News

Biggest Snubs and Surprises from the 2020 Emmy Nominations

The Mandalorian scores a shock nom, Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn miss out, What We Do in the Shadows sneaks in, Zendaya gets good news, and more big surprises and snubs.

by and | July 28, 2020 | Comments

The nominations for the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards were announced Tuesday morning, and many of the categories went just as the pundits had predicted. Plenty of noms for Watchmen? Yep, it got more than any other title. Lots of love for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel? The show will have 20 chances to win come September. Ozark is also now officially – as it was expected to be this year – an Emmys favorite.

Of course, along with the expected came the shocks – and there seemed to be more of them than usual as Leslie Jones, Laverne Cox, Josh Gad, and Tatiana Maslany read out the names. Acting “locks” like Bob Odenkirk for Better Call Saul or Russell Crowe for The Loudest Voice missed out on nominations, while critically favored genre shows like The Mandalorian and What We Do In the Shadows snatched up spots in the Outstanding Drama and Comedy Series categories, respectively. And then there was Zendaya’s surprise nom for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series – a surprise that, frankly, we saw coming.

Read on for our full list of snubs and surprises then let us know which nomination – or lack thereof – had you spit-taking your cereal Tuesday morning.


SURPRISE: Anthony Anderson and Don Cheadle Defy Odds

Anthony Anderson in BLACK-ISH; Don Cheadle in BLACK MONDAY

(Photo by ABC/Ali Goldstein; Nicole Wilder/Showtime)

Both Anderson (black-ish) and Cheadle (Black Monday) were on the cusp when it came to odds-on favorites in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series category. The surprise here is that the black-ish and Black Monday stars both landed nominations, leading to one of the biggest snubs of the morning…


SNUB: Larry David Left Out, Though Curb Your Enthusiasm Recognized

Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm

(Photo by HBO)

Curb Your Enthusiasm landed a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series, but series star David found himself locked out of the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series category. Season 10 of the show is Certified Fresh at 95% on the Tomatometer, and, as the series’ centerpiece, the credit due would normally be given to six-time nominee David.


SURPRISE: Tracee Ellis Ross Lands Her Fourth Comedy Lead Actress Nomination

Tracee Ellis Ross in BLACK-ISH

(Photo by ABC/Mitch Haaseth)

Ross’ nomination on Tuesday makes her a four-time nominee in the Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category for her role as Rainbow Johnson on black-ish. She was previously nominated in 2016, 2017, and 2018, but has not won in the category. Pamela Adlon (Better Things), Merritt Wever (Run), Awkwafina (Nora From Queens), Elle Fanning (The Great), Kristen Bell (The Good Place), and Zoë Kravitz (High Fidelity) are among the actresses who were thought to have better odds of landing the nomination.


SNUB: Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn Overlooked for Better Call Saul

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler, Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill - Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 10

(Photo by Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

Though Better Call Saul was recognized in the Outstanding Drama Series category, outrage over Odenkirk and Seehorn’s exclusion in the nominations quickly rippled across social media. Odenkirk lost the Lead Actor in a Drama Series nomination to surprise nominee Steve Carell (The Morning Show), while Seehorn, who was not a favorite to win a nomination, saw unexpected nominees Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve) and Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale) take spots in the Supporting Actress category instead.


SURPRISE: Zendaya May Have Been a Surprise for Some…

Euphoria Season 1, episode 1 (debut 6/16/19): Zendaya. photo: Eddy Chen/HBO

(Photo by Eddy Chen/HBO)

Rotten Tomatoes bet on Zendaya as Lead Actress in a Drama for her expert turn as Rue Bennett in Euphoria. The young star trailed previous winners in the category Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder) in odds for a nomination, but prevailed.


SURPRISE: What We Do in the Shadows Sucks Up a Nomination for Top Comedy Series

The cast of What We Do in the Shadows

(Photo by Russ Martin/©FX)

FX vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows was another long shot for a nomination that Rotten Tomatoes bet on. With 100/1 odds on Gold Derby, the comedy spoiled the chances of so many other titles, including Better Things, Run, The Great, Modern Family, and more.


