What you need to know about this year's Emmy nominees
The 2018 Emmy nominations were announced on July 12 with a whole host of surprises, snubs, and frontrunners coming in hot. Join us as we take a look at some of the members from this year’s class of Emmy acting nominees and share some fun awards facts about each of them and their potentially history-making bids for gold.
Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish, Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Ross received a second nomination for her portrayal of Johnson matriarch Rainbow, and a win could be history making for the actress. If she wins, she would be the first black woman to win in her category since The Jeffersons star Isabel Sanford did in 1981.
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Brosnahan also earned her second Emmy nomination (she previously received a Best Guest Actress nomination for her work as a call girl on House of Cards) this year. Her portrayal of housewife-turned-stand-up comedian Midge Maisel has earned rave reviews since the series first debuted last fall and scored Brosnahan a Golden Globe. Because of this, she is likely the frontrunner in this category, particularly given the absence of Emmy darling Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Allison Janney, Mom, Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Janney could continue a stellar awards year with an Emmy win after picking up her first Oscar for I, Tonya back in March. If she wins, she’ll tie with Cloris Leachman for being the most awarded performer in Emmy history with eight statues to her name. Janney would also score an unprecedented Emmy Grand Slam, having already won in the leading and supporting categories for drama and the supporting category for comedy.
Issa Rae, Insecure, Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Issa Rae’s received her first-ever Emmy nomination for her work starring in the HBO series she also created based on her YouTube series Awkward Black Girl. Like fellow nominee Tracee Ellis Ross, Rae would be the first black woman to win in her category since Isabel Sanford (The Jeffersons) in 1981. It’s a fact she’d undoubtedly appreciate after her Emmys 2017 red carpet statement that she was “rooting for everybody black.”
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie, Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Tomlin scored a nice, round 25th nomination this year for her work on Grace and Frankie. Early in her career, she scooped up noms for her work as a writer and performer on variety shows and specials. Last year, the Emmys brought a much longed-for 9 to 5 reunion between Tomlin and co-stars Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton in which they used the feminist message of the movie to rail against Donald Trump.
Pamela Adlon, Better Things, Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Adlon nabbed her second nomination in this category for her semi-autobiographical comedy about a single mother working as an actor in Hollywood. However, Adlon has been nominated seven times overall for her work as a writer, producer, and more. Her first and only Emmy win came in 2002 for her voiceover work on King of the Hill.
Donald Glover, Atlanta, Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Glover is an Emmys darling this year with four total nominations, including this one for Best Actor in a Comedy, two others for writing and directing Atlanta, and a guest-acting nod for his stint hosting Saturday Night Live. He technically has a fifth as the creator/producer behind Atlanta. Last year, he made history as the first black director to win an Emmy in the Best Comedy category, as well as taking home gold for his acting too.
Bill Hader, Barry, Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Hader and fellow nominee Donald Glover are competing against each other in five different categories including this one, writing and directing a comedy series, producers of a nominated Best Comedy, and guest actor for their stints hosting SNL. Including this year, Hader has a total of 14 total nominations, but he’s only won once, in 2009, for producing animated series South Park.
Ted Danson, The Good Place, Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Danson, who previously won in 1993 for his work as Sam Malone on Cheers, scored his first nomination in the Best Leading Actor in a Comedy Series category in 25 years. Danson’s 16th nomination overall helped put critical darling The Good Place on the Emmys map with one of its only two nominations this year. At 70, Danson is still not the oldest nominee in his category — he joked on Twitter that Larry David has him beat.
Anthony Anderson, black-ish, Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Anderson racked up his fourth nomination in this category for his work on the ABC sitcom, which this year saw him tackling serious issues like divorce. Anderson has been nominated six times total, all for his work as an actor and producer of black-ish, but he has never won.
William H. Macy, Shameless, Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Macy nabbed his 14th nomination and his fifth consecutive nod for his work on Shameless. He’s never won Emmy gold in this category, but his SAG win earlier this year for his work on the Showtime series could perhaps bode well for his chances.
