Emmy nominations 2021: surprises and snubs among the nods

Notable names missing from the Primetime Emmy Awards list have sparked backlash

John Boyega, left, and Nicole Kidman, right, were both snubbed from the Emmy Award nominations, while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Oprah Winfrey interview, centre, got a nod. Amazon Prime, CBS, HBO
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On Tuesday night, the nominations for the 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards were announced with The Crown and The Mandalorian sweeping the board with 24 nods each. WandaVision was not far behind with 23 nominations and The Handmaid’s Tale with 21.

No major shocks, as they have been four of the most popular series of the year. However, that is not to say it was a night without surprises.

A number of nods raised eyebrows – Emily in Paris' recognition, for example, and an Emmy nomination for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Oprah Winfrey interview. And then there are the snubs, with Sarah Paulson, John Boyega and Nicole Kidman among the names deemed to have missed out.

Here, we round up the biggest surprises and snubs from the Emmy Awards nominations ...

Surprise: 'Emily in Paris'

Lily Collins in a scene from the series 'Emily in Paris'. The programme was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. Netflix via AP

Perhaps the most surprising nod went to divisive Netflix series, Emily in Paris. The Lily Collins-starrer has landed a Best Comedy Series nomination, as well as a nod for Outstanding Production Design For A Narrative Programme (Half-Hour).

In the Best Comedy category, it's joined by fellow Netflix shows Cobra Kai and The Kominsky Method, as well as black-ish, Hacks, The Flight Attendant, Pen15 and Ted Lasso.

Most critics weren't expecting the show to make the cut at the Emmy Awards. Emily in Paris was a controversial choice as show and network executives were accused of questionable practices with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association ahead of its double Golden Globe nod.

Snub: Sarah Paulson in 'Ratched'

It was assumed that Sarah Paulson would land an award for her role as the title character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest prequel, Ratched.

Her American Horror Story co-star Evan Peters, however, did get a Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie nod for his role in Mare of Easttown.

“This person right here. He’s deserved a nomination every year for the past decade. This morning they got it right,” Paulson posted on Instagram following the announcement.

Surprise: Courteney Cox scores first Emmys nomination

Courteney Cox, left, has received her first Emmy Award nomination. AFP

This one takes a little untangling.

Twenty years later, Courteney Cox has finally been nominated for her first Emmy Award for Friends.

Sure, the show was nominated for plenty of Emmys in its 10-season run – including six times for Outstanding Comedy Series – but Cox never received a Best Actor nod during that time, unlike each of her castmates, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc.

However, Friends: The Reunion received four nominations, included for Pre-Recorded Variety Special, which listed each of the six cast members as executive producers alongside the show’s creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane.

Last month, Cox admitted to Howard Stern that it hurt to be the only cast member not nominated during the show's run, saying: "It was finally like, ‘Oh, I’m the only one?’ It hurt."

Cox was also not nominated for her role in the sitcom Cougar Town, which she starred in after Friends.

Snub: Ethan Hawke in 'The Good Lord Bird'

Ethan Hawke starred in the adaptation of James McBride's The Good Lord Bird, but the role didn't land him an Emmy nomination.

"No love for Ethan Hawke’s fantastic work in The Good Lord Bird. Hate that," tweeted Fox News host James Eppler.

Surprise: Harry and Meghan's interview

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for 'Oprah with Megan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special'. Reuters

It may have been one of the most-watched televised events of the year so far, with more than 17 million people tuning in from the US alone, but it was still a surprise addition to the Emmys line-up.

Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special, which broadcast on March 7, has been nominated in the Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special category, along with My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy, United Shades Of America with W Kamau Bell, and Vice.

Neither the Duke nor the Duchess are named among the nominees, but host Winfrey is. She's listed along with five producers, including Tara Montgomery and executive producer Terry Wood.

Naturally, the nomination has angered royal fans, who seem to be irked by anything the couple does. Royal biographer Angela Levin tweeted: "An Emmy is all about achievement or so I'm told. It was an achievement to get both Harry and Meghan to talk but what they said far less so. Surely truth matters?"

Snub: John Boyega in 'Small Axe'

John Boyega in 'Small Axe'. Amazon Prime

For his role in Small Axe, British actor John Boyega received the Critics' Choice Television Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie and Best Supporting Actor – Television, respectively. He was considered a shoo-in for an Emmy Award, but was snubbed in the category.

It was also assumed that Letitia Wright would also take home a nod, instead the show received just an Outstanding Cinematography For A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie nomination.

The British limited series is based on the real-life experiences of London's West Indian community, set between 1969 and 1982.

Surprise: Seven actor 'Hamilton' nominations

Daveed Diggs portrays Thomas Jefferson in a filmed version of the original Broadway production of 'Hamilton'. Diggs is nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. AP

While Hamilton deserves Emmy Award recognition, seven actor award nominations for the recorded theatre production has surprised critics.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr each received Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, and Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff and Anthony Ramos were all named in the Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie category, while Renee Elise Goldsberry and Phillipa Soo were nominated for Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. The move puts Hamilton contenders up against co-stars in each category.

The nominations don't just end there. The production was also nominated for Best Pre-Recorded Variety Special, Outstanding Directing For A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie, Outstanding Picture Editing For Variety Programming, Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Variety Series Or Special, Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control For A Special.

Snub: Nicole Kidman in 'The Undoing'

The hit show of autumn 2020 was undoubtedly The Undoing, a gripping crime series starring Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman.

Grant was given a Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie nomination, but there was nothing for Kidman.

After being notified of his Emmy nod, Grant said: "I’m extremely grateful and honoured, but I should point out that I was basically carried all the way by my fellow actors, especially Nicole."

Updated: July 14, 2021, 12:10 PM