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The Best Surprises—and Biggest Snubs—From the 2022 Emmys Nominations

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With 754 submissions in Emmys contention this year, the odds that numerous well-deserving series would escape the glow of a little golden angel dropped from likely to certain. The question was never, Will an incredible show get snubbed? But rather, Which one, and how mad will I be about it?

Turns out, not that mad! Voters turned in their ballots with care this go-round—not an easy task, given the stacked competition in the era of Too Much TV. For the most part, the shows and actors most deserving of awards-show attention earned their keep when J. B. Smoove and Melissa Fumero announced the nominees on July 12...with the exception of a few glaring omissions. Below, a few thoughts on who got snubbed, who surprised us, and what it means as the ceremony draws closer.

Snub: Ghosts, Reservation Dogs, The Afterparty, The Righteous Gemstones, and Our Flag Means Death are left out of Best Comedy Series contention.

The Best Comedy Series category was always going to feel incomplete; there are only eight slots for what has proven to be a remarkable season of comedy television. Still, it’s an enormous shame to see Ghosts, Reservation Dogs, The Afterparty, The Righteous Gemstones, and Our Flag Means Death all overlooked in favor of better-known (and, in some cases, already Emmy Award-winning) shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Curb Your Enthusiasm. No doubt those shows deserve their applause, but why can’t the new kids on the block join the fray? I’ll give props to voters for giving Abbott Elementary its due, however. It should sweep at September’s ceremony.

Surprise: Yellowjackets earns Best Drama Series love.

I was thoroughly convinced the superb Showtime drama Yellowjackets would be eclipsed by its more prestigious (aka, HBO-led) competitors, like Euphoria and Succession. But the word-of-mouth hit seems to have caught the attention of voters as well, and deservedly so: The series is one of the most intriguing weekly-drop case studies in recent memory. It’s unlikely Yellowjackets will ultimately take home the grand prize, but the nomination means the series’ momentum won’t dissipate any time soon.

Snub: This Is Us gets no nominations.

Here’s a real shocker: This Is Us, one of the most beloved cable series of the past decade, wrapped up a superb final season, and it earned zero Emmy nominations. Zilch. Nada. That’s a shame for Sterling K. Brown, Jon Huertas, and Mandy Moore, in particular, who delivered deeply moving performances in a drama that could easily veer cheesy if not for its tightly controlled ensemble cast. Sure, other shows might be more deserving of the Emmy, but to get no chatter going around This Is Us feels out of step with audience adoration.

Surprise: Sydney Sweeney gets her first Emmy nod for Euphoria.

Poor Cassie. She’s able to earn the attention of everyone except the object of her desires: Jacob Elordi’s Nate Jacobs. Fortunate for her actress, Sydney Sweeney, awards matter a lot more than the withheld affections of an abusive high school student. The Euphoria nod isn’t a total jaw-dropper, but it’s nevertheless a clear signal that Emmy voters are all-in on Euphoria, and showrunner Sam Levinson would do well to let Sweeney shine even brighter next season.

Snub: Kelly Reilly misses her shot at Best Actress in a Drama Series.

Once again, the all-too-often overlooked but hugely popular drama Yellowstone was shut out from the Emmys. True, its most recent season was a mess, and Kevin Costner’s lead performance feels more and more stunted by the hour. But Kelly Reilly as the implacable Beth Dutton remains an acting tour de force, in particular for her biting line delivery that only gets more delicious (and absurd) as the episodes roll by. The Academy refusing to give her a second look remains as frustrating as ever.

Surprise: Elle Fanning earns a name for The Great.

Elle Fanning turned in several head-turning performances within the last year—not least of which was her Glee-inspired rendition of “Make You Feel My Love” in The Girl From Plainville—but her timing in the zany Hulu comedy The Great remains unbeatable. Her chemistry with Nicholas Hoult as Catherine the Great and Peter III of Russia shouldn’t work, and yet it does, to delightful unorthodox results. With such a stacked comedy category, I was worried Fanning might miss out, but voters knew the first-time nominee deserved a spot on the list.

Snub: Station Eleven is overlooked for Best Limited Series.

Station Eleven’s tepid audience reception remains one of the more depressing television developments to come out of last year, given the profundity of both its script and its performances. Rarely does an adaptation change so much from a book and still do so much right. The cinematography is stunning. The line deliveries are blistering. Mackenzie Davis, Matilda Lawler, Himesh Patel, and Danielle Deadwyler all deliver astounding scenes. Sure, the villain’s motivations were a little confusing, but that hardly detracts from what was otherwise a compact and beautiful limited series. Thankfully, Patel got a nod for Best Actor, but where’s the rest of the Station Eleven love? In what world is Inventing Anna better than this? And what does that mean for voters?

Surprise: Julia Garner takes her Celine glasses to the Best Actress in a Limited Series fight.

Truth be told, this shouldn’t have been a surprise. Viewers gobbled up Netflix’s con-artist tale Inventing Anna when it dropped in February, led by Ozark’s Julia Garner as the fake heiress Anna Delvey. Garner did her best to rescue the series, but a muddled script took so many inexplicable twists and turns that the message—however entertaining—became garbled and meaningless. Garner’s work as the underestimated potty-mouth Ruth Langmore in Ozark is much more deserving of Emmy commendation, but at least she’s in the awards race at all.

