Critics Choice Awards TV Nominations Embrace ‘Succession,’ ‘Evil,’ and ‘Mare of Easttown’

·10 min read

Another day, another batch of awards announcements — this time, from the Critics Choice Association. Early Monday morning, the organization announced the TV nominations for the Critics Choice Awards, honoring the finest in televised and streaming content from 2021.

In wholly unsurprising (but in no way unpleasant) news, HBO’s “Succession” garnered the most nominations of the morning, with eight mentions, including Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong in Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Nicholas Braun, Kieran Culkin, and Matthew Macfadyen in Supporting Actor, J. Smith Cameron and Sarah Snook in Supporting Actress, as well as a nod for Drama Series.

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Similarly, HBO’s lauded limited series “Mare of Easttown” was one of two projects earning five nominations, including its three Emmy-winning performances, for Kate Winslet in Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Made-for-TV Movie, Julianne Nicholson in Supporting Actress, and Evan Peters in Supporting Actor. Jean Smart, who was also nominated for her performance in HBO Max freshman comedy “Hacks,” was also recognized in Supporting Actress, as well as an overall nomination for the series.

But the real surprise of the morning came in the form of Paramount+’s “Evil,” the other series to score five nominations. The brainchild of Robert and Michelle King, creators of “The Good Wife,” “Evil” is no stranger to critical praise, but went largely unrecognized for its first season, save for a lone nomination for Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Mike Colter. That nomination has been re-upped this year and joining him at the table are the series as a whole, as well as Katja Herbers in Lead Actress and Andrea Martin and Christine Lahti in Supporting Actress.

More than that, the Kings found great success with another of their shows when nominations were announced, with another Paramount+ project, “The Good Fight.” The sequel series to “The Good Wife,” the show picked up four Critics Choice nominations, including mentions for Best Drama Series, Christine Baranski in Lead Actress, Mandy Patinkin in Supporting Actor, and Audra McDonald in Supporting Actress.

As far as networks and streamers go, HBO nabbed the most nominations with 20, just edging out Netflix at 18. Hulu was the only other contender in double digits with 11 nominations, with Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Paramount+ all garnering nine mentions, and NBC and Peacock with eight nominations each.

“Evil” - Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/CBS
“Evil” - Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/CBS

Elizabeth Fisher/CBS

“Although the industry is still recovering from the COVID-19 lockdown, you wouldn’t know it from the wealth of amazing television programs our nomination committees pored through to come up with this year’s nominees,” said Critics Choice Association TV Branch president Ed Martin. “We have even more choices than we did before the pandemic, for critics and viewers to embrace. While the streamers continue to break new ground with some wonderfully unexpected offerings, it has been an unusually strong year for all areas of television. We look forward to honoring the year’s finest shows at what promises to be our most exciting awards ceremony yet.”

First held in June 2011, what was once known as the Critics’ Choice Television Awards, which honored programming that aired in the previous broadcast year and was presented by the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, has seen itself remade in the decade since.

In 2015, the awards shifted to a calendar year eligibility window, with an awards ceremony in June for eligible series from June 30, 2014 through May 31, 2015, followed by another awards ceremony in January 2016 honoring shows that aired from June 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015. That ceremony, held at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, was the first time the TV prizes were awarded alongside the group’s film prizes, which is now standard operating procedure, with both TV and film accolades being collapsed into a single entity known as the Critics Choice Awards and presented, as of earlier this year, by the Critics Choice Association (no apostrophe).

Lee Jung-jae in “Squid Game” - Credit: Noh Juhan | Netflix
Lee Jung-jae in “Squid Game” - Credit: Noh Juhan | Netflix

Noh Juhan | Netflix

As far as interpreting the Critics Choice Award nominations, it’s not as straightforward as it might seem. Yes, there are the predictable picks, “Succession,” “Mare of Easttown,” Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso,” and there are the suspected picks, those shows that have just launched but have already garnered a significant amount of buzz, Netflix’s “Squid Game,” Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” Showtime’s “Yellowjackets.”

