The annual Emmy square dance is here – per usual, it’s a routine of three steps forward, two steps back. This year even allowed more room than usual for the unexpected as several major players from last year – Veep, Master of None, Better Call Saul, House of Cards – took this awards season off. And to be sure, the Television Academy has undeniably improved in their taste as a voting body over the years. Still, they still had us scratching our heads a few times. Where the hell is Will and Grace? And Bojack Horseman? And Brendan Fraser in Trust? And … and…
So with all 122 (!!) categories announced, let’s pick out the most notable snubs of the year. From Billions to Alison Brie, these were the M.I.A. nominees that shoulda been contenders.
Twin Peaks: The Return
Yeah, sure, maybe some voters didn’t “get it” – but they couldn’t take the chance to nominate the most critically acclaimed TV show of the decade? Hellooooo! David Lynch’s return to his groundbreaking TV series was the most talked-about television event of last year, and it did land a few technical nominations, including one for the filmmaker’s mindbending direction of Episode 8 … and it not only failed to get a nomination for Best Limited Series, but the entire cast missed out as well. Laura Dern will be there on the red carpet for her work in The Tale, but she should have obviously been a double nominee this year for her. (The infamous Diane’s introduction scene alone should have nabbed her a nomination.) Naomi Watts? Robert Forster? Even a nod for the late Miguel Ferrer would have been acceptable.
Of course, the most criminal snub of the entire day has to be that of Kyle MacLachlan, fearlessly jumping back into multiple roles in the Lynchverse and delivering some of the most unforgettable performance(s) of 2017. How do you NOT nominate him for the balancing act he did as both Agent Cooper and the eternally, blissfully ignorant Dougie Jones? It was as fearless as TV acting gets, and it will now go down in history as one of the Academy’s more notorious snubs.
The Good Place
A small squeal of joy erupted from Good Place fans when Ted Danson’s name was read aloud, allowing for the small hope that this across-the-board snub from last year would have a fruitful morning this year. Sadly, Danson is the only one to escape from the Bad Place of Emmy Snubbery. Where’s Kristen Bell? William Jackson Harper? D’Arcy “Janet” Carden?!? Most of all, where’s the nomination for Comedy Series for what is easily the best sitcom on network television? And did you really not nominate ANY of this brilliant show’s writing team? There has been a lot of talk about the demise of quality programming on the broadcast networks – it might help if groups like the Academy recognized it in the few places it still exists.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s BBC America hit is one of the few 2018 shows that’s generated serious you-gotta-see-this buzz in the first half of this year – and you’d have assumed the Emmys would have rewarded this stellar thriller well-deserved Dramatic Series, as well as an appropriate showdown between Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh in Leading Actress. Well, one out of three is a start. Oh did make history as the first woman of Asian descent ever nominated in her category, but Comer got snubbed and the series will have to try again next year. Don’t make this mistake again next year, Emmys, or we’re sending Villanelle after you.
Black Mirror‘s Cristin Milioti
The British sci-fi anthology show has become an unexpected powerhouse at the Emmys, winning last year for its “San Junipero” episode and landing seven nominations this time for the Season Four highlight, “USS Callister.” (They also landed an acting nod for Letitia Wright for “Black Museum”. Go Shuri!) But they inexplicably left out the heart and soul of the episode – it simply does not work as well as it does without Cristin Milioti’s performance. She was left behind on the planet of Skillane IV while her episode ascended to Emmy hyperspace. That just doesn’t seem right.
GLOW‘s Alison Brie & Marc Maron
Emmy voters connected with Netflix’s GLOW enough to nominate it for Best Comedy Series, and kudos to the great Betty Gilpin for landed a Supporting Actress nomination. But snubbing both Alison Brie and Marc Maron feels like a bizarre oversight. The rapport between her optimistic Ruth and his cynical Sam was the driving force of the entire first season. Were voters just too entranced by Liberty Belle to realize that it’s the chemistry of the entire show that really makes it work?
Was it too much to hope that the mystery of who drew the dicks would connect with voters? Did they consider this Netflix hit too juvenile to stand alongside things with “serious” subject matters like Genius and Patrick Melrose? Nonsense! Not only should this hysterical skewering of both true-crime series and modern high school life been nominated for series, but the lack of a nod for the great Jimmy Tatro is a real mystery. Excuse us while we go spray-paint ball hairs on a few cars in the Academy parking lot.
The Americans’ Noah Emmerich & Holly Taylor
After ignoring the first half of its existence, the Emmys wisely came around to the stellar FX drama, and have been dutifully fulfilling their purpose to the mother country by nominating it in the Best Actress and Actor categories for the last three years. Plus we’re very happy that it returned to Dramatic Series after missing the cut last year. But come on now: Stan Beeman and Paige Jennings were two of the most important supporting characters in this television landmark, and the actors who brought them to vivid life will move on to their next projects having never been nominated. This feels worthy of a congressional investigation into Russian interference.
This one is more of a shocker than a snub – but the lack of Modern Family love this time around feels worth discussing given its historical importance. For years, critics have been suggesting that the Emmys stop rewarding increasingly mediocre seasons of stuff that voters favored in the past, but did anyone think it would be this year that it finally happened? With Veep and Master of None taking the year off and Roseanne burning out in historic flames, it felt like a standby safe choice was inevitable. After all, it has been nominated eight years in a row – every single year of its existence – and is the fourth most-nominated Comedy Series. And the category went to eight nominees this year – but the Emmys still couldn’t find room for their once-favorite child. Sorry, Dunphys, you have been evicted.
Atlanta‘s Lakeith Stanfield
There was so much love spread around today for the wonderful Atlanta that it may be tempting to not ask for more … but WTF is up with Lakeith Stanfield, one of the hottest young actors around, missing out for both seasons now? It’s not like the category was so deep that there just wasn’t room. No offense, SNL‘s Kenan Thompson, but nominating the veteran sketch comic over the man who starred in “Teddy Perkins” feels downright criminal. Robbin’ Season indeed.
Showtime had a rough morning. Sure, Shameless star William H. Macy got in again, but regular nominees like Homeland‘s Claire Danes and Ray Donovan‘s Liev Schreiber will have to save their sound bites. (See also: our Twin Peaks entry above.) But the real crime was completely ignoring the chance to finally invite Billions to the party. With shows like Better Call Saul missing from the ballot, why not turn to a show that’s only gotten better each year, turning in its best season to date earlier in 2018? Even just a single nod or two for great performers like Damian Lewis and Asia Kate Dillon could have opened a few doors for more nominations in the future. Get this one right, next year, Emmys. It’s starting to get embarrassing.