Emmy Nominations Snubs and Surprises, from Brad Pitt's SNL Nod to Reese Witherspoon's Shut-Out

The Television Academy finally showed some love to two often overlooked actors in their final seasons: The Good Place's D'Arcy Darden and Schitt's Creek's Annie Murphy

Each year, the announcement of the Emmy Awards nominations brings plenty of joy — and no small amount of disappointment.

The 2020 nominees were presented live on Tuesday by Laverne Cox, Tatiana Maslany, Josh Gad and Leslie Jones during a virtual event streamed on the Television Academy's website. And, in accordance with tradition, they were peppered with delightful surprises, as well as inevitable exclusions.

The announcement comes two months before the Emmy Awards themselves are scheduled to air on Sep. 20, though it's unclear what the virtual ceremony will look like in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Thus far, Jimmy Kimmel was announced as host and executive producer in June, noting at the time, "I don't know where we will do this or how we will do this or even why we are doing this, but we are doing it and I am hosting it."

<a href="https://people.com/tag/brad-pitt/" data-inlink="true">Brad Pitt</a> and Reese Witherspoon
Brad Pitt and Reese Witherspoon. Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Frazer Harrison/Getty

Keep reading for a list of snubs and surprises.


A few buzzy new series and stars failed to make their mark. Hulu's sexy drama Normal People apparently wasn't steamy enough for an outstanding drama series nod, although star Paul Mescal earned an individual nomination (his first!) for his role as pensive Irish hunk Connell Waldron. Leading lady Daisy Edgar-Jones also came up empty.

Normal People Connell (Paul Mescal)
Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones in Normal People. Enda Bowe/Hulu

Netflix's Unbelievable, inspired by a true story, was nominated for outstanding limited series, and Toni Collette picked up a nod for supporting actress in a drama series, but the other half of the crime-fighting duo, Merritt Weaver, was left off the list. So was breakout star Kaitlyn Dever, who played a rape survivor charged with lying about her attack.

AppleTV+'s A-list-heavy The Morning Show was snubbed for outstanding drama series, despite Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carell, Mark Duplass and Billy Crudup's actor nominations. (Martin Short also picked up a nom for guest actor.) Star and executive producer Reese Witherspoon was triply snubbed for her work in The Morning Show as well as in Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere and season 2 of HBO's Big Little Lies. BLL was also snubbed as a series, though Meryl Streep and Laura Dern were recognized for their acting.

Netflix's charming coming-of-age comedy Never Have I Ever was shut out completely. While Billy Porter was honored for outstanding lead actor in a drama series again after his history-making win last year, Pose didn't receive a series nod.

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Maitreyi Ramakrishnan of "Never Have I Ever". Daniel Prakopcyk/Contour by Getty Images for Netflix

Longtime Emmy darlings were also snubbed, including Better Call Saul's Bob Odenkirk and The Handmaid's Tale's Elisabeth Moss in acting categories and the final seasons of Mr. Robot (plus past winner Rami Malek) and Modern Family for outstanding comedy. (The late Fred Willard was posthumously nominated for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series after playing Frank Dunphy on the ABC juggernaut.)


Movie star Brad Pitt earned his second-ever Emmy nomination for parodying Dr. Anthony Fauci on Saturday Night Live. He won the same category, outstanding guest actor in a comedy series, in 2002 for playing then-wife Aniston's high-school foe on Friends.

The Television Academy finally showed some love to two often overlooked actors in their final seasons: The Good Place's D'Arcy Darden and Schitt's Creek's Annie Murphy. The endlessly talented Zendaya was a welcome surprise in the outstanding lead actress in a drama category for her work as a teen drug addict on HBO's brash Euphoria. Ditto for Broadway veteran Jeremy Pope, nominated for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie after playing a barrier-busting screenwriter in Netflix's Hollywood. Shira Haas' nomination for her role in Netflix's Unorthodox, as well as the limited series' nod, made for another happy surprise. And Issa Rae's Insecure earned its first-ever Emmy nomination for outstanding comedy series.

Storm Reid & Zendaya
Storm Reid and Zendaya in Euphoria. HBO
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Jeremy Pope and Darren Criss in Hollywood. Netflix

FX's wacky vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows got some mainstream respect as an outstanding comedy series nominee and picked up eight total nominations. Finally, Disney+'s Star Wars-set The Mandalorian picked up a whopping 15 nods.

The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards will air live Sep. 20 on ABC.

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