But then there are performers or projects that feel like sure things that don’t end up breaking through in a big way, often because something completely out of the blue lands in the category instead. Take the limited series category, for instance. In the days before nominations were announced, HBO’s “White Lotus” seemed like it would be a sure thing for a significant amount of mentions, given the fervor around the series when it aired and the breadth of its cast. And while “White Lotus” nabbed two nominations, Murray Bartlett and Jennifer Coolidge in the Supporting categories, it fully missed the short list for Limited Series, with nominations going to Emmy holdovers, including “Mare of Easttown,” Amazon Prime Video’s “The Underground Railroad,” and Disney+’s “Wandavision,” other buzzy newcomers, including Hulu’s “Dopesick,” Netflix’s “Maid,” as well as HBO Max’s critically-acclaimed, criminally overlooked “It’s a Sin.”

Rounding out the category were two other new limited series, Peacock’s “Dr. Death” and Netflix’s “Midnight Mass.” As a huge fan of of the latter, even I wouldn’t have anticipated it getting into the Limited Series category, particularly ahead of “White Lotus.”

Murray Bartlett in “The White Lotus” - Credit: HBO
Murray Bartlett in “The White Lotus” - Credit: HBO

HBO

And this is just a single example. The Critics Choice Award nominations are full of similar instances, where individuals that seemed like a lock for recognition are AWOL come nomination day. This provides a lot of interesting conversation pieces and a lot of love shown for often overlooked performers and series, but makes the bigger picture harder to nail down. At least until “Succession” wins four awards the night of the ceremony and clarifies some things.

Other than that, the biggest takeaway from the Critics Choice Award nominations is that critics are apparently watching way, way more Paramount+ and Peacock than previously expected.

Ballots for the final round of voting for the Critics Choice Awards go out to members January 5, 2022 and are due back just two days later on January 7 at 9 p.m. PT. The 27th Critics Choice Awards will be held at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Century City and air Sunday, January 9, 2022 on The CW Network and TBS. A host has yet to be announced. Taye Diggs, star of the CW’s “All American,” served as host for the past three years.

Below, we’ve posted the full list of Critics Choice Awards TV nominations. Check back next week as the Critics Choice Awards film nominations will be announced Monday, December 13 at 9 a.m. PT.

Critics Choice Awards Television Nominations

BEST DRAMA SERIES
Evil (Paramount+)
For All Mankind (Apple TV+)
The Good Fight (Paramount+)
Pose (FX)
Squid Game (Netflix)
Succession (HBO)
This Is Us (NBC)
Yellowjackets (Showtime)

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us (NBC)
Mike Colter – Evil (Paramount+)
Brian Cox – Succession (HBO)
Lee Jung-jae – Squid Game (Netflix)
Billy Porter – Pose (FX)
Jeremy Strong – Succession (HBO)

BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Uzo Aduba – In Treatment (HBO)
Chiara Aurelia – Cruel Summer (Freeform)
Christine Baranski – The Good Fight (Paramount+)
Katja Herbers – Evil (Paramount+)
Melanie Lynskey – Yellowjackets (Showtime)
MJ Rodriguez – Pose (FX)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Nicholas Braun – Succession (HBO)
Billy Crudup – The Morning Show (Apple TV+)
Kieran Culkin – Succession (HBO)
Justin Hartley – This Is Us (NBC)
Matthew Macfadyen – Succession (HBO)
Mandy Patinkin – The Good Fight (Paramount+)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Andrea Martin – Evil (Paramount+)
Audra McDonald – The Good Fight (Paramount+)
Christine Lahti – Evil (Paramount+)
J. Smith-Cameron – Succession (HBO)
Sarah Snook – Succession (HBO)
Susan Kelechi Watson – This Is Us (NBC)

BEST COMEDY SERIES
The Great (Hulu)
Hacks (HBO Max)
Insecure (HBO)
Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)
The Other Two (HBO Max)
Reservation Dogs (FX on Hulu)
Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
What We Do in the Shadows (FX)

