Emmys: Zendaya, Paul Mescal, Cate Blanchett and More Among This Year's First-Time Nominees

3:04 PM 7/28/2020

by Sharareh Drury and Lexy Perez

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Yvonne Orji, Nicholas Braun, Octavia Spencer, Anna Kendrick and Taika Waititi and more are among those new to the Emmy Awards competition.

Zendaya in Euphoria -Paul Mescal in Normal People - Cate Blancett in Mrs. America-Split-H 2020
Courtesy of HBO; HULU; FX

A new class of performers are joining the 2020 Emmy Awards as first-time nominees.

The 72nd Emmy Awards will be broadcast Sunday, Sept. 20 at 5 p.m. PT on ABC. The show will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, who will also serve as executive producer.

Read on to find out more about what the 2020 Emmys' first-time nominees are best known for, as well as other projects you may have seen them in before their nominated performances.

The 72nd Emmy Awards will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, who will also serve as executive producer. The show will be broadcast Sunday, Sept. 20, (8-11 p.m. ET/5-8 p.m. PT) on ABC.

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is nominated in the outstanding narrator category for the History Channel documentary Black Patriots: Heroes of the Revolution. Apart from narrating, Abdul-Jabbar also serves as producer of the series. 

    The documentary is described as one that details a "comprehensive picture of the African-American experience during the Revolutionary War." 

    Abdul-Jabbar, known for being an NBA star, author, activist and The Hollywood Reporter contributor, has a resume of guest appearances on the TV and film side. On TV, he's made guest appearances on Man from Atlantis (1977), 21 Jump Street (1987), Tales from the Darkside (1983) and Scrubs (2001). He's also made an appearance on ABC's The Bachelorette in 2017,

    On the film side, he appeared opposite Bruce Lee as an adversary during a fight scene in Lee's final film Game of Death (1978). He also starred as an airline pilot in Airplane! (1980).

  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

    Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is nominated in the outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie category for his role as Cal Abar/Doctor Manhattan in HBO's Watchmen. 

    Abdul-Mateen's past television credits include roles on The Get Down, The Handmaid's Tale and Black Mirror. On the film side, the actor has starred in roles in Aquaman and Us. 

    Abdul-Mateen is among the 26 nominations for Watchmen. The HBO series received the most nominations in a single year. His co-stars Regina King, Jean Smart and Jovan Adepo also received nominations for their roles in the series. 

  • Jovan Adepo

    Jovan Adepo is nominated in the outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie category for his role as Officer Will Reeves/ Hooded Justice in HBO's Watchmen. 

    His television resume includes roles on Ava DuVernay's When They See Us, The Leftovers, Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, Sorry For Your LossThe Stand and the special Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons. 

    On the film side, Adepo has starred in roles on Mother!, Planters and starred as Cory Maxson in the film adaptation of Fences.

  • Mamoudou Athie

    Mamoudou Athie is nominated in the outstanding actor in a short form comedy or drama series for his role as Jermoe in the FXX show, Oh Jerome, No (Cake). Apart from acting, Athie also serves as the series' executive producer

    On the TV side, Athie has had roles on Madam Secretary, Tawk with Awkwarfina, The Get Down, The Detour and Sorry For Your Loss. 

    His film resume includes roles in The Circle opposite Emma Watson, UnderwaterJean of the Joneses, One Percent More Humid and the TV movie Me & Mean Margaret. 

  • Bobby Berk

    Bobby Berk is nominated in the outstanding host for a reality or competition program for Netflix's Queer Eye

    Berk is an known as an American interior designer and stars in the Netflix series as the interior design expert and one of the Fab Five alongside stars Karamo Brown, Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski and Tan France. 

  • Cate Blanchett

    Cate Blanchett is nominated in the outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie for her role as Phyllis Schlafly in the FX series Mrs. America. 

    Blanchett has starred in a myriad of roles in both film and television. On the TV side, the actress has had roles on Heartland (1994), Bordertown (1995), Family Guy (2012), The Simpsons and Stateless. 

    On the film side, the actress has starred in films such as The Lord of the Rings, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Carol, Thor: Ragnarok, Ocean's 8 and Where'd You Go, Bernadette? 

    Mrs. America also received acting nominations for Uzo Aduba, Margo Martindale and Tracey Ullman. 

  • Nicholas Braun

    Nicholas Braun is nominated in the outstanding supporting actor in a drama series category for his role as Greg Hirsch (aka, cousin Greg) in HBO's Succession. 

    Apart from Succession, on the television screen Braun has also made appearances on shows including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2002), Without a Trace (2006), Shark (2007), The Secret Life of the American Teenager (2009), 10 Things I Hate About You (2009) and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2011). 

