Look, 2020 is nothing if not unexpected, on every level. Coronavirus, ongoing racial justice protests in the streets, murder hornets. But then there are some things that seemingly never change. Like the Emmy nominations, which, once again, show some troubling patterns. For every encouraging nod to a small-but-fan-beloved show or actor, there were many who were overlooked in a way that feels like more than just a snub.
First, let’s start with the good stuff. Watchmen, which had about a 50/50 shot of being watchable let alone award-worthy when it was announced (hey, it’s based on a complicated graphic novel that heretofore seemed allergic to adaptation), got a staggering 26 nominations, including one for living legend Regina King. Meanwhile, in another corner or GenreLand, Disney+’s The Mandalorian got a nod for Outstanding Drama Series, alongside heavy-hitters like The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Killing Eve. Sandra Oh’s performance in the latter was nominated once again, and if she doesn’t win this year I swear to god …
Speaking of Outstanding Drama Actress: Zendaya! The former Disney star got a big nomination for her role as a drug-addicted teen in Euphoria, a nod that was extremely well-deserved. Also fitting? Three nominations for Ramy, including for the show’s star and co-creator Ramy Youssef. A final treat: Three nominations for FX’s quirky vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows. (Speaking of treats, quick bites from Quibi got 10 nominations. I am not kidding.)
But here’s the bad news: A lot of people—particularly women—were overlooked. The most egregious example of this are the leads on Pose: The only one nominated, and the only nomination the FX show got period, was for Billy Porter. To be clear, Porter is incredible—he won the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama last year—but for a show that centers on the experiences of transgender people, the fact that none of the show’s trans leads were nominated feels like a huge fail on the part of the Television Academy. This is true of all of the leads (Mj Rodriguez who plays Blanca, Indya Moore who plays Angel, Dominique Jackson who plays Elektra), and specifically Angelica Ross who deserved an Outstanding Supporting Actress nod for her devastating performance as Candy in Season 2.
Also, where is Reese Witherspoon? Despite being in two highly lauded series, The Morning Show and Little Fires Everywhere, she received no nominations. Granted, she was competing in stacked categories, presumably the ones the stars of Pose also should have been nominated in, but considering her male Morning Show co-stars Steve Carell, Billy Crudup, Martin Short, and Mark Duplass all received nods, something seems amiss. But hey, at least Kerry Washington was recognized for her fantastic performance in Little Fires Everywhere.