Everyone’s favourite season (awards season, that is) is finally here with the announcement of this year’s Emmy nominations.
There was a lot to celebrate: acclaimed shows like Succession and Watchmen scored plenty of nods, while actors including Zendaya and Dev Patel earned their first ever Emmy nominations. Plus, after years of controversy, 2020’s crop of nominees are among the most diverse, with 38 Black performers nominated for acting awards – although there was a notable lack of recognition for Latinx talent.
Nevertheless, nothing gets people riled up like an awards show. Plenty of viewers have shared their opinions on this year’s batch of nominees, so here are some of the most divisive nominations, as well as a few snubs...
Outstanding guest actor in a comedy series: Brad Pitt
Hot off his first Oscar win (remember that happened this year?), the actor scored an Emmy nomination that could take him one step closer to an EGOT. He was recognised for his guest appearance in Saturday Night Live, where he played a distressed Dr Anthony Fauci disputing Donald Trump’s misleading claims about coronavirus.
Fauci himself was a fan of Pitt’s impersonation, saying:
I think he did great. I mean, I’m a great fan of Brad Pitt, and that’s the reason why when people ask me who’d I like to play me I mention Brad Pitt because he’s one of my favourite actors.
It was a surprising and hilarious appearance, albeit brief. The nominated performance in question ran for a measly three minutes, leading people to question whether all it takes to earn an Emmy nod is to hop on a Zoom call.
Outstanding lead actor in a drama series: Billy Porter
Billy Porter stunned viewers of Pose with his bombastic role as New York ball emcee, Pray Tell. The show’s fans and admirers have no doubt that Porter is deserving of his nomination, but more controversially, the trans women who make up the majority of the cast – including Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore and Angelica Ross – were completely shut out.
Many are pointing out the hypocrisy of nominating a cisgender actor alone in a show centred around trans identity. This is not the first time this has happened either: Porter was the sole member of the cast singled out by the Emmys after Pose’s first season too.
Outstanding lead actor in a drama series: Steve Carrell
In one of the more head-scratching decisions by the Academy, Steve Carell was recognised for his “lead” role in Apple TV+’s very expensive drama The Morning Show. Carell’s mid-career pivot to prestige actor has been a pleasant surprise, but this nomination is proving to be more divisive.
For one, he’s barely a lead, with a fraction of the screen-time as his co-stars Jennifer Anniston (who was also nominated) and Reese Witherspoon (who was not).
Secondly, it seems like barely anyone watches The Morning Show. Apple’s attempt to break into the streaming market was largely met with a collective shrug, but The Morning Show just won’t go away.
Snubbed: Daisy Edgar-Jones
Just a few months ago, it seemed like everyone was collectively sobbing to BBC’s universally adored adaptation of Sally Rooney’s book club staple, Normal People. The Academy must’ve been fans too, as the show garnered a number of nods, including nominations for writing and directing.
On the acting side, Paul Mescal was deservedly recognised for his role (that therapy scene!) which is also remarkably his first television role ever. While everyone was ecstatic for the man who made chains a fashion must-have, they were also shocked at the surprise snub of his co-star, Daisy Edgar-Jones.
The Emmys notoriously tend to be much more competitive for woman actors and this year was no different, as powerhouses including Cate Blanchett and Regina King landed nods. That hasn’t stopped fans from believing that Edgar-Jones was unfairly ignored, especially as Normal People is very much a two-hander.
Snubbed: Reese Witherspoon
At this point, queen of the small screen Reese Witherspoon has practically claimed ownership of the angry suburban mom (who is too woke to be a 'Karen') role. In a year where she was in not one, but three major prestige dramas (Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere and The Morning Show), you would think she’d get recognition for at least one of them, but Witherspoon’s name was curiously absent from the nominations.
The actor seemed perfectly happy applauding her fellow cast and crew, tweeting: “I’m so proud of our team who works tirelessly behind the scenes to bring these stories to life!”
Fans have therefore taken it upon themselves to be angry on her behalf.
So there you have it: snubs and controversies aplenty from this year's Emmy nominations.