Abbott Elementary, Pachinko, Inventing Anna: The biggest 2022 Emmy snubs and surprises

Abbott Elementary, Pachinko, Inventing Anna: The biggest 2022 Emmy snubs and surprises

The 74th Emmy nominations include major props (Rhea Seehorn!) and total letdowns (a lack of nods for Mandy Moore, Selena Gomez)

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Quinta Brunson in Abbott Elementary; Mandy Moore in This Is Us; Seth Meyers in Late Night With Seth Meyers; Lee Min-ho in Pachinko
Quinta Brunson in Abbott Elementary; Mandy Moore in This Is Us; Seth Meyers in Late Night With Seth Meyers; Lee Min-ho in Pachinko
Photo: Bonnie Osborne/ABC; Ron Batzdorff/NBC; Lloyd Bishop/NBC; Apple TV+

The Television Academy did it again. The 74th Emmy Award nominations, announced on July 12, were a totally mixed bag, as always. As expected, shows like Ted Lasso, Succession, and the final season of Ozark dominated, while new entrants Only Murders In The Building and The White Lotus also claimed well-deserved spots. (FYI: You can go through the whole list here).

However, as is the case every year, there were several surprises and multiple snubs along the way. It’s been a terrific year for TV, after all. Or as Academy Chairman Frank Scherma said before the nominees were revealed, “[They] reflect only a fraction of television being made right now.” Even so, laudable shows and performers got left behind. When will voters realize the value of hilarious, hidden-gem comedies like Reservation Dogs? On the plus side, at least Rhea Seehorn and Seth Meyers managed to score their very first Emmy nods.

Here, we break down the biggest hits and misses from 2022's Emmy nominations. The ceremony airs Monday, September 12 at 8 P.M. ET on NBC—we’ll be covering the event live, so make sure you check out The A.V. Club before, during, and after the show airs.

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Snub: Pachinko (Outstanding Drama Series)

Snub: Pachinko (Outstanding Drama Series)

Pachinko — Official Trailer | Apple TV+

Apple TV+ had a great morning with Ted Lasso (20 nominations) and Severance (14 nominations), but what about the streamer’s ambitious adaptation of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko? The well-reviewed series is part of a wave of international co-productions that signals Apple TV+ is intent on creating content for an increasingly global audience. Given the show’s pedigree and critical accolades, the sweeping epic family melodrama should’ve secured an Outstanding Drama nod and, at the very least, Oscar winner Yuh-jung Youn should have been tapped for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Instead, the series only earned a single nomination for its arguably iconic main title design. [Manuel Betancourt]

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Surprise: Abbott Elementary (Outstanding Comedy Series)

Surprise: Abbott Elementary (Outstanding Comedy Series)

The Gifted Program Is Causing Problems - Abbott Elementary

Network comedy, which once ruled this category, hasn’t found itself in the winner’s circle since Modern Family’s victory back in 2014. This year, the sole network comedy in the category was everyone’s favorite new sitcom, Abbott Elementary. Quinta Brunson’s ABC series is a balm, offering a warm take on the mockumentary workplace comedy with a focus on the heroic work of public school teachers. Part of what makes Abbott Elementary such a joy is its game ensemble. The Emmys happily showered most of the cast with much-deserved nominations. In addition to Brunson’s Lead Actress nod, scene-stealing Janelle James (pitch-perfect as Ava, the hapless TikTok-obsessed school principal), luminous Sheryl Lee Ralph (as the no-nonsense Barbara, whose pursed lips speak volumes), and Tyler James Williams (as sub teacher Gregory, whose deadpan asides make his straight man a delight) all picked up nominations for their hilarious turns and we couldn’t be happier. [Manuel Betancourt]

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Snub: Selena Gomez, Only Murders In The Building (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series)

Snub: Selena Gomez, Only Murders In The Building (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series)

Best Moments From Season 1 | Only Murders in the Building | Hulu

Listen, it’s not easy to hold your own against comedy giants Martin Short and Steve Martin in every frame. Yet their Only Murders In The Building co-star Selena Gomez doesn’t just show up and survive, she thrives. With each passing episode in season one, Gomez fleshed out Mabel Mora’s many sarcastic layers to deliver an impressive, multidimensional performance, nailing the dry delivery and throwing gut punches as needed. OMITB simply wouldn’t land if Gomez wasn’t lighting up the screen, ready to take Charles and Oliver down a peg. The Academy honored Short and Martin but unfortunately skipped Gomez. Let’s hope they rectify that next year for her continued terrific performance in season two. [Saloni Gajjar]

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Surprise: Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, The Great (Outstanding Lead Actress, Oustanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series)

