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Arts & Life

All About The Emmy Nominations


It's Emmy season. The Television Academy announced the nominations for the 70th Annual Emmy Awards this week. And here to give us the rundown is Linda Holmes, NPR's pop culture blogger and television enthusiast. She joins us now. Hi.


MONTAGNE: Well, first, this was a great year for new comedies.

HOLMES: That's right. There are eight nominees for outstanding comedy series, and three of them were in their first year of eligibility. One is "GLOW" on Netflix, which is about women wrestlers. One is "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," which is on Amazon, a period piece in the '50s. And another one is "Barry," a hit man - very dark comedy on HBO.

MONTAGNE: Of the three of those, do you have a favorite?

HOLMES: I do. I really love "Barry." It's very dark and creepy. But Bill Hader is the star of that. A lot of people know him from "Saturday Night Live." He's wonderful, wonderful in it.

MONTAGNE: So it sounds like a tough competition there - not as many shakeups in the drama category.

HOLMES: Yeah, that's right. There are a lot of the typical - the ones that have been nominated the last couple of years are repeating. You got your "Game Of Thrones" and "Handmaid's Tale," "The Americans." A lot of the same shows that have been nominated the last few years are nominated again.

MONTAGNE: You're a great person to ask this of. Did anything surprise you or disappoint you?

HOLMES: There are some really wonderful comedies that were left out. It's such a crowded category. "The Good Place" is a show I love on NBC. "One Day At A Time" on Netflix is one that I love. It's just a really crowded field in comedy right now.

MONTAGNE: I want to talk also about Sandra Oh. Now, she's the first Asian woman to be nominated as an outstanding actress in a drama for her work in "Killing Eve."


SANDRA OH: (As Eve Polastri) I believe there is a female assassin operating internationally. And she's targeted a number of influential people. She doesn't have a signature, but she certainly has style. And I don't know who or what is behind her. But I don't think she's slowing down. And that just interested me, I guess. But also, apparently, it makes me a fantasist and a crackpot and completely on my own. And, you know, frankly, I don't give a (expletive) anymore. She's outsmarting the smartest of us. And for that, she deserves to do or kill whoever the (expletive) she wants. I mean, if she's not killing me, then, frankly, it's not my job to care anymore.

HOLMES: Sandra Oh was on "Grey's Anatomy" for a very long time. She was - a lot of people loved her in that. She's in "Killing Eve," which is on BBC America. And she is a Canadian woman whose parents were Korean immigrants. And she's the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated in this category, lead actress in a drama series.

MONTAGNE: And John Legend - he's now just an Emmy away from - I love this - EGOT...

HOLMES: That's right.

MONTAGNE: ...That's Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony - for "Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert."


JOHN LEGEND: (As Jesus Christ, singing) Nor the 50,000, nor the Romans, nor the Jews, nor Judas, nor the 12, nor the priests, nor the scribes.

HOLMES: That's right. NBC broadcast a production of "Jesus Christ Superstar." John Legend played Jesus. And he's nominated. And he would close that foursome of big awards that very few people, a handful of people have ever won. It's tough competition. But, you know, if he wins it, he will EGOT.

MONTAGNE: One thing that also stuck out this year is the prominence of streaming networks. Netflix overtook HBO this year. That never happens.

HOLMES: That's right. Netflix took over from HBO as the biggest nominee-getter. And that had been HBO for many, many\ years. And it's partly just because Netflix makes so much stuff. But they did get the most nominations in total, you know? And if you compare them, you know, HBO makes, really, a relative handful of shows compared to Netflix. But yep. Netflix finally pulled ahead in sheer numbers.

MONTAGNE: And one last fun item - Megan Amram - please explain.

HOLMES: Megan Amram is a writer for "The Good Place," which I mentioned earlier on NBC.


MEGAN AMRAM: Action - Hi. My name is Megan Amram but a fictionalized version of myself for this web series. I was watching the Emmys last year. And there was a category called outstanding actress in a short form comedy or drama series. And I thought to myself, wow. I could win that.

HOLMES: So she made a web series called "An Emmy for Megan" that was only designed to get her this Emmy nomination. So in it, she emotes. And it's all emoting about wanting an Emmy nomination. So it's kind of a show within a concept of a show. It was very, very funny. And much to not my surprise particularly she did get her Emmy nomination. And I don't know if she's going to win or not. But if she did, boy, that would be a great moment, wouldn't it?

MONTAGNE: Yes. Linda Holmes writes NPR's pop culture blog Monkey See. Thanks very much.

HOLMES: Thanks, Renee. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.