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Richard Madden, MJ Rodriguez, and More
This year’s Emmy nominations came with more than a few surprises (Schitt’s Creek! Phoebe Waller-Bridge! Pose!), but with every spot taken by a surprise, that leaves one less spot for someone who was assumed to end up with a nomination. In the past, the Emmys have been predictive in a way. If you’ve been nominated a couple times before, in this case of, say, Lily Tomlin or Tracee Ellis-Ross, you should expect a nomination. And in recent years, a fast track to awards season is for film stars to cross over to television. This year, that changed a bit.
While plenty of supporting categories ended up falling into the same predictable nomination habits, it was the lead acting and series categories that turned the Emmys on its head. And those surprises signal exciting changes for what’s ahead for TV. As television continues to evolve, the nomination process evolves with it. Below are seven of this year’s biggest Emmy snubs.
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale has been on a steady decline since it deviated from its source material. The original premise that felt poignantly relevant for our current times now feels like full-blown misery porn, but that doesn’t take away from the fine acting Yvonne Strahovski brings to the table as Serena Joy. Her Season Two finale scene where she turns over her daughter Nicole for a better life outside of the country she created is one of the most touching scenes of the past year.
Connie Britton, Dirty John
This felt like a gimme that came up empty. While Emmy nominations aren’t decided on popularity alone, it does tend to help get your name into the mix. Britton was praised for her performance on the podcast-to-Bravo show, but she remains on a six-year dry spell when it comes to Emmy love. Not even the real-life horrors ofDebra Newell could get the Academy’s attention.
Richard Madden, Bodyguard
People love Bodyguard in a way that not even star Richard Madden expected. Much like Britton, his nomination was an expected one and yet, after the names were called Madden was left out of the conversation. Following a massive role in the biopic Rocketman, a breakout TV hit, and rumors that he may tackle Bond, it seemed like a given that the Academy would jump to honor Madden with a nomination, but no dice. While the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category has notoriously been a tough one to crack, it’s hard to imagine why This Is Us would need to occupy two of those spots.
MJ Rodriguez and Indya Moore, Pose
Pose locked in a deserving nomination in Best Drama Series and Lead Actor in a Drama, but the women who hold the show together were looked over. In particular, MJ Rodriguez’s performance as Blanca Evangelista and Indya Moore’s heartbreaking run as Angel are glaring oversights. The latter is particularly painful, with Game of Thrones taking four nomination spots in the Supporting Actress category when the series’ writing was blaseé at best.
Multiple nominations tend to lead to an automatic seat at the table. That wasn’t the case with Handmaid’s Tale, Black-ish, Tracee Ellis-Ross, or Grace and Frankie’s Lily Tomlin. This year’s nominations ousted long running nominees in favor of new blood—but Ellis-Ross’ performance continues to be a stalwart mainstay on network TV.
Oh to be a fly on George Clooney’s wall right now. Catch-22 made it through the Emmys process with a grand total of zero nominations, including any love for TV’s former poster boy, Clooney. Additionally, Julia Roberts didn’t lock in a nomination for Homecoming. The limited series produced some of this year’s biggest surprises, with Joey King going head to head with Patricia Arquette for Hulu’s The Act. When it’s all said and done, movie star notoriety didn’t carry the weight it normally does.
Putting aside the fact that Game of Thrones was nominated for 7,053,137 Emmys this year, other series coming to a close didn’t get the same kind of love. Big Bang Theory, which has previously been a notable contender in the Comedy and Lead Actor categories came up empty this year. One Day at a Time couldn’t nab an anticipated nomination for Rita Moreno, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s (albeit strange) final season couldn’t drum up much love either.
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment.