Emmy Nominations 2018: First Impressions, Trends, Snubs & Other Takeaways

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On Thursday morning, Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Ryan Eggold (The Blacklist, this fall’s New Amsterdam) announced the nominees for the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. (During the announcement, Wiley was informed that she herself was a nominee this year in the Outstanding Guest Actress category for her role as Moira in Handmaids.)

The winners will be announced in a ceremony airing live on NBC Monday, Sept. 17, co-hosted by SNL‘s Colin Jost and Michael Che. Until then, there will be debates, thought pieces from outlets like TV Insider, accusations of snubs and more as critics and fans sift through today’s announcement.

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Here are our initial thoughts:

Game of Thrones Is Back, Baby!

And in a big way. After not appearing at all in last year’s Emmy nominations due to the timing of its season last year, which was past the Emmy eligibility range, the blockbuster HBO series made its triumphant return this year to show who the true Mother of Dramas is as it led all shows with 22 Emmy nods. Sorry, all of you other drama series that took advantage of the GoT Emmy nomination void last year.

Many of the show’s nominations came in more technical categories — like costuming, production design, music, etc. Many of these honors will be handed out at the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony in September (you can watch a taped airing of the ceremony Sept. 15 at 8/7c on FXX).

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The series did get big nods in major categories — Outstanding Drama Series; Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (Jeremy Podeswa, Alan Taylor); Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (David Benioff, D.B. Weiss); Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama (two nods here, for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage); Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Lena Heady); and Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (Diana Rigg). Dinklage’s Supporting Actor nomination this year is his seventh, making him the most-nominated actor in this category.

Even though Game of Thrones‘ seventh and most recent season ended nearly a year ago, it has clearly stayed in the minds of the Emmy powers-that-be. We would expect a similar amount, if not more, of GoT Emmy nominations a few years from now, after its final season airs sometime in 2019.

A Revolt Against Revivals?

Some of the year’s most buzzed-about TV revivals, even if they were popular among fans and critics, surprisingly did not receive a whole lot of Emmy love this year. Could even Emmy voters be tiring of the revival/reboot trends, and are they sending a message?

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Here are a few of this past season’s biggest TV reboots and revivals, and how they fared as Emmy nominees (if they did at all):


For both positive and negative reasons, ABC’s revival of Roseanne earlier this year was one of the most talked-about series of the past season. In the end, though, the show was canceled (but is coming back in a different form this fall with the Roseanne Barr-less The Conners), and it ended up with just two Emmy nominations.

Laurie Metcalf, fresh off her Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for Lady Bird, nabbed the show’s biggest Emmy nod in Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series nod for Roseanne. Metcalf was nominated in this category four times — winning three — during the comedy’s original run. Roseanne‘s other nomination this year came for editing.

It shouldn’t have been much of a surprise that the sitcom was largely ignored by the Emmys (though we might have expected a John Goodman nomination along with Metcalf’s; he had several nominations in the original run), thanks largely to its polarizing star, but that doesn’t mean this will sit well with fans. Already, some politically minded tweets are blaming the snubs on “lefties” at the Television Academy.

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But at least as far as the Outstanding Comedy Series category is concerned, history is on the Emmys’ side — as popular as the original series was, and as honored with Emmy nominations and wins as several of its actors (including Roseanne Barr) were at the time, the show was shockingly never nominated in that major category during its initial run.

If it’s any consolation to Roseanne, readers of our site, when asked in a poll about whether the show should be given Emmy consideration despite its cancellation, voted that it should.

Will & Grace

NBC’s revival of the beloved ’90s sitcom was also one of the year’s biggest returns. But, in terms of acting nominations, the series came away with only Megan Mullally in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category, and Molly Shannon in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series category, along with some technical nominations.

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Twin Peaks

As you might expect, David Lynch’s revival of his influential ’90s drama received a number of technical nods for elements like its lovely production design and cinematography, and its directing (the always-masterful Lynch himself got a nod here) and writing (Lynch and co-writer Mark Frost). But no actors, nor the show itself, turned up in any major categories.

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American Idol

Although NBC’s rival music competition series The Voice received a number of Emmy nods this year, including for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program, ABC’s much-hyped revival of American Idol was nowhere to be found in any category.

Will ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ Yield at Least One EGOT Winner?

There are only a few living artistic talents who are close to obtaining the Holy Grail of awards recognition — the EGOT (that is, one person winning Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards).

Three of these people — John Legend, Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice — are just an Emmy short of this remarkable, incredibly rare artistic achievement that only 12 people in history have accomplished to date. And all three have a chance to get that elusive Emmy for NBC’s superb Jesus Christ Superstar in Concert.

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Among its nods, the musical is nominated in the Outstanding Variety Special (Live) category. Legend, Lloyd Weber and Rice are credited as executive producers on Superstar, so if it wins here, all three men will nab their EGOT in one fell swoop.

Legend has another chance at an Emmy, as he is also nominated in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie category for his title role as Jesus in Superstar.

We think Legend and the show itself should be favorites in their respective categories, so the odds of at least one new EGOT winner coming out by the end of Emmy night seem good.

A Flood of Emmy Nominations for Streaming

In terms of viewer interest and critical acclaim, it’s been obvious for a while now that streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have rapidly caught up with — if not surpassed in some instances — standard networks, including premium outlets, with their production. These services have been getting noticed more and more by Emmy voters, too.

Netflix in particular has been nipping on HBO’s (traditionally an Emmy nomination network leader) heels in terms of nods in recent years. The streamer came up 20 nods short of HBO last year, but this year it made the incredible leap of edging out the premium leader — Netflix received 112 nominations to HBO’s 108 (and both far surpassed the next network, NBC, with its 78 nods).

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Top Netflix titles including Ozark, GLOW and The Crown are peppered throughout this year’s Emmy nominations list, in an infrequent instance where the tastes of viewers, critics and the Television Academy have found synergy.

We don’t fully know how well Netflix’s massive investment in original series and movies — as well as its mega-production deals with top creative talent like Barbra Streisand, Shonda Rhimes, Jerry Seinfeld and Ryan Murphy, to name a few — is paying off in terms of ratings or profit, but in terms of critical acclaim, and increasingly, Emmy nominations, it has been a shrewd move for the service.

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And other services are making headway at the Emmys, too. Amazon had a number of nods this year, especially for its series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (including an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series nod for Rachel Brosnahan), while Hulu again found itself with several nominations for returning series The Handmaid’s Tale (including Elisabeth Moss‘ second straight nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series) and newcomer The Looming Tower.

The flood of streaming service Emmy nominations does not look like it will diminish in coming years.

70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Monday, Sept. 17, 8/7c (live coast-to-coast), NBC