By Jennifer Zilla
The 74th Annual Emmy Award nominations were released last night to kick off the long awards season which runs through the winter of next year. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences chose their favorite shows and they got a lot right but boy did they get a lot wrong as well.
Here is the scoop on all the best and most deserved picks as well as the snubs and most annoying choices by Hollywood:
Most Deserved: Squid Game picks up several nominations
Squid Game is a Korean based series brought to Americans by Netflix which swept the nation and captured our imaginations in the best way. The memes abounded, the Halloween costumes spoke for themselves, it was a genuinely wonderful show fully deserving of recognition.
Squid Game has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Jung Ho-yeon), Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Park Hae-soo and Oh Yeong-su), Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Lee Jung-jae) and Outstanding Drama Series (best Drama).
Biggest Snub: Cobie Smulders as Ann Coulter in American Crime Story: Impeachment
Cobie Smulders of Avengers and How I Met Your Mother fame played the iconic and indomitable Ann Coulter in American Crime Story: Impeachment and she truly nailed it. Not only did Smulders completely embody Coulter’s distinctive diction, accent, and body language but she clearly bothered to understand and empathize with Coulter’s motivations and sincerely held beliefs. She understood Coulter’s particular brand of gamesmanship and her ability to stay well above the fray looking at the broader picture and the whole chess board. It was a sensational performance that Hollywood OF COURSE snubbed because how dare Smulders do Coulter very well instead of in caricature.
Most Annoying: They nominated the entire cast of White Lotus which took spots from other well-deserving actors
White Lotus was a great show with a lot of fan support and definitely deserving of award recognition. But while some of the cast definitely earned their spot for Supporting cast in a limited series like Jennifer Coolidge and Murray Bartlett, others really did not. For example, Connie Britton is a Hollywood darling and talented actor who has been often overlooked for strong roles. But her part in White Lotus was extremely minimal and borderline a plot tool. Alexandra Daddario’s scenario was important to the story but her performance was primarily sitting contemplatively and was definitely not on par with Jennifer Coolidge or Murray Bartlett by any stretch of the imagination. These examples are only two of at least six people who were redundantly nominated in these categories which left performances by Michelle Dockery in Anatomy of a Scandal and others out of the category. It makes me wonder: did Emmy voters just only see one show?
Best Surprise: Best Actress nomination for Lily James as Pamela Anderson
It makes me emotional just recalling Lily Jame’s sincere, vulnerable and genuinely honest portrayal of Pamela Anderson in Tommy and Pam. What could have been a caricature or an unflattering mimic of the icon was turned into something truly special through James’s uncanny ability to achieve warmth in anything she does. James was not only a dead ringer for young Pamela who nailed her voice and mannerisms but she took Pam’s side. Watching James as Anderson fall in love and be so desperate for a happy supportive family only to lose everything including her child because of that sex tape is like watching history be rewritten. It was the performance of James’s career and truly a vindication for Pamela Anderson herself. James is nominated for Best Lead Actress in a Limited Series.
Most unsurprising but still annoying snub: The young talent of Stranger Things
Stranger Things is nominated for Outstanding Drama Series and yet not one of their large and extraordinary young cast was nominated for their performances. There is no question that these teens and young adults have made the show what it is today and it’s a bit of an outrage to nominate the show but not the players who really drove the show to be special. The decision is unsurprising because Hollywood rarely cares to award child actors and when they do it’s normally fairly token.
Most mind boggling and shocking beyond wildest belief nomination: Dave Chappelle for The Closer
Dave Chappelle stood up and gave one of the best comedic performances of his very storied career and perhaps of the modern comedic generation for a Netflix special called The Closer and it basically broke the internet. Chappelle’s unwillingness to shy away from poking fun at whatever he felt like poking fun at including the transgendered community caused an uproar among the speech police who like always tried to shut down all conversations and determine what can and cannot be funny based on the hurt feelings of a select elite group (all other people’s feelings are allowed to be hurt you see). Chappelle never backed down and to their credit, Netflix never flinched despite calls to remove the program and various condemnations from famous people with shallow opinions.
Chappelle has been nominated for Best Variety Special and this nomination had me on the ground in shock. I may have to reevaluate my entire take on human behavior and Hollywood. Of course Chappelle deserves it, but I was almost CERTAIN the voting body would snub him for daring to say what he wants in the name of the art of comedy. This nomination is one of the most hopeful signs of preserving free speech in America I’ve seen since Elon almost bought Twitter (RIP).
Glaring Snub: The Gilded Age
The Gilded Age from HBO Max only garnered one nomination for production design. This is a fairly sizable snub considering the high quality and coming off of the wild award success of Julian Fellowes’s last project, Downton Abbey. Not only is the show worthy of Outstanding Drama consideration, many of the characters received more than enough material for spots in the acting categories. Particularly in the case of the phenomenal Christine Baranski. Their snub across the board is a crime against television.
Best nominations: Only Murders in the Building gets the support it deservers
It is impossible to overstate the significance of Only Murders in the Building on Hulu. The show is equal parts mystery, comedy, drama and piece of visual art. The care which Steve Martin has taken in all his true genius to create something with so much life and personality is beyond what most modern filmmakers and storytellers will ever achieve. The show has been nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series and both Steve Martin and Martin Short have been nominated in the Best Lead Actor category. Selena Gomez did not receive a nomination for her role in the show which is itself a crime but she is a producer on the show meaning she is recognized for the series nomination.
Jane Lynch and Nathan Lane both recieved nominations for their guest roles on the show and the series received nominations for production design, casting, musical score, original theme song, writing and costumes as well as several other technical categories. Two different directors got nominated for their respective episodes on the show. The love fest for Only Murders is well deserved.
Here is the full list of nominees and be sure to check back with The Conservative Critic as awards season moves on into fall and winter.