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Emmys 2017 Snubs and Surprises

The 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Award winners have been announced, and with the names read from envelopes on stage comes a new wave of discussion. No longer are people speculating about whether or not “This Is Us” will break broadcast’s shut-out streak in the drama series race or which powerhouse limited series cast, “Big Little Lies” or “Feud” will clean up in acting awards. Now that the answers are in, attention turns to the snubs and surprises of the 2017 Emmys.

SNUB: “Feud lost all of its major races, from writing and director, to actresses supporting and lead, to supporting actor and of course the overall limited series race. It lost all of those races to HBO’s “Big Little Lies.” While there were discussions and concerns that competing co-stars could split the vote for both “Lies” and “Feud” in the actress categories, “Lies” prevailed with Laura Dern taking supporting actress over her co-star Shailene Woodley, as well as “Feud’s” Judy Davis and Jackie Hoffman, and with Nicole Kidman topping Reese Witherspoon, as well as “Feud’s” Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon. Ryan Murphy’s previous limited series “American Horror Story” and “American Crime Story” have cleaned up at the Emmys in the recent past, but this year proved to be just too competitive.

SURPRISE: Sean Spicer showed up at the end of host Stephen Colbert’s monologue. Though there were rumblings that a special political guest was going to be onstage at the Emmys, the looks on the audience members’ faces that were cut to during the push-out of the special podium said it all: No one expected Spicey! “Modern Family’s” Julie Bowen and Sarah Hyland, specifically, clutched each other in shock, and when Colbert jokingly thanked Melissa McCarthy, who portrays Spicer on “Saturday Night Live,” she still appeared equally stunned.

SNUB: After five wins at the Creative Arts ceremony earlier this month, “Stranger Things was shut out of the acting categories (and lost directing to Reed Morano). Millie Bobby Brown, an experts’ pick to win, lost supporting dramatic actress to “The Handmaid’s Tale’s” Ann Dowd, for example, while David Harbour lost supporting actor to “The Crown’s” John Lithgow. In fact, Netflix overall fits into this category, as after 91 nominations, the second most overall, the streamer only brought home 20 awards.

SURPRISE: Donald Glover took down the two-time reigning comedy actor champ Jeffrey Tambor in “Transparent.” While many experts did predict him to win, the Academy has such a history of rewarding the familiar faces that it was not a lock. But the freshman performer prevailed, pushing forward a new era for comedy.

SNUB: “RuPaul’s Drag Race” lost the reality competition series race to “The Voice.” Though RuPaul himself won the reality competition host award, and the show took costumes, too, the overall series statue when to the NBC singing competition show…again. “The Voice” previously won in 2013, 2015 and just last year in 2016. Since then they have switched up their roster of coaches again, but “Drag Race” has moved the needle on artistry, not just in drag but well beyond, and it would have been nice to see it get some kudos for that.

SURPRISE: Charlie Brooker took down heavyweights like Ryan Murphy and David E. Kelley to win the writing in a limited series or TV movie for “Black Mirror: San Junipero.” While the episode was a fan favorite from the jump, it proved to be an Academy favorite, too, following the trend of rewarding strong storytelling centered on female characters. He also won the TV movie category over all for “San Junipero.”

SNUB: Host Stephen Colbert spent a lot of time on-stage ushering the ceremony along but none devoted to acceptance speeches, as he lost both the variety talk series and writing for a variety series categories to HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” Colbert did have some fun with his losses toward the end of the show, though, drinking a cocktail he named after the winning show, saying it’s “so high quality, they can only make one a week.” At least he’s not bitter!

SNUB: “The Wizard of Lies was up for two major awards, the TV movie category, as well as lead actor in a limited series or TV movie. It lost both, despite its topic being the buzzy real life tale of Bernie Madoff. The lead actor race was the more surprising loss of the two, given that first-time Emmy nominee Robert De Niro is a previous Oscar winner. But Riz Ahmed did transformative work on “The Night Of,” and De Niro had only two hours to Ahmed’s eight to win over the Academy, which just didn’t prove to be enough.

SNUB: After winning five awards at the Creative Arts ceremony for sci-fi western series “Westworld,” HBO didn’t bring home any of the big ones, losing drama series and supporting actress. It seems like the Academy still isn’t ready for a mainstream love affair with genre shows.

SNUB: “Fargo” won six Emmys at prior ceremonies, including miniseries in 2014. But after 16 nominations at the 69th Annual Awards, it only brought home one statue (for music composition).

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