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.
David Harbour, Stranger Things, Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Harbour earned his second consecutive nomination for his work as Jim Hopper on Netflix’s Stranger Things. Lately, the actor has been busy making fans’ dreams come true, taking high school grad photos and more when they reach his pre-established number of retweets on Twitter.
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland, Best Supporting Actor in a Drama
Patinkin landed his seventh Emmy nomination and his fourth for his portrayal of Saul Berenson on Homeland. He won in the Best Lead Actor in a Drama category in 1995 for his role as Dr. Jeffrey Geiger on Chicago Hope. One of numerous Broadway stars to merit a nomination this year, Patinkin took home a Tony in 1980 for his performance as Che Guevera in the original cast of Evita.
Matt Smith, The Crown, Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Smith scored his first ever Emmy nomination for his role as Prince Philip on The Crown. Earlier this year, Smith found himself at the center of a controversy when it was revealed his salary was higher than his costar Claire Foy’s. Smith may be linked with Foy onscreen, but he’s tied to another popular British actress off of it: Lily James, the star of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again.
Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Bledel is returning to the Emmy race after winning the Best Guest Actress in a Drama award last year for the same role of Ofglen in The Handmaid’s Tale. Though Bledel was never nominated for her work on Gilmore Girls, the Emmys offers a semi-reunion for her and fans as costar Milo Ventimiglia and series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino are also nominated.
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Headey scored her fourth nomination for her performance as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones. This year marks the first time she gets to share the awards love with her incestuous love interest, Nikolai Coster-Waldau. As a member of the Game of Thrones team, Headey contributed to the show’s leading total of 22 nominations.
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Dowd landed her third ever nomination for her work as Aunt Lydia on The Handmaid’s Tale. Last year, she earned double nominations for a guest arc on The Leftovers and her work on The Handmaid’s Tale, for which she took home Emmy gold. Dowd was one of the most surprising wins last year, and her delightfully earnest speech charmed viewers around the world.
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Vanessa Kirby, The Crown, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Alongside costar Matt Smith, Kirby is the other member of The Crown team to snag their first Emmy nomination for the series’ second season. Kirby will be replaced by Helena Bonham Carter in the role of Princess Margaret in the upcoming third season. The young star recently had to shoot down romance rumors with Tom Cruise when photos of them kissing were released, which turned out to be from a film they were shooting.
Thandie Newton, Westworld, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Newton earned her second consecutive nomination for her role as Maeve on Westworld. Newton has had a stellar summer, appearing in the latest Star Wars spin-off Solo and nearly breaking the internet with her spectacular Cannes gown that featured all of the black characters from Star Wars in its design.
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Strahovski is yet another member of the first time nominees in this year’s Emmy class for her work as Serena Joy on The Handmaid’s Tale. The Emmys are a time for surprises for the actress – last year, she shocked the world when she announced her marriage to Tim Loden on the red carpet.
Henry Winkler, Barry, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
This mark’s Winkler’s sixth overall Emmy nomination, and his first in a comedy acting category since his 1978 nomination for portraying Fonzie on the beloved sitcom Happy Days. He has never won. Winkler received his first Happy Days nomination 42 years ago, making for the longest stretch between the first and latest nomination of any of the nominees this year.
Louie Anderson, Baskets, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Anderson landed his third consecutive nomination for his portrayal of Christine on FX comedy Baskets. He won his first time up in 2016. His character is the mother to twins Chip and Dale, both of whom are played by Zach Galifianakis. It should be noted that Anderson is the only performer this year to be nominated for playing a role of the opposite gender.
Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
This marks Henry’s second Emmy nomination. Last year, he earned his first for his guest work on This Is Us playing a cousin of William (Ron Cephas Jones) — a particularly sweet moment for the actor who has been best friends with This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown for over a decade. The two are starring together as brothers in this summer’s Hotel Artemis.
Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Baldwin took home gold last year for his portrayal of Donald Trump on the classic sketch show and promptly offered it to the commander in chief, joking that Trump had finally won his long-desired Emmy. Baldwin has been nominated a whopping 19 times and won three times, including twice for his work on 30 Rock.
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Burgess scored his fourth consecutive nomination for this role in this category this year. He has never won. Even without Emmy gold, Burgess has a lot on his plate — he composed the music and lyrics for a new stage adaptation of The Preacher’s Wife, which held its first industry reading this past December.
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Shalhoub has been nominated a total of nine times and won three times for his portrayal of obsessive-compulsive detective Adrian Monk on USA’s Monk, which he also produced. If he wins, this could mark a very good year for the actor who took home the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his work in The Band’s Visit in June.
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Thompson earned his first ever acting nomination for his work on SNL after 15 years on the show. He previously earned a nom in 2017 for writing music and lyrics for the sketch show. Thompson is the longest-running cast member currently on the show.
Zazie Beetz, Atlanta, Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Beetz earned her first Emmy nomination for her work on Atlanta, helping to bring Atlanta to the top of the comedy pack with a total of 16 nods.
Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live, Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Bryant scored her first-ever acting nomination this year for her work on the sketch comedy alongside other first-ever acting nominee Kenan Thompson. Like Thompson, she was also previously nominated for writing music and lyrics for the sketch series in 2014. Bryant continued to develop a rich cadre of characters this year but received particular notice for her take on White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Betty Gilpin, GLOW, Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Gilpin also joins the first-timers club with her nomination for GLOW. She’s also the only member of the central GLOW cast to get a nod this year with the Academy snubbing both Alison Brie and Marc Maron.
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
This marks Borstein’s fourth Emmy nomination, but her first for an on-screen performance as all other noms have come for her work as a producer and voiceover artist on Family Guy. Indeed, she’s doubly nominated this year for her work on the Amazon series and her voice work as Lois Griffin (and more) on the Fox animated series.
Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live, Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Jones is one of three SNL actresses nominated in this category this year, and she was nominated last year in the same category. Jones has made a name for herself as an outspoken fan, reprising her gig as an Olympics correspondent and threatening to protest naked on the streets of NYC if Timeless wasn’t renewed (it wasn’t, but Jones has remained clothed thus far).