    On the film side, Braun has had roles on films such as Sky High, Prom, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Poltergeist, The Stanford Prison Experiment, How to Be Single and The Year of Spectacular Men. 

    During last year's Emmy Awards, Succession secured two wins. This year, the HBO series is one of the most nominated drama series with 18 nominations. 

  • Karamo Brown

    Karamo Brown is nominated in the outstanding host for a reality or competition program category for Netflix's Queer Eye. 

    Brown stars in the Netflix series as one of the Fab Five alongside stars Bobby Berk, Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski and Tan France. Prior to becoming a TV host and personality, Brown was part of the cast of MTV's The Real World: Philadelphia in 2004 where he was known for being the first openly gay black man cast on a reality show. 

    Brown also made appearances on the television shows Raven's Home and Big Mouth. He was also a contestant on Dancing With the Stars in 2019. 

    Apart from being on the screen and an activist, Brown also published a memoir, Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope and hosts the Karamo podcast. 

  • Nicole Byer

    Nicole Byer is nominated in the outstanding host for a reality or competition program for Nailed It! 

    Byer is known for being a comedian, actress, writer, television host and podcaster. Apart from being host of Netflix's bake-off series, she has also been featured on a variety of shows including American Dad! (2020), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2019) and The Unicorn (2019). On the film side, she's had roles on films such as Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and All About Nina. 

  • D'Arcy Carden

    D'Arcy Carden is nominated in the outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for her role as Janet in NBC's The Good Place. 

    Apart from her starring role in The Good Place, Carden is also known for other film and television roles. On the TV side, she's had roles on Single Parents, American Dad!, Barry, Robot Chicken, Broad Series and Veep. On the film side, she had roles on Bombshell, Let it Snow, Greener Grass and Papi Chulo. 

    The Good Place received six noms for this year's Emmys. The NBC comedy show aired for four seasons with its series finale airing earlier this year. 

  • Barbara Corcoran

    Barbara Corcoran is nominated in the outstanding host for a reality or competition program for ABC's Shark Tank. 

    Apart from starring on the show as one of the sharks who can choose to invest in a business entrepreneur, Corcoran also serves as executive producer on the show. 

    The businesswoman and investor is known for having founded The Corcoran Group, a real estate brokerage in New York City. She went on to sell The Corcoran Group to NRT for $66 million in 2001.

  • Billy Crudup

    Billy Crudup is nominated in the outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for his role as Cory Ellison in AppleTV+'s The Morning Show. 

    Before starring as the eccentric and witty Cory on the drama alongside Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, Crudup starred in a myriad of films. One of his first projects was in 1996 when he starred opposite Hollywood hotshots Brad Pitt and Jason Patric in the Barry Levinson drama, Sleepers.

    His other films roles include: Almost Famous, Eat Pray Love, Big Fish, Mission Impossible III, Spotlight, Alien: Covenant and Where'd You Go, Bernadette? 

    This year marks the first time The Morning Show is eligible to be nominated. The drama secured eight total noms. 

  • Mark Cuban

    Mark Cuban is nominated in the outstanding host for reality of competition program for ABC's Shark Tank. 

    Apart from starring on the show as one of the sharks who can choose to invest in a business entrepreneur, Cuban also serves as executive producer on the show. Cuban has also made appearances in shows such as Entourage (2015), Billions (2017), The Rookie (2019), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2020) and the 2019 film What Women Want. 

    Cuban is best known for being the owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks. He is also the co-owner of 2929 Entertainment, and chairman of AXS TV. 

  • Kieran Culkin

    Kieran Culkin is nominated in the outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for his role as Roman Roy in HBO's Succession. 

    Apart from Succession, on the TV side Culkin has had roles on Fargo (2015), Long Live the Royals (2015) and Go Fish (2015). On the film side, he's had roles on Father of the Bride, Home Alone, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and She's All That. 

    This year, the HBO series is one of the most nominated drama series with 18 nominations. Last year, the series secured two Emmy wins. 

  • Tan France

    Tan France is nominated in the outstanding host for a reality or competition program category for Netflix's Queer Eye.

    France stars in the Netflix series as one of the Fab Five alongside stars Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, Jonathan Van Ness and Antoni Porowski as the show's fashion expert. Apart from Queer Eye, he's also made appearances on shows Big Mouth (2019) and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2018). 

    France is also known for being the founder of women's fashion line, Kingdom & State. 

  • Lori Greiner

    Lori Greiner is nominated in the outstanding host for a reality or competition program for ABC's Shark Tank.

