The 2018 Emmy nominations have been announced, and while there's definitely deserving hopefuls, some big names, from Twin Peaks to One Day at a Time, were left off the table. In a context where there’s more television than ever and audiences’ attentions are consistently fractured, the attention major awards can bring to a series is more important than ever. An ever-expanding array of platforms campaign extensively for the chance of a nomination, but they face tough competition as well as the Emmy voters themselves, who remain torn between staunch traditionalism and cutting-edge evolution of the medium.
Overall, this year’s Emmy nominations show the best and worst of the Emmys: While there are a few surprises, including love for HBO’s Barry and Netflix’s GLOW, much of the big players are typical of their previous year’s choices. This Is Us, Westworld and Game of Thrones remain dominant forces in the major categories despite weaker seasons. A slew of acting nominations for the latter two series feels especially questionable, leading some to assume that the voters are just choosing names they’re familiar with.
As is often the case with awards, more can be learned from what was snubbed than what was rewarded. These choices are seldom made on merit alone, and happen thanks to a savvy combination of campaigning, audience popularity and well-spent publicity dollars. With the Emmys in particular, once you make it into the list of nominees, certain shows can rest easy for the next several years and coast of goodwill. With all of that in mind, we take a look at the biggest snubs and some of the more perplexing nominations.
- This Page: The Biggest Emmy 2018 Snubs
- Page 2: Game of Thrones and Westworld Were Over-Nominated
The Twin Peaks Snubs are Shocking
Twin Peaks: The Return wasn’t just good television: it was a game-changer for the medium. David Lynch’s revival of the iconic mystery drama subverted all expectations by eschewing nostalgic pandering in favor of languid storytelling dripping in ambiguity and experiments with form. How many other series on TV featured a talking kettle that was once David Bowie, a head crushing woodsman played by an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, and an extended musical performance by Nine Inch Nails?
Lynch received a much-deserved nomination for his directing, but the show’s omission from the Best Limited Series category is baffling. Perhaps it was just too long between screening and nominations for voters to remember its majesty, or maybe it was simply too weird for them. It’s not hard to see why something like Kyle MacLachlan’s layered, detailed and utterly committed performance (or should that be performances?) as Agent Dale Cooper/Dougie Jones would be hard to view in terms of excellence. It’s not typical awards-friendly acting, but it shouldn’t have to be to get recognized. Naomi Watts’ scene-stealing work as Janey-E Jones was also snubbed, and while Emmys favorite Laura Dern was nominated, it was for The Tale and not her turn as Diane.
No show of the past twelve months did more with the medium than Twin Peaks. It refused to be easily categorized and remained utterly unconcerned with minor things like answering audiences’ questions. That doesn’t make for great Emmy tapes but that’s no excuse for its absence in the major categories.
No Love For One Day at a Time
In a short amount of time, Netflix has become a major power player with the Emmys. This year, alongside the prestige kings at HBO, Netflix garnered the most nominations thanks to wildly popular and critically acclaimed shows like The Crown and Stranger Things. The streaming service has billions of dollars to spend not only on content but expansive ad campaigns that ensure everyone is aware of their shows.
Still, it’s sad that their beautiful sitcom One Day at a Time was so thoroughly ignored by the Emmys. The reboot of the classic Norman Lear comedy changed up the formula by having the single mother family be Cuban-Americans living in Florida and dealing frankly with an assortment of difficult issues, from alcoholism and depression to sexuality and racism. While talk of the death of the multi-cam sitcom continues, One Day at a Time consistently proved that ethos wrong, adding layers of deft characterization to a tried-and-true formula.
There was no performance in comedy that felt so joyous and raw as Justina Machado’s turn as the matriarch of the family, a single mother with a vibrant approach on life who struggles to keep her head above water thanks to mental illness and an injury sustained while serving in the Army. The final two episodes of Season 2 were tearjerkers of the highest order and Machado’s heart-wrenching performance made for must-see TV.
Nothing for Alison Brie
Few actresses working in television today have had the tenacity or skill of Alison Brie. She has two bona fide masterpieces under her belt – Mad Men and Community – plus stellar acting work on Netflix’s BoJack Horseman, and now she’s finally gotten the headlining gig she deserved with GLOW. As the main star in the ensemble of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, Brie gets to shine as an overeager unemployed actress whose sweet exterior hides a cruel selfishness and smothering lack of self-awareness.
RELATED: GLOW Season 2 Review
GLOW did well in the nominations and managed to get one for Best Comedy, which is no mean feat in a field this competitive. However, even in an ensemble this large, where it can be tough to single out a favorite, it feels like a missed opportunity to give credit to Brie. She has the old-school comic timing that turns what should be an unbearable character into a sympathetic figure that audiences can’t help but root for. It was exciting to see the nod for Betty Gilpin, but Brie’s time is now. Marc Maron certainly deserved some love too.
No Best Comedy Nod for The Good Place
If One Day at a Time was this season’s peak of the multi-cam sitcom, NBC’s The Good Place was the prime of the single-camera comedy on network TV. The fantasy-comedy about life after death and the bizarre bureaucracy of heaven and hell was consistently inventive throughout its second season. Viewers kept wondering when the show would run out of steam or start tripping over its own high-concept story, yet it never did. The Good Place remained fresh and surprising on every turn and was one of network TV’s most visually unique series.
Ted Danson’s nomination is a delight but not surprising given his vaunted status with the Emmys thanks to Cheers and Fargo. He’s an old favorite with this crowd. Yet the overlooking of the show’s ensemble, including D’Arcy Carden, Kristen Bell and Jameela Jamil, as well as every other major category, felt particularly unfair.