Emmy Nominations 2017: Snubs and Surprises

In the era of Peak TV, shows and actors are much more likely to be snubbed than honored by the Emmys.

Even with seven nominees in most categories, hall-of-fame performances were overlooked in this morning’s Emmy nominations. The critically acclaimed last season of HBO’s The Leftovers was left out in the cold in major categories. Another buzzed-about show that couldn’t get any recognition for its final season: Girls.

Emmy voters lavished love on This Is Us, including nominations for leading men Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown, but leading lady Mandy Moore couldn’t crack the highly competitive Best Drama Actress category. There were very pleasant surprises, too. Voters clearly have a long memory, since they reached back to honor last summer’s gritty limited series The Night Of.

Here are the snubs and surprises that jumped out at us.

The Emmys will be held Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, hosted by Stephen Colbert and airing on CBS.

More Emmys coverage:


SNUB: ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ (NBC)

Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show hasn’t just eclipsed Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show in the ratings — it’s also taken the lead in the Emmy race. For the first time since ascending to Johnny Carson and Jay Leno’s old chair in 2014, Fallon failed to qualify in the Outstanding Variety Talk Series category. (The Tonight Show was recognized in the Outstanding Interactive Program category.) It appears that rubbing Donald Trump’s hair doesn’t bring you good luck. — Ethan Alter

(Photo: NBC)

SURPRISE: Carrie Fisher, ‘Catastrophe’

How lovely that Carrie Fisher, who completed work on the third season of Catastrophe shortly before her death, should get an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Rob Delaney’s mom. She had only a few scenes, but they were small gems, glowing with Fisher’s urgent life force. — Ken Tucker

(Photo: Amazon)

SNUB: Winona Ryder, ‘Stranger Things’

Stranger Things cast members David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown, and Shannon “Barb” Purser were each singled out for Netflix’s cult ’80s throwback. But the one actress who was a genuine star during the ’80s — and landed a Golden Globe nomination for her moving portrayal of a grieving mother — went overlooked. That seems pretty … well, strange if you ask us. — EA

(Photo: Netflix)

SURPRISE: ‘The Night Of’

It aired so long ago — the summer of 2016, which is an eternity in TV years — that we worried that Emmy voters would forget about HBO’s addictive crime yarn. Turns out they have long memories to go along with good taste: The Night Of received 13 nominations, including nods for stars Riz Ahmed and John Turturro as well as Outstanding Limited Series. — EA

(Photo: HBO)

SNUB: ‘The Leftovers’

The HBO drama’s final season was so achingly beautiful and packed with Emmy-worthy performances by Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Christopher Eccleston, it pains us to see it all but ignored: Only Ann Dowd was nominated, for her brilliant and brutal guest performance as Patti Levin. — Kristen Baldwin

(Photo: HBO)

SURPRISE: David Harbour, ‘Stranger Things’

David Harbour proved that he’s bona fide as a leading man in the first season of Stranger Things, turning in a fine performance as the weary but fiery and determined sheriff carrying a ton of emotional baggage. He was the rock that anchored the show to its humanity. — Kelly Woo

(Photo: Netflix)

SNUB: Lena Dunham, ‘Girls’

Sure, she hadn’t received an Emmy nod for acting since 2014, for directing since 2013, or for writing since 2012, but this was the HBO comedy’s well-reviewed farewell season that saw the girls finally grow up and move on amid storylines that were clever, juicy, and heartfelt enough to earn nominations for guest performers Riz Ahmed, Matthew Rhys, and Becky Ann Baker. The show’s only other nom this season? New category music supervision (which was most deserved). — Mandi Bierly

(Photo: HBO)

SURPRISE: ‘The Crown’ (Netflix)

Netflix’s series about the early life of Queen Elizabeth II cleaned up at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards, but it’s still surprising to see the series rake in 13 Emmy nominations, including the top prize of Best Drama. Then again, it could be taking the “prestige British period drama” slot left open by Downton Abbey. — KW

(Photo: Netflix)

SNUB: Mandy Moore, ‘This Is Us’

