Five Takeaways from the 2018 Emmy Nominations

We take a look at some of the biggest stories from the list of nominations.

We take a look at some of the biggest stories from the list of nominations.

With the announcement of the nominations for the 2018 Emmy Awards upon us, there’s certainly been plenty to talk about. From the shows with the most nods to the inevitably infuriating snubs, there’s been no shortage of discussion. Here are our biggest takeaways from the nominations:

Sandra Oh’s groundbreaking nomination

Sandra Oh spent years being nominated in the best supporting actress category for her work on Grey’s Anatomy. For which she never once won. And at long last, Oh has earned herself a nomination for best lead actress in a drama series for her role in Killing Eve. And that’s not all. In addition to this being her first nomination for a lead role, this also marks the first time any woman of Asian descent has been nominated in this category. And with high praise for both the show and her performance, it seems that she could be the first to win the award too.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about her nomination, Oh said:

“I feel quite serious about it. What’s a blend of the words ‘seriousness’ and ‘joyous’? I’m absolutely thrilled. I feel my community at all times; I am my community at all times. I have joy not only for the show and myself and family, but also for my community. Hopefully my community can feel like they have representation as well.”

Asian representation clearly still has a long way to go. But between Oh’s nomination and Riz Ahmed becoming the first man of Asian descent to win an acting award last year, there’s hope that things will begin to change.

Game of Thrones and Westworld lead the nominations

After a year off from dominating the Emmys in 2017, Game of Thrones is back in full force. The fantasy series leads with an impressive 22 nominations, just beating out Westworld‘s 21. And while nobody can question the production values of both shows, neither has had the strongest of seasons.

Despite a handful of genuinely great standalone episodes, Westworld struggled to advance its story in a satisfying way. The show put greater focus on confusing timelines and lost sight of its main character’s journeys this season. As the finale hurled one arbitrary twist after another at viewers, many felt that enough was enough. And while Evan Rachel Wood‘s performances were consistently strong, she had significantly less to do this season, as Dolores became increasingly difficult to sympathize with. It was Thandie Newton‘s Maeve who truly held the show together, making her nomination particularly satisfying.

And Game of Thrones ran into similar problems in its seventh season. The show is never short on standout moments but is prone to making odd character choices along the way. Arya’s tension with Sansa, for example, fell flat last season. And viewers were left scratching their heads at the timeline of events, due to some very rushed journeys around Westeros. Much like Westworld, the acting is solid and the production values always impress. But there are certainly shows more deserving of best drama nominations this year.

Twin Peaks gets snubbed

For many, Twin Peaks: The Return was the highlight of 2017. The Return saw David Lynch return to the beloved series, pushing the boundaries of what can be done on TV. And the season did pick up a few nods, most notably for directing and cinematography. But many fans are understandably baffled by the lack of nominations in the major categories. Acting nominations for Kyle MacLachlan are nowhere to be seen. And while her performance in The Tale has rightly earned her recognition, many feel that Laura Dern has been snubbed for her Twin Peaks role.

Considering what an event Twin Peaks‘ comeback was, with “Part 8” being a particular standout, it’s puzzling why the show is being left out of the major awards.

Netflix overtakes HBO for most nominations

For seventeen years HBO has dominated the Emmys. The network has long positioned itself as the home of prestige TV. But now, for the first time ever, Netflix has beaten out HBO for the most nominations. And not even the return of Game of Thrones, which was ineligible for 2017’s awards, could stop that. Among the streaming service’s top-performing shows are Stranger ThingsGodless, and Black Mirror. Earning Netflix a total of 112 nominations. This is an interesting indication of where television is at in 2018, with many viewers turning to streaming services over traditional networks.

But another reason for this is the vast amount of content they put out. Much like in their film division, Netflix aims to cover as many bases as possible with their TV output. With everything from drama to comedy to reality shows covered, Netflix has a unique advantage over the competition. And with their increasing amount of content, from Queer Eye to The Crown, they’re sure to continue their path of domination at the Emmys. The quality over quantity strategy may not be the most popular amongst audiences, but it clearly does Netflix wonders in awards nominations.

Other observations

As always with awards shows, there’s always going to be personal favorites who miss out. Recognition for Maggie Gyllenhaal’s magnificent performance in The Deuce, and sadly the show as a whole, is nowhere to be seen. And other hit shows like AMC’s icy horror The Terror and Netflix’s Dear White People have also received notable snubs. Even Modern Family, which has dominated the comedy categories for years, came up short here.

Elsewhere, Seth Meyers’ Late Night, unfortunately, lost out to the likes of James Corden in the variety talk show category. And in terms of sketch comedy, Saturday Night Live‘s Kenan Thompson finally got himself an Emmy nomination. After fifteen years on the show, it was about damn time. Aidy Bryant also got a well-deserved nod, while Alec Baldwin is again nominated over more deserving actual cast members from SNL. The show has a strong enough cast of its own, that it’s disappointing to see Baldwin again recognized for his toothless Trump impression.

Following his tragic death, Anthony Bourdain earned six posthumous Emmy nominations. The chef had an extensive career, which took him all over the world, inspiring many viewers. And the nominations for Parts Unknown, including those for writing and cinematography, serve as a reminder of how much Bourdain will be missed.

We have plenty of long overdue nods here and even a few pleasant surprises too (Zazie Beetz! Betty Gilpin!). Several egregious decisions aside, there’s a strong list of contenders here and numerous awards could really go in any way.

Hayden Cornmell: Sometimes knows what he's talking about.