Emmys 2017: What the Nominees Are Saying

10:10 AM 7/13/2017

by THR Staff

What stars are saying about their honor on Thursday morning.

The Television Academy announced nominees for the 2017 Primetime Emmy Awards on Thursday morning at the Academy's Wolf Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Academy tapped Veep star Anna Chlumsky and Shemar Moore, star of the forthcoming CBS drama S.W.A.T., to name this year's nominees. Saturday Night Live and Westworld led the tally for the most nominations with 22 noms each, followed by Stranger Things and FEUD: Bette and Joan, which each had 18.

Read on to see what the nominees had to say upon hearing the news Thursday morning. (And for reactions from the nominees for the Creative Arts Emmys, which will be handed out Sept. 9 and 10 and honor the best in television cinematography, editing, production design, sound and more, click here.)

  • Millie Bobby Brown

    Best supporting actress in a drama series for Netflix's 'Stranger Things'

    Getty Images

    "Ahhhh! Only in my dreams could I have imagined this. Thank you to the Television Academy for the incredible amount of love and support they have shown me and our show this morning," the first time Emmy nominee says. "I have so much fun playing Eleven, and am forever grateful to The Duffers, Shawn Levy and Netflix for allowing me the opportunity to become her. This is an unbelievable honor, and I can't wait to dance the night away with the cast and Stranger Things team!"

  • Carrie Coon

    Best actress in a limited series or movie for FX's 'Fargo'

    Meredith Jenks

    Coon got the good news from her "greatest champion," her husband, playwright and actor Tracy Letts, "I think he's actually been thinking about it more than I have," she tells THR with a laugh. "When drama actress came up, it's in alphabetical order, and he immediately said, 'You're not nominated for drama actress,' and he was quite scared. And then jumping up and down in my living room when my category came up. We were beyond thrilled of course." As for her celebration plans, "I have a scheduled meeting… that meeting is going as planned, there's just going to be champagne," she says.

    Coon's Emmy nomination, her first, comes in the midst of a banner year for the actress, who turned out critically acclaimed performances in both FX's Fargo and HBO's The Leftovers. Although Coon admits she was "disappointed" about the lack of recognition for The Leftovers, her limited series category has its perks. "I'm literally in a category full of movie stars," she says of her fellow nominees. So what's next now that her time on both series is over? "I know that there's going to be a television project that comes along that I can't refuse," she says. "The benefit of being in the position that I'm in right now is I get to wait for just the right thing." — Kate Stanhope

  • Ellie Kemper

    Best actress in a comedy series for Netflix's 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt'

    Courtesy of Netflix

    The actress says of her second Emmy nomination, "I am so honored to be included in this extraordinary group of women. And I am very grateful to Robert, Tina, and all of our cast and crew who make my job so pleasant. Go Russia! I mean, go USA!"

  • Bob Odenkirk

    Best actor in a drama series for AMC's 'Better Call Saul'

    Austin Hargrave

    While this marks his third nomination for his performance in the Breaking Bad spinoff, Odenkirk insists the recognition still doesn't get old. "I think if it wasn’t such a competitive world that we're in, I guess it could feel like it gets old but because I know what's out there and the landscape and how many great performances and shows and the level of excellence in TV is so high right now… it stays really special because of that."

    Coming off the nomination, Odenkirk was excited to head to work. "I am acting in a Steven Spielberg movie and I can't imagine a better way to celebrate," he says. His scene partner for the day? None other than fellow drama series actor nominee Matthew Rhys of The Americans. "So we'll either have some champagne or a fist fight," he jokes. — Kate Stanhope

  • Dan Fogelman

    Best drama series for NBC's 'This Is Us'

    Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

    This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman was getting ready — brushing his teeth while listening to the nominations on his wife's cell phone — as he prepared to head back to work on episode two of the NBC drama's sophomore season when he learned of his show's multiple mentions. The time-jumping family drama scored 11 total nominations — including best drama series, the first time a broadcast series has cracked the category since 2011.

    "The emails are flying!" Fogelman told THR early Thursday. "We're so busy right now that there's not a lot of time to think … the feed was freezing and we didn't quite understand what was happening. People were texting us ahead of us understanding what was going on!"

    Fogelman noted that the way This Is Us is filmed — with members of the family working together in different scenes at any given time and not a lot of group scenes — will make getting the whole group together to celebrate complicated. "There hasn't been a lot of planning! I need to figure out how to get everyone together in some way — I've never done this before!" the first-time nominee enthused. The busy producer was on his way to film on location Thursday and planned to find a way to head to the show's L.A. set to celebrate properly with the production.