The NBC drama scored 11 nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series and seven acting nods (for lead actors Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown, supporting actress Chrissy Metz, supporting actor Ron Cephas Jones, and guest actors Gerald McRaney, Brian Tyree Henry, and Denis O’Hare). But Moore, who plays Pearson matriarch Rebecca from the ages of 23 to 66 so beautifully, couldn’t crack the crowded Lead Actress in a Drama Series category. Fingers crossed for Season 2. — MB

(Photo: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

SURPRISE: Pamela Adlon, ‘Better Things’

The under-the-radar FX family dramedy — created by and starring Pamela Adlon — could have easily stayed off the radar of Emmy voters. This nomination for Adlon’s hilarious, heartbreaking, and all-too-real performance is a victory for frazzled mothers everywhere. — KB

(Photo: James Minchin/FX)

SNUB: Lauren Graham, ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’

A decade ago, the Emmys changed its voting rules to change up the nominees — with some calling it “The Lauren Graham rule.” Well, that backfired and the actress never received a nod. It seemed like the long-anticipated revival Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life could reverse Graham’s Emmy fortunes, but alas, she was competing for a spot in the very tough Lead Actress in a Limited Series category. — KW

(Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix)

SNUB: Michael McKean, ‘Better Call Saul’

While we’re thrilled to see the AMC prequel get its first nomination for Outstanding Drama — and that star Bob Odenkirk earned his third nom as Lead Actor — it’s criminal that voters didn’t recognize Michael McKean’s gripping and nuanced turn as Jimmy’s troubled, fastidious brother Chuck. — KB

(Photo: Michele K. Short/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

SURPRISE: So Many Deserving Double Nominees

Riz Ahmed could take home a pair of statuettes for his lead role in The Night Of as well as his guest turn as Hannah’s baby daddy, Paul, in Girls. Not only is Ann Dowd the lone nominee for The Leftovers (Outstanding Guest Performance), but she earned a Supporting Actress nod for her compelling performance as the formidable Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale. And Matthew Rhys can celebrate his second Lead Actor nomination for The Americans as well as a nod for his lecherous guest turn in Girls. — KB

(Photo: HBO/HULU/FX)

SNUB: Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga, ‘Bates Motel’

Emmy voters had one last chance to reward Freddie Highmore for his layered performance as spiraling Norman Bates, but the A&E drama’s fine final season was completely forgotten. Another thing we won’t (forgive and) forget: Vera Farmiga hadn’t been nominated since Season 1. — MB

(Photo: Cate Cameron/A&E Networks)

SURPRISE: Jane Fonda, ‘Grace and Frankie’

Jane Fonda’s co-star, Lily Tomlin, has been nominated twice before for Netflix’s popular comedy series, but this is the first year that both Grace and Frankie will be in contention for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Two acting legends are better than one, after all. — EA

(Photo: Netflix)

SNUB: Issa Rae, ‘Insecure’

Issa Rae instantly changed the complexion of HBO’s comedy lineup with her terrific relationship series, Insecure. Sadly, she was overlooked in both the acting and writing categories, which deprived the soon-to-debut Season 2 of an always-helpful Emmy bump. — EA

(Photo: HBO)

SURPRISE: Zach Galifianakis, ‘Baskets’

Louie Anderson nabbed a surprise (and well-deserved) Outstanding Supporting Actor award last year for playing the Baskets family matriarch on Zach Galifianakis’s cult FX comedy. This time around, her son was recognized in the Outstanding Lead Actor category, setting up a mother-and-child reunion that’s only an Emmy away. — EA

(Photo: Colleen Hayes/FX)

SNUB: Rami Malek, ‘Mr. Robot’

Looks as if last year’s surprise Outstanding Actor award winner won’t have a chance at a repeat victory. Malek, along with the rest of Mr. Robot‘s main ensemble (B.D. Wong nabbed a Guest Actor nod), was overlooked in the acting categories, and the controversial second season was also shut out of Outstanding Drama contention. — EA

SNUB: ‘Legion’

Noah Hawley’s Fargo may have cleaned up with 16 nominations, but his equally beautiful and well-acted Marvel series Legion was completely shut out. Not even a hairstyling nod for Dan Stevens’s sexy, shaggy mop. It’s a damn shame. — KB

(Photo: Michelle Faye/FX)

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