Emmy Nominations 2021: Fantasy franchise spinoffs and other escapist fare made a big showing Tuesday in the nominations for the 73rd Emmy Awards. Disney+ Star Wars series “The Mandalorian” tied Netflix’s costume drama “The Crown” for the most nominations: 24. “WandaVision,” also on Disney+, came in second with 23 total nominations for the Marvel superhero tale set in a world of vintage sitcoms.
Many nods went to TV series that helped kill time and lift moods during the pandemic, from “Ted Lasso” to “Bridgerton,” when viewers burrowed into their streaming subscriptions. Meanwhile, Covid-19-related production delays sidelined past honorees such as “Succession,” making more room for newcomers.
Streamers pushed cable and broadcast networks further to the margins in some categories. In the race for best comedy series, streaming shows claimed seven out of the eight nomination slots, up from three nominations in that category last year. They included some surprises, including Netflix’s “Karate Kid” update “Cobra Kai,” and “Emily in Paris,” which was heavily panned and emerged as a cult phenomenon.
Action-driven shows muscled in on prestige dramas, with Amazon’s twist on the superhero genre, “The Boys,” nominated for best drama series, and joining “The Mandalorian,” which was nominated in the category for the second year in a row. Other drama-series nominees included past winner “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) and “Lovecraft Country,” a horror-driven HBO show that was canceled after one season.
Among the drama series, repeat nominees “Pose” (FX) and “This Is Us” (NBC) helped hold the line for TV networks. Among comedy series, NBC’s four-time nominee “black-ish” was the lone broadcast series in the pack.
Newer platforms trying to gain ground in the streaming wars made breakthroughs with their first series-level nominations. They included Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso,” which charmed audiences with a feel-good sports story and received a major promotional push from Apple in return. The show also led to a nod for lead actor Jason Sudeikis.
HBO Max, which launched in 2020, landed its first-ever nominations with the comedies “Hacks” (starring comedy lead-actress nominee Jean Smart) and “The Flight Attendant” (starring comedy lead-actress nominee Kaley Cuoco, the “Big Bang Theory” veteran who was never nominated for that smash sitcom.)
Combined, HBO and HBO Max led all other platforms with 130 total nominations. Close behind was Netflix with 129 nominations, followed by Disney+ (71) and NBC (46).
“The Crown,” which received its fourth nod for best drama series in as many seasons, led the incumbent nominees. With its chapter on the royal saga of Charles and Diana, the high-end series represents Netflix’s best hope for finally landing an Emmy for best drama series. It has been eight years since the company became the first streamer to secure a major Emmy nomination, but Netflix has yet to win the coveted prizes for best drama or comedy or limited series.
Shows that generated some of the year’s loudest buzz filled out the always-competitive race for best-limited series: “I May Destroy You,” “Mare of Easttown” (HBO), “The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix), “The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Prime Video) and “WandaVision” (Disney+).
Though many people turned to television as a balm during the lockdown period, relatively few were interested in watching the TV industry honor itself. Last year’s Emmys, the first of the major award broadcasts to be staged remotely, crashed to an all-time low with an audience of 6.1 million total viewers. The Television Academy faces the challenge of rebuilding an audience with this year’s ceremony, set for Sept. 19 on CBS and Paramount+, with host Cedric the Entertainer.