The only time I experienced surprise while perusing the 2022 Emmy nominations is when I came to the bottom of the list of Best Drama Series and saw “Yellowjackets.”
I thought it was a misprint, or a typo, and that someone confused the Showtime series about members of a girls’ soccer team that survive a plane crash with the more popular and lauded Paramount series, “Yellowstone,” some seasons of which can also be viewed on Netflix.
I don’t mean to knock “Yellowjackets.” It’s worthy enough, although not as competitive as “Yellowstone” might be against other nominees, such as AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” Netflix’s “Ozark,” and HBO’s “Succession.”
Nominators, in this case members of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), vote as they please from programs that submit entries for consideration. I just expected that one series that would be highly considered is one that deftly goes between time zones to show the difference between the American West of a century ago and the same territory today. I thought the far more glittery cast of “Yellowstone” would inspire more support from the NATAS voters, especially in a year when acting nominations were not spread liberally among series but tended to cover entire casts, particularly in the case of “Succession,” Apple’s “Ted Lasso,” ABC’s “Abbott Elementary,” Netflix’s “The Squid Game,” and HBO’s “Hacks,” all represented in the Best Drama or Best Comedy categories.
HBO’s “The White Lotus” and Hulu’s “Dopesick” demonstrate the same dominance in the Limited Series categories.
“Yellowstone’s” absence was the most astonishing among series entirely overlooked in this year’s Emmy field. More disappointing was FX’s “Under the Banner of Heaven,” seen also on Hulu, being limited to a single acting nomination for Andrew Garfield as Best Actor in a Limited Series, and Hulu’s hilarious and oh so clever comedy, “The Great,” being ignored except for acting nods to stars Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult as Best Actress and Best Actor in a Comedy.
Two series it satisfied me to see entirely missing in regard to Emmys were Netflix’s “Bridgerton” and HBO’s “The Gilded Age.” I find “Bridgerton” to be silly fun and enjoy watching it, but it is a flapdoodle compared to the shows that are nominated, self-conscious and overdone to a point where the show becomes a joke.”
“The Gilded Age” is just a bore. The proof of that is one of best actresses of our time, one of the best comedians, too, Christine Baranski, gets too weighed down by the show’s lack of excitement that even she can’t save it. Carrie Coon gives a valiant effort, and Denée Benton brings interest to her scenes, but in general, “The Gilded Age” is a snoozer.
I also don’t mind that Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy” was also shut out from this year’s Emmy field.
There was so surprise, not even a tinge, at the shows, actors, and actresses that did make the nomination cut. Many of them are perennials. Most of them were on lists I made to predict the nominees. The good news is I can’t think of one that is undeserving or without merit.
Yes, I’d have liked to see my favorite programs, “Ozark” and “Better Call Saul,” more fully represented. I thought that both feature casts and performances that can stand up to “Succession,” “The Squid Game,” and “Ted Lasso” in excellence.
Oh, yeah, “The Squid Game.” As with other mega-popular shows, such as “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones,” I can spend the rest of my life never seeing another episode of “The Squid Game.”
Nominees for Best Drama have one of three themes, people using their brains to outsmart dangerous adversaries and prevail (“Ozark,” “Better Call Saul”), people coping with bizarre events that threaten their survival (“Stranger Things,” “The Squid Game,” “Yellowjackets,” “Severance”), or internecine family intrigue (“Succession”). The only nominee that seems to be in a separate genre is HBO’s “Euphoria,” which stars a nominated Zendaya as high school student navigating the social, sexual, and pharmaceutical pitfalls facing teens.
Nominees for a Best Comedy have a wider range. Two of the best, Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and HBO’s “Hacks” have to, among other matters, with women pursuing careers in comedy. In HBO’s “Barry,” the title character does the murdering. In Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” deaths occur among the characters. “Ted Lasso” is about a fish out of water, an American football coach recruited to be a British Premier League football (i.e. soccer) coach. “HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” features an irascible curmudgeon whose misanthropy seems totally justified. “Abbott Elementary,” the only nominee I consider overrated, is about a Philadelphia school. “What We Do in the Shadows” is a comedy about vampires living on Staten Island.
“Abbott Elementary” is the only show in the program or acting categories to represent a tradition network rather than a cable outlet or a streamer. One other over-the-air program has nominees in the acting categories, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” thanks to Bowen Yang and the amazing Kate McKinnon.
Programs vying for Best Limited Series also run a gamut. Hulu’s “Dopesick,” which I would say is the favorite to take this category, is about the rampant addiction that resulted from marketing palliative drugs the manufacturers knew would cause havoc via the opioid epidemic we face today. “Inventing Anna,” my personal favorite in the field, is about a woman who infiltrates Manhattan society, mostly by lying and swindling, while refusing to acknowledge any scheming or wrongdoing even when caught, jailed, and faced with overwhelming evidence. HBO’s “The White Lotus” is a jaundiced look at denizens inhabiting a Hawaii resort. Hulu’s “Pam and Tommy” is about the important-to-follow relationship between Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. Hulu’s “Dropout” chronicles the career of recent convicted CEO of Theranos, a biochemical company, Elizabeth Holmes.
