The Emmy nominations are out, with some surprises and some snubs.
In an era where prestige TV is all the rage, and viral moments have the potential to live forever as memes, the role of award shows is ambiguous.
However, whether you think the Emmys are a stuffy tradition or a cultural cornerstone, they can still provide us with memorable moments.
Let’s take a look at some highlights from the nominations; the good, the bad, and the overlooked.
Succession vs Squid Game for best drama
Two era-defining satirical behemoths - 'Succession' and 'Squid Game' - will go head-to-head in the ‘best drama’ category.
‘Squid Game’, a Korean drama which holds the title of Netflix’s most watched series ever is a living example of the so-called ‘Korean wave’; building on the success of Oscar-winning film ‘Parasite’ as Korean culture takes over the world.
The show, which critiques Korean capitalist society by telling the story of poor people forced to compete in a series of deathly games for a cash prize, won 13 nominations, including best drama.
“Instead of just exporting the content around the world, it [Netflix] is now shifting to become a participant in the global content realm to facilitate exchanges of cultures around the world,” said director Hwang Dong-hyuk on the announcement.
Meanwhile, 'Succession', a show about a media mogul and his dysfunctional family won 25 nominations, the most of any series this year. Succession won best drama back in 2020, and has produced enough memes to rival the real life copycats that came from ‘Squid Game’.
Shown on HBO, ‘Succession’ is noted for its stellar performances from the ensemble cast, of whom Jeremy Strong and Brian Cox are nominated for best actor in a drama series. Cox’s performance is so persuasive that it may leave Rupert Murdoch quoting another best drama nominee, ‘Euphoria,’ and asking “Is this fucking play about us?”
Meanwhile, Jennifer Coolidge vehicle ‘White Lotus,’ Gen X actresses career reviver ‘Yellow Jackets,’ sci-fi stalwart ‘Stranger Things,’ spin-off ‘Better Call Saul,’ and office culture-critique ‘Severance’ all find themselves in the best drama category too.
Closing nominations for final seasons
Several series are coming to a close this year which were expected to garner high numbers of nominations, but not all of them have.
Much will be made of the snubbing of beloved series ‘This is Us’ which tells the story of the Pearson family across several generations and through different time periods.
The tear-jerking series has been criticised for being overly sentimental and even compared to a soap opera, but this hasn’t stopped its stars Gerald McRaney, Sterling K. Brown and Ron Cephas Jones from winning Emmys for their performances.
Despite this, the series has never won the coveted ‘best drama’ prize after previously losing out to big hitters like ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘The Handmaid's Tale,’ and ‘The Crown’. This year it only received nominations for ‘original music and lyrics’ for its sixth and final season.
Elsewhere, ‘black-ish’ a comedy which addresses race-relations, parenthood, police brutality and more was also snubbed in its swan song year.
The series has never won the outstanding comedy series crown or trophies for lead actors Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson, and this year is only nominated for costume and hairstyling.
Other shows which are bowing out in 2022 fared better, with a lead comedy actress nomination for Issa Rae of ‘Insecure,’ and 13 nominations in total for drug dealing family-saga ‘Ozark’, including lead acting nominations for Laura Linney and Jason Bateman.
Comedy and controversy at the Emmys
In our troubled times it’s important to laugh, but some of this year’s comedy nominations have raised a few eyebrows.
Dave Chappelle's 2021 special ‘The Closer’ is nominated for best variety special and directing for a variety special, despite anger over perceived transphobic content.
At the time of release Netflix garnered significant criticism from viewers, commentators and even its own staff who at one point walked out in protest.
Nominations for ‘Only Murders in the Building,’ a crime comedy led by the unlikely trio of Selena Gomez, Steve Martin and Martin Short, may be more palatable, with both heavy hitters receiving best actor noms, with only Gomez left off the list.
The series also features in the best comedy category alongside much-hyped newcomer ‘Abbott Elementary,’ and old-timer ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’.
Comedy about comedy looms large in this category too, with intergenerational, Joan Rivers homage ‘Hacks’ and Jewish stand up story ‘The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel,’ both garnering nominations.
‘Ted Lasso,’ which won the best comedy award last year, has the chance to do so again, with a total of 20 nominations.
The Emmys will air on 12 September.