    One thing that wasn't lost on Fogelman: how challenging it is for programming that is both sentimental and heartfelt to cut through a cluttered landscape filled with dark dramas and anti-heroes. "Normally if you have a sentiment in your show it's not in the same conversation as darker fare, and if you have sentiment and comedy? That's even more dangerous," he said, crediting stars including fellow nominees Milo Ventimiglia, Sterling K. Brown and Chrissy Metz, among others, for helping to elevate the content with serious performances. "You actually feel like you're watching something more weighty than it may be because the actors are so good. That's why our show was able to cut through multiple  conversations: it's popular and critical."

    As for what to expect when the 18-episode second season returns in the fall, Fogelman and company plan to lean deeper into the family's drama. "The family has big stories this season. The first season laid out the logistics of the family and in the second season, we're able to dig deeper. We're doing heavy duty stuff to understand the separation between Chrissy and Mandy Moore's mother and daughter and why they feel so distant from each other. Each progressive season will be more intimate and explore more inside these relationships." — Lesley Goldberg 

  • Tituss Burgess

    Best supporting actor in a comedy series for Netflix's 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt'

    Courtesy of Netflix

    “I’m continuously blown away by our show’s talent in front of and behind the camera, and this season is no exception," Burgess, who plays Titus Andromedon on the show, says. "It’s truly an honor to be recognized alongside such an incredible cast and crew. Thank you to the Academy, thank you to our UKS family, and thank you Beyoncé.”

  • Kathryn Hahn

    Best supporting actress in a comedy series for Amazon's 'Transparent'

    "What is happening?! It's so nuts! I'm going to have to change my iPhone description from now on," the actress jokes to THR. And while Emmy nominations were early this morning, the actress was awake for other reasons. "Honey, I got up early because I was going to keep it real and had zero expectations for this day. I was in a Pop Physique class this morning! It's an exercise class so I was working on buns from 8:30 to 9:30 and came out to a gazillion messages. I got a lot of vague "woohoo!" texts so I had to try and figure out what was happening." 

    She adds, "I was flipping out, covered in sweat and now I'm on my way to a doctor's appointment. It's so crazy! I have to go call Rabbi Susan Goldberg who walked me through this whole journey. I definitely want to share this with her. I couldn't have done it without her."

    As for what she looks forward to most about attending TV's biggest night, "I can't wait to fan girl all over Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones — Handmaid's Tale I was obsessed with, my husband and I couldn't stop watching it — and I can't wait to have a glass of champagne. Mommy loves getting dressed up once in a while."  Brian Porreca

  • David Harbour

    Best supporting actor in a drama series for Netflix's 'Stranger Things'

    Courtesy of Netflix

    The veteran actor slept through the Emmy nominations announcement after reading some pre-nominations articles online days earlier. "Nobody was mentioning me so I was like, 'That's alright, I don't really care,'" he says. "My pride was hurt a little bit so I was like, 'David, just don't watch them, don't pay attention to them and have a shitty day and then it will blow over. So it was very unexpected."

    Earlier this year, Harbour gave a famously impassioned speech at the Screen Actors Guild awards (that drew equally memorable facial expressions from co-star Winona Ryder). "I do have something I'm working on," he says when asked about a potential Emmys speech. "I don't want to get my hopes up. I think I'm a long shot now for the win but if I do win, you can expect something a little bit wacky, no doubt. I am an out-there person and I don't hold back and I'm wildly from the heart." — Kate Stanhope

  • Matt Walsh

    Best supporting actor in a comedy series for HBO's 'Veep'

    Courtesy of Colleen Hayes/HBO

    After earning his surprise first nomination for Mike McLintock last year, the actor and comedian was aware of nominations day, but he was still unreachable. "I'm in Paris, of all places," Walsh told THR after his publicist tracked him down. In France to film an independent movie with his family in tow, Walsh was headed to a two-hour wardrobe fitting on Thursday when he realized he had left his phone back at the family's "flat" — which, of course, is a very Mike McLintock thing to do. "My wife beat me home — we took two cabs because we had the kids — and she was crying and shaking when I came in the door. She saw that my phone was buzzing nonstop. I was astonished. I did not expect anything and then was hilariously like, 'Of course I left my phone and people are trying to reach me.' But McLintock would be missing for two days as opposed to two hours, that’s the difference."

