While Netflix and HBO battle it out for Emmy supremacy — with the streaming service edging the pay channel in total nominations, the first time anyone’s done that this century — voters can take a bow for a slate of nominees that both spread the wealth and mostly got it right, barring a few notable exceptions and oversights.
Netflix’s investment in original programming has mirrored the strategy that has made HBO so consistently dominant, offering a wide variety of programming — from series like “The Crown” and “Stranger Things” to specials, from documentaries to unscripted fare.
The streaming service’s maneuvering (and not incidentally, expensive Emmy campaigning) paid off with 112 nominations — a significant increase over last year, edging HBO’s 108. As chief content officer Ted Sarandos noted in a statement, the service’s tally encompassed 40 titles, showcasing its “varied and expansive slate.”
NBC — anchored by “Saturday Night Live” and “This is Us” — ranked third overall, garnering 78 Emmy bids, followed by the FX network, with 50. It’s a steep fall-off from there, although 13 networks or services garnered 10 or more nominations, reflecting the breadth of competition that currently characterizes the Emmy race in the age of “peak TV.”
Among the welcome highlights, the Television Academy recognized the final season of “The Americans,” Sandra Oh for her standout starring performance in BBC America’s “Killing Eve,” Issa Rae for HBO’s “Insecure” and Ted Danson — representing one of the few major-network series to break through — for NBC’s The Good Place.”
“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” was also showered with praise, as was “The Handmaid’s Tale’s” supporting cast, coming off a just-concluded second season that gave them an opportunity to shine. And HBO’s “Barry” made a significant mark on the comedy voting, where Donald Glover’s “Atlanta” led the way, in a field thrown wide open by the absence of three-time champ “Veep” from this year’s list of contenders.