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Best Actor in a Comedy Series
David landed his 26th nomination for his long-awaited return to Curb Your Enthusiasm, which he was last nominated for in this category in 2012. He’s won twice, both times in 1993 for his work producing and writing iconic sitcom Seinfeld. At 71, he just edges out Ted Danson as the oldest nominee in this category.
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale, Best Actress in a Drama Series
The seventh time was the charm for Moss last year, winning her first acting award after seven nominations, the majority of which were for her work on Mad Men. She took home double gold last year for her work starring on and producing The Handmaid’s Tale, a feat she could replicate this year.
Keri Russell, The Americans, Best Actress in a Drama Series
Russell scored her third consecutive nomination in this category for her work as Russian spy Elizabeth Jennings on The Americans. The series wrapped up its sixth and final season earlier this spring, so it would be Russell’s last chance to take home gold for a performance that has consistently earned her praise.
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld, Best Actress in a Drama Series
This marks Wood’s third Emmy nomination overall, having previously been nominated for her work on Westworld and her supporting work on the HBO mini-series adaptation of Mildred Pierce. Wood is a rare actress to have all her nominations tied to one network, HBO, across multiple projects.
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve, Best Actress in a Drama Series
Oh made history with this nomination, becoming the first Asian woman to ever receive a nomination in the Best Actress in a Drama category. She was previously nominated five times for her work as Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy, but has never won.
Claire Foy, The Crown, Best Actress in a Drama Series
Foy scores one last awards nomination for her work on The Crown before handing the role of Elizabeth II over to Olivia Colman. It’s her second-ever nomination for an Emmy, and her last chance for gold for this regal role. She previously won a Golden Globe and two SAG awards in this category for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II.
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black, Best Actress in a Drama Series
Maslany nabbed her third nomination for her head-spinning, multi-role work on Orphan Black, which concluded with its fifth season last year. She previously won for the same part in 2016. Maslany is currently appearing Off-Broadway in Tracy Letts’ newest play, Mary Page Marlowe.
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us, Best Actor in a Drama Series
Brown landed two nominations this year for his work on This Is Us and his guest appearance on comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He’s won two years running for This Is Us and The People v. O.J. Simpson, so he could go for an Emmy triple crown this year. Last year, Brown became the first black actor to win in this category in 19 years.
Jason Bateman, Ozark, Best Actor in a Drama Series
Bateman scored two nominations this year for his work directing and acting on Ozark, bringing his overall nominations up to four. He was previously nominated twice for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for his portrayal of Jason Bluth on Arrested Development, but he has never won.
Ed Harris, Westworld, Best Actor in a Drama Series
For his work as the mysterious Man in Black, Harris scored his third Emmy nomination. He was previously nominated for portraying John McCain in the television movie Game Change, but has never taken home an Emmy. Clearly, Harris is a phenomenal actor. He’s also been nominated for four Oscars, but has never won.
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us, Best Actor in a Drama Series
Ventimiglia earned his second consecutive Emmy nomination for This Is Us as Pearson patriarch Jack Pearson. While many characters have scored Emmy nominations for dramatic death scenes, Ventimiglia’s on-screen death was a story nearly two years in the making — a mystery that had kept This Is Us fans on edge for one and a half seasons.
Matthew Rhys, The Americans, Best Actor in a Drama Series
This marks Rhys’ third consecutive nomination for his work as Philip Jennings on The Americans, and his last chance for Emmy gold for the role as the series concluded its sixth and final season earlier this year. Rhys met his current life partner, Keri Russell, while filming the show.
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld, Best Actor in a Drama Series
Wright joins the rarefied crowd of actors nominated in both the leading and supporting categories for the same role, having previously earned a nod for his work on Westworld in the Best Supporting Actor category last year. He won in 2004 for his work on the HBO adaptation of Angels in America, a role he also won a Tony for portraying in the original Broadway production.
Antonio Banderas, Genius, Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Banderas landed his second Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Pablo Picasso. He has only been nominated once before, in the same category, and also for portraying a real historical figure: Pancho Villa.