Snub: Britt Lower doesn’t get a nod for Best Actress in a Drama Series.

I was thrilled to see Severance—by far the best sci-fi series Apple TV+ has ever produced—earn multiple nominations, but kicking Britt Lower out of the Best Actress category was criminal. Yes, Adam Scott, Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, and Christopher Walken are all fantastic in the trippy workplace drama, but Lower’s Helly is the impetus for all the first season’s dramatic revelations! And her performance in that heart-pounding finale, when she finds out [redacted]? I can’t erase it from my head. The way her face hardens...it still keeps me up at night. Next year, Lower better be on this list.

Surprise: Squid Game is the first non-English language series to be Emmy nominated for Best Drama.

The record-breaking Netflix drama Squid Game racking up nominations is little shock to anyone who binged the series last year. The violent, emotional, and politically charged series is practically Emmy bait for Best Drama—with the exception that the script is in Korean. Unfortunately, the Emmys have tended to overlook non-English language shows in favor of series san subtitles. But for the first time in history, Squid Game broke the mold, hopefully opening the floodgates for numerous international titles to come. It’s a huge win for the global television industry, and hopefully a harbinger of Emmy voters’ expanded viewing habits.

Snub: Pachinko is completely overlooked.

Numerous Emmy nomination projections predicted at least one, if not multiple, nods for the sweeping Apple TV+ drama Pachinko. Instead, the series earned zero. That’s a shocking overlook from voters, given the series’ gleaming critical reception (it has a 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and exquisite details, from its multi-era set design to its magnanimous cast to its calculated story framework. Mercifully, Apple has ordered a second season of the family saga, so the Emmys might have another chance to right their wrong.

Surprise: Stranger Things' Sadie Sink and Millie Bobby Brown weren't nominated.

This might technically count as a snub, but arguments abound over whether Netflix’s sci-fi smash-hit Stranger Things actually deserves more Emmy love than it received. What’s instead surprising is that, for all its popularity, the show didn’t get more nominations this year—in particular for its lead actresses, Sadie Sink and Millie Bobby Brown. After her viral performance in the recently released season 4, Sink is a likelier pick for next year’s Emmys, but Brown might be stuck running up that hill in an increasingly stacked category.

Read the full list of nominees below:

Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Quinta Brunson (Abbott Elementary)
Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant)
Elle Fanning (The Great)
Issa Rae (Insecure)
Jean Smart (Hacks)

Donald Glover (Atlanta)
Bill Hader (Barry)
Nicholas Hoult (The Great)
Steve Martin (Only Murders in the Building)
Martin Short (Only Murders in the Building)
Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)

Abbott Elementary
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Only Murders in the Building
Ted Lasso
What We Do in the Shadows

Colin Firth (The Staircase)
Andrew Garfield (Under the Banner of Heaven)
Oscar Isaac (Scenes from a Marriage)
Michael Keaton (Dopesick)
Himesh Patel (Station Eleven)
Sebastian Stan (Pam & Tommy)

Toni Collette (The Staircase)
Julia Garner (Inventing Anna)
Lily James (Pam & Tommy)
Sarah Paulson (Impeachment: American Crime Story)
Margaret Qualley (Maid)
Amanda Seyfried (The Dropout)

The Dropout
Inventing Anna
Pam & Tommy
The White Lotus

Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)
Laura Linney (Ozark)
Melanie Lynskey (Yellowjackets)
Sandra Oh (Killing Eve)
Reese Witherspoon (The Morning Show)
Zendaya (Euphoria)

Jason Bateman (Ozark)
Brian Cox (Succession)
Lee Jung-jae (Squid Game)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Adam Scott (Severance)
Jeremy Strong (Succession)

Better Call Saul
Squid Game
Stranger Things


Patricia Arquette (Severance)
Julia Garner (Ozark)
Jung Ho-yeon (Squid Game)
Christina Ricci (Yellowjackets)
Rhea Seehorn (Better Call Saul)
J. Smith-Cameron (Succession)
Sarah Snook (Succession)
Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria)


Nicholas Braun (Succession)
Billy Crudup (The Morning Show)
Kieran Culkin (Succession)
Park Hae-soo (Squid Game)
Matthew Macfadyen (Succession)
John Turturro (Severance)
Christopher Walken (Severance)
Oh Yeong-su (Squid Game)


Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Hannah Einbinder (Hacks)
Janelle James (Abbott Elementary)
Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)
Sarah Niles (Ted Lasso)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Abbott Elementary)
Juno Temple (Ted Lasso)
Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso)


Anthony Carrigan (Barry)
Brett Goldstein (Ted Lasso)
Toheeb Jimoh (Ted Lasso)
Nick Mohammed (Ted Lasso)
Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Tyler James Williams (Abbott Elementary)
Henry Winkler (Barry)
Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live)

The Emmy Awards ceremony will air live on Monday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC.

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