The Snubs, Surprises, and Historic Nods of the 2022 Emmy Nominations

6 minute read

The nominations for the 2022 Emmy Awards—which will air on Sept. 12—arrived Tuesday morning in a fiercely competitive TV landscape. Prestige TV and docudramas have proliferated across networks and streamers, contributing to what TIME’s TV critic Judy Berman has dubbed “peak redundancy,” a phenomenon marked by tediously similar offerings on streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, and Apple TV+.

HBO, however, broke away from the pack with 25 nominations for Succession (this year’s most nominated show), 20 nominations for The White Lotus, 17 for Hacks, and 16 for Euphoria.

Netflix’s global megahit Squid Game made history as the first non-English language nominee to receive a series nod (for best drama series). Two of its stars—Jung Ho-yeon (who played tenacious North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok) and Lee Jung-jae (who played tough-to-love protagonist Seong Gi-hun)—became first-time acting nominees.

They numbered among 50 nomination newcomers, including Jennifer Coolidge (The White Lotus), Elle Fanning (The Great), Andrew Garfield (Under the Banner of Heaven), Oscar Isaac (Scenes From A Marriage), and Lily James (Pam & Tommy.)

This year, too, stood out as a step forward for recognition of women’s work in the industry: According to a press release from the TV Academy, nearly half of the directors nominated for scripted directing categories were women, and almost 40% of the nominations in the scripted writing categories went to women. In the outstanding writing category, 34% of this year’s nominees were women.

Here are the snubs, surprises, and history-making storylines of the 2022 Emmy nominations.

Snub: Sadie Sink and Millie Bobby Brown

Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield, front and centerCourtesy of Netflix—© 2022 Netflix, Inc.

Neither Sadie Sink (who plays Max Mayfield) nor Millie Bobby Brown (who plays Eleven) were nominated for their work on Stranger Things—despite Sink’s recent viral scene set to Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” and Brown’s role as a face of the series since the beginning of its four-season run.

Surprise: Melanie Lynskey

Melanie Lynskey as Shauna in 'Yellowjackets'Paul Sarkis—Showtime

New Zealand actor and all-around fan favorite Lynskey was nominated for lead actress in a drama series for her role as the adult version of Shauna in Showtime’s Yellowjackets.

Finally: Sydney Sweeney

Sydney Sweeney and Brittany O'Grady in 'The White Lotus'Mario Perez/HBO

Contemporary acting great Sydney Sweeney finally earned her first (and second!) Emmy nominations for her roles as Cassie Howard in Euphoria and terrifying judgmental teen Olivia Mossbacher in HBO’s The White Lotus. She was one of eight acting nominees from Mike White’s lauded series.

Snub: Selena Gomez

True Crime
Selena Gomez in Only Murders in the BuildingCraig Blankenhorn—Hulu

Selena Gomez didn’t snag a nod for her turn as Mabel Mora in Only Murders In the Building, which would have made her only the third Latina ever to be nominated in the lead actress comedy category. She did, however, get a nomination for producing the show. (According to Variety, this makes her the second Latina nominated for producing a comedy—the first was Salma Hayek for Ugly Betty.)

Read more: Only Murders in the Building Season 2 Wisely Sticks to a Winning Formula

Surprise: Barack Obama

Former president Barack Obama scored his first Emmy nomination for narrating the Netflix documentary series Our Great National Parks.

Finally: Rhea Seehorn

Rhea Seehorn as Kim Wexler - Better Call Saul _ Season 6 - Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television
Rhea Seehorn in Better Call SaulGreg Lewis—AMC/Sony Pictures Television

After six seasons, Seehorn finally picked up a long overdue Emmy nomination for her role as attorney Kim Wexler in AMC’s Better Call Saul. The nod comes as the series nears its end—as, perhaps, does Kim Wexler, given her ominous absence from Breaking Bad.

Snub: Pachinko

Minha Kim, Inji Jeong and Steve Sanghyun Noh in “Pachinko" on Apple TV+Apple TV+

Pachinko, Apple TV+’s heartrending adaptation of Min Jin Lee’s 2017 novel of the same name, only received one nomination, for main title design, though it stood to match Squid Game’s non-English language feat.

Read more: How Apple TV+ Made Pachinko, One of the Biggest Multilingual Shows Ever

Surprise: Bill Hader’s multiple noms

Hader was nominated twice for acting—once for lead actor in a comedy series in Barry and once for guest actor in a comedy series in Curb Your Enthusiasm. (He was also nominated for writing and directing for a comedy series for Barry.)

Emmys record: Zendaya

Zendaya as Rue Bennett in HBO's Euphoria
Zendaya as Rue Bennett in HBO's EuphoriaEddy Chen—HBO/WarnerMedia

Multi-hyphenate star Zendaya topped off her resume with a new achievement: She became the youngest woman ever nominated for a producing Emmy, for her work on Euphoria. (Zendaya is now also the youngest two-time lead acting nominee. She won at 2020’s virtual Emmys.)

Snub: Station Eleven

The post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction masterpiece based on Emily St. John Mandel’s novel was shut out of the best drama race. (It was, however, nominated for acting, cinematography, editing and directing, among others.)

Surprise: Himesh Patel

Despite fans’ disappointment that the miniseries itself was snubbed, Station Eleven’s Patel was nominated for lead actor in a limited or anthology series or movie for his role as Jeevan Chaudhary.

Emmys record: Quinta Brunson

Janelle James, left, and Quinta Brunson in 'Abbott Elementary'ABC/Gilles Mingasson

Abbott Elementary creator and star Brunson, at the top of her game, sealed the deal: She became the first Black woman to earn three comedy Emmy nominations. (While she was at it, she also became the youngest Black woman to be nominated in the comedy acting category.) Her beautiful show about an underfunded Philadelphia elementary school (and, really, so much more) was nominated seven times, including for best comedy series.

Read more: Quinta Brunson on Using Comedy to Address America’s Education Problems in Abbott Elementary

Snub: Yellowstone

Yellowstone, the wildly popular Kevin Costner-led show about family and conflict in the modern American West, was also boxed out of best drama. The Paramount Network series has earned just one nomination, for production design, in four seasons, despite drawing 9.3 million viewers to its most recent season finale.

Surprise: Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle: The Closer. c. Mathieu Bitton
Dave Chappelle: The Closer. c. Mathieu BittonMathieu Bitton—Netflix

Dave Chappelle’s The Closer was nominated for pre-recorded variety special, in spite of the outrage surrounding Chappelle’s transphobic remarks in the special.

Read more: Breaking Down the Controversy Around Dave Chappelle’s Netflix Special The Closer

Noteworthy nod: Kate McKinnon

Kate McKinnon was nominated as a supporting actress in a comedy series for her last (eleventh) season on SNL. Coming up in her post-SNL career: a role in Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie

Noteworthy nod: Lizzo

Pop star Lizzo scored her first Emmy nomination for her Amazon Prime Video competition program Watch Out For the Big Grrrls. (The show itself tallied up six nominations.)

Noteworthy nods: Chadwick Boseman, Jessica Walter and Norm Macdonald

A few posthumous nominations were announced today: Chadwick Boseman for his voiceover work as T’Challa/Black Panther in the animated series ​​“What If…?” (this marks Boseman’s first Emmy nomination), Jessica Walter for her voiceover work as Malory Archer in the animated series Archer and Norm Macdonald for his final stand-up special, Nothing Special (this was also Macdonald’s first Emmy nomination).

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