Surprise: Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult, The Great (Outstanding Lead Actress, Oustanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series)

The Great Season 2 I Official Trailer

The Great has consistently been, well, a great remarkable comedy. While the Academy didn’t honor the show at a series level this time, it’s a happy surprise to see Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult sneak in with their first, and well-deserved, nominations for their electrifying performances in the Hulu series. Fanning’s luminous work as Queen Catherine the Great elevates what could’ve been a subpar historical parody. She brings a crushing intensity to the role, and it’s only matched by Hoult’s bold, vigorous turn as her cruel husband, Peter. In season two, as their relationship deepens, both actors found new ground to explore in their roles. But The Great has been overshadowed by Ted Lasso, Hacks, and other comedies that get far more press. Good for the Emmy voters to see these performances and rightly think, “Huzzah! They deserve the spotlight.” [Saloni Gajjar]

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Snub: Mandy Moore, This Is Us (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series)

Snub: Mandy Moore, This Is Us (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series)

Mandy Moore Performs “The Forever Now” As Rebecca | Original Song | NBC’s This Is Us

Seriously, who watched Mandy Moore’s performance in the final season of This Is Us and decided not to immediately shower her with all kinds of awards? Her male co-stars typically get all the glory, but TIU would crumble if Moore’s matriarch Rebecca Pearson wasn’t there to hold it all together. Especially in the show’s sixth and final season (which was also snubbed). It centers on Rebecca’s progressing Alzheimer’s, and Moore aced her glorious, heartbreaking take on the character. As a reminder: She plays Rebecca across generations—from being newly in love with Jack to giving a speech to her adult children about letting her diagnosis be a lesson to pursue their dreams. There’s nothing Moore didn’t accomplish here, quietly sustaining This Is Us with a career-best performance. It’s a shame the Academy overlooked it. Let’s haul them together and make them rewatch “The Train,” yes? [Saloni Gajjar]

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Surprise: Late Night With Seth Meyers (Outstanding Variety Talk Series)

Surprise: Late Night With Seth Meyers (Outstanding Variety Talk Series)

Jan. 6 Committee Has Evidence Trump Illegally Obstructed Votes

It took a long time, but we’re finally here. Late Night With Seth Meyers beat out The Late Late Show With James Corden to score a spot in the Outstanding Variety Series category. This is champagne-popping stuff. Meyers is one of the best late-night hosts we have right now (not counting Ziwe, whose Showtime talk show was a major snub!). Meyers effortlessly blends humor with takes on politics, holds insightful discussions with wide-ranging guests, and honestly aces every single segment—from A Closer Look to Jokes Seth Can’t Tell. He’s personable, hilarious, and often talks about his two pet dogs. The Academy finally realized he’s a superior host, and for that we’re thankful. Maybe next year they squeeze in the other well-deserving late-night show, Desus & Mero. [Saloni Gajjar]

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Snub: Hidden gem comedies like We Are Lady Parts and Reservation Dogs

Snub: Hidden gem comedies like We Are Lady Parts and Reservation Dogs

Devery Jacobs in Reservation Dogs; Lucie Shorthouse, Faith Omole, Anjana Vasan, Juliette Motamed, Sarah Kameela Impey in We Are Lady Parts
Devery Jacobs in Reservation Dogs; Lucie Shorthouse, Faith Omole, Anjana Vasan, Juliette Motamed, Sarah Kameela Impey in We Are Lady Parts
Photo: Shane Brown/FX; Laura Radford/Peacock

It was always going to be a bloodbath in the Outstanding Comedy Series category. But let’s take a moment to mourn the fate of highly regarded small-scale and character-driven series that were—in typical Emmys fashion—bypassed for flashier, and, yes, starrier vehicles. These include FX’s Reservation Dog, a groundbreaking show about a group of rascal Native American teenagers, BAFTA winner We Are Lady Parts, and even Television Critics Association Award nominee Somebody Somewhere, HBO’s quiet meditation on grief guided by comedic genius and songstress extraordinaire Bridget Everett. Special and genre-busting in their own ways, perhaps they proved too niche for the Academy’s demo. No matter, they remain some of the best TV shows to have graced our screens last year. [Manuel Betancourt]

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Surprise: Female directors getting their due

Surprise: Female directors getting their due

Karyn Kusama; Lucia Aniello; Cathy Yan
Karyn Kusama; Lucia Aniello; Cathy Yan
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Jerod Harris/Getty Images

This year’s Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series category boasts five female directors: joining Hiro Murai and Bill Hader are last year’s winner Lucia Aniello (Hacks), Cherien Dabis (Only Murders in the Building), Jamie Babbit (Only Murders in the Building), MJ Delaney (Ted Lasso) and surprise nominee Mary Lou Belli (The Ms. Pat Show). Unfortunately, Pamela Adlon, who certainly deserves a spot here for her tireless, beautiful work on Better Things, didn’t make the cut.

