‘When They See Us’ collects 16 Emmy nominations among several surprises, snubs

Illustration by Sammy Newman

Brandon Shillingford, Contributing Writer

The nominations for the 71st annual Emmy Awards were announced Tuesday and, for the most part, they got it right. It’s fantastic to see brilliant shows like “Fleabag,” “Russian Doll,” “Killing Eve” and “Veep” getting the love and attention they deserve. But those shows were expected to dominate the nominations. It’s more fun — and painful — to talk about what the Emmys got wrong, and what they did to surprise us.

Surprise — All the love for “Schitt’s Creek”

The Canadian sitcom has been a fan favorite since it premiered back in 2015. But despite the love, Emmy voters didn’t fully embrace the show until Tuesday. The program picked up a shocking four nominations, including one in the outstanding comedy series category.

Snub — Literally every actor in “Succession”

To put aside my personal bias and the fact that I love this show more than life itself, many expected the HBO dramedy/Shakespearian tragedy to pick up a decent amount of nominations. It was shut out completely in the acting categories; standout performances from Brian Cox and Kieran Culkin were ignored. That’s not to say that “Succession” was completely tossed to the wayside, since the show received nominations in the outstanding drama series and outstanding writing for a drama series categories.

Surprise — No writing noms for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Although the Amazon Prime Video hit, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” received seven Emmy nominations, it was surprisingly empty handed in the outstanding writing for a comedy category. The show won the award last year, and many expected it to reappear in the category. 

Snub — “The Good Place” acting erasure continues 

Though NBC’s “The Good Place” cleaned up in almost every other category, including the formerly elusive outstanding comedy series nomination, it couldn’t break into the acting categories with its two stars, Kristen Bell and William Jackson Harper. This is especially disappointing after the show’s last season was one of the best for its supporting cast, including an incredible turn from D’Arcy Carden in the critically acclaimed episode “Janet(s).” 

Surprise — “Barry” supporting cast cleans up

While “The Good Place” supporting cast was snubbed entirely, the same can’t be said for the HBO tragicomedy, “Barry.” Cast standouts such as Sarah Goldberg, Stephen Root and the hilarious Anthony Carrigan, all of whom were snubbed last year, secured nominations. 

Snub — “Desus & Mero” 

Despite boasting one of the most diverse writing staffs in television history and one of the freshest and most exciting talk show formats around, Showtime’s newest talk show found itself without any nominations. 

The self-titled show, hosted by comedians Desus Nice and The Kid Mero, is the underdog of late-night talk shows. It’s bold, innovative and unlike anything we’ve seen in this space that’s been dominated by white men for what seems like forever. 

Surprise — Eight acting nominations for “When They See Us”

Ava Duvernay’s searing limited series revolving around the 1989 Central Park Jogger case was expected to do well in nominations. But the Netflix series exceeded those expectations, picking up an unprecedented eight acting nominations and leading all limited series with 16 nominations total.

Snub — Rachel Bloom for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

It’s ridiculous that throughout this show’s entire four year run, Rachel Bloom was never nominated. Not only does she act in “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” but she also writes, produces and sings. She’s the Swiss army knife of leading ladies, and she deserves to be recognized for her role in one of the most heartfelt, inventive and brilliant shows of the decade.

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