SNUB: Ramy Loses Out to the Bloodsuckers for Comedy Series

Ramy Youssef in Ramy -- "frank in the future" - Episode 208

(Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

Among those knocked out of contention by What We Do in the Shadows’ surprise showing, Ramy was a top-10 favorite to win a nomination in the category. The series’ star Ramy Youssef did land nominations for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and for Directing for a Comedy Series, however.


SURPRISE: The Mandalorian Lands Best Drama Series Nod

The Child and Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian (Disney+)

(Photo by Disney+)

Rotten Tomatoes argued for drama–adventure–space opera series The Mandalorian to win all the awards for its moving introduction to the cutest Star Wars hero ever, but it still came as a huge surprise that enough Television Academy voters would feel the same and give the series an unexpected spot in the Best Drama Series nominations. Pose, The Morning Show, Big Little Lies, This Is Us, The Outsider, Euphoria, and Homeland were all seen as favorites ahead of The Mandalorian, which ended the day tied with Schitt’s Creek and Saturday Night Live with 15 nominations each, behind only Watchmen, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Ozark, and Succession. Even though he can’t talk, can Baby Yoda still present an award in September?


Snub: Three Strikes and Reese Is Out

Reese Witherspoon in “The Morning Show,” season 1

(Photo by Apple TV+)

Well, we officially live in a world in which Reese Witherspoon can star in three prestige series in a single year and not get a single Emmy nomination for her efforts. Witherspoon was considered, if not a shoo-in, than a highly likely contender for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for FX’s drama Little Fires Everywhere, but failed to get a nod; her co-star Kerry Washington was among the five nominees, though. Elsewhere, Witherspoon was an outside chance for an upset in the Lead Actress Drama category for Apple TV+’s The Morning Show and for HBO’s Big Little Lies, the latter of which she was nominated for in 2017 when it was categorized as a “limited series.” She was recognized for neither role this year, but Morning Show co-star Jennifer Aniston is among those still in the game for Lead Actress come September.


SNUB: Academy Goes Quiet on Russell Crowe’s Loudest Voice

Russell Crowe as Roger Ailes in THE LOUDEST VOICE

(Photo by Saeed Adyani/Netflix)

On paper, Showtime’s Fox News–focused limited series looked like the kind of thing that would sweep the Emmys: A topical series about TV co-created by the director of Spotlight and starring Russell Crowe and Naomi Watts? Start engraving those statuettes! And yet, when it premiered in mid 2019, critics were decidedly mixed on what was seen as a pretty shallow read of a complex workplace story. One thing no one was mixed on, though, was Crowe’s portrayal of late Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, which was described as a triumph and reason enough to tune in. Yet, a year after the series began, it seems voters mostly forgot about the Gladiator star’s work, with fresh faces Jeremy Pope (Hollywood) and Paul Mescal (Normal People) edging Crowe out of the category.


SURPRISE: Octavia Spencer Is In, the Unbelievable Duo Is Out

Octavia Spencer stars as Madam C.J. Walker in SELF MADE: INSPIRED BY THE LIFE OF MADAM C.J. WALKER (Netflix)

(Photo by Netflix)

Another category full of surprises was Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie, where Merritt Wever and Kaitlyn Dever were expected to be nominated for their work in Netflix’s acclaimed Unbelievable. (Toni Collette received a nod for her supporting work in the limited series.) With Wever and Dever missing out, the doors opened for Unorthodox’s Shira Haas – not a huge shock, she was always considered a strong chance – and Spencer for Self Made. While Spencer’s work as Madam C.J. Walker, the country’s first African American self-made millionaire, has been heralded by critics, the series itself was considered just a minor success, scoring 68% on the Tomatometer. Going into nominations morning, Spencer’s odds in the category were 100/1 over at Gold Derby. Her nomination makes this one of several categories where Black nominees make up the majority of nominations: in this case, Spencer is joined by Regina King (Watchmen) and Kerry Washington (Little Fires Everywhere).