    Apart from starring on the show as one of the sharks who can choose to invest in a business entrepreneur, Greiner also serves as executive producer on the show.

    Greiner is been known as the "Queen of QVC" and has her own show on QVC-TV, for the past 17 years called Clever & Unique Creations by Lori Greiner. Greiner currently owns 120 patents and created over 700 products. 

    She is also the author of the 2014 book, Invent It, Sell It, Bank It, which was named one of the top 10 business books by Amazon.com, and ranked as one of Wall Street Journal's top business books of 2014.

  • Shira Haas

    Shira Haas is nominated in the outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie for her role as Esther Shapiro in Netflix's Unorthodox. 

    Apart from her role on the Netflix series, Haas has had roles in films such as A Tale of Love and Darkness, The Zookeeper's Wife, Foxtrot and Mary Magdalene. 

    Unorthodox is inspired by Deborah Feldman's 2012 autobiography, Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots. It marks the first Netflix series to be primarily in Yiddish. 

  • William Jackson Harper

    William Jackson Harper is nominated in the outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for his role as Chidi Anagonye in NBC's The Good Place. 

    On the film side, Harper has had roles on films such as Midsommar, All Good Things, Paterson, They Remain and Dark Waters. On the TV side, he's had roles on Person of Interest (2015), The Blacklist (2015), The Breaks (2017) and Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan (2019). 

    The Good Place received 6 noms for this year's Emmys. The NBC comedy show aired for four seasons with its series finale airing earlier this year.

  • Corey Hawkins

    Corey Hawkins is nominated in the outstanding actor in a short form comedy or drama series for his role as Paul in the Quibi series Survive. 

    On the TV side, the actor has appeared on a myriad of shows including The Walking Dead (2015), 24: Legacy (2016) and Placeholders (2017). On the film side, Hawkins has starred in roles in Iron Man 3, Straight Outta Compton, Kong: Skull Island, BlacKkKlansman, Georgetown and 6 Underground. 

    Quibi marks the mobile-first video venture of Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman which scored 10 nominations — including Survive — across the five shortform categories, the most of any platform. 

  • Robert Herjavec

    Robert Herjavec is nominated in the outstanding host for a reality or competition program for ABC's Shark Tank.

    Apart from starring on the show as one of the sharks who can choose to invest in a business entrepreneur, Corcoran also serves as executive producer on the show.

    Known as a successful businessman and entrepreneur, Herjavec has built and sold several IT companies. He founded Herjavec Group in 2003, which became one of North America’s fastest-growing technology companies. He has also penned bestselling books, Driven, The Will to Win and You Don’t Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success. 

  • Stephan James

    Stephan James is nominated in the outstanding actor in a short form comedy or drama series for his role as Rayshawn in the Quibi series #FreeRayshawn. 

    Apart from the Quibi series, other television series James has starred on include Amazon's Homecoming, Shots Fired (2017) and Cracked (2013). On the film side, James has had roles in Selma, Race, If Beale Street Could Talk and 21 Bridges. 

    Quibi's Antoine Fuqua-produced #FreeRayshawn picking up three nominations at this year's Emmys.

  • Daymond John

    Daymond John is nominated in the outstanding host for a reality or competition program for ABC's Shark Tank.

    Apart from starring on the show as one of the sharks who can choose to invest in a business entrepreneur, Greiner also serves as executive producer on the show.

    John is recognized as a businessman, investor and motivational speaker. He is best known as the founder, president, and CEO of FUBU ( a $6 million fashion business) and the founder of brand consulting company, The Shark Group. John is also a bestselling author of books Powershift, Rise and Grind, Power of Broke, The Brand Within and Display of Power. 

  • Jasmine Cephas Jones

    Jasmine Cephas Jones is nominated in the outstanding actress in a short form comedy or drama series for his role as Tyisha in the Quibi series #FreeRayshawn.

    Apart from the Quibi series, other television series Jones has starred on include Girls (2017), Mrs. Fletcher (2019), Blue Bloods (2013) and Unforgettable (2014). On the film side, she's starred in films such as Blindspotting, Monsters and Men, The Photograph and Hamilton. 

    Quibi's Antoine Fuqua-produced #FreeRayshawn picking up three nominations at this year's Emmys.

  • Anna Kendrick

    Anna Kendrick is nominated in the outstanding actress in a short form comedy or drama series for her role as Cody in the Quibi series Dummy. 

    Kendrick has an extensive resume of film credits. On the TV side, Kendrick recently starred in the HBO Max original Love Life. On the film side, she's starred in films such as Pitch Perfect, A Simple Favor, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Twilight, Trolls, Into the Woods, Cake, among others. 

