2021 Emmys: 9 Controversial Nominations, From ‘Lovecraft Country’ to ‘Emily in Paris’

Emmy nominations Emily in Paris Lovecraft Country Phylicia Rashad This Is Us
Netflix; HBO; NBC

The Emmy nominations are in, complete with some fantastic surprises and perplexing choices within its ranks.

Along with recognizing controversial actors and series, the awards show is also lauding some divisive shows like Emily in Paris and Bridgerton, celebrating timely (and enmeshed in the legal drama) documentaries like Framing Britney Spears, and nominating recently-axed favorites like Lovecraft Country. Talk about stirring up the pop cultural pot!

Below, we’re breaking down some of the Emmys’ most buzzy 2021 nominations, both good and bad.

73rd Annual Emmy Awards, Sunday, September 19, 8/7c, CBS

lovecraft country jonathan majors jurnee smollett michael k williams

Lovecraft Country's Post-Cancellation Noms

Recently canceled following its first season run on HBO, Misha Green‘s Lovecraft Country earned several nods including acting nominations for stars Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett, Aunjanue Ellis, and Michael Kenneth Williams. While it might make the cancellation sting more, the nominations provide hope that Lovecraft Country will get the critical recognition it deserves.

Emily in Paris Ashley Park Lily Collins

Emily in Paris Goes for Gold Again?

Netflix’s buzzy dramedy caused a stir at the Golden Globes earlier this year, and its inclusion among the Emmy nominations didn’t seem like a strong possibility. Surprisingly though, the show about an up-and-coming PR pro (played by Lily Collins) managed to snag a nom for Outstanding Comedy Series. As for the show’s odds at the Emmys? A victory against the likes of Ted Lasso or Hacks seems unlikely.

Don Cheadle - The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Disney+/Marvel Studios

Don Cheadle Beats Out The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

While acting nominations eluded The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s lead performers Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, their costar Don Cheadle made a surprise breakthrough in the Guest Actor in a Drama Series category for his reprisal of James Rhodes. The surprising decision didn’t escape fans’ attention as their divided opinions circulate around the internet.

this is us season 5 susan kelechi watson phylicia rashad

This Is Us Gives Phylicia Rashad Another Chance

In a controversial reveal, Phylicia Rashad was nominated yet again for her guest role as Beth’s mother Carol in NBC’s hit drama This Is Us. The news comes shortly after Rashad made headlines for supporting her former colleague Bill Cosby after he was released from prison.

The Mandalorian Season 2

The Mandalorian Ups Its Acting Game

The Star Wars series tied with Netflix’s The Crown for a single show with the most nominations and even earned several nods in major categories that it was previously shut out of in its first season. Among the pleasant surprises? Giancarlo Esposito graduated from guest star to supporting actor with his nomination. Carl Weathers and Timothy Olyphant also earned nominations for their guest-starring gigs.

Bridgerton - Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor

Bridgerton Bombshells

Shonda Rhimes‘ sudsy Bridgerton not only snagged an Outstanding Drama Series nomination but also one for star Rege-Jean Page as a Lead Actor in a Drama Series. While the series was wildly popular on Netflix, it didn’t garner so much critical buzz, making Bridgerton‘s Emmy inclusion a little perplexing, but certainly nothing to complain about.

The Boys Season 2 Homelander Starlight
Amazon Studios

The Boys Breakthrough

Amazon Prime Video’s mega-hit The Boys finally broke the major categories at the Emmys with nominations for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. While it’s a promising accomplishment, it’s slightly shocking that not a single star from the drama was able to crack the acting categories.

Framing Britney Spears

Framing Britney Spears Shines

The documentary special which sparked the #FreeBritney conversation is being recognized at the Emmys with a nomination for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special. The title’s inclusion serves as a reflection of current events.

Allen v. Farrow Mia Farrow HBO

Allen v. Farrow Finds Footing at the Emmys

Despite differing takes on HBO’s docuseries, the Emmys made it clear where they stand when it comes to the long-discussed controversy surrounding Woody Allen and Mia Farrow with its nomination for Allen v. Farrow. The title is being recognized in the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special category.