10 Favorite Emmy Nominees
by Julian Spivey
10. Lily Tomlin (Grace & Frankie)
Lily Tomlin has been nominated four times now for her lovably kooky Frankie in Netflix’s underrated “Grace & Frankie,” but hasn’t been able to crack the winning streak that has been Julia Louis-Dreyfus for “Veep.” Well, Julia Louis-Dreyfus isn’t eligible for an Emmy this year so maybe it’ll be Tomlin’s best opportunity so far. I just wish that her terrific castmate Jane Fonda had been nominated alongside her again this year.
9. Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live)
Kenan Thompson is the longest-serving cast member in the illustrious history of “Saturday Night Live” with 15 seasons and counting and with his first ever Emmy nomination this year for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series he might be the consensus favorite nominee this year. Thompson is one of those ‘SNL’ players that will frequently make you laugh with just a look or the certain connotation he puts on a word, even when a sketch just absolutely is not working. He’s that good.
8. Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish)
Over the last few years Tracee Ellis Ross’s performance as Rainbow Johnson on ABC’s “Black-ish” has been the second best performance on television by a comedic actress behind Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ turn on HBO’s “Veep.” With Julia Louis-Dreyfus not in the running this year maybe it’s time Ross gets the Emmy she deserves to go next to the Golden Globe she won in 2017.
7. Ted Danson (The Good Place)
Ted Danson is a television legend and a previous Emmy-winner for his iconic Sam Malone on “Cheers,” but maybe his greatest work on television is being done right now on NBC’s “The Good Place” as Michael, a demon turned good who’s helping people he believes shouldn’t be in “the bad place” find their way in the afterlife. It’s a performance played with wide-eyed glee by Danson, who received his 16th Emmy nomination.
6. Milo Ventimiglia & Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown are giving two of the most honest and realistic performances on television, especially network TV on NBC’s terrific “This Is Us.” Brown won Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series last year, so maybe his castmate Ventimiglia will take the honor home this year?
5. Donald Glover & Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta)
Donald Glover, who is the defending winner for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, and Brian Tyree Henry are quite the dynamic one-two punch on FX’s stellar “Atlanta.” I’m particularly thrilled to see Henry receive his first nomination in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy category as Paper Boi, an up-and-coming rapper struggling with budding fame. The performances in season two from Glover and Henry were top notch and I believe both should be considered front-runners in their respective categories.
4. Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert got off to a bit of a slow start as host of the ‘Late Show’ after taking over for David Letterman in the fall of 2015, but he’s really gotten into his stride in the time of Trump bringing a fiercely humorous political mind to the show that allows him to be himself and not a character like he portrayed in the Emmy-winning “Colbert Report” for Comedy Central.
3. Late Night with Seth Meyers writing staff
I’ve been salty for a few years now that NBC’s fantastic “Late Night with Seth Meyers” hasn’t been able to garner a nomination in the Outstanding Variety Series – Talk category, as I believe it’s been the best late night talk show on television over the last few years. But, where ‘Late Night’ really excels is in its writing of jokes, particularly political jokes with Meyers’ “A Closer Look” segment, and it’s nice to see that writing staff recognized for Outstanding Writing in a Variety Series.
2. This Is Us
“This Is Us” is the finest show on network television and I’m glad to see it gets its due against maybe more prestigious fare like “The Handmaid’s Tale” or “Game of Thrones” on streaming and premium networks. I don’t think it has much of a chance at becoming the first network drama to win Outstanding Drama Series since “24” in 2006, but I sure hope it does.
FX’s “Atlanta” is the best show I’ve seen on television this year and is frequently the weirdest and most unique show on TV, as well. The show simply does whatever it wants and whatever odd things pop into creator Donald Glover’s mind and it works perfectly. It’s a comedy, but with great dramatic moments and as the second season proved could even do horror better than most. I think “Atlanta” is definitely the front-runner to win Outstanding Comedy Series with “Veep,” the reigning three-time winner, not eligible this year.
10 Biggest Emmy Snubs
by Julian Spivey
10. Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta)
I know I shouldn’t be greedy when it comes to FX’s “Atlanta” being snubbed for anything as it was nominated for nine major Emmy awards, including four in acting categories, but how could Lakeith Stanfield not be nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his fantastic performance in the episode “Teddy Perkins,” which is likely the show’s best episode thus far? I’m thrilled Brian Tyree Henry was nominated in that category as his performance as been the show’s best through its first two seasons, but give some love to Stanfield too.
9. Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle)
I didn’t expect Gael Garcia Bernal to be nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for his wonderfully gleeful performance as orchestra maestro Rodrigo De Souza on Amazon’s underrated “Mozart in the Jungle,” which was unfortunately canceled after its fourth season, but I truly believe he should’ve been nominated at least once during the show’s run for his infectious performance. Bernal did win a Golden Globe for the show’s first season.
