Emmys 2022: Follow-Up, Ted Lasso Dominates Supporting Actor

It was hard not to feel a pang of frustration while sorting through the supporting and guest performance categories for this year’s Emmy nominations. As has become an increasingly alarming trend, they saw fit to reward actors from a few precious series while leaving so many fantastic other opportunities in the dust. With so many of television’s best performances unfolding in supporting roles, and at a time when television is more popular than ever, it remains an odd shame how few shows tend to dominate the Emmys nomination morning.

Like last year, “Succession” and “Ted Lasso” attracted attention. As my colleague Adam B. Vary calculated out of sheer nerdy curiosity (his words), “Ted Lasso” actors make up a quarter of all comedy nominees, while “Succession” accounts for a whopping 35% (!) of drama nominees. In fact, almost half of all comedy nominations went between “Ted Lasso” and “Hacks” alone. On the limited series side, eight actors from “The White Lotus” flooded the supporting cast zone; coupled with the six nominations for “Dopesick,” 53% of the limited series slots went to the same two shows.

Before the “White Lotus”/”Ted Lasso”/”Hacks”/”Succession” hives come after me for belittling their many, many supporting nominations, first let me say: I’m one of you! I loved all of these shows and would have a hard time arguing against any of their individual nominations. But there’s a difference between rewarding a show and leaving it to the same few, making it seem like little else is worth it. Because that’s just not true.

If the Emmys wanted to nominate a wider array of supporting acting talent, voters could very easily have turned to other shows they recognized in passing. In comedy, Issa Rae could have been joined by “unsafe” castmates like Yvonne Orji and Jay Ellis for her final season. Each and every one of the main cast of “What We Do In the Shadows” – Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Kayvan Novak, Harvey Guillén or Mark Proksch – certainly did a good job in the third season of the show.

In terms of drama, “Severance” owed much of its unsettling power to supporting players like Britt Lower and Tramell Tillman. “Yellowjackets” wouldn’t have had half its clout if the younger generation hadn’t captured the flashback timeline, particularly Sophie Nelisse and Samantha Hanratty as teenage versions of the characters played by nominees Melanie Lynskey and Christina Ricci. Looking towards limited series, Amanda Seyfried absolutely ignited the screen as Elizabeth Holmes in The Dropout, but her performance shone as brightly as it did thanks to the solid work of actors like Naveen Andrews, Stephen Fry, Elizabeth Marvel and Michaela Watkins around her hereabouts.

Aside from the shows that are already Emmy nominees, however, there are plenty of contenders that deserve a closer look. The critically acclaimed “Reservation Dogs” was apparently a long shot for the best comedy award, but why not consider the acting talents of Devery Jacobs or Paulina Alexis, who gave two of the most unique performances of 2021? I was apparently one of maybe a dozen people who saw and liked the Netflix limited series The Chair, but Sandra Oh crushed it there (arguably harder than Killing Eve’s shaky final season), as did her co-stars Nana Mensah and Holland Taylor. Or how about one of the “Girls5Eva” – notably Renée Elise Goldsberry or Paula Pell – who handle some of the craziest jokes on TV with ease?

Chances are you’ll either read the paragraphs above and nod in agreement, or make some version of the now extremely familiar refrain that “there’s too much TV!”. If you belong to the latter camp: trust me, I get it. My job is to keep up with all the new shows out there, and I still routinely check out what’s available on my ten thousand or so streaming services and get surprised by something I’ve never seen in my life heard. But when so few shows seem to get so many nominations as a matter of course, it seems like voters have so many shows to choose from that they panic and rely on the few they already know. As understandable as that is, it also points to a deeply unimaginative approach to an award ostensibly designed to recognize innovation.

https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/emmys-2022-supporting-acting-nominations-column-1235315253/ Emmys 2022: Follow-Up, Ted Lasso Dominates Supporting Actor

Charles Jones

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