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Arts & Life

'Saturday Night Live' And 'Westworld' Scoop Up Most Emmy Nominations


Our TV critic Eric Deggans often says there is so much good TV out there these days the Emmys are a way to help us know what's good and what we should pay attention to. So now that the Emmy nominations are out, let's talk about them with him. Hey, Eric.


MCEVERS: I'm sorry to do this, but I have to start by asking about an absence in these nominations, "Game Of Thrones" not there.

DEGGANS: (Laughter) The one show that wasn't nominated.

MCEVERS: Yeah, what happened?

DEGGANS: Well, "Game Of Thrones" started its latest season too late to be in contention for the nomination. So it wasn't that they got snubbed. They just weren't eligible. But that opened up the drama series category for new shows. So we got to see, for example, Hulu's "A Handmaid's Tale" (ph) get nominated as best drama series and Netflix's "Stranger Things," also NBC's "This Is Us," which was a welcome nomination because it's the first time a show from one of the big four broadcast networks has been nominated as best drama series in quite a while. You know, HBO still remained the most nominated TV outlet.


DEGGANS: Their show "Westworld" got 22 nominations. It tied with "Saturday Night Live" for most nominated. So, you know, HBO's doing all right.

MCEVERS: Well, so let's listen to the list of best actress nominations.


SHEMAR MOORE: The nominees for lead actress in a limited series or movie are Carrie Coon, "Fargo"; Felicity Huffman, "American Crime"; Nicole Kidman, "Big Little Lies"; Jessica Lange, "Feud"; Susan Sarandon, "Feud"; and Reese Witherspoon, "Big Little Lies."

MCEVERS: What do you think about this list?

DEGGANS: Yeah. Now, there's something interesting about that list. A lot of those actresses are over 40. We've seen a wide range of ethnic and age diversity in all these nominees. And it's been wonderful to see the first three shows that were announced as nominees for best comedy all starred people of color. But the one thing that kind of bothers me about the nominations is we also saw a lot of nominations for shows that didn't necessarily have their best year in the nomination period and maybe they should have made room for others that were more deserving. So "Modern Family" and "House Of Cards," these are shows that kind of had their best year a while ago. Performers like Viola Davis - I love her, but she's won an Emmy already - Kevin Spacey, William H. Macy from "Shameless," I wish that those guys had maybe taken a back seat so we could see even more new blood in these nominations.

MCEVERS: This year's nominations seem to feature a lot of actors who have already won Oscars. I mean, does that mean we are past the days of thinking that TV is inferior to film?

DEGGANS: Oh, yeah, without a doubt. If you look at the list of people who've won Oscars there's almost a dozen of them, and there's names like Robert De Niro and Nicole Kidman. And I think basically they're starring in these shows that would have been films, you know, 10 or 15 years ago. So De Niro in HBO's "Wizard Of Lies," that might have been a film 10 or 15 years ago, but now it's on TV. And it's getting the kind of attention and accolades that, you know, it wouldn't have gotten if it was in theaters.

MCEVERS: So many shows to talk about. Were there any shows that got snubbed and any nominations that struck you as off or weird?

DEGGANS: Well, the snubs - FX's "The Americans." Even though the actors got nominated, it didn't get nominated for best drama. And HBO's "The Leftovers," which is considered one of the best shows on television, had its final season this year. It didn't get nominated. "The Daily Show" and "Seth Meyers" on NBC didn't get nominated. And variety talk, which is a very competitive category, Oprah Winfrey got snubbed. Her movie "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" on HBO got nominated, but she didn't get nominated for a performing Emmy. And Lena Dunham didn't get nominated for the end of "Girls." And my weirdest pick - I love this pick - Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg nominated as best reality TV hosts for "Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner" (ph) on VH1. Come on, they've got to win.

MCEVERS: (Laughter).

DEGGANS: Kelly, they've got - let's start to campaign now.

MCEVERS: (Laughter) NPR TV...

DEGGANS: For your consideration, Martha and Stewart - Martha and Snoop.

MCEVERS: NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. Thank you.

DEGGANS: Always a pleasure.

(SOUNDBITE OF FLEVANS' "LOOSE GARDENER") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.