5 of the biggest surprises from the 2021 Emmy nominations list

The nominations list for the 73rd Emmy Awards is finally here, and there were plenty of surprises among the nominees. 

It’s that time of the year again: the Emmy nominations list is here and, as usual, it’s attracting a lot of attention – both in the press and on social media.

Many of the nominations on the list are as we expected – it was no surprise to see Netflix’s The Crown and Disney+’s The Mandalorian leading the pack with 24 nominations apiece, for example – but there were also a handful of surprises (some good, some bad) that made this year’s nomination list particularly interesting reading.  

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Indeed, with many of the big winners from last year’s awards – such as Succession, Euphoria and Ozark – absent due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s nominations saw plenty of new shows make the list. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t some notable snubs in there, too.

So, what were the biggest surprises from last night’s reveal? Let’s take a closer look. 

1. Mare Of Easttown’s 16 nominations

Mare Of Easttown received 16 nominations, including a lead actress in a limited series or movie nomination for Kate Winslet.

We certainly expected to see Kate Winslet’s word-of-mouth hit scoop several nominations, but 16 – including two nominations in the best supporting actress in a limited series or movie category for Jean Smart and Julianne Nicholson – is pretty impressive.

If you’re yet to watch Mare Of Easttown, which sees Winslet play a scathing, small-town detective tasked with investigating the murder of a local girl, now’s the time to get on it. 

2. Mj Rodriguez’s historic nomination

Mj Rodriguez as Blanca in Pose.

Pose’s Mj Rodriguez made history last night as the first trans actor to be nominated in a leading category for her outstanding lead actress in a drama series nomination.

Speaking to Variety after her nomination was revealed, Rodriguez – who plays Blanca in the popular series – described last night as a “pivotal moment”.

“There’s never been a trans woman who has been nominated as a leading outstanding actress and I feel like that pushes the needle forward so much for now the door to be knocked down for so many people – whether they be male or trans female, gender nonconforming, LGBTQIA+, it does not matter,” she said.

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“A moment like this extends and opens and elongates the possibilities of what’s going to happen and I believe the Academy is definitely making it possible and their eyes are more open.”

Only two trans actors have been nominated previously – Laverne Cox for her nominations in the guest drama actress category for Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, and Rain Valdez for her nomination in the short-form comedy or drama actress category for Razor Tongue.  

3. Claire Foy being nominated for her (very short) guest role in The Crown

Claire Foy received a nomination for her brief appearance in season four of The Crown.

Hollywood can be a confusing place sometimes, as Claire Foy’s nomination for her (under five minute) cameo in The Crown season four proves.

Sure, it was nice to see Olivia Colman’s predecessor make an appearance in a flashback scene at the beginning of the season’s eighth episode, but an Emmy nomination? Really? 

4. Emily In Paris getting yet another major nomination

Did Emily In Paris really need another major nomination? Twitter isn’t so sure.

Out of all the shows that made this year’s nomination list, Emily In Paris’ recognition in the outstanding comedy series category has been met with the most confusion online. It was only to be expected, really – when the show was awarded two Golden Globes nominations in February, the decision was met with outrage, especially in light of Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You snub.

Sure, Emily In Paris may have proven an easily bingeable treat during the depths of lockdown last year. But is it really deserving of yet more recognition at a massive awards show?

We’ll let the Twitter reactions do the talking for this one. 

5. Small Axe being snubbed

Small Axe and its stars failed to score any nominations.

Steve McQueen’s Small Axe was easily one of the most important, boundary-pushing TV moments of 2020 – but despite this, the Emmy nominations list failed to recognise any of its stars, including the impressive John Boyega.

There are always some confusing snubs on nomination lists, but when you consider that Emily In Paris made the cut, the failure to recognise Small Axe cuts that little bit deeper. 

The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on 20 September

Images: Sky/FX/Getty/Netflix/BBC

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