SNUB: The Morning Show and Pose Pushed Aside for Killing Eve

The Morning Show with Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell

(Photo by Apple TV+)

Despite airing its weakest season yet, according to the Tomatometer, spy thriller Killing Eve managed to scrape into the Outstanding Drama list, pushing aside more favored titles like Apple TV+’s splashy The Morning Show and FX’s groundbreaking Pose. The former, starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, was never a critical darling, but star power and a strong awards campaign were expected to give it an edge; the latter is one of the most celebrated series on TV, coming off a 97% Certified Fresh second season. It was a good morning for Killing Eve overall, with both Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer earning lead actress nods and Fiona Shaw picking up a nom for her supporting work.


SURPRISE: Hollywood’s Jeremy Pope Outpaces El Camino’s Aaron Paul

HOLLYWOOD: JEREMY POPE

(Photo by Saeed Adyani/Netflix)

As noted above, the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie category produced some of the biggest shocks of the morning. Not only was Russell Crowe left off the list, but Paul missed out for his return to Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad sequel movie, El Camino. Into those voids stepped Broadway star Pope, whom critics cited as a standout in the Ryan Murphy–produced Hollywood, about the Golden Age of America’s movie industry. Pope played screenwriter Archie Coleman in the series, which imagined an old-school Hollywood in which a major studio cast a Black actress in the lead role for a big-budget production. In 2019, Pope became just the sixth person ever to be nominated for Tony awards in two separate categories in the one year, for his work in Choir Boy and Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.


SURPRISE: Steve Carrell Misses Out for Space Force, But Launches Into the Drama Big Leagues

Steve Carell stars in Netflix series SPACE FORCE

(Photo by Netflix)

Prior to Tuesday morning, many thought Carell’s best chance of Emmy love lied with Space Force, but Netflix’s big-budget comedy went mostly unnoticed by the Academy and Carell missed out. His consolation prize: a surprise nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for The Morning Show, in which he plays the lecherous and newly unemployed breakfast TV host Mitch Kessler. Gold Derby’s experts had Carell at 100/1 odds for the category. No doubt fans of Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk are furious right now.


SNUB: Better Things and Creator and Star Pamela Adlon

Pamela Adlon in Better Things

(Photo by Suzanne Tenner/FX)

Largely considered one the best comedies on TV, FX’s Better Things is coming off two 100% Fresh seasons. Its star, Adlon, writes and directs every single episode. (At least every episode since season 1.) Sheer degree of difficulty would suggest that Adlon would be among the nominees this morning for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, and the show recognized overall, and many felt it was its time. And yet, Better Things scored not one single nomination. It may not be the most headline-grabbing snub, but it’s perhaps the one that hits hardest.

