It is a sad reality that the number of people who deserve to be nominated for awards always far outweighs the number who actually get nominations. And the 2022 Emmys are no exception. But that’s not going to stop us from complaining about the hideous treatment our favorite actors and crews and shows have received at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ hands.
Specifically, here’s Screen Speck’s list of the worst of the worst of the 2022 Emmy snubs. Not that we don’t love Succession and Ted Lasso – we do, we promise! – but it defies belief that there was really not room for some of the other extraordinary work that aired this year. In a time when the staggering amount of Prestige-worthy TV on the air threatens to break the very meaning of the term, we suggest that the number of nominations per category is perhaps a wee bit too small to reflect the true breadth of award-caliber stuff happening out there.
Without further ado, then, here is our humble list of the Best Nominations that Should Have Been. Sorry, guys; hopefully you’ll get your due next year.
I can’t believe HBO cancelled Gentleman Jack because they weren’t interested in dykes. To make things worse, Gentleman Jack also received zero Emmy nominations for the second straight season. This year, I felt like I was watching Anne Lister’s diaries get erased in real time – for like the hundredth time. HBO and BBC literally did not promote Gentleman Jack while it was airing, so this snub was expected, but knowing that a lesbian period drama was specifically set up to fail fills me with rage. Even The Gilded Age received *one* nomination, and that show has absolutely nothing but Carrie Coon’s bird hats going for it.
Suranne Jones, a straight actor, actually played lesbianism better than me, an actual lesbian – right down to the constant manspreading of her legs. Jones is astonishing in the role, as we see how Lister’s butch strength is driven by a reservoir of pain that is always forcefully concealed. Through Jones, we finally get to see a butch lesbian who is not only tenacious, but also deeply hurt by the injustice of this world. It is a marvelous performance that deserves critical acclaim and so many years more of our witness. The failure to nominate Gentleman Jack for almost any televisual awards during its time on the air, Emmy or otherwise, and now its cancellation, only confirm what most lesbians know: our lives weren’t worthy of recognition two hundred years ago, and they still aren’t in this modern age.
In an era where television needs to be “smart” to be seen as good, Girls5Eva is a helpful reminder that comedy doesn’t need to be deep. It can be incredibly over-the-top silly as well as incredible. Girls5eva’s sophomore season is every bit of that, giving us that 30 Rock energy that TV’s been lacking since that show went off the air (minus the offensive bits that aged like fine milk). Season 2 is just as good as the first, with catchy jingles every episode so funny that it’s hard to breathe from laughing – where is the album, Peacock? Release ‘Big Pussy Energy’ as a single, thanks!
And that cast? There’s not a single woman in that cast who isn’t hilarious. From Paula Pell as Gloria, in her high-as-hell interview scene early in the season to Busy Philipps as a newly divorced Summer having to explain to her Christian parents that she’s not going to remain abstinent, every situation these ladies are thrown into while recording their second album is guaranteed to bring the laughs.
When Emmy nominations were announced, I was already in the mindset of being disappointed by the Television Academy’s lack of Midnight Mass recognition. Mike Flanagan’s limited series is one of his most personal works yet. Even more so than Hill House or Bly Manor, Midnight Mass is the equivalent of taking a peek at the internal conflict between Flanagan’s heart and mind through the lens of Catholicism. And, as someone who grew up Catholic, it was also personally affirming for me to see something so familiar to myself reflected back at me with so much sincerity and nuance.
Regardless of my personal connection to the series, Midnight Mass stands out sharply in the sea of TV’s biopic limited series. Its deviation is a welcome one. From its writing to its visual construct to its acting, the series is a revelation in artistry that went completely unnoticed by both critics and general viewers. It’s one of those pieces of work that, much like Damon Lindelof‘s The Leftovers, gets talked about with the reverence it deserves only in retrospect.
Yes, Severance got 14 Emmy nominations. But it needs to be included on this list because of what’s probably the worst omission of the entire 2022 Emmys slate. Let’s put it bluntly: Severance is the best-looking TV show by a country mile. Jeremy Hindle was rightfully nominated for his production design work, but Jessica Lee Gagné‘s lensing of the show is a vital component of Severance’s prestige factor. Making sense of Gagné not getting a nomination for Best Cinematography is a mind boggler so painful it almost makes me want to undergo a Severance lobotomy of my own.
On paper, the cinematography of Severance sounds like a true creative’s nightmare. The focal point of the show – Lumon Industries’ subterranean severed floor – doesn’t have any natural light. The walls are a stark white, and the action happens predominantly around basic office furniture and in the fluorescent hallways. On paper, it’s not much to feel inspired by. Except that Gagné, in collaboration with directors Ben Stiller and Aoife McArdle and the rest of the technical team, used every perceived drawback to instead create a labyrinthine, conditional world unto itself. The severed floor is beautiful to behold, casting uniform shades of blue and green around the white walls’ backdrop.
And it’s Gagné’s work that captures Severance‘s truly eerie, unsettling tone. On the severed floor, she switches between wide shots and close-ups with an elegance that captures the horrors of life as an innie. Her camera work is often symmetrical to a fault, illuminating the mechanical nature of the world Lumon has created and the sometimes-robotic, sometimes-childish way that innies are meant to feel.
Beyond Lumon’s walls, the outies’ world is warmer, often darker – a true creative contrast to the severed flood, rarely shot in true close-up. It’s magnificent, purposeful work that creates two dynamic worlds. Perhaps next year Gagné can receive two Emmys to make up the deficit.
What We Do In The Shadows
In a surprising turn of events, What We Do In The Shadows was in fact nominated for multiple Emmys this year. The show received nominations in the Outstanding Comedy Series category; two of its episodes were nominated for Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series; and it also got nods for Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes; Outstanding Sound Editing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (Half-Hour) And Animation; Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (Half-Hour) And Animation; and Outstanding Stunt Coordination For A Comedy Series Or Variety Program. But! While it was a joy to see the show get recognized (if only in primarily technical categories), it still came as a shock that none of What We Do In The Shadows‘ cast was nominated for their masterful comedic performances.
A big part of what makes the show work so well is the relationships between characters and how they play off each other to find the comedy through their personalities. Harvey Guillén, who plays Guillermo, and Kayvan Novak who plays Nandor, delivered some of television’s best comedy this year in WWDITS Season 3 Episode 8’s “The Wellness Center,” and not seeing them get the kind of awards-season praise for it that they did critical praise when the episode aired left a bad taste in my mouth. Similarly, Matt Berry and Natasia Demetriou, who play vampire couple Laszlo and Nadja and are arguably the funniest characters in the show, were also snubbed this year. As they and the rest of the cast have been every year so far. There’s no other way to put it, and here is definitely the place to say it: this can only be described as a fucked-up decision.
Thank you for acknowledging the superior worthiness of Gentleman Jack and specifically SURANNE.
No Suranne Jones, No Sophie Rundle (who is brilliant and always overlooked), No Sally Wainwright—The Emmys are a cruel JOKE!