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Emmy Nominations 2018: Who Won and Who Lost Before the Awards

Joanna Robinson: What does it look like when a bruiser like Game of Thrones—which took last year off—returns to potentially dominate awards season once again? That was the big question going into 2018s Emmy nominations. Though the show has long been a major player, there was some concern that its truncated seventh season, which debuted almost a year ago, would have faded in the minds of voters by the time nominations rolled around. Game of Thrones also took a gamble by submitting two of its stars—Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke—in the lead-actor categories, rather than supporting, for the first time.

That gambit didnt end up being successful—which means that HBOs flagship series earned just three nominations in the major acting categories, for on-screen siblings Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, and Peter Dinklage. Thrones still led the nominations, with 22 altogether—but its chief competition, Westworld and The Handmaids Tale, were right behind it with 21 and 20, respectively. Even more crucially, for the first time since the streaming service became serious about awards season, Netflix garnered more nominations overall than HBO: 112 to 108, breaking HBOs 17-year streak as the most lauded network in TV. Sonia, is this just a case of Game of Thrones overplaying its hand in some categories—or could it be the beginning of the end of a dynasty?

Sonia Saraiya: Its got to be the beginning of the end, right? I mean, dont get me wrong: my guess is the final installment of Game of Thrones will be an awards juggernaut, and its hard to judge voters for losing interest when most of us have forgotten that Thrones was even eligible this year—despite airing this time last year. But that small number of acting nominations suggests waning interest to me.

Instead, it seemed like voters were really interested in the deep benches of the ensemble casts in both Westworld and The Handmaids Tale. I didnt even recognize the name of Kelly Jenrette, one of the guest-actress nominees for the Hulu drama—but you better believe I know who she is now.

Its interesting: the Academy avoided rewarding genre shows for a long time, but now it seems like genre is where it lives. Its the more traditional dramas that fell by the wayside this year: Billions, which I for sure thought had a fighting chance, and Killing Eve—which did make Sandra Oh the first Asian actress nominated for a lead role—were shut out of the outstanding-drama race. Meanwhile, Stranger Things broke into the top category, which is sweet but . . . utterly bizarre?? And Tatiana Maslany was nominated for a show I didnt realize was even eligible this year.

Joanna, I know youre about to say something smart, but first let me scream a little: SANDRA OH GOT NOMINATED FOR BEST ACTRESS!!

Robinson: You know that Im on record with my Killing Eve love. Can I join you in your all-caps shouting, but in the other direction? OH MY GOD, HOW COULD THEY FORGET KYLE MACLACHLAN! With nine nominations, Twin Peaks didnt get overlooked entirely—but can you believe that the deeply ambitious, 18-episode The Return didnt get nominated in the limited-series category, and that its leading man went unrecognized for the three (THREE!) brilliant performances he pulled off? Its astonishing.

At least his co-star Laura Dern got a nomination for her truly amazing turn in HBOs The Tale. I cant see how anyone beats that performance in the lead-actress-in-a-limited-series category—and it feels a little unfair to put TV performances up against something that, out of Sundance at least, was considered a potential Oscar role. Dern especially seems a lock considering all the Television Academy goodwill she has leftover from Big Little Lies.

As I started this section with an all-caps exclamation of disappointment, its only fair that I end it with an expression of joy—for the long, long, long-overdue Emmy recognition for Kenan Thompson, who has had a record-breaking 15-season stint on Saturday Night Live. Hes joined by castmates and fellow nominees Aidy Bryant, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, and the presidential-impersonator in chief himself, Alec Baldwin. McKinnons two-year winning streak and Baldwins win last year make it feel inevitable that at least one of the S.N.L. cast members will go home with an Emmy this year, and I hope its Thompson.

Saraiya: Im so curious about the confluence of factors that led to Thompson getting an Emmy nomination 15 years into his tenure on the show, but Im not complaining. The lock that Saturday Night Live has on the Emmys is sometimes a little frustrating, but considering the players who just got their first nominations, it seems that at least voters are appreciating not just the shows breakout political performances, but the week-to-week hard work of keeping the show interesting.

Joanna, Im also pretty bummed out about Twin Peaks—especially since it was beaten by the likes of TNTs The Alienist and Nat Geos Genius: Picasso, which also snagged Antonio Banderas a lead-actor nomination. Its always hard to come to terms with which shows Academy voters get excited about, and which ones just never pique their interest. This year was the last opportunity for the incandescent Halt and Catch Fire to be nominated, but the Emmys have never noticed that show—and they werent about to start now. (Sorry, Lee Pace.)