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Iain Armitage – Young Sheldon (CBS)
Nicholas Hoult – The Great (Hulu)
Steve Martin – Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)
Kayvan Novak – What We Do in the Shadows (FX)
Martin Short – Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)
Jason Sudeikis – Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Elle Fanning – The Great (Hulu)
Renée Elise Goldsberry – Girls5eva (Peacock)
Selena Gomez – Only Murders in the Building (Hulu)
Sandra Oh – The Chair (Netflix)
Issa Rae – Insecure (HBO)
Jean Smart – Hacks (HBO Max)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Ncuti Gatwa – Sex Education (Netflix)
Brett Goldstein – Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
Harvey Guillén – What We Do in the Shadows (FX)
Brandon Scott Jones – Ghosts (CBS)
Ray Romano – Made for Love (HBO Max)
Bowen Yang – Saturday Night Live (NBC)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Hannah Einbinder – Hacks (HBO Max)
Kristin Chenoweth – Schmigadoon! (Apple TV+)
Molly Shannon – The Other Two (HBO Max)
Cecily Strong – Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Josie Totah – Saved By the Bell (Peacock)
Hannah Waddingham – Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)

BEST LIMITED SERIES
Dopesick (Hulu)
Dr. Death (Peacock)
It’s a Sin (HBO Max)
Maid (Netflix)
Mare of Easttown (HBO)
Midnight Mass (Netflix)
The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime Video)
WandaVision (Disney+)

BEST MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Come From Away (Apple TV+)
List of a Lifetime (Lifetime)
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (Amazon Prime Video)
Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia (Lifetime)
Oslo (HBO)
Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas (The Roku Channel)

BEST ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Olly Alexander – It’s a Sin (HBO Max)
Paul Bettany – WandaVision (Disney+)
William Jackson Harper – Love Life (HBO Max)
Joshua Jackson – Dr. Death (Peacock)
Michael Keaton – Dopesick (Hulu)
Hamish Linklater – Midnight Mass (Netflix)

BEST ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Danielle Brooks – Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia (Lifetime)
Cynthia Erivo – Genius: Aretha (National Geographic)
Thuso Mbedu – The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime Video)
Elizabeth Olsen – WandaVision (Disney+)
Margaret Qualley – Maid (Netflix)
Kate Winslet – Mare of Easttown (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Murray Bartlett – The White Lotus (HBO)
Zach Gilford – Midnight Mass (Netflix)
William Jackson Harper – The Underground Railroad (Amazon Prime Video)
Evan Peters – Mare of Easttown (HBO)
Christian Slater – Dr. Death (Peacock)
Courtney B. Vance – Genius: Aretha (National Geographic)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Jennifer Coolidge – The White Lotus (HBO)
Kaitlyn Dever – Dopesick (Hulu)
Kathryn Hahn – WandaVision (Disney+)
Melissa McCarthy – Nine Perfect Strangers (Hulu)
Julianne Nicholson – Mare of Easttown (HBO)
Jean Smart – Mare of Easttown (HBO)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE SERIES
Acapulco (Apple TV+)
Call My Agent! (Netflix)
Lupin (Netflix)
Money Heist (Netflix)
Narcos: Mexico (Netflix)
Squid Game (Netflix)

BEST ANIMATED SERIES
Big Mouth (Netflix)
Bluey (Disney+)
Bob’s Burgers (Fox)
The Great North (Fox)
Q-Force (Netflix)
What If…? (Disney+)

BEST TALK SHOW
The Amber Ruffin Show (Peacock)
Desus & Mero (Showtime)
The Kelly Clarkson Show (NBC)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC)
Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (Bravo)

BEST COMEDY SPECIAL
Bo Burnham: Inside (Netflix)
Good Timing with Jo Firestone (Peacock)
James Acaster: Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999 (Vimeo)
Joyelle Nicole Johnson: Love Joy (Peacock)
Nate Bargatze: The Greatest Average American (Netflix)
Trixie Mattel: One Night Only (YouTube)

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