by Julian Spivey
There’s so many great TV shows on in this era of prestige television in which there are more ways than ever to watch television (the days of three networks are LONG gone) that the word “snub” almost doesn’t even exist anymore when it comes to the Emmy Award nominations because it’s a foregone conclusion there are more worthy series and performance that nominee slots available. But because of more quality than nominee positions the term snub still gets thrown around because there’s always people and shows we hoped would be nominated.
These are my 10 biggest Emmy snubs for 2020 …
Ken Burns’ Country Music
I realize the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series category isn’t typical one of the favorites for folks tuning into the Emmy Awards, but when I saw the nominees this morning it provided the biggest jaw-dropper for me. I absolutely can’t believe Ken Burns’ latest docuseries “Country Music” for PBS wasn’t nominated. And the fact that it didn’t receive a single nomination in any of the other documentary categories honestly makes me wonder if it was even submitted because Burns has been such an Emmy darling in the past (surely it had to have been?). I know Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ and ESPN’s “The Last Dance” caught more of the mainstream attention this year and you have to go back to last September for “Country Music,” but this is a huge shocker for me.
NBC’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” not receiving a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series is in no way a shock. The incredibly funny sitcom revolving around a New York police precinct has never been nominated in this category (despite winning a Golden Globe for its first season) over its seven seasons and that’s truly a crime in which Andy Samberg’s Det. Jake Peralta needs to be on the case. Year-in-and-year-out “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is one of the most hilarious shows on TV and desperately deserves more love. I guess I should just be happy Andre Braugher has rejoined the Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series race after a few years of being snubbed.
2019-2020 was a hard year for any limited series to break into the Emmy category of Outstanding Limited Series and Hulu’s outstanding “Normal People” ended up on the outside looking in, as I feared it might. I haven’t yet seen Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere,” which did get a nomination in the category, but it seems the star power of Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington may have pushed it over the top against “Normal People” when it comes to Emmy voters because when it comes to TV critics it was “Normal People” that was better reviewed.
The one Emmy nomination highlight for Hulu’s “Normal People” was Paul Mescal receiving a nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for her terrific role as Connell. But it really just seems as a half win for me, as his co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones couldn’t fit into the Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series or Movie category and the two just seem like they belong together at the Emmys, as they did in the series. Edgar-Jones played social outcast going through her first real relationship and dealing with the hardships that can be life in your late teens to early twenties so incredibly well. I hate that she’s not honored.
Tobias Menzies portrayal of Prince Philip in the third season of Netflix’s “The Crown” was the best thing about the season, in my opinion, but Menzies couldn’t fit into the Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series category. His co-stars Olivia Colman (Queen Elizabeth II) and Helena Bonham-Carter (Princess Margaret) were nominated. Prince Philip is at times in season three more of a focus than the actual Queen in “The Crown” and Menzies just absolutely knocks the role out of the park. His predecessor Matt Smith wasn’t nominated for the first season of “The Crown,” but was for its second season, so maybe the same will be true for Menzies.
Hey, do you remember season three of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” was in the eligibility period for the 2020 Emmys? It might be hard because the show debuted more than a year before the Emmy nominees were announced today (July 28), but the voting body didn’t forget nominating the series for Outstanding Drama Series. However, the voters couldn’t find room in an always jam-packed Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category for David Harbour (who was nominated for each of the first two seasons) for his great portrayal as Sheriff Jim Hopper.
Potentially my favorite nominee and biggest surprise of the Emmy Award nominations this morning was the inclusion of FX’s wacky vampire mockumentary “What We Do in the Shadows” in the Outstanding Comedy Series category, but damn I was really hoping (though I knew it was unlikely) that Matt Berry could sneak into the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his brilliant performance as English nobleman turned vampire Laszlo. Berry’s comedic reading of lines is out of this world and his performance in the Emmy nominated for writing episode “On the Run” where he develops the alter-ego Jackie Daytona is one of the most hilarious things I’ve seen in a while.
Maybe Emmy voters just refuse to acknowledge the existence of CBS All-Access as a streaming service? That’s really the only reason I can think of for consistently snubbing Christine Baranski’s performance as attorney Diane Lockhart in “The Good Fight,” especially after equally consistently nominating her for the same character, but in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category for her role on “The Good Wife.” Many critics seem to actually prefer “The Good Fight” to “The Good Wife” (I don’t), but it doesn’t seem Emmy voters share that sentiment.
There’s a lot to be excited about the 2020 Emmy Awards if you’re a fan of NBC’s “The Good Place,” which wrapped its final season earlier this year, as Ted Danson was once again nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series and supporting performers William Jackson Harper and D’Arcy Carden (who’s been a regular on my Emmys snubs list) were finally given some love. But it is a big bummer that Kristen Bell’s lead performance of Eleanor Shellstrop is one that will go down in history as never having been nominated for an Emmy.
Of all of the “snubs” on my list this year Jane Levy for her wonderful performance as the title character in NBC’s comedy-musical “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” is the one I knew had absolutely zero chance at actually being nominated. But my god Levy does it all in this series – incredible deadpan, sarcastic humor, tear-jerking dramatic scenes, dancing, singing – it was just a wonderful experience watching her in this wacky, but also heart-tugging and heartwarming series.