Two new streaming services made impressive debuts in the 2020 Emmy race. Disney+ and Apple TV+ shattered the expectations of naysayers, who worried that the streamers wouldn’t have the snob appeal or reach to register with Emmy voters. The nominations total for each of these freshmen streaming networks bested the previous first year nominations record by streaming services.
Thanks in large part to the massive success of the first ever live action series set in the “Star Wars” universe, Disney+ just had the best first year nomination tally ever for a streaming service. They snagged a total of nineteen nominations, fifteen of which came from the cultural phenomenon “The Mandalorian.” The saga of a lone gunslinger in a galaxy far far away went viral thanks to Baby Yoda memes, but won over TV fans thanks to its western and samurai influenced presentation. It earned a surprise Drama Series bid, a Drama Guest Actor nomination for Giancarlo Esposito, and a slew of below the line citations.
Disney+ managed to score solo nominations for other programs. “A Celebration of the Music from Coco” was singled out for Contemporary Hairstyling. “Forky Asks a Question: What is Love?” was nominated for Short Form Animated Program. “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” was nominated for Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special. And Angela Bassett earned one of her two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Narrator of “The Imagineering Story” (her second bid is in Comedy Guest Actress, for of “A Black Lady Sketch Show”).
Apple TV+ came in at eighteen total nominations. Just one shy of tying the new record by rival Disney+. Most of their nominations came from the critically lauded “The Morning Show.” That series landed eight nominations, though it failed to make the cut for Drama Series. However, the drama does boast an impressive five acting nominations for Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carrell, Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, and Martin Short.
The streamer also landed five bids for “Beastie Boys Story,” including Documentary or Nonfiction Special, and two nominations for “Defending Jacob” (Main Title Theme Music and Cinematography). “Home” earned a nomination for Music Composition, while Leslie Odom Jr. nabbed a nomination for Voice Over Performance for “Central Park,” and Chiwetel Ejiofor landed an Outstanding Narrator nomination for “The Elephant Queen.”
Both Apple TV+ and Disney+ surpassed the previous record most nominated debut year of a streaming service at the Emmys. That title was formerly held by Amazon, who scored twelve nominations at the 2015 Emmys. This was mostly thanks to “Transparent,” which landed eleven bids including Comedy Series. “Bosch” also competed in Main Title Design.
“Netflix” was the first streaming candidate to be recognized at the Emmys, of course. They landed ten nominations in their first competitive season. Nine of those bids were courtesy of “House of Cards,” which was the first streaming series to be nominated in the Drama Series race. It was also the first streaming show to win at the Emmys, as David Fincher bagged Drama Director and the show won additional trophies for Cinematography and Casting. Netflix earned an additional Comedy Lead Actor nomination for Jason Bateman (“Arrested Development”).
Hulu boasted an impressive sixteen nominations at the 2017 Emmy ceremony. That was due to Drama Series winner “The Handmaid’s Tale” scoring thirteen bids and “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week” nabbing three. But Hulu first competed in 2016. That year saw the network’s Emmy hopes pinned on the Stephen King limited series “11.22.63.” Alas, it scored just one nomination for Supporting Visual Effects. “Triumph’s Election Special 2016” earned the streamer a second nomination in its debut year, for Writing for a Variety Special.
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