At the Television Academy’s celebration of the 71st Emmy Awards nominees, a steady stream of TV’s most-accomplished actors filed into the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills on Friday evening for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a buffet supper and a chance to catch up with fellow actors.
As she ventured onto the outdoor patio, Niecy Nash said, “I’ve been nominated twice for comedy, and even though I’ve wanted to do drama, I’ve always been told to stay in my lane.” Now a lead actress contender for “When They See Us,” she added, “I’ve been vindicated. This nomination is so sweet.”
At a table designated for nominees, Jonathan Banks joined Michael McKean, while a few feet away Giancarlo Esposito stood to introduce his daughters to friends. (The actors are all up for Emmys for “Better Call Saul.”) Banks said he had been nominated for Emmys six times and didn’t expect to win this time either. However, he said, “I’ve got a great role on a great show.”
As servers passed Moscow Mule cocktails, Champagne and trays of treats, including bacon, lettuce and tomato skewers, vegan sliders and grilled cheese mini-triangles with French onion soup, the mood among guests at the Nominees Reception was upbeat. Between conversations, a buffet offered them crisp Brussels sprouts, grilled sugar-snap peas, a Caprese salad, agnolotti pasta, pan-roasted branzino, beef tenderloin and more.
Never mind that Anthony Carrigan, a supporting actor nominee for “Barry,” is competing against two other actors from the same show — Stephen Root and Henry Winkler: He said, “If any of us win, I’ll be stoked.”
For Patricia Clarkson, a supporting actress nominee for “Sharp Objects,” the slate of exceptional female nominees is the best news. “Women own the year,” she said. “We led it, and yet there were so many talented women left behind us that were not nominated. We could have filled 1,000 categories, and I genuinely believe that. … We have an embarrassment of riches, and that’s a good thing. This is where we want to be.”
At the evening’s culmination, Frank Scherma, the Television Academy’s chief executive officer and chairman of the board of governors, welcomed the crowd and was followed by Patrika Darbo and Bob Bergen, representing the Performers Peer Group.
“Let’s hear it for television,” Bergen said. “TV is such an amazing place right now: the stories, the characters, the diversity, the amount of programming. How many of you have DVRs that are completely bloated?”
As he then named this year’s acting nominees, they ascended the stage, one by one, to accept their nomination certificates and pose for photos as onlookers erupted in applause for each of them.
Those onstage included Nash, Banks, McKean, Carrigan, Root and Clarkson as well as Jharrel Jerome, Asante Blackk and Michael K. Williams of “When They See Us,” Jared Harris of “Chernobyl,” Catherine O’Hara of “Schitt’s Creek,” and Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Michael Angarano and Chris Sullivan of “This Is Us.”
Also onstage were Fiona Shaw of “Fleabag” and “Killing Eve,” Sian Clifford of “Fleabag,” Marin Hinkle and Luke Kirby of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Carice van Houten of “Game of Thrones,” Tony Hale of “Veep,” Glynn Turman of “How to Get Away with Murder,” Laverne Cox of “Orange Is the New Black,” Michael Kelly of “House of Cards,” Punam Patel of “Special” and Anthony Mendez of “Wonders of Mexico.”
Following a group photo, the party continued into the evening. Servers brought out cups of banana pudding, while caterers set up a coffee bar. And as they left, guests were handed goodie bags with boxes of Lindor chocolate truffles.