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This Year’s Emmy Nominations: Trends, Surprises, and Casting Commentaries

The buzz following the announcement of this year’s Emmy nominations focused on continued trends from last year as well as on one astonishing surprise. We break down the top trend and biggest surprise below along with two top L.A. casting directors weighing in on which nominations are making waves and which inclusions and omissions really stood out.


Trend: “Game of Thrones” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Dominating

With 22 nominations last year, “Game of Thrones” had already set the bar high for itself. But the final season of the popular HBO show reaped a record-breaking 32 nominations this year, surpassing “NYPD Blue” for the most nominations of any program in one season. 

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” scored 20 nominations this year. Last year, the Amazon series won eight of the 14 categories for which it was nominated, including Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Rachel Brosnahan is up for the award again, but she’s facing Julia Louis-Dreyfus this time. The “Veep” actress has won the category eight times, and if she does it again this year, she’ll set a new record for most Emmy wins by a performer


Surprise: HBO’s Record-Breaking Number of Nominations

It’s no understatement that HBO crushed it this year. The network was on a 17-year streak of garnering the most nominations year in and year out … until last year when Netflix received four more total nominations: 112 to HBO’s 108. It left Emmy watchers to wonder whether the era of HBO’s dominance might have come to an end. But the comeback HBO made this year was unprecedented, sweeping up 137 total nominations, 20 more than Netflix. 


Casting Director Commentary

Casting directors Jessica Sherman, known for “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” and “Bates Motel,” and Kim Williams, known for “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and “Under Suspicion,” weighed in on this year’s list.


What do you think was this year’s biggest snub?

Sherman: Andrew Scott in “Fleabag.” I was shocked that he didn’t get a nomination. Generally speaking, he’s such a chameleon. His [performance] brought layers, nuance, quirk, and charisma to a character that could’ve been very straightforward. I found myself feeling all of the conflicting feelings that Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character was experiencing. You were totally in it with her. Total snub! 

Williams: Susan Kelechi Watson for “This Is Us” is a huge snub. Her performance this year was achingly beautiful, subtle and powerful.


What’s one nominee that you’re glad made the cut?

Williams: I am beyond thrilled that Jharrel Jerome was nominated for “When They See Us.” He has such depth and emotional range for such a young man. Very exciting.

Sherman: I’m a big fan of many of the shows that received nominations, but I have to say that I’m super excited to see “Pose” and Billy Porter represented. Such a great show! As well as the incomparable Anthony Carrigan from “Barry.” He’s such a talented actor, a kind human being and really just someone who decided to make lemonade out of the lemons he was given. And I love, love, love Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) and Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”)!


What’s your overall opinion of this year’s nominations?

Sherman: I feel like most of the shows that I loved this year made it on the nomination list in some fashion. I would love to congratulate all of the amazing casting directors and their staff who worked tirelessly to assemble these incredible actors. Special shout out to Sibby Kirchgessner and Dorian Frankel for their second Emmy nomination for “Veep!”

Williams: This year’s nominations amplify the incredible mix of talent, diverse and inclusive voices and wonderfully creative projects that highlight the ever-exciting and expansive television landscape.


The complete list of this year’s nominations can be viewed here. The 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards will air on September 22 on Fox. Whether this will be a record-breaking year for wins—as well as for nominations—remains to be seen.

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