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Always remember: a “snub” implies a conscious rejection; a knowing exclusion; a willful sneer with an active rebuffing. In the peak TV era, the idea of Emmy voters purposefully excluding someone instead of trying to include as many strong candidates as they can. Those who don’t make the cut aren’t really “snubs”; just unavoidable exclusions.
But the 2018 nomination list sure was filled with surprises, good and bad. And while it would be more accurate to refer to the unexpected exclusions as such, the disappointment felt on Emmy morning demands a stronger descriptor. So we’re sticking with snubs. It’s the accepted nomenclature, after all. Just know that the TV Academy didn’t mean anything by it. Now, on with the list:
David Lynch’s show is too good for the TV Academy anyway. “The Return” snagged nine nominations, including directing and writing, but lost out on Best Limited Series and Kyle MacLachlan in the lead actor race. His work is in a realm beyond any gold they could give it. (But seriously, this one hurts — and Lynch better win for directing.)
“The Terror” did well enough to earn a second season, but even the auspices of Ridley Scott weren’t enough to push the horror show into the Emmys’ good graces. Whether it wasn’t seen by enough voters or just wasn’t the genre of show they vote for, the terror is real.
It finally happened. Many thought ABC’s former Emmy favorite would flame out in 2017, but it held on for one more year — and that’s it. It earned one nomination in 2018 (for sound mixing), but it’s clearly time for new blood.
The Starz adaptation garnered strong reviews and offered an Academy-friendly period setting, but Kenneth Lonergan’s four-part series may have been too short or too familiar to break through a crowded field. It got shut out entirely, continuing a down-trend for Starz at the Emmys.
Four years running, the best animated series on television has been ignored by the TV Academy. Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s Hollywood satire seems like it should be tailor-made for Emmy voters, but the deft mix of comedy and drama might be too much for some of the older members to take, especially in the animation branch.
Nick Kroll’s animated Netflix debut was a hit with the critics and (as much as we can tell) popular with its target demo: millennials. But there may not be enough of them in the Academy to push this past the veteran nominees.
Make it zero for three: “Mindhunter” earned strong reviews and had David Fincher’s prestige behind it, but the Netflix original got shut out of the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and now most categories at the Emmys. Momentum was lacking.
Lena Waithe’s drama series garnered strong reviews, but it never developed the buzz it needed to get through a long, dense awards race. Showtime should still be proud of this one, despite getting totally blanked.
Another shut-out. Folks may want to blame James Franco’s complicated public relations snafus for “The Deuce” dipping out of the race, but David Simon — despite winning two Emmys before “The Wire” even came out — has never had a great track record with the Emmys, at least compared to the rave reviews his series (rightfully) earn. “The Deuce” never caught on either.
Netflix pushed hard, but not even an onslaught of FYC support could get Jason Bateman’s freshman series into the Outstanding Drama race. Bateman — nominated for acting and directing — as well as one more directing nod, production design, and cinematography will have to suffice, even if that’s hardly the total Netflix hoped for.
Al Pacino, “Paterno”
Despite rave reviews for his performance, Pacino got shut out in favor of new faces in the limited series race. Apparently Jesse Plemons is the actor of our time.
With ratings growth every week of its run and strong buzz within the industry, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s new BBC America drama was a dark horse many feared. Sadly, it didn’t catch up in time.
Frankie Shaw, “SMILF”
Shaw was a quadruple threat heading into the 2018 Emmys: A writer, producer, director, and star in “SMILF,” Shaw couldn’t break through in any of those crowded categories, and her (great) show got shut out entirely.
Noah Emmerich, “The Americans”
After a standout scene in the finale (and years of exquisite character building), some thought this was the year Emmerich’s hard work would be rewarded. But the final season of “The Americans” wasn’t enough to push him into the race.
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
After earning three straight nominations for “Ray Donovan,” the magic finally faded for Mr. Schreiber. The titular antihero trend may be fading, and one of the last men standing made room for new blood.
J.K. Simmons, “Counterpart”
Another victim of the sci-fi bias, J.K. Simmons’ excellent dual turn may have been under-viewed because of its less prestigious genre. That, or the category was just too stacked.
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”
Did this outspoken conservative’s beliefs catch up to him? Probably not. He wasn’t nominated last year, either, and the drama race is tight this year. Still, Trump finds a way into every conversation… why not this one?
Uzo Aduba, “Orange Is the New Black”
Nominated three times for “Orange Is the New Black” and a winner twice, Aduba is an Academy favorite who you couldn’t count out until she was officially off the list. That time has come, as the show dipped off the Emmy radar, too.
Zach Galifianakis, “Baskets”
After breaking in last year, Zach Galifianakis’ couldn’t keep the momentum going for “Baskets.” His FX comedy doesn’t get the best ratings, but the TV Academy has been paying attention. Apparently they wanted to spread the love this year.
Logan Browning, “Dear White People”
We’ll keep beating the drum for Browning until the sticks fall off. Her performance is among TV’s elite, and even if the Academy isn’t paying attention, more and more viewers will as long as Netflix keeps making new seasons.
“Late Night with Seth Meyers”
Many thought the time had finally come for Meyers’ creative late night comedy show, but the competition proved too much. James Corden’s lighter, more down-the-middle take may have stolen his spot.
“Real Time with Bill Maher”
An Academy favorite finally shut out of the Variety Talk competition, perhaps there were just too many scandals for a man quickly falling out of favor.
“The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”
In a year where politics has been the talking point, Fallon hasn’t stood out. He’s also still shunned by some because of the Trump hair-tussling incident.
Ted Danson, “The Good Place”
After earning 42,554.95 points as a national treasure and 7,889.42 points over the course of the series, Ted Danson broke out of The Bad Place and into the comedy race. Clearly, this demon belongs in heaven.
Issa Rae, “Insecure”
Rae wasn’t a huge presence on the campaign circuit, but her second season of “Insecure” did the trick with voters — it cracked in for two nominations (the other being cinematography) after being blanked its freshman year.
Yvonne Strahovski, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Many critics demanded Strahovski be recognized for her challenging portrayal in “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 2 — even over her respected peers, like Ann Dowd and Alexis Bledel. Turns out, they all got in; a win-win-win for everyone.
Ed Harris and Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld”
After jumbling the categories around from last year, “Westworld” managed to get two actors into a competitive lead actor race. They join Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia, who both represent “This Is Us.”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
After three years hovering near the bottom of major categories, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” was expected to get bumped out of the Outstanding Comedy Series race. But it held on, despite earning only one other nomination (for Tituss Burgess.)
Zazie Beetz, “Atlanta”
“Atlanta” remains a strong contender overall, and Beetz capitalized this year. With a buzzy role in “Deadpool 2” and more exposure than last year, the actress snagged her first nomination after missing out for Season 1.
“The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”
With Jon Stewart at the helm, “The Daily Show” dominated the Emmys, but it had been shut out since Trevor Noah took over the chair; not anymore. The Comedy Central series nabbed a nod for Outstanding Variety Talk Series and Outstanding Interactive Program. It’s just two nods, but they’re big ones.