Emmy nominations: The good (diversity), bad (‘Outlander’ snubs) & ugly (‘The Leftovers’ left out)

For the awards-obsessed Gold Derby editors and contributing writers, the Emmy Awards nominations are like every Christmas, birthday and wedding all rolled into one. We eagerly await the announcement of every name, celebrate our savvy predictions while bemoaning those snubs and surprises that show us up. Below, our collective thoughts on the highs, lows and WTF moments of Thursday’s big reveal.

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GOOD
Two nominations for Sarah Paulson (“The People v. O.J. Simpson” and “American Horror Story: Hotel”), two nominations for “UnReal” (Constance Zimmer and Best Drama Writing), plus well-deserved noms for Kit Harington and Maisie Williams (“Game of Thrones”) all make me very happy. I give these Emmy noms a solid B. – Marcus James Dixon

This year’s Emmy nominations showed a welcome increase in representation of minorities, and it was a particularly encouraging year for diverse diversity. Nominees represented black (“Black-ish,” “People v. O.J .Simpson,” etc.), Asian (“Master of None”) and Egyptian (“Mr. Robot”) performers and creators. There’s plenty of room for improvement in various areas (“Fresh Off the Boat” and “Jane the Virgin” were snubbed, for instance), but this was a step in the right direction. – Daniel Montgomery

Emmy is going against type and nominating Maisie Williams for “Game of Thrones.” We’ve seen young performers on the Movie/Movie side breakthrough with nominations in the past. But, you usually have to be old enough to rent a car to be nominated in a comedy or drama category. Which makes her nomination all the more surprising and well deserved! – Amanda Spears

After having been in denial for the last three years as to whether “The Americans” might break through at the Emmys, I should have known better after the show picked up a surprise writing nomination and a win for Margo Martindale last year, and realized that it was gaining ground. To receive nominations for Best Drama Series and for its two leads (as well as a writing nod for its amazing season finale) for a season that was truly its best yet made me dance around in glee like nobody was watching. Matthew Rhys is a powerhouse and was so overdue for a nomination (his first), and Keri Russell, snubbed all those years ago when she was “Felicity” on the WB, is finally making her mark in the role of her lifetime and now has an Emmy nomination to show for it. – Rob Licuria

Netflix makes its strongest stand to date with 54 total nominations. Just three years ago when “House of Cards” made its debut, the online service received 14 nods. That went up to 31 in 2014 and 34 last year. Now Netflix has more nominations than any of the broadcast networks. For an organization that has a reputation for being reluctant to embrace new things, the Emmys are reflecting how we view television more and more. – Charles Bright

It is thrilling to see the three best limited series of the year — “People v. O.J. Simpson,” “Fargo” and “The Night Manager” so represented throughout many categories. It’s also great to see the support for “The Americans” and “Mr. Robot.” – Chris Beachum

One of the outstanding elements of “The People v. O.J. Simpson” was its direction, so it was exciting to see all three of its helmers — Ryan Murphy, Anthony Hemingway, and John Singleton — recognized for their efforts. – Zach Laws

Hannibal” is finally an Emmy-nominated show! As it was cancelled a year ago, the studio ran no campaign and it was up to individuals who worked on the show to submit themselves, which resulted in sparse representation on the ballots. Even if its nomination is in a minor category (Best Supporting Visual Effects), it is encouraging that it is possible for a show to get a nomination without spending millions (or even a dime) on DVD mailers, billboards, special events and online advertisements. And “Hannibal” cinematographer James Hawkinson received his overdue first nomination, for “The Man in the High Castle.” – Riley Chow

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BAD
I really wanted Hulu to break through with three quality productions — “Casual,” “The Path” and “11.22.63” — but they will have to wait until next year. – Chris Beachum

While “Black-ish” reaped deserving nominations for Best Comedy Series and for leads Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, the show really deserved recognition for supporting players Laurence Fishburne and Jenifer Lewis as Anderson’s parents, as well as a writing nod for the powerful and timely episode “Hope.” – Zach Laws

The lineup for Animated Program is so boring. Four of the five nominees were there last year: “Archer,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “The Simpsons” and “South Park” and the fifth nominee is the hour-long finale of “Phineas and Ferb.” Meanwhile, you have shows like “Bojack Horseman” and “Rick and Morty,” which pushed the boundaries of what you might expect a cartoon to deliver on an emotional level. Not only did both those programs deserve to be in this category, they also deserved to be in the writing category for episodes that had tremendous depth and character. Let’s hope these shows have great third seasons and that Emmy voters wake up to their existence. – Charles Bright