Thumbnail image: Disney+

Tag Cloud

Premiere Dates mission: impossible blockbusters Showtime LGBTQ Photos Musical halloween 2021 golden globes Paramount robots Netflix Christmas movies Family cinemax WarnerMedia RT History zombies E! directors DC streaming service TCA 2017 TLC black Black History Month Extras ID universal monsters children's TV Schedule jamie lee curtis Apple TV+ Apple TV Plus Animation worst Ovation Best and Worst chucky ESPN sequels Mindy Kaling Reality Competition animated Fantasy Dark Horse Comics Awards Pride Month Spike Teen TV One Mary poppins werewolf dogs kids USA Network Academy Awards MSNBC south america YouTube Red festival doctor who HBO Go HBO Max natural history concert dragons sequel OneApp cancelled transformers FXX ABC Signature fresh Adult Swim Western TCA slashers christmas movies jurassic park diversity Pop TV nature ViacomCBS LGBT Disney Channel latino mockumentary Film Marathons Television Academy green book Chilling Adventures of Sabrina SundanceTV BBC The Arrangement spanish Britbox Film Festival BBC America Marvel nbcuniversal halloween tv Rocky BAFTA Reality Arrowverse adventure Sony Pictures Tomatazos 007 elevated horror book Awards Tour blockbuster TV renewals serial killer composers golden globe awards revenge Apple technology science fiction Sci-Fi Marvel Studios crossover Interview TruTV movies Ghostbusters facebook indie BET Awards Lionsgate Broadway Walt Disney Pictures Hulu Women's History Month king kong trailers award winner Classic Film Oscars 2020 Ellie Kemper social media Tarantino teaser strong female leads documentary travel pirates of the caribbean Amazon Avengers Quiz romantic comedy History movie talk show Biopics DC Comics 2016 Paramount Plus spy thriller TNT Spectrum Originals Legendary Pirates Trailer Watching Series romance Year in Review ratings TCM Alien supernatural dceu Bravo stop motion deadpool IFC Films harry potter 24 frames miniseries Hear Us Out vampires Amazon Studios canceled Election Valentine's Day Fox News rotten classics Red Carpet Song of Ice and Fire Certified Fresh crime thriller E3 GIFs hist Elton John obituary football anthology video on demand See It Skip It boxing Logo Winners canceled TV shows SXSW historical drama anime political drama period drama Turner binge ABC versus news what to watch hispanic docudrama New York Comic Con hidden camera TV MTV Amazon Prime Video popular TCA Winter 2020 Black Mirror comedies based on movie cats American Society of Cinematographers A24 reviews rt archives remakes 4/20 Disney Plus Country Trivia Food Network spanish language Exclusive Video Infographic DirecTV toy story Sundance Now Shudder Vudu Holiday Tumblr Binge Guide Box Office reboot spider-man comic books medical drama streaming Tubi HBO Hallmark cancelled television game of thrones criterion zero dark thirty YouTube Premium Spring TV TBS Creative Arts Emmys mutant godzilla biography The Walking Dead cancelled TV series CBS foreign justice league Acorn TV japanese cops X-Men psychological thriller rom-coms 99% Character Guide Nat Geo Warner Bros. zombie Disney Trophy Talk Turner Classic Movies television scorecard name the review Crackle Crunchyroll Lifetime Christmas movies The Purge GoT Fall TV 20th Century Fox psycho joker quibi festivals SDCC dramedy Video Games unscripted ABC Family sitcom Horror Stephen King Travel Channel 21st Century Fox Chernobyl politics 45 aliens TCA Awards Heroines Cartoon Network war Cannes Discovery Channel Action Mystery APB italian Opinion PlayStation cars batman Holidays CBS All Access Syfy Masterpiece true crime archives Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Columbia Pictures TIFF cults CMT The Witch thriller nfl emmy awards San Diego Comic-Con Cosplay FX on Hulu Set visit prank Mary Tyler Moore YouTube Freeform french space Amazon Prime FX Podcast witnail Lifetime Pop Thanksgiving series Disney streaming service First Reviews WGN discovery australia Paramount Network NBC 2019 laika Hallmark Christmas movies video dark child's play Peacock Esquire CW Seed Comedy richard e. Grant scary movies Countdown The CW game show spain PBS BBC One VOD El Rey die hard Superheroes USA Disney+ Disney Plus Television Critics Association Rock breaking bad Brie Larson ITV casting Musicals VH1 AMC adaptation Nickelodeon dc OWN Sundance comics Superheroe docuseries sag awards kong Grammys Mary Poppins Returns Sneak Peek Sundance TV parents Comedy Central venice Polls and Games independent FOX kaiju crime The Academy Mudbound First Look Star Wars 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Christmas telelvision finale franchise Toys Epix cancelled TV shows hollywood monster movies Fox Searchlight Pixar Drama 2018 crime drama VICE tv talk police drama Captain marvel CNN indiana jones stoner theme song disaster 2015 Marvel Television asian-american Super Bowl sports screenings Kids & Family Rocketman Universal A&E stand-up comedy DC Universe BET Emmy Nominations Anna Paquin PaleyFest TV Land cooking 2017 Comics on TV 72 Emmy Awards critics YA Lucasfilm Writers Guild of America Starz RT21 worst movies singing competition superhero Netflix satire comiccon fast and furious MCU renewed TV shows razzies Summer all-time Martial Arts DGA IFC Music toronto Nominations NYCC best Calendar Funimation ghosts Winter TV GLAAD screen actors guild superman The Walt Disney Company Comic Book twilight boxoffice Endgame Shondaland Baby Yoda Rom-Com free movies cartoon President a nightmare on elm street james bond spinoff 71st Emmy Awards documentaries comic Pet Sematary Emmys women National Geographic rotten movies we love blaxploitation films Star Trek