    Walsh joins co-star Tony Hale in the best supporting actor category for the second year in a row — "Tim had a great journey this year. His storyline was so funny and strong," he said of co-star Simmons, who was also a projected nominee — and the pair already texted their congrats to each other. (Veep scored a total 17 nominations, including honors for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, nominations announcer Anna Chlumsky, guest star Hugh Laurie and showrunner David Mandel.) "Truthfully, being on the show for four years, I'm completely ecstatic to be on a funny show that gets respect and praise. I’ve done funny shows before in a vacuum and no one sees them, so to have critical acclaim is complete a dream for me — and to have a gig to go back to in the fall. This second year is a little weirder because I went into it thinking, 'Maybe I'll get one, maybe I won't.' The truth is that the best moment is this one right now. Sure I'd love to win, but the Emmy nomination high is a big one. I’m probably going to order dinner for the family at some point. Maybe I will go get a bottle of wine — I am in France — and have a glass of wine at home with the family to celebrate." — Jackie Strause

  • Samantha Bee

    Best variety talk program, best variety writing and more for TBS' 'Full Frontal With Samantha Bee'

    Photographed by Miller Mobley

    "I was just running a half-marathon, as I do on Thursdays, and look what happened?" No, this is not how Samantha Bee found out about her series' two nominations. "Actually I was in a meeting with the field department, talking about stuff we're doing on the show, and then we heard a little yelp from down the hall," Bee clarifies, laughing. "It was not a productive meeting." As for finally breaking through to the outstanding variety category after a widely bemoaned snub in 2016, Bee remains grateful. "I don't discount the writing nomination at all," she says. "Our writers 100 percent deserved it, and they deserve it this year as well. But having the whole team get recognized is very gratifying." — Michael O'Connell

  • Anthony Anderson

    Best actor in a comedy series for ABC's 'Black-ish'

    "I was in hair and makeup for my game show with my mom, To Tell the Truth, and I just happened to look at my phone and within 30 seconds I had 47 text messages. I didn't know what was going on," Anthony says.

    And with this being the actor's third nomination for his role in the sitcom, he's hoping for a win. Telling THR, "Third time's a charm! I look at the work we've been doing collectively and individually and I look at the impact that our show has had with society and it's a great deal that it resonates with audiences in the way that it does. That's a feather in the cap for me." And with his nomination this morning he's already celebrating. "We've been popping some champagne! My mother is kind of like my sidekick on our game show and she was prepared! She pulled out a mini bottle of champagne and red cups and popped it on stage and said, 'Baby, congratulations!' We'll do more of that tonight, but the real celebration I'm looking forward to is Emmy night." Brian Porreca

  • Tracee Ellis Ross

    Best actress in a comedy series for ABC's 'Black-ish'

    Kelsey McNeal/ABC

    The actress learned about her second Emmy nomination, and the show's second comedy series nomination, right after she finished meditating. "I then text [creator] Kenya [Barris] and wrote, 'Congratulations!,' and I touched the wrong emoji and it was a broken heart. I was like, 'Oh, wait, wait!' What I was trying to hit was the little girl doing the cartwheel, so I amended with cartwheels. And then instead of sending a text to my family thread, I decided to try and call everybody and I got everybody on the phone pretty much," she says, including her dad mid-treadmill session.

    Thankfully, Ross got to see her TV husband and fellow nominee Anthony Anderson in person. "We were doing a little bit of press together so we got to get some good hugs in and a couple of sips of champagne which is always exciting," she says. As for her celebration plans? Potentially more meditating and some cooking. "My favorite way to celebrate, in all honesty, is pretty quietly," she says. — Kate Stanhope

  • The Duffer Brothers

    Best drama series for Netflix's 'Stranger Things'

    David Livingston/Getty Images

    “First, we didn’t really think that that many people were going to watch the show. And then you hope, but no one ever thought about it as an awards show. So this is a total shock that it’s gotten here,” says Matt Duffer. “People are like, ‘Oh, you’re going to get nominated' – but you don’t really believe it until you read it. So it’s slowly sinking in. It was definitely not designed to win awards, but it’s awesome that so many people involved in it got nominated. For Millie, this is something she’ll remember for the rest of her life. And for David, it’s just so deserved. I love that he got singled out here for his performance. And then Barb got nominated, which is just the best news ever. It’s proof that she hasn’t been forgotten. She had 25 lines and a little over two episodes of screen time and she became one of the biggest talking points of the show. I don’t know how she did that.”