“The People v. O.J. Simpson” and “Fargo” deserved major nominations, but not at the expense of “Roots” and “American Crime,” which were greatly under-rewarded, or “Show Me a Hero,” which was snubbed altogether. – Daniel Montgomery

Repeat nominees Ben Mendelsohn (“Bloodline”) and Michael Kelly (“House of Cards”) both were deserving nominees last year but neither had a storyline or enough to do to warrant a nomination in the highly competitive Best Drama Supporting Actor category. – Amanda Spears

Emmy voters did a great job of making up for past mistakes this year, from nominating “The Americans” leads to honoring Ellie Kemper (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”). However, there are many worthy folks still waiting in the wings for their first bids, like Melissa McBride (“The Walking Dead”) and Michael McKean (“Better Call Saul”). Maybe next year? – Marcus James Dixon

The consensus appears to be that “Orange is the New Black” had a relatively weak third season. But to garner only one single nomination (for casting) was a huge disappointment, especially as its best-ever fourth season is streaming to such critical acclaim. Ditto “Outlander,” which just concluded an excellent second season on Starz and was almost entirely ignored (apart from deserving nods for its costumes and production design), especially in the acting races for the likes of Caitriona Balfe, Sam HeughanTobias Menzies and Duncan Lacroix. – Rob Licuria

Yes, Academy, “Vinyl” was indeed bad. – Riley Chow

Emmy Awards: Complete list of nominations

UGLY
As far as I am concerned, there are three shows vying for the title “Best on TV” – “The Americans,” “Mr. Robot” and “The Leftovers” – and one of those shows (“The Leftovers”) has been, for the second year in a row, inexplicably snubbed across the board. I can make peace with an Emmy list that does not include “The Leftovers” as a Best Drama Series nominee; that category is really competitive. But not a single acting nomination? Not for the likes of Justin Theroux, Ann Dowd, Regina King, Carrie Coon, Amy Brenneman or Liv Tyler? Or its Emmy-winning director Mimi Leder? Or even more egregious, not even a single token nomination for “International Assassin” by Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse, which was arguably the most astonishing hour of television this past season? – Rob Licuria

This year was good news for diversity, unless you’re a talk show host. Jerry Seinfeld (“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”) and James Corden (“Late Late Show”) were invited into the Best Variety Talk Show category, but Larry Wilmore (“The Nightly Show”) and Trevor Noah (“The Daily Show”) weren’t. Worse, neither was the year’s most talked about and acclaimed new variety program, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” Apparently, women still need not apply in the late night boys’ club. – Daniel Montgomery

We like to say that television is on the same level as film, but “Spectre” earned a 60 on Metacritic and one Oscar nomination. “The Night Manager” scored 82 and is up for 12 Emmys, including lead actor Tom Hiddleston over Patrick Wilson for “Fargo” and writer David Farr over John Ridley for “American Crime.” – Riley Chow

The two best performances of the year — Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore from “Bates Motel” — were snubbed once again by voters. We get it, you don’t have time to watch everything on TV. But if you just watched ONE episode from season four you’d know how exceptional this duo was this year. Don’t let us send Mother after you. – Marcus James Dixon

A rule change is needed to stop allowing individuals and their projects from getting both an Oscar and Emmy nomination. “Til it Happens to You” already had its chance. Would it really have been fair to allow Netflix to enter “Beasts of No Nation”? – Amanda Spears

After getting 10 nominations last year (and a win for Regina King in Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress), the stellar second season of “American Crime” only managed to get four nominations. The second season of this anthology focusing on the effects of a sexual assault at a private high school was a true standout in this amazing year in television. While it did claim nods for Best Limited Series, Best Movie/Mini Actress (Felicity Huffman and Lili Taylor) and Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress (King), the snubs in both writing and directing are indefensible. The slighting of both Connor Jessup and Joey Pollari in Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor for their phenomenal performances is nothing short of CRIMINAL! Also, the snubbing of Aya Cash in Comedy Actress for “You’re the Worst.” – Charles Bright

Voters certainly weren’t sentimental about the final seasons of “Downton Abbey” (at least in acting) and “The Good Wife” (at all). – Chris Beachum

The various snubs throughout the Movie and Limited Series acting categories proves there needs to be separate categories for each, instead of a lumping of them all-together. C’mon Emmy voters: you’ve already got a billion categories, a couple more won’t hurt. – Zach Laws

[WATCH] Gold Derby editors’ reactions to Emmy nominations: OMG, hooray and huh?

17 thoughts on “Emmy nominations: The good (diversity), bad (‘Outlander’ snubs) & ugly (‘The Leftovers’ left out)

  1. “The Good Wife” was skunked. Deplorable.
    And as always, no love for “The Middle” or “The Goldbergs” — though they hang on to “Modern Family” like it’s the second coming of “Frasier”.