I also wish the Emmys could have found a little more love in their hearts for BoJack Horseman, which has never been nominated for outstanding animated series. One Day at a Time, High Maintenance, The Good Place, Dear White People—so many of my favorite shows this year dont get Emmy voters in the same way that they get me.

But you can see those slivers where the industry is warming up to change, whether thats Ohs historic recognition, Ted Dansons nomination for The Good Place, or the late-run nominations for FXs The Americans—four plum nods for its final season. And in comedy series, fully eight shows were nominated, which is surprisingly stacked for a category that is supposed to carry only six honorees.

Did any of the snubs or surprises really stand out to you? I confess that Alison Brie wouldnt have been my pick for lead actress in a comedy—but Im still shocked she wasnt nominated, given her record of fantastic performances and her winning turn as Ruth on GLOW.

Robinson: If Im being honest, if I had to pick anyone on GLOW to nominate, it would have been Betty Gilpin for her great supporting work. So I think this is one case where the Television Academys taste and my taste perfectly aligned. As far as that lead-actress-in-a-comedy category goes, it is, of course, more open than its been in a long time, due to the fact that perennial winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus is not eligible for the first time in six years. The favorite in that category is the great Rachel Brosnahan, who scooped up a Golden Globe win for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel earlier this year.

But a real a potential dark horse there is Pamela Adlon, who won a 2017 Peabody Award for her work on FXs Better Things. The Television Academy loves to recognize multi-hyphenate talents like Donald Glover and Aziz Ansari, who are not only the stars of their shows, but creatives as well. As director of every single episode of her shows second season and the writer of many of them, Adlon is a real force to be reckoned with. She may, however, run up against resistance due to her long collaboration with the disgraced Louis C.K., who served as executive producer and co-writer on Better Things. In other words, politically, this could be a tough win for her.

And speaking of politics, one last disappointment I would like to register is with Seth Meyers being overlooked for the fourth year in a row. Much has been made of Samantha Bees nomination coming so soon after a public dust-up with Ivanka Trump, and serving as anti-White House sentiment of sorts from the Television Academy. And Bees not alone when it comes to the politically heavy late-night nominees; HBOs John Oliver and Comedy Centrals Trevor Noah also landed nods. But what, I ask you, does Seth Meyers have to do to land a nomination for his show? Host the Emmys? Oh, wait; he did that years ago. Whats the hold up?

Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Full ScreenPhotos:2018 Emmy Nominations: All the Acting Nominees

LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA

Sterling K. Brown, This Is UsPhoto: Courtesy of NBC.LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA

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Milo Ventimiglia, This Is UsPhoto: By Ron Batzdorff/NBC.LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA

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Matthew Rhys, The AmericansPhoto: Courtesy of FX.LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA

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Jason Bateman, OzarkPhoto: By Jackson Davis/Netflix.SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY

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Alec Baldwin, SNLPhoto: By Will Heath/NBC.SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY

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Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselPhoto: Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY

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Henry Winkler, BarryPhoto: By John P. Johnson/HBO.PreviousNext

LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA

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Sterling K. Brown, This Is UsCourtesy of NBC.

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Milo Ventimiglia, This Is UsBy Ron Batzdorff/NBC.

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Matthew Rhys, The AmericansCourtesy of FX.

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Jason Bateman, OzarkBy Jackson Davis/Netflix.

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Ed Harris, WestworldCourtesy of HBO.

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Jeffrey Wright, WestworldBy John P. Johnson/HBO.

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Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Taleby George Kraychyk/Hulu.

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Claire Foy, The CrownBy Alex Bailey/Netflix.

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Keri Russell, The AmericansBy Patrick Harbron/FX.

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Tatiana Maslany, Orphan BlackCourtesy of BBC America.

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Evan Rachel Wood, WestworldBy John P. Johnson/HBO.

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Sandra Oh, Killing EveBy Nick Briggs/© BBC-America.

SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA

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David Harbour, Stranger ThingsCourtesy of Netflix.

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Peter Dinklage, Game of ThronesBy Helen Sloan/HBO.

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Mandy Patinkin, HomelandCourtesy of Showtime.

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Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid's TaleBy George Kraychyk/Hulu.

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of ThronesBy Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO.

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Matt Smith, The CrownBy Robert Viglasky/Netflix.

