Emmy nominations’ greatest hits (and misses)

Regina King in a scene from "Watchmen," which scored a leading 26 Emmy nominations.

An earthquake rattled the Valley, the GDP suffered a record collapse and it’s getting harder to find a public restroom these days ... but that doesn’t mean we can’t be temporarily distracted by things like Emmy nominations, which arrived Tuesday with all the attendant elation and outrage.

We’ve all been cooped up with an abundance of time on our hands, which probably explains how Netflix pulled in a record 160 Emmy nominations, even if some of its celebrated shows fall shy of greatness, sometimes by a little (the third season of “Stranger Things”), sometimes by a lot (“Ozark,” “Dead to Me”). (I’m OK with “The Crown,” which managed just fine with its new cast and time leap.)

I’m Glenn Whipp, awards columnist for the Los Angeles Times and host of The Envelope newsletter.

‘Watchmen’ scores 26 Emmy nominations

“Watchmen,” an audacious tour de force that tackled America’s stain of racism, felt like event television when it premiered in October, and these days, it feels like it should be required viewing. (HBO actually made the series free for viewing last month in honor of Juneteenth.) Times television writer Greg Braxton has been covering the program for the past year and wrote an incisive piece about why the series — and the Emmy accolades — matter. Look for it to make good on a host of those nominations at the (virtual) ceremony, scheduled for Sept. 20.


Emmy ‘snubs’ and surprises, a.k.a. ‘Why are voters such monsters?’

First, a nod to all of you who love the English language and write me every year, decrying the use of the word “snub” when it comes to awards season coverage. As I noted in my intro to a story titled (ahem) “The Biggest Snubs and Surprises From the 2020 Emmy nominations,” “We’ll call them, for the sake of alliteration, ‘snubs,’ but they’re mostly just a sign that there remains too much good television for voters to parse — even during these isolated times when we’re stuck inside for too much of the day, wondering if anyone else is enjoying ‘Never Have I Ever’ as much as we are.”

Among the omissions this year: Reese Witherspoon, excellent in three different programs, “Little Fires Everywhere,” “The Morning Show” and “Big Little Lies” (check out Times writer Ashley Lee’s roundup on the Reese outrage) and Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn, who have never been better in “Better Call Saul,” and that’s saying something. And I didn’t even get around to wondering why Emmy voters did “Pose” wrong, but fortunately my colleague Christi Carras did. (I would have put “Pose” in drama series ahead of “Killing Eve” and, as mentioned, “Ozark” and “Stranger Things.”)

Rhea Seehorn and Bob Odenkirk in "Better Call Saul."
Rhea Seehorn and Bob Odenkirk in “Better Call Saul.”
(Greg Lewis / AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

Then again, Times television critic Lorraine Ali loves “Stranger Things” and would rather avoid “Succession,” as she notes in her Emmy takeaways column. To me that’s an Upside Down way of looking at things, but we do share a love for “Ramy” and “Never Have I Ever,” so I think we’ll be able to raise a glass together again someday, provided we’re ever allowed to return to the office. God, I even miss the 405 right now.

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Baby Yoda makes everything better. It just does.

Never underestimate the power of Baby Yoda or the Child or, as I call this bundle of joy, the Light of My Life. “The Mandalorian” was everything fans wanted the last “Star Wars” trilogy to be: superbly crafted sci-fi that tapped into Lucasfilm lore and created its own vivid, Sergio Leone-inspired spaghetti western world. It absolutely belonged among the year’s best drama series. And my colleague Tracy Brown knows that to be true, and she wrote about the 15 (!) Emmy nominations that “The Mandalorian” earned on Tuesday.


Baby Yoda, aka The Child, in "The Mandalorian"


I’d love to hear from you. Email me at

Can’t get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.