  2. Connor Jessup and Joey Pollari snubs is proof members don’t watch the f*cking screeners. It’s a popularity contest at best, unfortunately.

      1. I agree. If the Academy had seen the second season episode ‘Faith’, – in which I cried and I don’t usually cry for nothing – Caitriona would be a Emmy nominee this year. And I am not going to talk about Tobias, who is actually brilliant as both ‘Black Jack’ and Frank (the «nasty villain» and the «good guy»), or even Sam, the most truthful scottish warrior in the whole series. I just can’t believe it. And how about Duncan, Simon, Graham or Andrew Gower? That line «mark me» killed me in this season! Why Outlander is so underrated? The show deserve better. Why the winners are the same, year after year? House Of Cards, Homeland, Empire, Modern Family, Game Of Thrones… and what about others? They should give the opportunity for other people win! Really? The Good Wife again? It is so boring. Some of those seasons aren’t even watchable anymore.

    1. I can see that there are a lot of individuals out there that are literary
      incompetent. They wouldn’t know excellence if it were delivered on a
      silver platter. Shame on the Academy. I feel that a snub should be
      given to the Emmy this year. No Outlander nominees, No support for the
      award program. I would love the email to the people in charge of
      the nominations.

  3. Totally agree that the Leftovers (at least for me) was the best thing (except Fargo) I watched last year, so not seeing it nominated for Best series and especially the performences by Carrie Coon (thank god she will get her nom for Fargo next year), Justin Theroux, Christopher Eccleston and Regina King (she should be a double nominee for both The Leftovers and American Crime) not to get honored with a nomination, hurts. But then also amazing performences by Vera Farmiga, Eva Green (“Blade of Grass” was outstanding) and Shiri Appleby (the finale alone should have given her the edge to get a nomination) were ignored (or not even watched) by the voters.

    I had a small hope that Aya Cash would sneak in for her amazing work on the second season of You´re the Worst. That was something. But the show didnt even manage to get a writing nom for the standout “LCD Soundsystem”.

  4. The Leftovers is interesting, but I don’t have any emotional investment in what happens to any of the characters.

  5. I get that they really liked The People vs. OJ Simpson. I really liked it too. But putting Cuba in over Patrick Wilson and David Schwimmer in over Connor Jessup is pretty ugly. When Wilson was announced to be playing young Lou Solverson, I had major reservations he could successfully take over a character who had become so iconic in the Fargo universe. But he made me believe he was Lou. He did it really well. And Connor Jessup I believe gave the best performance in a supporting role in a miniseries this year. I think there were too many sweeps this year. Sweeps in wins became a thing last year, but this year we seem to have sweeps in nominations with shows like GoT and OJ Simpson, and those sweeps may have been extended to some people who really weren’t as deserving as others. I would like to have seen them spread the love around a bit more. You know, maybe be aware there are other good dramas and good miniseries out there that had really good actors and good directing and good writing.

    As for the bad, I wish they had been a little more aware of Maria Bamford in Lady Dynamite. Nobody has really been talking about her performance on that show, and that’s a shame. She put herself all out there and opened up some truly vulnerable parts of herself to the world on that show. Another bad, while The Good Wife has never been one of my favorite shows, I am shocked they would snub Christine Baranski and even Julianna Margulies. And to nominate that awful finale for writing…ugh, no words. I wish they had snubbed the writers, and nominated Christine Baranski and Margulies instead.

    As for the good, I’m just happy Maura Tierney and Thomas Middleditch got their well-deserved nominations for this year. It just goes to show sometimes you can give a really good performance and actually get nominated for an Emmy for it. And in Maura’s case, you can be on a show that’s not on the Emmy radar at all, and still get nominated, and that is nice to see.

  6. “We like to say that television is on the same level as film, but “Spectre” earned a 60 on Metacritic and one Oscar nomination. “The Night Manager” scored 82 and is up for 12 Emmys…”

    I’ve read this three times and cannot for the life of me work out what his point is. Any ideas?

  7. Cannot believe Outlander was not recognized. The show and the actors are superb. Who is making the slections? I have no interest in watching the Emmys this year. Have seen a few of the shows nominated and am not impressed with some. Emmys have become too politically correct and are no longer about the best of a catagory.

  8. I am totally surprised that Outlander had no nominations for the Emmys. Having read all the books I am totally delighted that the tv series follows the books so closely. The actors’ playing the characters’ are actually as I imagined them. In fact when I heard that the series was to be televised I could not imagine how they would find the right kind of actors, especially Jamie and Claire. They did.

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