On the Drama side, Hustlers’ Lorene Scafaria (Succession), Birds of Prey’s Cathy Yan (Succession), and Destroyer’s Karyn Kusama (Yellowjackets) prove that some of our most exciting filmmakers continue turning to television to find work that speaks to their strengths and allows them, to work with great talent in front of and behind the camera. The sheer wealth of talent highlighted here should not be taken as proof that there’s anything close to gender parity across the television industry. But it’s a sign that ground is being gained by a stellar generation of female directors doing groundbreaking work all over our small screens. [Manuel Betancourt]

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Surprise: The White Lotus’ many Emmy noms

Surprise: The White Lotus’ many Emmy noms

The White Lotus: Official Trailer | HBO

Some years it feels like the Television Academy watches maybe four shows total. Five at most. This explains the success of HBO’s The White Lotus. Sure, we know Mike White’s limited-turned-anthology series is a hit, but the ensemble cast accounted for five of the seven slots in the Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Or Anthology Series Or Movie category and for three of seven in Outstanding Supporting Actor. That’s practically a nomination sweep that, to be fair, occurred in other categories as well. Ted Lasso, Succession, and Hacks took up 80% of the available slots in their categories, and Succession broke a record with 14 acting nominations in one season. Even during Peak TV, it seems the Emmys rarely stray from their favorites—for better and for worse. [Manuel Betancourt]

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Snub: Naveen Andrews, The Dropout (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series)

Snub: Naveen Andrews, The Dropout (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series)

Elizabeth and Sunny breaking up - The Dropout Finale | Amanda Seyfried, Naveen Andrews

Amanda Seyfried and The Dropout were well-celebrated during this year’s Emmy nominations, but a major player in the Hulu series was overlooked: Naveen freaking Andrews. The Lost and Sense8 star’s marvelous performance went toe-to-toe with Seyfried’s. He’s alarmingly disturbing as Sunny Balwani, Elizabeth Holmes’ personal and professional partner. Full of paranoia—which Andrews reflects by teetering on the edge with every expression and body movement—Sunny helped her defraud millions from investors. Andrews is menacing from the first scene to the last (the breakup clip above is proof). How he didn’t get a nomination, we’ll never know. [Saloni Gajjar]

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Snub: Inventing Anna over We Own This City and Station Eleven (Outstanding Limited Series/Anthology)

Snub: Inventing Anna over We Own This City and Station Eleven (Outstanding Limited Series/Anthology)

Inventing Anna | Official Trailer | Netflix

We know the Academy has a tendency to pick flash over substance. Last year, they lauded Emily In Paris in two major categories even though that show is nothing but pure, dumb fluff. This year, the honor goes to another Netflix show: Inventing Anna. Shonda Rhimes’ limited series starring Julia Garner (a double nominee for this show and Ozark) was a glossy, dragged-out reiteration of Anna Delvey’s cons across Manhattan. Try as she might, Garner’s performance did not help. Neither did subpar writing.

Weightier shows like Netflix’s Maid, HBO’s We Own This City, and HBO Max’s Station Eleven were snubbed in the category, even though they were far more deserving of nominations. Margaret Qualley and Himesh Patel getting a nomination for Maid and Station Eleven are positive signs. Unfortunately, the good news did not continue. Heck, even The Staircase did a far better, more grounded job depicting a real-life tragedy. But as we said, sometimes it’s easier to pick a flashy mass favorite (if that’s what Inventing Anna is) as opposed to something far more deserving [Saloni Gajjar]

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Surprise: Rhea Seehorn, Better Call Saul (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series)

Surprise: Rhea Seehorn, Better Call Saul (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series)

Better Call Saul 6x02 - Kim threatens the Kettlemans

At least we can all concur that something is right with the universe. Rhea Seehorn finally bagged a nomination for her captivating work as Kim Wexler in Better Call Saul. Over five seasons, Kim has transformed from a side player for Jimmy’s schemes into one of the most pivotal characters in the Breaking Bad universe. And it wouldn’t have been possible without Seehorn’s capable, dynamic, outright riveting performance. Why else would we be so worried about her fate as the show nears its end? In the ongoing sixth season, Seehorn has elevated Kim into a lead—why is she a supporting actress nominee again?—as she goes down a dangerous path. But for now, at least we can stop yelling about how Seehorn has been robbed. Now all we need is for her to win. [Saloni Gajjar]

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