8. Fred Armisen (The Last Man on Earth)
Fred Armisen’s guest appearance as serial killer cannibal Karl Cowperthwaite on the fourth season of Fox’s “The Last Man on Earth” is one of the funniest guest performances and characters I’ve ever seen from a comedy series. Armisen is pretty much single-handedly featured in the fourth season’s ninth episode “Karl” and knocks it out of the park. He would’ve been much worthier of a nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series than Donald Glover for hosting “Saturday Night Live” or Katt Williams for what essentially was a cameo in “Atlanta.”
7. Heidi Gardner (Saturday Night Live)
Almost half of the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category was taken up this year by “Saturday Night Live” cast members with two-time reigning winner Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Aidy Bryant all receiving noms. I realize Heidi Gardner was a first-year cast member this year with lesser screen time than those three, who’ve all become ‘SNL’ legends as far as I’m concerned, but I really felt she was the standout performer on the show this past season with truly funny and original characters like Bailey Gismert, a teenage YouTube movie reviewer, and Angel – the girlfriend from every boxing movie. Gardner was at least more deserving than Bryant, in my opinion.
6. Andy Samberg & Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine Nine)
“Brooklyn Nine Nine” was the funniest show on television over the last year and that’s owed a lot to its two stars Andy Samberg, who’s never been nominated for his performance as Detective Jake Peralta, and Andre Braugher, who’s previously been nominated three times as Capt. Raymond Holt without winning. I’m a huge fan of Anthony Anderson’s work on ABC’s “Black-ish,” but Samberg could’ve easily taken that spot this year. As for Braugher, he should’ve had the spot given to Alec Baldwin – who’s performance as President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” (though deserving of his Emmy win last year) quickly became tired and stale.
5. Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black)
It was somewhat stunning that Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” was shut out of major category nominations for its excellent fifth season, that I believe was its best yet as it took a minute-by-minute look at a prison riot and brought race relations and abuse of power to television in a manner not seen often. The most hurtful snub though was that of Danielle Brooks, who played Taystee Jefferson, who was truly the heart of the season in the show’s best acting performance thus far.
4. Brooklyn Nine Nine
Fox’s (though moving to NBC next season) excellent workplace sitcom “Brooklyn Nine Nine” has never gotten love from the Emmys, outside of three nominations for Andre Braugher (who should’ve won at least once), and that’s a damn shame because during its fifth season it was the funniest show on television. It’s hard for even comedies on a network to receive Emmy noms these days, but “Brooklyn Nine Nine” had a better season than ABC’s “Black-ish” and should’ve taken its lone network comedy nomination.
3. Mandy Moore (This Is Us)
I was absolutely flabbergasted that Mandy Moore wasn’t nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for her second season turn as Rebecca Pearson, the matriarch on NBC’s massive hit “This Is Us.” Moore’s performance in the second season may have been the best of the entire cast – and damn it’s a great cast. Not bad for a once teenage pop star. Her onscreen husband Milo Ventimiglia and onscreen son Sterling K. Brown (a winner last year) were both nominated.
2. “Teddy Perkins” (Atlanta)
“Atlanta,” which is probably the favorite to win the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series this year, had two episodes nominated in the Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series category with show creator Donald Glover being nominated for “Alligator Man” and Stefani Robinson for “Barbershop,” two terrific episodes, but Glover not being nominated for the writing of “Teddy Perkins,” the show’s best effort yet, is crazy. I must wonder if maybe this episode wasn’t even submitted?
1. Late Night with Seth Meyers
Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC has been possibly the best all-around talk show on television over the last few years and has brought politics to late night network shows like no other one before it taking cues from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to provide an extremely insightful, as well as entertaining show. However, it has never been nominated once for Outstanding Variety Series – Talk. That’s just absurd. The writing staff has, however, been nominated for the second consecutive year for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series.
Best Drama - This Is Us (NBC)
Best Comedy - Brooklyn Nine Nine (Fox)
Best Variety Series - Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS)
Best New Drama - Rise (NBC)
Best New Comedy - Splitting Up Together (ABC)
Best Actor in a Drama: Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)
Best Actress in a Drama - Mandy Moore (This Is Us)
Best Actor in a Comedy - Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine Nine)
Best Actress in a Comedy -Briga Heelan (Great News)
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama - Katie Lowes (Scandal)
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy - Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine Nine)
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy - Amber Ruffin (Late Night with Seth Meyers)
Best Guest Actor in a Drama - Cameron Monaghan (Gotham)
Best Guest Actress in a Drama - Lyric Ross (This Is Us)
Best Guest Actor in a Comedy - Fred Armisen (The Last Man on Earth)
Best Guest Actress in a Comedy - Kristen Wiig (The Last Man on Earth)
Best Drama Episode - "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat" (The X Files)
Best Comedy Episode - "Jake & Amy" (Brooklyn Nine Nine)
Hall of Fame Show & Legend:
Show: The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
Legend: Johnny Carson