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The Biggest Snubs and Surprises of the 2018 Emmy Nominations

The Emmys wouldn’t be complete without multiple surprises and frustrating snubs and 2018 proved to be no different. With over 25,000 television academy members the nominations are never going to go as planned and this year was especially shocking. Guild favorites under-performed while Emmy voters tried to play catch-up with snubbed performers from last year. HBO while still raking in nominations is losing its stronghold on the limited series and TV movie acting categories. Overall there was a lot to be surprised by.

The most celebrated surprise of the 2018 nominations is without a doubt the inclusion of Issa Rae in the lead actress category celebrating her work in the second season of Insecure. The star was unfairly snubbed last year and most expected her to be left out again in an even more crowded category. Instead, Emmy voters played catch-up to right one of their most hurtful wrongs in recent years. Emmy voters also improved upon last year by nominating Yvonne Strahovski for The Handmaid’s Tale who is giving one of the most complicated performances on television.

Even after becoming an overnight phenomenon many of us were worried Killing Eve would be forgotten come nominations morning. Instead, Emmy voters nominated Sandra Oh who became the first Asian-American actress in the lead actress category. The writer’s branch also nominated Phoebe Waller-Bridge for penning the series.

GLOW has been an ADTV favorite since it premiered last summer and we were fully expecting the comedy to be well-received by Emmy voters and for the most part it was with 10 total nominations. Shockingly though the show’s stars Alison Brie and Marc Maron were left out of their respected categories with the snubs that hurt the most. These glaring omissions were even more surprising since both stars received individual SAG nominations earlier this year – a guild stat that almost always correlates to Emmy nominations. Instead Betty Gilpin was the only actor from GLOW to be nominated, a deserving performance that is a little confusing since Gilpin probably has the least amount of name recognition of the show’s three leads.

Dividing fans throughout its second season it was expected that Westworld would go through a bit of a sophomore slump at the Emmys in terms of total nominations. Instead, the sci-fi epic earned a shocking 21 nominations. Most surprisingly was how strongly the actors branch embraced the show with five nominations more than past favorites like Game of Thrones, This Is Us, and The Crown.

Speaking of This Is Us the drama suffered from a major sophomore slump especially in the actors branch.  After the beloved family drama won the SAG ensemble award many expected it to have a strong showing at the Emmys with the entire Pearson family earning nominations. Instead, the ensemble earned fewer nominations than last year with Chrissy Metz dropping from the supporting actress race and Mandy Moore and Justin Hartley once again forgotten.  Representing what Emmy voters used to obsess over This Is Us is proving not to be flashy enough for the growing academy compared to epic dramas focused on dragons, robots, and an endless amount of spies.

The biggest surprises in the limited and TV movie categories was the actors branch fully embracing Black Mirror with nominations for Jesse Plemons and Letitia Wright. Black Mirror was expected to be popular with Emmy voters after winning the Outstanding TV Movie race last year but many of us thought the actors branch wouldn’t nominate actors from shorter episodes compared to limited series and two-hour movies. Instead the actors branch embraced the cast of Black Mirror while completely ignoring the star-studded and Oscar filled casts of Twin Peaks and Top of the Lake.

The biggest surprise of the night was just how much Emmy voters rejected the idea of reboots. With the exception of Laurie Metcalf and Megan Mullally voters ignored the return of former favorites Will & Grace and Roseanne. The actors branch also didn’t like the idea of the casts of series like Twin Peaks and Top of the Lake trying to compete in the limited series/TV movie acting races and instead chose to celebrate new roles and performances.

After looking through this year’s nominees these are some of the most shocking snubs and surprises.

The Biggest Surprises

Issa Rae in Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Ted Danson in Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Maya Rudolph (The Good Place) for guest actress in a comedy series

Vanessa Kirby and Matt Smith for The Crown 

Black Mirror received multiple acting nominations for Jesse Plemons and Letitia Wright

The Alienist for Outstanding Limited Series 

Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale) for supporting actress in a drama series

Kelly Jenrette (The Handmaid’s Tale) for guest actress in a drama series

Aidy Bryant & Keenan Thompson for Saturday Night Live  

Ed Harris (Westworld) for lead actor in a drama series

After eight consecutive nominations, voters finally move on from Modern Family 

John Leguizamo (Waco) for supporting actor in a limited series/TV movie

Tatiana Maslany for the final season of Orphan Black  

Finn Wittrock (The Assassination of Gianni Versace) for supporting actor in a limited series/TV movie

Ozark earned TWO directing nominations over Emmy favorites like Westworld and This Is Us

Adina Porter (American Horror Story) for supporting actress in a limited series/TV movie

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for Outstanding Comedy Series with a shortened season

(Photo: Netflix)
Shocking & Hurtful Snubs

Alison Brie and Marc Maron for GLOW

The Queer Eye fab five in the reality host category

Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, and Chrissy Metz for This Is Us 

Mindhunter is shut out of every major category with the exception of guest star Cameron Britton

Big Mouth for Outstanding Animated Program

The cast of Will & Grace (besides Megan Mullally)

Kit Harington & Emilia Clarke for Game of Thrones

The American Idol reboot

Laura Linney for Ozark 

The Twin Peaks ensemble, particularly Kyle MacLachlan

Howards End in the limited series categories

Freddie Highmore for The Good Doctor

The Sinner for Outstanding Limited Series

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Al Pacino for Paterno

Michael B Jordan for Fahrenheit 451

The supporting cast of The Tale

The Looming Tower for Outstanding Limited Series


Readers, what surprised you the most with this year’s Emmy nominations? Were there any snubs that particularly hurt?