Tube Talk: And the nominees are…

By Paula Hendrickson

Each summer when the Emmy nominations are announced, people immediately start talking about which performers and shows were snubbed, complaining about seeing the same people and shows nominated year after year, and accusing Emmy voters of not considering newer shows or anything outside of premium cable and broadcast networks.

A couple years ago, Netflix and Amazon changed that last complaint by scoring big wins for shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, and Transparent.

Last year Tatiana Maslany was nominated as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for playing all of the Leda Clones – Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Helena, Rachel, Beth and Krystal (and probably a few more) – in BBC America’s Orphan Black. She’s nominated again this year, adding M.K. to the growing list of incredibly distinctive characters she plays.

Perhaps Maslany’s inclusion last year helped pave the way for Rami Malek’s first nomination for his work in the debut season of USA’s critical darling, Mr. Robot, or even for Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys finally being recognized for their impressive work on FX’s The Americans.

When I saw the complete list of nominees, all I know is I was happy to see a broad range of performers and shows among this year’s nominees. It’s also a far more diverse group than you’d see with the Oscars. Sure, there are a lot of worthy candidates that didn’t get nominated, but just consider how much great television is being made today – for traditional and digital media – and how few categories and nominees there are.

Personally, I would have loved to see Vera Farmiga or Freddie Highmore nominated for their roles on Bates Motel, which had an incredibly powerful season this year, but I wouldn’t know which nominees to remove from their respective categories to make room for them.

I love all of the nominees mentioned above, but a couple of other things I was excited by include:

  • Acting nods for both Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson on black-ish (ABC) – plus a nomination for the show as Outstanding Comedy Series.
  • UnREAL (Lifetime) co-star Constance Zimmer nominated as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
  • Master of None (Netflix) earning several nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series and an acting nod for creator and star Aziz Ansari.

As often as Academy members are criticized for being behind the times, Emmy categories are constantly being expanded and reconfigured. A few years ago there was only one category for reality series, but now there are three main categories: Outstanding Structured Reality Program (like Antiques Roadshow or Shark Tank), Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program (like Intervention or United Shades of America) and Outstanding Reality-Competition Program (like The Amazing Race or Dancing With the Stars).

New categories are added each year. Now only if they would add a few more slots to the acting categories.

For a complete list of this year’s Emmy nominees, go to

Programming Note

The 68th Annual Emmy Awards will be broadcast live on ABC on Sunday, September 18 starting at 7 p.m.

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