Someone dial up the pint-sized DJ from Big Little Lies and have her play You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones. Every year, the Emmy nominations invariably leave some television fans disappointed. But there are also many things to celebrate. No, you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find... well, you know.
1. The Leftovers didn’t get nominated for best drama.
Let’s get the worst part over with first. If you’re a fan of The Leftovers, which ended its three-season run last month, you’re probably feeling pretty miffed. We don’t have much in the way of explanation, but here are some educated guesses from Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever, who was asked about the snub in his weekly chat with readers:
“It could be about HBO’s effort in wooing voters or it could be that the most powerful parts of the final season aired in late May/early June and just didn’t have time to sink in. Or it could be that even though the show improved and had its fans, it was already too far gone. It’s a very specific kind of show for a very specific kind of audience in a very crowded medium full of terrific shows.”
The Academy didn’t extend any lead-actress-in-a-drama love to Carrie Coon either, though she did land a nomination for FX’s Fargo. In better news, Ann Dowd did get a guest actress nod for her Leftovers role (she’s also justly nominated for Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale).
2. Neither did Girls for best comedy.
The Leftovers oversight arguably stings more because Girls has at least been nominated before and locked up several well-deserved guest nods this year. But if you were paying attention to the final two seasons of Lena Dunham’s HBO darling, you could gripe about the Academy not recognising some important narrative improvements nor Andrew Rannells’s outstanding work this season as Hannah’s BFF Elijah.
3. House of Cards did get nominated. Again.
The subject matter of House of Cards may feel really relevant right now, but in terms of quality television it really isn’t — certainly not enough to justify the Netflix drama’s fifth nomination in the show’s most closely watched category. While we’re at it, ABC’s long-running sitcom Modern Family could probably take a seat and make room for newer, or better, comedies.
4. Oprah didn’t get nominated.
This is probably the biggest in terms of actor snubs because it’s Oprah we’re talking about. The media mogul was a favourite in the limited series/movie category for her role in HBO’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, but it was an admittedly crowded field, thanks to Big Little Lies and Feud: Bette and Joan. Henrietta Lacks is represented in the TV movie category, where — in a bit of a twist — it’s up against a standout episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror.
5. Stephen Colbert proved his critics wrong.
After being completely left out of the variety talk series category last year, Colbert made a noticeable comeback after surfing the choppy political tide during and after a contentious election year. It’s not surprising to see Colbert (or his fellow Daily Show alum Samantha Bee) on the list in 2017, but it is pretty shocking to see that Seth Meyers didn’t get a nod for his own sharp political analysis. Also missing: Jimmy Fallon.
6. Pamela Adlon got a best actress nod.
The nominations list for best lead actress in a comedy was pretty standard issue — with the exception of Adlon, who earned a fair share of critical praise for her FX dramedy Better Things (co-created with Louis C.K.). It’s refreshing to see her on a list that includes Tracee Ellis Ross, Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and perennial winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Another surprise nomination was Zach Galifianakis, who got a best actor nod for his roles as aspiring clown Chip Baskets and his twin brother Dale on FX’s dark comedy Baskets.
7. This Is Us brought network dramas back to the table.
A network drama hadn’t been nominated for best drama since 2011, when The Good Wife got its second consecutive nod. And since the CBS legal favourite failed to get nominated for its final season, we were wondering if the category would become a strictly cable-streaming network hangout. Thanks to NBC’s tearjerker family drama, we know there’s still hope for the big four.
Amid all of the love for This Is Us, which earned lead actor nods for Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia as well as several guest actor nominations, we were surprised to see that Mandy Moore was not nominated for best lead actress. Don’t get too upset, Pearson family fans: Her co-star, Chrissy Metz, made the best supporting actress list.
8. RuPaul’s Drag Race got its first nomination.
As Reality Blurred’s Andy Dehnart noted on Twitter, reality competition is a pretty monotonous category. That’s why we were pleasantly surprised to see RuPaul’s long-running fan favourite on the list. It might not be able to beat The Voice, Top Chef or The Amazing Race, but it’s worth noting that RuPaul took top honours last year in the reality-show host category.
9. Carrie Fisher got posthumous nominations.
The iconic Star Wars actress, who died in December, received a guest actress nod for Catastrophe. Bright Lights, the documentary about Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds (who died a day after her daughter), is among the documentary contenders.