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Despite critical accolades and prognosticators expecting The Good Lord Bird and Girls5eva, executive produced by Emmys favorite Tina Fey, to score multiple nominations on Tuesday morning, the Showtime and Peacock series only earned one nomination each and were left out of the major limited and comedy series categories, respectively.
In a particularly competitive year for limited series, Steve McQueen’s acclaimed anthology film series Small Axe also only earned one nomination and was left out of major categories while the acting in a limited series and TV movie categories featured a number of surprises including nods for Ewan McGregor’s starring turn in Halston, which got five nominations in total; The Undoing‘s Hugh Grant (the only major nomination for the much-buzzed-about HBO series); I May Destroy You‘s Paapa Essiedu (Kwame), a seemingly under-the-radar contender now up for best supporting actor; and multiple performers from the Disney+ recorded Broadway performance of Hamilton.
Indeed, fans of such limited series hopefuls as the aforementioned Good Lord Bird and Small Axe as well as A Teacher and It’s a Sin may have been disappointed to not see performers from those projects in the limited series acting categories. And while fellow limited series, The Underground Railroad earned seven nominations (not a poor showing at all), star Thuso Mbedu was not among the nominees.
While The Boys and Cobra Kai may have surprised awards observers by storming into the drama and comedy series categories, Cobra Kai star William Zabka didn’t earn a lead actor nod nor did Emmy favorite Ted Danson, the latter for his role in Mr. Mayor.
Indeed, the comedy categories featured a number of surprises in an unusual year that saw the absence of perpetual contenders Atlanta, Barry, Insecure and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Pen15 and Emily in Paris scored surprising comedy series nods as did Kenan Thompson for his eponymous sitcom and Allison Janney for Mom. Janney won two Emmys for her role as recovering addict Bonnie Plunkett but was left out of the nominees just last year.
Similarly, Black-ish made a comeback after the series was left out of the best comedy series category last year. Meanwhile, potential Emmy comedy contender Made for Love also found itself in single-nomination status and left out of the major categories.
Other surprises included nominations for Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason), Stacey Abrams (outstanding character voice-over performance for her role as narrator on the Black-ish election special) and a best variety talk series nod for Conan O’Brien’s final year with his nightly late-night show, Conan.
The variety sketch series category featured an unusually low two nominees but neither one was Amber Ruffin’s eponymous, acclaimed weekly Peacock series. Meanwhile, the Variety talk series category omitted Full Frontal, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night With Seth Meyers, The Late Late Show With James Corden, Real Time With Bill Maher and Desus & Mero, which just months ago unseated Last Week With John Oliver as the variety/comedy talk winner at the 2021 Writers Guild Awards.
And several series that Emmy prognosticators expected to be nominated were shut out, including Dickinson, P-Valley, Snowfall, Superstore and Emmys fave Master of None.
In terms of performers that weren’t nominated despite experts expecting them to be recognized, Nicole Kidman (The Undoing), Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale), Ruth Wilson (Oslo), Phoebe Dynevor (Bridgerton) and Chris Rock (Fargo) were all left out this year.
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