    Adds Ross Duffer of the show’s 18 nods, “I didn’t realize you could get that many nominations. And then Westworld gets 22 and it’s a show about robots. As a genre fan and a nerd, it makes me very happy. Five years ago that wouldn’t have been the case. So I’m very grateful for Game of Thrones for exploding that door open for all of us. … And thank you to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for not getting your show out in time for Emmy season this year. Next year, we’re toast, I guess.” — Bryn Sandberg

  • Anna Chlumsky

    Best supporting actress in a comedy series for HBO's 'Veep'

    Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    The Veep star had the unique experience of having a very public reaction to her nomination. While being tasked with delivering the official 2017 nominations, Chlumsky's co-presenter Shemar Moore was handed a special envelope to announce her fifth consecutive nomination for the role of Amy Brookheimer. “I’m calling this morning 'happy surreal,'" the actress says of being surprised during the live announcement by the S.W.A.T. star. "What an absolute unexpected pleasure to deliver good news to such fantastic people in our industry, and on top of it to receive good news myself. I’m so proud of my fellow cast and crew on Veep. And I am so very proud to be in the company of such great work in television. It’s a very very good day indeed.”

    One of the stops Chlumsky plans to make on Thursday is to the writers room of Veep, which is already at work on the seventh season. "It's going to be the least-productive day in the history of the Veep writers room," showrunner David Mandel jokes to THR of Chlumsky's pop-in and overall mood from the team after the series' 17 total nominations. — Jackie Strause

  • Kenya Barris

    Best comedy series for ABC's 'Black-ish'

    "I was literally combing my hair just getting out of the shower and turned the TV on and was like, 'Oh shit, that's right!'" the Black-ish creator tells THR about being reminded that today was the day for Emmy nominations. "I just want to say thank you to everyone for seeing what we do. Being seen by our peers means a lot." And the sitcom's third consecutive nomination isn't the only thing he's celebrating. "My movie premieres tonight so this is some real shit for me. I was not supposed to have a fcking movie and a TV show. It's a great day. I'm beyond happy and blessed."

    Joined back in the writers room for season four of the series with executive producer Jonathan Groff, Barris says although the series scored three nominations this year, he was disappointed by one category snub.  "I was bummed that I didn't get the writing nomination. Not necessarily for me, but honestly I felt like that [the post-election] episode meant a lot to my kids. That type of episode is why the show resonates. Adds Groff, "What Kenya wrote about after the election was really on point. We're really talking about stuff. We don't set out to do it specifically, but the show is built to do it really well."

    They're still looking forward to Emmys night though, but hope the show keeps the drinks flowing. Jokes Barris, "I hope they keep the bar open! They cut us off last year."  Adds Groff, "We were parched quickly!" Barris has a solution though: "I'm going to bring a flask!" Brian Porreca

  • David Mandel

    Best comedy and best writing and directing in a comedy series for HBO's 'Veep'

    David Needleman

    As part of his official statement, the Veep showrunner tells THR he would like to thank his amazing cast and crew, HBO and to also say that "Donald Trump Jr. is a high quality person and I applaud his transparency." Though Mandel had every intention of watching his co-star, Anna Chlumsky, announce the nominations live, an engagement the night prior kept him out into the wee hours. "I went to the Game of Thrones premiere last night — which was insane, both as a party and also the episode is amazing," he says of the fellow HBO series' Los Angeles event. "We were there late and I completely forgot that it was this morning. I planned to set an alarm but I was so tired. The phone rang and I didn't answer it. It rang a second time." The person on the other line was his star, record-breaking Emmy nominee Julia Louis-Dreyfus. "I checked the messages and it was Julia saying, 'Look what we did!' I called her laying in bed, groggy, and she downloaded everything to me. So that was a funny way to find out."

    Mandel, who nabbed a writing and directing nomination for the season six finale episode, "Groundbreaking," said any number of nominations would have been fine, but that they outdid themselves this year. Last year, Veep also scored 17 total nominations, but later lost one after guest star Peter MacNicol was ruled ineligible. Though the series has a successful track record at the annual awards show, Mandel says predictions are "nothing but gloom and doom" and that he likes to be "pleasantly surprised." Before heading back into the writers room, already at work on the next season, Mandel equated the moment to when he found out he got into college before a calculus test and miraculously got his best score: "Maybe we'll crack a major storyline for season seven today!" — Jackie Strause

  • Brian Tyree Henry

    Best guest actor in a drama series for NBC's 'This Is Us'

    Deborah Lopez

    The Atlanta star was in good company when he found out about his nomination for his guest starring role in This Is Us' pivotal and heartbreaking episode, "Memphis." "I’m currently filming a movie in Chicago with another Emmy nominee, Viola Davis, right now!" he tells THR of the actress, who was also nominated for ABC's How to Get Away With Murder. When the nominations were announced, Henry says his phone was buzzing with Paper Boi GIFs, his character from Donald Glover’s FX comedy, which picked up a handful of nominations as well.

