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    Wednesday, August 17, 2022

    The biggest snubs and surprises of the 2022 Emmy nominations

    Emmy nominations arrived Tuesday morning, and with 754 programs vying for recognition, the free-for-all to win a place at the table had definite “Squid Game” vibes, with shows and actors lunging toward the finish line as the Red Light, Green Light Doll eliminated unworthy contestants.

    But with so many submissions (more than 800 in the drama supporting actor and actress categories alone!), the line between undeserving and unsung was thinner than ever. Still, the nominations managed to deliver a fair number of surprises, pleasant and otherwise. And there were omissions, which, for the sake of alliteration and search engine optimization, we’ll call “snubs,” though, again, with this kind of volume, it’s not like voters were actively shunning anyone. (Except for maybe Bill Maher. He’s a jackass.)

    So break out the biscuits, zip up the track suits and settle in as we run down the “snubs,” surprises and strangest things about the nominations for the 74th Emmy Awards, which will be presented on Sept. 12.

    SURPRISE: Rhea Seehorn, “Better Call Saul”

    This isn’t a surprise. More accurately, it’s a relief. Emmy voters ignored Seehorn for the first five seasons of “Better Call Saul” while nominating co-stars Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Giancarlo Esposito and Michael McKean on multiple occasions. What took them so long to come to their senses? Perhaps it’s a sense of urgency with the show winding down to its final few episodes? Perhaps it’s watching Seehorn dig even deeper into Kim Wexler’s struggle with her own moral compass, making us realize that maybe we were thinking about the character all wrong these past few years. Perhaps Kim’s glorious, bobbing ponytail put people in a trance and they couldn’t think straight. I don’t know. I’m just glad Kim didn’t have to die (yet?!) for Seehorn to finally get her due from the academy.

    SNUB: Amy Ryan, “Only Murders in the Building”

    “Only Murders in the Building” stars Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez — each a delight — but its first season would not have been nearly as good without Ryan, the stealth MVP of the show’s debut year. Ryan masterfully misdirected us into thinking she was playing a sweet, lonely, slightly eccentric woman, a close cousin to her Holly Flax on “The Office.” Then came the finale’s jaw-dropping reveal, with Ryan relishing every manic moment of her character’s turn. Oh well ... she’ll always be first chair in my Emmy symphony.

    SNUB: “Pachinko” (drama series)

    I mean, on one level I get it. This stunningly beautiful series doesn’t have any stars, other than “Minari” Oscar winner Youn Yuh-jung. And its format, bouncing between decades, could be a little intimidating to viewers inclined to solving the day’s Wordle while watching TV. But Soo Hugh’s magnificent series might have been the best show on television this past year, so the paucity of recognition stings. “Pachinko” will be returning for a second season, so hopefully voters catch up in the meantime. There’s not a wasted moment in its eight episodes.

    SNUB: “Winning Time” (drama series)

    This drama about the formation of Dr. Jerry Buss’ Showtime era Los Angeles Lakers dynasty had everything going for it when it debuted in March. But then Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar weighed in. The headline on Kareem’s Substack column — “Winning Time” Isn’t Just Deliberately Dishonest, It’s Drearily Dull” — may not have been the death knell for the show, as it’s returning for a second season. But it definitely didn’t help convince voters on the fence — probably Boston transplants — to give the show a chance.

    SNUB: Sarah Lancashire, “Julia”

    Meryl Streep is a hard act to follow (Dan Aykroyd too, for that matter), but Lancashire’s affectionate portrayal of cooking icon Julia Child was one of the year’s absolute pleasures — boisterous, bright and, in quiet moments, unguarded. The sly skill she employed when Child enthuses over making coq au vin was worthy of a nomination all by itself. You’d think that TV academy voters — who never turn down a free meal when offered — would have responded appropriately.

    SURPRISE: Adam Scott, “Severance”

    Scott’s dual performance — bemused, vacant office worker during the day, grieving widower at night — in this engrossing sci-fi thriller marked a career high point, making superb use of his Everyman persona while hinting at the damage underneath the facade.

    SNUB: “The Morning Show” (drama series)

    “The Morning Show” was the crown jewel in the launch of Apple TV+ a couple of years ago, and its uneven, addictive first season earned eight nominations, including nods for actors Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Mark Duplass and Billy Crudup, who went on to win the supporting actor trophy. But the show’s eye-roller of a second season derailed quickly, losing even the loyal fans who had stuck with it through the messiest of narrative mishaps. Crudup and, strangely, Reese Witherspoon did end up earning nominations. Aniston did not.

    SNUB: Alan Ruck, “Succession”

    Pretty much every member of the “Succession” ensemble picked up a nomination ... save for the talented Ruck, who, perhaps, is simply too convincing as the Roy family’s most overlooked and denigrated family member. C’mon ... the man taught us the value of hyper-decanting wine! You can age your wine five years in 10 seconds! That knowledge alone is worth some kind of reward.

    SNUB: Samuel L. Jackson, “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey”

    Good thing that Jackson measures success by his own happiness. Because clearly not enough people watched his wide-ranging turn in this limited series, which saw him go from a 91-year-old man coping with Alzheimer’s to a mentally restored ass-kicker looking to right some wrongs and leave a legacy.

    SNUB: “Yellowstone”

    Leave it to the dimwitted, doughy, overindulged big city elites at the television academy. What the hell do they know, anyway?

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