The 2022 Emmys will be distributed September 12. The ceremony will air on NBC (locally Channel 10).
As mentioned, many nominated programs also garnered nominations for large numbers of their casts.
“Succession” alone has seven nominated actors, Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong in the Best Actor category, Nicholas Brown, Kieran Culkin, and Matthew MacFadyen for Best Supporting Actor, and Sarah Snook and J. Smith-Cameron for Best Supporting Actress.
On the comedy side, “Ted Lasso” earned nominations for Jason Sudeikis in the title role, Brett Goldstein, Toheed Jimoh, and Nick Mohammed among Supporting Actors, and Hannah Waddingham, Juno Temple, and Sarah Niles from the Supporting Actress ranks. “Abbott Elementary” is also well represented with Quinta Brunson in the Best Actress running, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Janelle James vying for Best Supporting Actress, and Tyler James Williams as Best Supporting Actor.
“Dopesick” and “The White Lotus” account for the entire roster of nominees competing for Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series. Nominated from “Dopesick” are Kaitlyn Dever and Mare Winningham. (Michael Keaton is, of course, nominated for Best Actor in a Limited Series.) Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, Alexandra Daddario, Sydney Sweeney, and Natalia Rothwell all received nods for their work in “The White Lotus,” from which three actors – Murray Bartlett, Jake Macy, and Steve Zahn – will also vie for the Emmy.
Sydney Sweeney scored two 2022 Emmy nominations. In addition to “The White Lotus,” she is cited for her ongoing role on “Euphoria.” Also nominated twice among actors is a personal favorite, Harriet Walter, one for a guest appearance in a Drama, “Succession,” and one for a guest performance in a comedy, “Ted Lasso.” Bill Hader has one nomination for the title role on “Barry” and another for a guest shot on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Except maybe for “Dopesick” and its lead actor, Michael Keaton, the acting categories are so chock full of possible recipients, nominators have made it hard to predict who exactly will take home the Emmy in September.
Best Actress in a Drama is a case in point. It includes Laura Linney, whose acting in “Ozark” sent chills down my spine and Jodie Comer, who captivates every second she’s on-screen in “Killing Eve.” Previous winner, Zendaya, doesn’t make selecting a recipient any easier. No do Sandra Oh for “Killing Eve,” Reese Witherspoon for Apple’s “The Morning Show,” and Melanie Lynskey as one of the adult survivors on “Yellowjackets.”
The toughest choice I see is in the Best Supporting Actress category (Drama) in which the incredible and movingly consistent Rhea Seehorn from “Better Call Saul” is up against the fascinatingly diabolical Julia Garner as the inventively nefarious Ruth in “Ozark.” (Garner is also nominated for playing the title character in “Inventing Anna.”) Life doesn’t get any easier when you note that Sarah Snook and “Severance’s” Patricia Arquette are also in the running.
For Best Actor in a Drama, it might be wise, and fair, for NATAS to call all the nominees to the podium and give each of them an award. Just thinking that either “Ozark’s” Jason Bateman or “Betrer Call Saul’s” Bob Odenkirk, who even had a heart attack while filming “Saul,” has to eliminate the other is enough to make me move, second, and vote for having more than one winner.
Heck, “Succession’s” Brian Cox may have the field tied up.
“Severance’s” Adam Scott, “Succession’s” Jeremy Strong, and “The Squid Game’s” Lee Jung-jae are also worthy choices. Usually, I would be all out for Bateman, whose consistency as Marty Byrde is amazing. Odenkirk and the others render that kind of rooting impossible. Jason would get my vote, but I’d pause my pencil over Odenkirk’s name for a long while before putting the check mark next to his name.
The categories with the most famous nominees seem to be the ones involving actors’ guest appearances. Among those vying for these Emmys include Jane Lynch for “Only Murders in the Building,” Harriet Harris for “Hacks,” Adrien Brody for “Succession,” Colman Domingo for “Euphoria,” Marcia Gay Harden for “The Morning Show,” Nathan Lane for “Only Murders in the Building,” and Bill Hader in “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Both of my favorite reality programs, “The Voice” and “The Amazing Race” are nominated for Best in that category, along with “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” “Top Chef,” “Nailed It!,” and one involving Lizzo.
Trevor Noah of “The Daily Show,” Jimmy Kimmel, John Oliver, Seth Meyers, and Stephen Colbert compete for Best Talk Host.
Neal Zoren’s television column appears every Monday.
Source: Berkshire mont