Last year, FX’s “Atlanta” was the lone freshman comedy to break into the series race at the Emmys, while the drama category saw five of its seven nominees be first-timers. But what a difference a year makes.
Now “Atlanta” and those dramas (Netflix’s “The Crown,” Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” NBC’s “This Is Us,” and HBO’s “Westworld”) are sophomores and still dominating.
Meanwhile, 2018 freshman series nominees on the comedy side are HBO’s “Barry,” Netflix’s “GLOW,” and Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” There were no first-year dramas to break in.
Betty Gilpin was the only performer to score a nom for a first-year series, scoring supporting comedy actress for “GLOW.” (While Rachel Brosnahan scored her first nomination for her role as Midge in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” she was previously nominated for guest drama actress for her role on “House of Cards” in 2015.)
However, there were a number of others who were nominated for the first time for longer-running shows.
“Insecure’s” Issa Rae is a first-time nominee for her leading role on that HBO comedy, which is in its second year of eligibility; “Atlanta’s” Zazie Beetz broke into the supporting comedy actress race; Matthew Goode saw a guest drama actor nod for “The Crown,” while Matt Smith got a supporting drama actor nom and Vanessa Kirby scored a supporting drama actress nom for the same series; Nikolaj Coster-Waldau received his first-ever nom as supporting drama actor for “Game of Thrones”; Aidy Bryant and Kenan Thompson broke into the supporting comedy actress and actor races, respectively, for their work on “Saturday Night Live”; and “The Handmaid’s Tale’s” Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski broke into the supporting drama actor and actress races, respectively.
First-time nominees in one-off projects such as limited series, TV movies, and guest appearances this year include Darren Criss (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”), John Legend (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”), and Jessica Biel (“The Sinner”) for lead actor and actress in a limited series or TV movie, respectively.
Sara Bareilles (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert”), Penelope Cruz (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”), Adina Porter (“American Horror Story: Cult”), and Letitia Wright (“Black Mirror: Black Museum”) were all nominated in the supporting actress in a limited series or movie category, while Brandon Victor Dixon (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”), Ricky Martin (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”), and Michael Stuhlbarg (“The Looming Tower”) were nominated for supporting actor in a limited series or movie.
Kelly Jenrette (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and Tiffany Haddish (guest host, “Saturday Night Live”) received their first Emmy nominations in the guest actress categories for drama and comedy, respectively. Katt Williams received his first Emmy nom in the guest comedy actor category for his appearance on “Atlanta,” while Cameron Britton (“Mindhunter”) and Jimmi Simpson (“Westworld”) both scored nominations in the guest drama actor category.
The short-form categories were a ripe area for freshman to break in as well. Megan Amram, nominated for “An Emmy for Megan,” scored two noms her first time at Emmy bat, with short-form actress, as well as short-form series. “Broken’s” Lee Garlington and Miles Tagtmeyer broke in with short-form actress and actor, respectively. “Ctrl Alt Delete’s” Naomi Grossman scored her first Emmy nom in short-form actress and Alexis Denisof (“I Love Bekka & Lucy”) and Melvin Jackson Jr. (“This Eddie Murphy Role Is Mine, Not Yours”) scored their first Emmy accolades in short-form. Interestingly, although James Corden is often nominated as a producer for his CBS late night talk show and his “Carpool Karaoke” specials, he scored a first time performer nomination this year, as well, for “James Corden’s Next James Corden,” again in the short form actor category.
You can find the full list of 2018 Emmy noms here.