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Ann Dowd, The Handmaid's TaleBy George Kraychyk/Hulu.

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Thandie Newton, WestworldBy John P. Johnson/HBO.

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Vanessa Kirby, The CrownBy Alex Bailey/Netflix.

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Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid's TaleBy George Kraychyk/Hulu.

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Lena Headey, Game of Thronescourtesy of HBO.

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Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger ThingsBy Tina Rowden/Netflix.

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Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid's Taleby George Kraychyk/Hulu.

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Jessica Biel, The SinnerCourtesy of USA Network.

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Laura Dern, The TaleCourtesy of HBO.

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Michelle Dockery, GodlessBy Ursula Coyote/Courtesy of Netflix.

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Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: CultCourtesy of FX.

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Edie Falco, The Menendez MurdersBy Justin Lubin/Courtesy of NBC.

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Regina King, Seven SecondsBy JoJo Whilden/Courtesy of Netflix.

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Darren Criss, Assassination of Gianni VersaceCourtesy of FX.

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Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick MelroseBy Justin Downing/Courtesy of Showtime.

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John Legend, Jesus Christ Superstar

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Antonio Banderas, Genius: PicassoCourtesy of National Geographic.

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Jeff Daniels, The Looming TowerBy JoJo Whilden/Courtesy of Hulu.

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Jesse Plemons, USS Callister: Black MirrorCourtesy of Netflix.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, MINISERIES

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Penelope Cruz, Assassination of Gianni VersaceBy Jeff Daly/Courtesy of FX.

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Adina Porter, American Horror Story: CultCourtesy of FX.

LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA

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Sara Bareilles, Jesus Christ SuperstarFrom NBC/Getty Images.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, MINISERIES

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Judith Light, Assassination of Gianni VersaceCourtesy of FX.

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Letitia Wright, Black MirrorCourtesy of Netflix.

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Merritt Wever, GodlessBy James Minchin/Courtesy of Netflix.

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Edgar Ramirez, Assassination of Gianni VersaceCourtesy of FX.

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Jeff Daniels, GodlessBy James Minchin/Courtesy of Netflix.

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Michael Stuhlbarg, The Looming TowerBy JoJo Whilden/Courtesy of Hulu.

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Ricky Martin, Assassination of Gianni VersaceCourtesy of FX.

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Brandon Victor Dixon, Jesus Christ SuperstarBy Peter Kramer/NBC/Getty Images.

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John Leguizamo, WacoFrom ©Paramount Network/Everett Collection.

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Finn Wittrock, VersaceBy Ray Micshaw/FX.

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Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselCourtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

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Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ishBy Kelsey McNeal/ABC.

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Lily Tomlin, Grace and FrankieBy Melissa Moseley/Netflix.

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Pamela Adlon, Better Things

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Allison Janney, MomBy Jessica Brooks/CBS.

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Issa Rae, InsecureBy Justina Mintz/Courtesy of HBO.

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Anthony Anderson, Black-ishBy Eric McCandless/ABC.

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William H. Macy, ShamelessBy Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME.

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Donald Glover, AtlantaBy Quantrell D. Colbert/FX.

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Larry David, Curb Your EnthusiasmBy John P. Johnson/HBO.

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Bill Hader, BarryBy John P. Johnson/HBO.

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Kate McKinnon, SNLBy Will Heath/NBC.

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Megan Mullally, Will and GraceBy Chris Haston/NBC.

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Aidy Bryant, SNLFrom NBC/Getty Images.

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Laurie Metcalf, RoseanneBy Adam Rose/ABC/Getty Images.

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Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselCourtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

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Leslie Jones, SNLBy Rosalind OConnor/NBC.

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Betty Gilpin, GLOWBy Erica Parise/Netflix.

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Zazie Beetz, AtlantaBy Curtis Baker/FX.

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Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy SchmidtBy Eric Liebowitz/Netflix.

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Kenan Thompson, SNLFrom NBC/Getty Images.

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Louie Anderson, BasketsBy Colleen Hayes/FX.

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Brian Tyree Henry, AtlantaBy Curtis Baker/FX.

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Alec Baldwin, SNLBy Will Heath/NBC.

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Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselCourtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

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Henry Winkler, BarryBy John P. Johnson/HBO.

Joanna RobinsonJoanna Robinson is a Hollywood writer covering TV and film for VanityFair.com.Sonia SaraiyaSonia Saraiya is Vanity Fair's television critic. Previously she was at Variety, Salon, and The A.V. Club. She lives in New York.

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