    Kendrick was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Up in the Air alongside George Clooney in 2010. 

  • Kerri Kenney-Silver

    Kerri Kenney-Silver is nominated in the outstanding actress in a short form comedy or drama series for her role as Deputy Trudy Wiegel in the Quibi series Reno 911!

    On the TV side, the actress has appeared on a myriad of shows including Bob's Burgers, Santa Clarita Diet, Big Little Lies, Carol's Second Act, Superstore and Central Park. On the film side, she has appeared in films such as Downsizing, Role Models and Fun Size. 

    Quibi marks the mobile-first video venture of Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman which scored 10 nominations across the five shortform categories, the most of any platform.

  • Matthew Macfadyen

    Matthew Macfadyen is nominated in the outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for his role as Tom Wambsgans in HBO's Succession. 

    Macfadyen made his first TV appearance in Wuthering Heights (1998), Agatha Christie's Marple (2008), The Pillars of the Earth (2010), The Last Kingdom (2015), and Howard's End (2017). His role as Tom Quinn in the BBC series Spooks became one of Macfadyen's recognized roles. On the film side, the actor has starred in Death at a Funeral, Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers, The Nutcracker and The Assistant. 

    This year, Succession is one of the most nominated drama series with 18 nominations. Last year, the series secured two Emmy wins.

  • Paul Mescal

    Paul Mescal is nominated in the outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie for his role as Connell Waldron in Hulu/BBC's Normal People. 

    Normal People marks Mescal's screen debut as he, alongside Daisy Edgar-Jones, bring Sally Rooney's best-selling 2018 novel to life onscreen. The limited series, which chronicles Marianne (Jones) and Connell's romance over several years, earned four nominations at this year's Emmy Awards. Nominations include outstanding writing, casting and directing. 

  • Annie Murphy

    Annie Murphy is nominated in the outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series category for her role as Alexis Rose in Pop TV's Schitt's Creek. 

    Apart from her role in the comedy series, Murphy has also had roles on television including Rookie Blue (2012), Good God (2012), Against the Wall (2011) and Blue Mountain State (2010). Murphy also wrote, produced, and acted in a CBC web series called The Plateaus, which features Elisha Cuthbert, Jay Baruchel, Sam Roberts, and Kevin MacDonald.

    For this year's Emmys, Schitt's Creek earned a total of 15 noms. The show aired for six season, debuting its' series finale earlier this year. 

  • Leslie Odom Jr.

    Leslie Odom Jr. is nominated in the outstanding character voice-over performance category for his role as Owen Tillerman in Apple TV+'s Central Park

    Odom Jr.'s television credits include appearing as Reverend Curtis Scott on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Rand on One Dollar and Sam Strickland on Smash.  

    His film credits include Hamilton, Harriet, Only and Murder on the Orient Express

  • Lupita Nyong'o

    Lupita Nyong'o is nominated in the outstanding narrator category for her narration of Discovery Channel's Serengeti

    The actress' other television credits include voicing Maz Kanatafor Star Wars: Forces of Destiny and appeared as Ayira on the series Shuga

    As for film, Nyong'o has starred in various features including Us, 12 Years A Slave, Little Monsters, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

  • Kevin O'Leary

    Kevin O'Leary is nominated in the outstanding host for a reality or competition program category along with his fellow Shark Tank co-hosts — Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Daymond John, and Robert Herjavec.

    O'Leary is known for being a financial commentator and television personality, with appearances including Dragon's Den and The Lang & O'Leary Exchange

  • Kaitlin Olson

    Kaitlin Olson received her first-ever Emmys nomination for the outstanding actress in a short form comedy or drama series. Olson earned the nod for her role as Cricket Melfi on Quibi's Flipped

    For television, Olson's roles include Dee Reynolds on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Becky on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mackenzie Murphy on The Mick, and voicing Helen on Bob's Burgers

    Olson's film credits include Finding Dory, Arizona, and The Heat

  • Yvonne Orji

    Yvonne Orji earned a nomination in the outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series category for her role as Molly on HBO's Insecure.

    Orji's television credits include Jane the Virgin and A Black Lady Sketch Show. As for film, the actress starred in 2018's Night School. She also wrote and produced her 2020 TV special documentary, Yvonne Orji: Momma, I Made It

  • Dev Patel

    Dev Patel is nominated in the outstanding guest actor in a comedy series category for his role as Joshua in Amazon's When Cupid Is A Prying Journalist

    In television, Patel has starred in The Newsroom as Neal Sampat, as well as Skins playing Anwar Kharral. 

