Emmys: Sandra Oh, Peter Dinklage and More of 2018's Historic Nominees

8:39 AM 9/17/2018

by Jillian Forstadt

Peter Dinklage, Sandra Oh, Ted Danson and 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' all earned rare distinctions with their nominations.

Dominik Magdziak Photography/Getty Images

With networks and streaming services churning out more new content than ever, the Television Academy had plenty of contenders to choose from for the nominations for the 70th annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The diversity of offerings led to several broken records by this year's nominees.

Sandra Oh made history as the first woman of Asian descent nominated for best lead actress in a drama series.

Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage also broke a record, claiming the title for most best supporting actor nominations with his nod this year.

And ahead of a ceremony that's already expected to have a Saturday Night Live feel, with "Weekend Update" co-hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che serving as emcees of a telecast produced by Lorne Michaels, the long-running NBC variety show broke some records of its own.

Ahead of the 2018 Emmys, take a look at these and other milestones reached by this year's nominees.

  • "Come Back, Barack"

    As Saturday Night Live brought its all-time awards total to a record-breaking 252 nominations this year (more on that later), the series landed a potentially record-breaking nod for best original music and lyrics.

    Going into the Emmys, SNL was tied at two wins in the category with The Carol Burnett Show (winner in 1976 and 1978) and The Simpsons (winner in 1997 and 1998). SNL took home the award for two different sketches featuring frequent collaborator Justin Timberlake, in 2007 for "Dick in a Box" and in 2011 with "Justin Timberlake Monologue."

    This year, SNL had a chance to score a record-breaking third win in the category with its R&B ballad ode to former president Obama, "Come Back, Barack." Chance the Rapper, Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd star in the sketch, with lyrics written by Thompson, Redd and Will Stephen and music by SNL musical director Eli Brueggemann.

    The winner in this and numerous other categories were announced at last week's Creative Arts Emmys, with "Come Back, Barack" taking home the prize.

  • Ted Danson

    Colleen Hayes/NBC

    The two-time Emmy winner's 13th career nomination is his first for his role as Michael on NBC's The Good Place and his first comedy nod in 25 years. Danson previously received three nominations for his dramatic turn as villainous CEO Arthur Frobisher in FX's Damages. But both of his past Emmy wins came in the best comedy actor category, for his turn as Cheers' Sam Malone, winning in 1990 and 1993.

  • Peter Dinklage

    Courtesy of HBO

    With his seventh best supporting actor nomination this year, Dinklage broke the record for most nominations in the drama performance category.

    With the exception of 2017, when Game of Thrones wasn't eligible for Emmy consideration, Dinklage has been nominated for best supporting actor in a drama series every year since 2011 for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister, taking home the statue in both 2011 and 2015.

    With six previous nods, Dinklage was tied with LA Law's Jimmy Smits, St. Elsewhere's Ed Begley Jr., The Waltons' Will Geer and Hill St. Blues' Bruce Weitz.

  • 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt'

    Eric Liebowitz/Netflix

    Despite only releasing six half-hour episodes this year, Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt earned its fourth consecutive nomination for best comedy series. This puts the show's latest installment tied with the first season of Kate & Allie (1984) and the first season of The Wonder Years (1988) as the shortest seasons to be nominated for the top comedy prize.

    Kimmy Schmidt's only other nod this year went to Tituss Burgess, who picked up his fourth consecutive nomination for best supporting actor in a comedy series.

  • John Legend, Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

    NBC

    This year's Emmy nominations brought a number of individuals just one award away from the highly-coveted EGOT, achieved by winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

    Specifically, Jesus Christ Superstar Live executive producers John Legend, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber were one win away from an EGOT with their best live variety special nomination. They won that award at the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend, adding all three to the exclusive group of EGOT winners. Legend is also up for best actor in a limited series or TV movie for his role in the project.

    The musical team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul also found themselves one award away from an EGOT with their nomination for best original music and lyrics for "In the Market for a Miracle" from Fox's A Christmas Story Live! But that award went to SNL's "Come Back Barack," so Pasek and Paul will have to wait a little longer to complete their tally of the top four entertainment awards.

  • Netflix

    Ryan Anson/AFP/Getty Images

    After sporting the crown for 18 years, HBO lost its spot as most nominated network to Netflix, which beat HBO by just four nominations.

    "We congratulate our creative partners on their unprecedented success today, garnering Netflix a leading 112 nominations," Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement.

    It remains to be seen whether HBO, Netflix or some other outlet will reign as the network with the most wins, but after the Creative Arts Emmys, HBO was ahead slightly with 17 wins to Netflix's 16 awards.

  • Sandra Oh

    Sophie Mutevelian

    The Killing Eve star made history as the first woman of Asian descent nominated for best lead actress in a drama series.

    "I have joy not only for the show and myself and family, but also for my community," Oh told The Hollywood Reporter after the nominations were announced. "Hopefully my community can feel like they have representation as well."

    While starring as Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy, the Korean-Canadian actress received five nominations for best supporting actress in a drama series.

    Actress Archie Panjabi became the first actress of Asian descent to win an Emmy for acting in 2010, recognized for her supporting performance in The Good Wife.
     

  • 'Saturday Night Live'

    Courtesy of Rosalind O'Connor/NBC

    The decades-old variety series broke its own record for most Emmy nominations for a program, with its 21 nods this year bringing its total to 252 nominations.

    This year, SNL earned more than one nomination in several categories, with three nominations for supporting actress in a comedy series (Aidy Bryant, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon) and two for supporting actor in a comedy series (Alec Baldwin and Kenan Thompson).