Making history: Everything bold and beautiful about this year’s Emmys
The Emmy nominations are out and we’re sure you’re beside yourself with excitement. Among the snubs and surprises, the biggest shock of all (are you ready for this?) is that the holy trinity – Game of Thrones, Westworld, and The Handmaid’s Tale – raced to the front with dozens of nominations collectively. Total curveball, right? Like we didn’t totally see that one coming from 100 miles off.*
Jokes aside, the Emmys have earned themselves a reputation for playing it safe, which is perhaps why ridiculous happenings have unfolded over the years, like Jim Parsons taking home the Lead Comedy Actor award four years in a row for his role in The Big Bang Theory and Patricia Heaton and Ray Romano separately bagging an Emmy for their utterly mediocre “aloof straight white people” performances in Everybody Loves Raymond.
That said, the Emmys are far too smart to get themselves embroiled in controversy by making overly stupid moves like nominating a bunch of male directors in the wake of #MeToo (the same can’t be said for this year’s Golden Globes). As pointed out by Yahoo, the Emmy nominations show that the organization is walking the line, with 2018 proving “to be a year when voters made a point of sharing the wealth between blockbuster shows like Game of Thrones and critical darlings like Killing Eve.”
To highlight the pleasant surprises about the nominations this year and to show how the Emmys is slowly but surely starting to diversify its slate, we’re talking a look at everything and everyone making history this year.
Sandra Oh is the first Asian-American woman nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama
Yes, the Oh made history this week after it was announced she’s the first Asian-American woman to be nominated in that category for her performance as Polastri in BBC America’s Killing Eve. “It’s a huge milestone for Oh and a step in the right direction for Asian American representation – which remains severely lacking,” wrote NBC reporter Ethan Alter.
For the first time ever, Netflix topped HBO
Another big winner in the Emmy nominations list is Netflix, which earned 112 nominations, breaking HBO’s 17-year streak of dominating the ranks. The streaming giant received 13 noms for The Crown, 12 for Godless, 12 for Stranger Things, 10 for GLOW, and four for Queer Eye. But even more surprising is the “USS Callister” episode of Charlie Brooker’s dystopian anthology series Black Mirror, which earned a whopping seven nominations (it was a good episode, if we do say so ourselves). Yes, Netflix has truly triumphed and we have no doubt HBO is feeling relatively bitter about the whole thing. Which brings us to our next point . . .
Streamers are dominating the TV landscape
Netflix making the top spot represents the streaming giants’ gradual takeover of the TV landscape. As Vanity Fair pointed out in its write up on the nominations, “This year’s Emmy nominations are another sign that streamer dominance is nigh. Hulu and Amazon are continuing to grow in terms of both subscriptions and stature.” Hulu bagged 27 noms, while Amazon acquired 22, both toppling their figures from last year.
Discussing this rise in streaming success, Warren Littlefield – executive producer of The Handmaid’s Tale and former president of NBC – stated, “if you look at Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon and you add together their noms at 161, and you add four platforms called networks together and you have 159, I think you see where things are headed. And Apple isn’t even in the game yet.”
Game of Thrones gallops ahead
We know we said we’re here to celebrate everything that’s “bold and beautiful” about the Emmy nominations, but we thought it was worth pointing out that HBO’s Game of Thrones made history this year by earning the most nominations in the history of streaming shows. With its 22 nods from 2018, this brings its series-long total to a whopping 129. Surprising? Not really, but it’s a historical moment nonetheless.
Donald Glover’s slaying – again
We were delighted when our boy Donald Glover made history last year by becoming the first African American to win an Emmy for comedy direction. Looks like he’s in the running again, as his quirky, surrealist comedy Atlanta has been nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, while Glover’s earned himself another nod in the Lead Actor in a Comedy Series category. Meanwhile, Brian Tyree Henry and Zazie Beetz both were handed nods for their roles in the show.
A victory for Issa Rae (finally)
Our comedy fave Issa Rae has bagged her first ever Emmy nomination for her role in the hit comedy Insecure (which she also created) and to say we’re stoked for her would be an understatement. With the show being three seasons in, the Emmys has certainly taken its time to nominate Rae – but still, we’re happy she’s in the running.
Same for Jesse Plemons
It’s kinda outrageous to think Jesse Plemons has never been nominated in the lead acting category until now. But like Rae, we’re willing to put this behind us now that the Emmys has finally sorted its shit out and put him in the running. And all because of his terrifying performance as the Captain Kirk-esque starship commander in Black Mirror’s “USS Callister”.
Modern Family is out
The average-at-best ABC comedy Modern Family has finally been shutout after bagging the Emmy for best comedy five years in a row, with a total of 80 nominations throughout its nine seasons. As pointed out by NBC’s Alter, this’ll be the first year since 2009 that a comedy other than Modern Family or Veep takes the crown in the best comedy category. A rather embarrassing statistic, we must say, but at least times are a-changin’. Here’s hoping Atlanta sees victory!
Jeffrey Tambor’s out too
As mentioned, the Emmys voters aren’t stupid enough to nominate a bunch of dudes in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and they’re certainly not stupid enough to give praise to men who are facing sexual misconduct and abusive behavior allegations. This is evident by a notably absent Jeffrey Tambor who, despite starring in Transparent and Arrested Development, has received no nominations. “While Netflix did enter him in the Supporting Actor category for Arrested Development, his treatment of co-star Jessica Walter quickly overshadowed the series,” added Alter.
*Editor’s note: Film Daily cannot be held accountable for the terrifying levels of sarcasm presented by its staff writers.