2016 Emmy Nominations: Snubs and Surprises

The Americans

The Surprises

We complain because we care, but sometimes the Emmys surprise even us with their excellent taste. Cheers to the Emmys for recognizing excellence in the following (or, in a couple of cases, finally letting go of some bad habits).

Mr Robot

Mr. Robot

Okay, so it’s not exactly shocking that Emmy voters like Mr. Robot, seeing as everyone else seems to like it too. Still, you never know with these folks and so it was nice to see this newcomer get some love. It’s too bad Christian Slater couldn’t score a nom, but at least star Rami Malek did. Mr. Robot hasn’t yet reached the level of watercooler buzz and critical acclaim that Mad Men or Breaking Bad enjoyed in their heyday, but a Best Drama nomination is certainly a good start.

Aziz Ansari in Master of None

Aziz Ansari for Master of None

As with Mr. Robot, we’re not especially startled to see Master of None make the cut, but we’re thrilled nonetheless. And it did better than we might have predicted, with star and creator Aziz Ansari scoring in the Best Actor, Best Directing, and Best Writing (with Alan Yang) categories. He’ll probably be named in the Best Comedy category too, when all is said and done — the show itself was nominated but the Emmys take a while to sort out which producers get the credit.

horace and pete season 2

Horace and Pete

The Emmys are not exactly known for their love of the new and different, but they embraced Louis C.K.‘s unorthodox webseries. It probably helps that they already like C.K. a whole lot — FX’s Louie has been a favorite for some time now — but still, good on them for being willing to branch out.

The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory & Modern Family

For many years The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family dominated the comedy nominations, even as buzzier and more original shows cropped up all over the small screen. But their stranglehold on the Emmys has started to loosen in the past year or so, and that trend continued into this year. Both shows still did fine — The Big Bang Theory got seven nominations including three for Guest Actor/Actress, and Modern Family got four including Best Comedy Series and Best Supporting Actor — but they’re nowhere near the inescapable forces they’ve been in years past. And thank goodness for that. These shows are fine, but even their fans would likely admit that at this point, they’re nowhere near as fresh as they used to be.

The Americans

The Americans

For years, TV fans have been begging the Emmys to just watch The Americans, please, it really is that good, we swear to God. This year, it looks like the voters finally listened. While the spy drama did get a little bit of attention last year, with noms for Guest Actress and Writing, 2016 is the year it finally emerged as a serious contender, with five nominations including Best Actress (Keri Russell), Best Actor (Matthew Rhys), and best of all, Best Drama.

Constance Zimmer on UnREAL

Constance Zimmer for UnREAL

After a shockingly fantastic first season, it’s honestly a big disappointment that UnREAL didn’t do better in this year’s Emmy nominations. Still, we’ll take what we can get. As Quinn King, Constance Zimmer combines sharp intelligence, a dark sense of humor, and a complete disregard for morals with just enough vulnerability and charisma so that we kind of love her anyway. It’s a fascinating character elevated even further by a once-in-a-lifetime performance, and Zimmer completely had this one coming.

Thomas Middleditch in Silicon Valley

Thomas Middleditch for Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley has been nominated in the Best Comedy Series category since its first season, which is why it’s weird that Emmy voters are only now getting around to noticing how great the acting on it is. Better late than never, though, right? Thomas Middleditch scored his first nomination for playing Richard Hendricks, and it is definitely deserved. This past season saw Richard rise to new heights and sink to new lows, as the show itself just got funnier and smarter and more deliciously painful.

People v OJ Simpson

Actors of Color

Months after that #OscarsSoWhite kerfuffle, the Emmys went in a much different direction by nominating actors of color in all six lead acting categories — the first time that’s ever happened in Emmy history, as pointed out by Buzzfeed. For years now the small screen has had a reputation for being more welcoming of diverse voices than the big one, and a quick look at the nominations is a great reminder of why.

Laurie Metcalf in Getting On

Laurie Metcalf

While most actors felt lucky today to get recognized once this morning, Laurie Metcalf, already a three-time Best Supporting Actress winner for Roseanne, added another three nominations to her resume today for Getting OnThe Big Bang Theory, and Horace and Pete.

Honest Trailers

Hey, you know those Honest Trailers we keep sharing with you? Well, they’re officially an Emmy-nominated show now, having been recognized in the Outstanding Short Form Variety Series category. So you’re welcome for showing them to you.

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