    Patel's film roles include starring in 2008's Slumdog Millionaire, Lion, Hotel Mumbai and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

  • Jeremy Pope

    Jeremy Pope is nominated in the outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie for his role as Archie Coleman in Netflix's Hollywood

    Pope's career thus far has included roles in 2018's The Ranger as well as a Netflix's Pose

  • Antoni Porowski

    Antoni Porowski is nominated alongside his Queer Eye co-hosts for the outstanding host for a reality or competition program category.

    Porowski's other on-screen and voice acting credits include The Blacklist, Daddy's Boy, Horror Time and Big Mouth. He's also made appearances in the Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana and the TV special doc Jack Whitehall: Christmas with My Father.

  • Andrew Scott

    Andrew Scott is nominated in the outstanding guest actor in a drama series category for his role on Netflix's Black Mirror. 

    For television, Scott has had roles on His Dark Materials, Fleabag and Sherlock

    Their film credits include roles in 1917Alice Through the Looking Glass, Spectre and Pride

  • Sarah Snook

    Sarah Snook is nominated in the outstanding supporting actress in a drama series category for her role as Siobhan "Shiv" Roy in HBO's Succession

    For television, Snook has had roles on The Beautiful Lie, The Secret River and Spirited

    Their film credits include roles in Predestination, Steve Jobs, The Dressmaker and Sleeping Beauty

  • Octavia Spencer

    Octavia Spencer received her first-ever Emmys nomination for the outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie category. Spencer nabbed the honor for her role as Madam C.J. Walker in Netflix's series, Self Made: Inspired By The Life of Madam C.J. Walker.

    Spencer has also appeared in television series such as Truth Be Told, Mom, and Red Band Society

    Spencer's film credits include Ma, The Shape of Water, Hidden Figures, The Help and Fruitvale Station

  • Cecily Strong

    Cecily Strong is nominated in the outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for her various roles on Saturday Night Live

    Aside from SNL, Strong has appeared in and voiced for television series including I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson, The Simpsons, and The Awesomes

    Strong has appeared in films such as 2016's Ghostbusters and The Boss, as well as 2015's Staten Island Summer

  • Jeremy Strong

    Jeremy Strong received a nomination for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for his role as Kendall Roy on HBO's Succession

    For television, Strong has played Dr. Art Dreesen on Masters of Sex, Mike Hendry on Mob City and Matt Becker on The Good Wife

     

    Their film credits include roles in Selma, The Big Short, Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln.

  • Rain Valdez

    Rain Valdez is nominated in the outstanding actress in a short form comedy or drama series category for her role as Belle Jonas in Razor Tongue, of which she is also the series creator. 

    Valdez has previously appeared in the television series Lopez as Coco, Transparent as Miss Van Nuys, and Francesca Newmar in Sneaky Pete

  • Taika Waititi

    Taika Waititi was nominated in the outstanding character voice-over performance category for his role as IG-11 in Disney+'s The Mandalorian.  

    For television, Waititi has had appearances in What We Do In The Shadows as Viago and voiced Glootie on Rick and Morty. 

    Waititi recently played Adolf in his 2019 film Jojo Rabbit, and has directed Thor: Ragnarok and written for What We Do In The Shadows

  • Harriet Walter

    Harriet Walter is nominated in the outstanding guest actress in a drama series category for her role as Lady Caroline Collingwood on HBO's Succession

    For television, Walter has had roles on Killing Eve, Belgravia, The End, and The Crown

    Her film credits include roles in Sense and Sensibility, The Young Victoria and Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens.

  • Christoph Waltz

    Christoph Waltz received his first-ever Emmy nomination for the outstanding actor in a short form comedy or drama series category for his role as Miles Sellers in Quibi's Most Dangerous Game

    His other television credits include Tatort and Die Patriarchin. As for film, Waltz has appeared in James Bond film Spectre, as well as Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds

  • Ramy Youssef

    Ramy Youseff is nominated in the outstanding lead actor in a comedy series category for his role as Ramy in his self-titled Hulu series. Youssef is also nominated for outstanding directing in a comedy series for the episode Miakhalifa.mov on Ramy

    For television, Youssef has had roles on See Dad Run and Mr. Robot. His film credits include roles in Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot and One Crazy Cruise

  • Zendaya

    Zendaya is nominated in the outstanding lead actress in a drama series category for her role as Rue Bennett in Euphoria

    For television, Zendaya has had roles on The OA, Black-ish, and Shake It Up

    Their film credits include starring as MJ in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home as well as appearing in The Greatest Showman