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Emmys 2022: snubs, surprises and the noms we love

Selena Gomez in Only Murders in the Building
Selena Gomez in Only Murders in the Building (Image credit: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

The slate of nominees for the 2022 Emmys have been set, as Emmy voters let the world know what they think are the best TV shows from the 2021-2022 TV season. Across all categories (so many they are split into two entirely different ceremonies), a multitude of shows were recognized. Here’s some quick points to know about the 2022 Emmy nominations: 

  • Succession leads all shows with 25 nominations, including a record-breaking 14 acting nominations
  • Ted Lasso and The White Lotus are in second with 20 nominations each
  • Hacks and Only Murders in the Building round out the top three with 17 noms each
  • Squid Game becomes the first foreign-language series nominated for Outstanding Drama
  • Chadwick Boseman, Norm Macondald and Jessica Walter receive posthumous Emmy noms
  • Saturday Night Live continues to build its record of most Emmy nominations ever (now 315)
  • Former president Barack Obama can add Emmy nominee to his resume, as he's been nominated for Outstanding Narrator for his Netflix series Our Great National Parks

The full list of nominees is available on the Emmy website (opens in new tab).

While we now wait to find out who ends up winning out of all these nominees when the Emmys take place on September 12, What to Watch has put together our list of our favorite nominees from this year’s Emmys crop and who and what shows we think were snubbed. 

Favorite: Abbott Elementary

The cast of Abbott Elementary season 1

The cast of Abbott Elementary (Image credit: ABC)

Abbott Elementary earning an Outstanding Comedy Series nomination in its freshman year feels absolutely deserving. There was arguably no other sitcom more talked about on network television and the show pushed the boundaries of what we think of modern-day educators. Not to mention, Quinta Brunson’s offbeat comedy mixed with native Philadelphia culture keeps us as viewers glued to our screens. 

Speaking of Brunson, her Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series nomination is also quite befitting. Brunson not only breathes life into the character Janine Teagues, but Abbott Elementary as a whole is her brainchild having developed the series. She made Emmy history by becoming the first Black woman to receive three comedy Emmy nominations in the same year.

Also need to salute Janelle James and Sheryl Lee Ralph for their nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Where would the show be without everyone’s favorite principal and favorite matriarch teacher? — Terrell Smith

Favorite: Rhea Seehorn, Better Call Saul

Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul

Rhea Seehorn in Better Call Saul (Image credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

It took the Emmys long enough, but Rhea Seehorn is finally an Emmy nominee, earning a nod for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her fantastic performance as Kim Wexler in Better Call Saul. Just in time too, as there are only a handful of episodes left in the series.

Bob Odenkirk has rightly been nominated constantly for his performance as the tragic figure Jimmy McGill we know is destined to become the sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad. However, his partner in crime portrayed by Seehorn has been dumbfoundingly absent from the nominee list in past seasons. Seehorn has been a revelation on the show and has inspired fans to root for this character whose fate is still unknown (#ProtectKimWexler).

Now that a nomination is here, finish the job Emmys, give Seehorn the award she deserves. — Michael Balderston

Snub: Selena Gomez, Only Murders in the Building

Selena Gomez in 'Only Murders in the Building'.

Selena Gomez in Only Murders in the Building (Image credit: Hulu)

I’m still trying to figure out how Selena Gomez was robbed of an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series nom for her brilliantly understated performance as Mabel in Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building. Steve Martin and Martin Short both received lead actor nods, while Jane Lynch and Nathan Lane received nominations for their guest appearances on the show. 

Martin and Short are the backbone of the series, but Gomez is the glue that holds everything together. Her dry wit and often drier delivery help defuse the moments when Short is going off on a tangent and Martin is slowly going off the rails. 

Thankfully, as one of the show’s executive producers, she’s earned a nom in Outstanding Comedy Series, so she wasn’t snubbed entirely. 

The Lead Actress in a Comedy Series field is packed with brilliant performances and obviously they only have room for six nominees, but the Emmys missed the mark by leaving Gomez out of the competition. Only Murders in the Building wouldn’t be nearly as successful if not for her contribution. — Sarabeth Pollock 

Favorite: Succession

Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook and Matthew Macfayden in Succession

Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook and Matthew Macfayden in Succession (Image credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO)

Succession’s Emmy-leading 25 nominations is a well-deserved honor for a show that is as jarring as it is captivating. It speaks volumes about what makes Succession the dominant force it has become. 

The HBO series is an absolute juggernaut with its strong writing, music and direction. The individual performances are so riveting and so vastly different from one another that it’s impossible to pick one over the other. It’s not just performances from the core cast, either. The show landed seven nominations across the 12 spots for guest actor and actress in a drama series. 

What I love is that the Emmy nominations reflect the brilliance of every single character created for the show, be it a lead role or a guest role. What makes Succession is the compelling performances that allow viewers to cheer for such delightfully despicable characters. — SP 

Snub: Winning Time

John C. Reilly and Sally Field in Winning Time

John C. Reilly and Sally Field in Winning Time (Image credit: Warrick Page/HBO)

Winning Time being shut out of the Emmys is one of those things that I can understand, though it still doesn’t feel right. Although many viewers of the show have applauded the series for various reasons, perhaps it just received one too many critiques from the real-life legends the characters of the show are based on. From Jerry West to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, there has been no shortage of celebrities calling out the "inaccuracies" of the series. 

Yet, at the very least, Sally Field should have been nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal as Jessie Buss. The role truly showed Field’s range of talent as an actress. Her eccentric and at times brash version of the Buss matriarch was enjoyable to watch as a fan of the series and of Field’s work. — TS

Snub: Yellowstone

Yellowstone

Kevin Costner and Kelly Reilly in Yellowstone (Image credit: Paramount Network)

Even with eight nominees in the top categories of Outstanding Drama and Outstanding Comedy series, it was a given that a great show or two was going to be left off those lists. But for Taylor Sheridan’s modern-day western to not only miss out on an Outstanding Drama Series nomination but on any nomination at all is baffling.

Things had looked like they were finally lining up for the show. Yellowstone season 4 was one of the most-watched shows for all of the 2021-2022 TV season, it had received some major recognition in the form of a Screen Actors Guild ensemble nomination and it got some of the best reviews from its run so far. The show was expected to have some representation in some of the marquee categories. But zilch, nada, not one Emmy nomination for its actors (Kelly Reilly in particular seems like a big omission) or the show overall.

Fans were upset over the lack of Yellowstone nominations. They’ll just have to wait for the Emmys to catch up with what they already know — Yellowstone is a blast. — MB

Michael Balderston
Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.

With contributions from