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    Matthew Gilbert

    Emmy nominations: surprises, savvy picks, and a few slights

    Keri Russell in a scene from "The Americans."
    Eric Liebowitz/FX via AP
    Keri Russell in a scene from "The Americans."

    Netflix certainly has to be happy with its showing in the Emmy nominations, announced Thursday. The streaming service has finally earned more nods than the former leader of 17 years, HBO. It received 112 nominations, compared with HBO’s 108. The streaming writing is on the wall.

    Here are some other observations, including the surprise snubbing of one-time favorite “Modern Family” and the complete overlooking of “Twin Peaks.”


    Emmy voters had screwed up with “The Americans,” ignoring it for a few seasons before getting on board. But they stayed on the right path this time, nominating the series’ final season for best drama, best actress (Keri Russell), and best actor (Matthew Rhys). The only sad note, aside from the end of such an enjoyable show, is the absence of a supporting nomination for Noah Emmerich, who was particularly good in the last episode.



    The Emmy nominations have set up a great face-off between Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Both shows have won best drama in the past, but “The Handmaid’s Tale” won the year that “Game of Thrones” was not eligible — last year. “Game of Thrones” had won the previous two years.

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    Both shows have nominations for best drama, best supporting actress, and best supporting actor, with “Handmaid’s Tale” also nominated for best actress. Let’s see if “Handmaid’s Tale” can keep its mojo from last year, when Elisabeth Moss and Ann Dowd also won.


    The big comedy of the past few years is not eligible this year, which means we’ll get new winners for best comedy and best actress in a comedy. Rachel Brosnahan of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” stands a good chance of winning, although my vote would go to Pamela Adlon of “Better Things.”


    • Wait, WHAT? “Modern Family,” the ABC comedy that has been over-nominated for years, is nowhere to be found. Not a single major nod went to the show or any of its actors, who dominated the supporting comedy categories for years.

    • Netflix’s “Mindhunter” was ignored, except for the deserved guest-actor nod for Cameron Britton. Many predicted the series, about the early years of criminal profiling, would get some major nods.


    • Fortunately, Sandra Oh got a nomination for her work on “Killing Eve,” but the voters failed to give a best drama nod to the BBC America hit about a persistent assassin. That “Stranger Things” spot belongs to “Killing Eve.” With all due respect to “Stranger Things,” it’s popular but not very subtle or complex.

    • It’s great to see Jason Bateman’s nomination for Netflix’s “Ozark,” about a family that launders mob money. But to be honest, he’s not the best part of the series. Laura Linney deserved some acknowledgment as his character’s dryly humorous wife.

    • There are many possible reasons HBO’s “The Deuce” didn’t get nominated. There have been accusations of sexual misconduct made toward star James Franco, the Academy historically ignores the hard dramas by David Simon, and the show is about the sex trade. Whatever, it’s too bad; “The Deuce” is a potent series and Maggie Gyllenhaal is excellent as the lead.

    • I assumed Mandy Moore of “This Is Us” would get an auto-pilot nod, but her fans were disappointed.

    • Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington from “Game of Thrones” were on almost every prediction list I saw, and yet the pair failed to get nods. This year, for the first time, they were submitted in the lead categories, which could explain why.


    • Al Pacino was incredible in “Paterno,” as the complicit football coach. Maybe voters are tired of his big HBO real-life portrayals, including Phil Spector and Jack Kervorkian? But he belongs on the list for sure.

    • No “Late Night With Seth Meyers”? That’s too bad, because he’s one of the best late-nighters – much better than James Corden, who did get a nod.


    • Netflix’s “GLOW” made a strong debut, with nominations for best comedy and for best supporting actress (Betty Gilpin). That is a treat, largely enabled by the absence of “Modern Family.”

    • I was certain that Showtime’s “Homeland” would get nominations, since the last season was celebrated by some as a comeback. But nope, nothing for former winner Claire Danes or for the show itself. The only nominations: Mandy Patinkin as supporting actor and F. Murray Abraham as guest actor.

    • I was afraid the revivals — “Roseanne,” “Twin Peaks,” and “Will & Grace” — would dominate their respective categories. Not so, at all. Only supporting actress Laurie Metcalf from “Roseanne” and supporting actress Megan Mullally and guest actress Molly Shannon from “Will & Grace” got the thumbs-up. “Twin Peaks” was completely ignored in the major categories

    • I am surprised “Westworld” fared so well — 21 nominations in all. It’s a very complicated and cerebral story, and the second season was particularly difficult.

    • John Legend was not great as Jesus in NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert,” but he got a nod — as did co-stars Sara Bareilles and Brandon Victor Dixon. If he wins — which is unlikely, given that he’s up against the extraordinary work of Benedict Cumberbatch in “Patrick Melrose” and Darren Criss in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” — he will join the famous EGOT club, with an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony.

    Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.