Los Angeles, July 14, 2021 — “The Crown” tied with “The Mandalorian” for the most Emmy nominations Tuesday with 24 apiece, but the Marvel universe also got bragging rights with runner-up “WandaVision.”
The bounty reinforced the rapid rise of streaming, with most of the top-nominated scripted shows on services that emerged in the past two years. In the top three categories — drama, comedy and limited series — broadcast networks scored only two nominations, for the NBC drama “This Is Us” and the ABC comedy “black-ish.”
During an oppressive pandemic in which housebound Americans relied more than ever on television for distraction, TV academy voters recognized a varied mix of storytelling and a diverse group of actors and creators.
One example: Mj Rodriguez of “Pose” is the first trans performer to be nominated in a lead acting category. The show also earned a best drama series nod.
“The moment my name was announced, I just screamed and I broke,” Rodriguez said. “My mom grabbed me. She kind of flung me around. … I remember falling into my boyfriend’s arms and just crying tears of joy, tears of happiness. I felt so seen.”
Of the 96 acting nods for drama, comedy and miniseries, nearly 44% — a total of 42 nominations — went to people of color. That included 34 nods for Black actors, one fewer than last year.
Netflix’s “The Crown” received its fourth nomination for best series, and is likely the veteran streaming service’s best chance to win its first-ever top series trophy. The British royal drama moved closer to contemporary events with its version of the courtship and rocky marriage of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, played by Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin.
O’Connor and Corrin received lead drama acting nods, as did the series’ Olivia Colman for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, with a supporting bid to Gillian Anderson for her role as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Oprah Winfrey’s headline-making interview with Harry — Charles and the late Diana’s son — and his wife Meghan earned a nomination for best hosted nonfiction series or special.
The showings by “The Mandalorian,” an extension of the “Star Wars” franchise, and the inventive “WandaVision” featuring the Marvel characters Wanda and Vision, put the series in the ranks of past sci-fi and fantasy Emmy favorites “Game of Thrones” and “Lost.”
“The Boys,” Amazon’s comedy-tinged take on superheroes, earned a best drama nod.
“I would never have thought in a million years that playing a witch in a Marvel show would lead to this. It’s like a dream,” said “WandaVision” co-star Kathryn Hahn. She received a supporting actress bid, but found the show’s total of 23 nominations especially sweet.
“I’m so moved that the whole of it has been recognized,” Hahn said. “It was incredibly difficult. It was a hard, hard shoot. But … the experience of making this meant so much to me and it was so unexpectedly deep.”
The nominations haul by Disney+, which launched in late 2019, was impressive, but the triumph of streaming was predictable, said Eric Deggans, TV critic for National Public Radio.
“Disney+ came out of nowhere and got the third-most nominations of any platform at 71. … We’re at a point now where this is this is increasingly becoming a streamers’ game and the Emmy nominations reflect it,” Deggans said.
HBO and newcomer streaming service HBO Max edged into the lead with 130 total nominations, with Netflix close on its heels with 129.
The frontrunner on the comedy side is the good-hearted “Ted Lasso,” about a middling American football coach imported to England to handle a soccer team. The Apple TV+ series received 20 nominations, including for top comedy, star Jason Sudeikis and six cast members.
“Hacks,” starring Jean Smart as a stand-up comedian who resists getting aged out of Las Vegas and life, was next with 15 nods, including a lead actor award for Smart and a supporting bid for Hannah Einbinder.
Smart, who some have said is enjoying a career “Jeanaissance,” earned a second nomination for her supporting role in “Mare of Easttown.” The limited series received 16 nods, including star Kate Winslet.
Among the others who doubled down on nominations: “Saturday Night Live” stars Kenan Thompson and Aidy Bryant, who received supporting acting bids for the variety show as well as lead comedy series acting nods for, respectively, “”Kenan” and “Shrill.”
Other top nominees include previous best drama series winner “The Handmaid’s Tale,” with 21 nods, tied with “Saturday Night Live”; “The Queen’s Gambit,” 18; the period-drama romp “Bridgerton” and “Hamilton,” with 12 each.
“Lovecraft Country,” a horror-infused drama set in 1950s segregated America, earned an impressive 18 nominations — but was canceled by HBO after one season.
“The Flight Attendant” earned nine nominations, including a best comedy actress nod for Kaley Cuoco and a supporting actress bid for Rosie Perez — who becomes the third Latina nominated in the category, after Sofia Vergara for “Modern Family” and Liz Torres for “The John Larroquette Show.”
There were surprises, as usual. Nicole Kidman failed to receive a nomination for limited series “The Undoing,” while co-star Hugh Grant was recognized. But the critically acclaimed miniseries “I May Destroy You” and its star and creator, Michaela Coel, grabbed nine Emmy nods after being snubbed by the Golden Globes.
One blast from the past getting new respect: “Cobra Kai,” set 30 years after the events of the “Karate Kid” film, earned a best comedy nod and four nominations in all.
The other nominees for best drama series are “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Lovecraft Country.”
Other comedy series nominees are “Emily in Paris”; “The Flight Attendant”; “The Kominsky Method” and “PEN15.”
The nominees for best miniseries are: “The Queen’s Gambit”; “I May Destroy You”; “Mare of Easttown”; “The Underground Railroad”; “WandaVision.”
Father-and-daughter actors Ron Cephas Jones (“This Is Us”) and Jasmine Cephas Jones (“Blindspotting”) and TV Academy head Frank Scherma announced the nominees. There were awkward moments when some nominees’ names were mispronounced, including a reference to Anya Taylor-Joy as “Anna.”
The Sept. 19 ceremony, which last year was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will air live on CBS from a theater and include a limited in-person audience of nominees and guests. Cedric the Entertainer is the host. – AP