Darren Criss, Assassination of Gianni Versace, Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Criss earned his first-ever acting nomination for his work as the chilling serial killer Andrew Cunanan on the FX crime drama. However, he has actually been nominated for an Emmy before — for helping to pen an original song on the final season of Glee in 2015. Criss is only the second actor of Asian descent to earn a nomination in this category. The first was Riz Ahmed who made history when he won for The Night Of last year.
Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose, Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Cumberbatch scored his sixth Emmy nomination for his portrayal of the titular character in Patrick Melrose. All of his nominations have come in this category, and this is only the second time Cumberbatch has received a nomination for a role that is not Sherlock Holmes. He was also previously nominated for his work in Parade’s End.
Jeff Daniels, The Looming Tower, Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Daniels joins a handful of other actors this year to take home multiple nominations. He’s nominated for his work as John O’Neill in Hulu’s The Looming Tower about the machinations of the CIA and FBI in the days leading up to 9/11. Daniels also scored a nod for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series for his work as villainous outlaw Frank Griffin on Netflix’s Godless. He took home an Emmy for his performance as Will McAvoy on The Newsroom‘s first season.
John Legend, Jesus Christ Superstar Live!, Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Legend scored his first-ever Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Jesus Christ in the NBC live musical event. It’s a nomination that puts him in EGOT contention, having previously already taken home Grammys, an Oscar, and a Tony. Alongside other members of his cast, Legend also became one of the first actors to earn a nomination for an NBC live musical, which started popping up on television a little over five years ago.
Jesse Plemons, Black Mirror, Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Plemons received his second Emmy nomination for his work on the “USS Callister” episode of Black Mirror. He was previously nominated for playing Ed Blumquist on Fargo, where he met fiancée Kirsten Dunst. Often noted for his resemblance to fellow actor Matt Damon, one of his earliest acting roles was playing a younger version of the actor in All the Pretty Horses.
Laura Dern, The Tale, Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Dern nabbed her seventh nomination for The Tale after winning Best Supporting Actress in this category last year for Big Little Lies (her first Emmy win). Dern portrays Jennifer Fox, the writer and director of The Tale — a woman grappling with her teenage sexual abuse. Fox described Dern as “a partner” to EW, adding that she specifically wrote many pieces of the script with the actress in mind.
Michelle Dockery, Godless, Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Dockery in a period piece is a surefire recipe for an Emmy nomination for the actress. She was previously nominated three times for her work as aristocratic Lady Mary on Downton Abbey, and this time she’s receiving recognition for portraying a woman with a different type of grit (and a shotgun) — Godless’ Alice Fletcher.
Edie Falco, The Menendez Murders, Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Falco is the sole member of the Menendez Murders cast to score a nomination, a short-lived true crime experiment from the Law and Order team that sought to capitalize on the popularity of series like American Crime Story. Her performance as lawyer Leslie Abramson resulted in her 14th nomination. Falco has won four times previously for her work on The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie.
Regina King, Seven Seconds, Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
King nabbed her fourth nomination for her work on this Netflix series and her first-ever in a leading actress category. She’s previously been nominated (and won once) for Best Supporting Actress in this same category for her work on American Crime.
Jessica Biel, The Sinner, Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Cult, Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Paulson nabbed her seventh nomination for her work on the American Horror Story anthology drama. She previously won for her portrayal of Marcia Clark on another Ryan Murphy series, The People v. O.J. Simpson. Paulson has appeared in every season of American Horror Story and has received Emmy nominations for her work in five of the seven seasons.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones, Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
After seven seasons as Jamie Lannister on Game of Thrones, Coster-Waldau landed his first nomination for the role (and his first Emmy nom ever). He first rose to prominence on American television as the leading character on Fox’s short-lived time travel procedural New Amsterdam.
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones, Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Dinklage received his seventh Emmy nomination for his work as Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones. He’s won twice, but he’s among the likes of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Don Knotts, and Candice Bergen in the record books for being nominated a mind-boggling number of times for the same character. He’s also now the most-nominated actor ever in the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama category.
Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid’s Tale, Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
The British actor earned his first-ever Emmy nomination this year for his portrayal of Commander Waterford on The Handmaid Tale’s second season. This marks his first major awards love since scoring SAG and BAFTA nominations for his portrayal of Will Shakespeare in 1998’s Shakespeare in Love.