By Mia Abrahams
For you, today might be just a regular Thursday, buuuuut if you are a pop-culture fan (okay, pop-culture nerd) like me, you’ll know today is EMMY NOMINATIONS DAY!
Why should you care? Well, it’s really just an excuse for us to talk about *all* the great TV that’s come out this year. This TV season has been filled with strong performances from women in shows about women with women behind the camera! It’s the Golden Age of TV, ppl! And, since the Emmy Awards themselves aren’t until September 17, you have plenty of hot summer nights to huddle in front of your AC and get caught up on all the nominated shows and performances before then. So, let’s dive in with some highlights.
Big Little Lies — more than just a lot of pretty faces...
While on the surface Big Little Lies could be dismissed as a soap-y drama about beautiful, rich women living in truly magnificent houses by the ocean (and by some male critics, it was), its viewers (and the Emmy voters) understood that it was actually much more. We wrote about the strength of the show’s depiction of domestic violence on our blog, as well as Nicole Kidman’s truly excellent performance as Celeste. Both Kidman and Reese Witherspoon (also producers on the show) were nominated for their roles, as were Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and Alexander Skarsgard. The show also got a nod for directing (Jean-Marc Vallee) and writing (David. E. Kelly). A second season is rumored, which gives us all the more time to argue about which Big Little Lies’ character each of your friends are — it’s the new “You’re definitely a Samantha, I’m a Carrie”. (I want to be Bonnie, but I’m totally a Renata.)
…. But where’s Oprah Winfrey and Issa Rae?
Okay yes, there are a lot of slots (rightfully) filled by the Big Little Lies actors, but Oprah Winfrey’s powerful performance in The Immortal Henrietta Lacks was one of the best of the year. It was so good, I honestly forgot I was watching *Oprah Winfrey* — not an easy feat when you are one of the most recognizable faces in the world. Also left off the list? Issa Rae, whose brilliant (and funny and moving and entertaining and real and…) show Insecure was left out of the writing, directing, and acting categories. If you’re looking for a new show to be obsessed with, get into Insecure before Season 2 comes out on July 23. (Maybe it’s time to use that free 30-day HBO trial...)
Yes, you do have to care about Westworld….
The show that delighted some and seriously confused most (very much including me) leads the pack, along with SNL, with the most nominations. In addition to a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series, the show is being recognized for the two incredible performances by women/robots (#nospoilers) that anchored the show: Evan Rachel Wood for her role as the sweet/creepy Dolores, and Thandie Newton for her tragic/badass Maeve. For the special effects and sweeping sets alone it’s worth a watch — just don’t get too caught up in figuring out all the mystical maze stuff — it makes sense in the end (kinda… let’s discuss fan theories in the comments).
…. and Saturday Night Live.
People (and New Yorkers) love to rag on Saturday Night Live, but in a year where politics has been more crazy than any Kate McKinnon alien-abduction sketch could ever be, there has been some really great content coming out of the Rockerfeller Center — including Alec Baldwin’s long-running Trump impersonation (earning him a nomination) and the creation of Ivanka Trump’s (Scarlett Johansson) signature fragrance, Complicit; Kate McKinnon’s season-long portrayal of Hillary Clinton (still crying real tears over that Hallelujah rendition); and Melissa McCarthy’s iconic Sean Spicer. Most notably though, the Emmy voters recognized the star power of leading layyy-deez Leslie Jones, Vanessa Bayer (who recently announced she’ll be leaving the show — goodbye Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy), and Kate McKinnon, as they were all nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Trying to find a way to dip back in? Check out my three favorite moments starring McKinnon, Bayer, and Jones. And anyway, I’ll meet you in The Bubble.
Hold onto your waffles kids, the Emmys have honored everyone’s favorite Halloween costume category, Stranger Things (srsly, the amount of drunk Elevens I saw in the Lower East Side of Manhattan last October was truly terrifying). And, we get to revel in the delight of Shannon Purser’s “surprise” (to who?! We all decided Barb was the best already!) nomination for her role as Barb, the best friend no one deserved. The show’s 80s TBT vibe clearly resonated with voters, as it also picked up nominations for outstanding drama, directing, writing, and acting (that last one for the adorable and talented Millie Bobby Brown as the supernatural, Eggo-stealing Eleven).
Blessed be the fruit (under his eye)
Of course, no discussion of TV this year would be complete without The Handmaid’s Tale — the show that terrified a nation into texting its friends: “But seriously, this could totally happen here by 2020.” With 13 nominations — including one, of course, for the brilliant, heart-wrenching performance by lead actor (and producer) Elisabeth Moss — this is a show that deeply resonates in a time full of fear and uncertainty about the future of women’s rights.
- My TV boyfriend Riz Ahmed picked up nominations for his role in Girls and The Night Of
- Actually, Girls’ final season didn’t pick up as many nominations as expected, although Becky Ann Baker was nominated for her role as Hannah’s patient, straight-talkin’ mom
- Emmy voters “discovered” RuPaul’s Drag Race! Slay x 1000
- Ummm how did Winona Ryder not get nominated for Stranger Things? She deserves an Emmy for her SAG Awards appearance alone!
- So This Is Us is apparently a good show? (Not that I needed an excuse to get back into Milo Ventimiglia)
- OITNB picked up nominations for Uzo Aduba and Laverne Cox 🙌
- Let’s end on a high note (so lame I’m sorry) — Martha Stewart & Snoop Dogg were nominated for best Reality Program for their cooking show, because someone up there *does* care about us.
What do you think of the nominations? Snubs or surprises? Things I missed? And what do you need to catch up on? I still haven’t seen Atlanta, The Americans, or Fargo, and I’m making them my TOP PRIORITY!