    But Henry doesn't find earning a nomination for This Is Us, instead of for his role on Atlanta, to be bittersweet. "I went through the major loss of my mother and to get to come on this episode of This Is Us, which is about dealing with the loss of William (Ron Cephas Jones) and trying to figure out where we come from and then getting to sing this song — I was an emotional wreck. But it was all worth it. This episode is a reminder that there is something bigger than us out there and that family is something you need as a backbone. I was exactly where I was supposed to be, in the place and with the people that I needed to be with, and I have eternal gratefulness to [creator] Dan Fogelman for creating these lives and this family. Of course, I had to call Sterling [K. Brown] immediately to congratulate him. We were yelling and screaming and laughing at each other — this was nothing but a morning full of love." — Jackie Strause

  • Billy Eichner

    Best variety sketch series for truTV's 'Billy on the Street'

    Getty Images

    Billy Eichner woke up this morning tired after filming a fight scene with Sarah Paulson for American Horror Story. "At 2 a.m. last night I'm scared of giving anything away, but I was in the streets of Hollywood having a big, dramatic fight with Sarah Paulson and Alison Pill. I'm sworn to secrecy on it, but by the time I got home I was so tired I thought, 'I'm just going to sleep through the nominations. If there's a reason to get in touch with me someone will!' And sure enough I started getting a lot of texts. I'm really in shock! I thought we had a shot, but at the same time I've always felt like an outlier. It's insane to be in a category with Saturday Night Live." 

    Another thing the comedian is in shock about is one of this year's snubs. Says Eichner, "Was Oprah nominated? Oprah was snubbed?! I'm not going! I'm not going! Protest! I want a full-on protest! This is breaking news, now I have to go see who else was nominated and not nominated."

    And when he makes it to the big night, even with Oprah not being nominated, he has a plan for where he wants to sit: "I want to lay my body across the entire cast of Big Little Lies. I want to cozy up to those gals." Brian Porreca

  • Gordon Ramsay

    Best host for a reality or reality-competition program for FOX's 'MasterChef Junior'

    Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic

    When the MasterChef Junior host found out he scored his first-ever Emmy nomination, he was doing what he does best: cooking. Ramsay says about where he was when he found out he got nominated, "I'm filming this morning with the L.A. Galaxy, trying to get them some nutrition to help them." Of the nomination Ramsay says, "The first thing I say to the kids in MasterChef Junior is, 'It's a competition, but it's not about winning. It's about the participation and understanding of solutions. Even if you don't win, your lives are going to change. I'm not your teacher or parent, but I'm going to be one of the best coaches you've ever had. Let's have some fun.' And I love the fact that they cook with no fear. I tell them to show off, give me your best."

    He adds, "It's because of the rawness of starting that journey and watching those kids grow in confidence based on those ingredients. Whether it's a pie smashed in my face or covered in gunk, they have that confidence to overcome those nerves."

    And with him attending this year's Emmys, he's thinking about something other than just potentially winning. "Hopefully there's some food so I can participate in that. I may as well help! I love working. In September everyone's done with summer so they've been on the super bikini and Speedo diet. I would start off with something with lobster and caviar and then for the main I'd do a beefy, braised short rib. Now that I'm going, I'm available for a couple days beforehand if they want help with the food." Brian Porreca

  • Sterling K. Brown

    Best actor in a drama series for NBC's 'This Is Us'

    Ron Batzdorff/NBC

    "Maaaaan, I got the best job on TV! Receiving this nomination is just the cherry on top," the actor says. "Thank you, Television Academy!
    From network to studio, cast to crew, writers, producers and directors — each and every one of you are second to none! Thank you all for making this the experience of a lifetime!"

    Brown, who won his first Emmy for best supporting actor in a limited series or movie for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story last year, also had a few specific people he wanted to thank. "Dan Fogelman...you are a cherub-faced, literary assassin! I look forward to working with you for the rest of my life! Ryan, Andrew and Amaré...you are my everything. Namaste."