in major categories. HBO had Show Me a Hero, Ballers, Vinyl and The Brink and Showtime had Billions. Of those, only the now canceled Vinyl managed to scrape together two low-level noms (Makeup and Main Title Design). As a result, networks and basic cable in combination with streaming services made a two-flanked approach to grab those nominations and did. Probably a very good thing for HBO that they’re breaking the final episodes of Game of Thrones into two seasons as they look for their next Emmy hit.
Here’s the breakdown of New Shows that got major nominations by network:
FX (The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Baskets) – 13
AMC (The Night Manager) – 6
Netflix (Master of None) – 4
USA (Mr. Robot) – 3
Lifetime (UnrREAL) – 2
Amazon (Catastrophe) – 1
Louisck.net (Horace and Pete) – 1
HBO – 0
Showtime – 0
2016 Network and Cable Totals
HBO – 94
FX – 56
Netflix – 54
NBC – 41
ABC – 35
CBS – 35
FOX – 29
PBS – 26
AMC – 24
Showtime – 22
Comedy Central – 17
Amazon Instant Video – 16
CW – 5