Evan Rachel Wood's nomination is a welcome addition to the lead actress list.
The Television Academy announced its Emmy nominations Thursday morning, and though most weren’t entirely shocking, a handful certainly made me go a bit slack-jawed. Here are this year’s biggest surprises:
Pamela Adlon for lead Actress in a comedy series
Pamela Adlon’s “Better Things” is a fun and funny series, but I honestly didn’t think it was on the radar this year. There just hasn’t been much awards chatter. I suppose there were some warning signs: Emmy voters loved “Louie” and “Better Things” was (sort of) marketed as its spiritual successor (C.K. is an executive producer). Kudos to Adlon.
Millie Bobbie Brown for supporting actress in a drama series
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The “Stranger Things” actress has a considerable fan base and a heap of other nominations to her name. She’s young though (just 13), and a lot of awards columnists were worried about the prospects of “Stranger Things.” Plus, she was competing with Winona Ryder whose performance as Joyce Byers is the definition of iconic.
Evan Rachel Wood for lead actress in a drama series
I certainly wasn’t predicting a nomination for Evan Rachel Wood (“Westworld”), and I count myself among Evan Rachel Wood’s biggest fans. It’s just that, when you’re playing a robot, it’s rather difficult to express the emotional range, and acting talent, of, say, a grieving mother facing the end of days.
‘Atlanta’ for outstanding comedy series
Sure, it wasn’t shocking to hear the word “Atlanta” come out of the presenters’ mouths (that would downplay the series’ hard-earned clout), but it sure was relieving. As presenters Anna Chlumsky and Shemar Moore rattled off Emmy veterans, I became less and less confident that Donald Glover’s series would receive the nomination I had previously predicted with confidence.
Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and ‘House of Cards’
“Surprises” usually have a positive connotation. This one, however, kind of just bums me out. Wright deserved the trophy for Season 3, but since then, “House of Cards” has been running on fumes. Don’t get me wrong, I still watch the series. As a casual viewer, I quite like it. It’s just not consistent or bold enough to continue to rack up nominations like this. While I’m on it, I’ll also use this space to bemoan some other not-so creative nominations: “Modern Family” landed a series nom, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” did quite well and Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”) and William H. Macy (“Shameless”) proved they are, in fact, untouchable. I suppose there’s always next year.