This year's roster of nominees for television's top award was announced on Tuesday

By Jodi Guglielmi
July 28, 2020 01:16 PM
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Hugh Jackman, Billy Porter, Cate Blanchett
Lisa Lake/Getty; Frazer Harrison/Getty;

The 2020 Emmy Awards nominees are basking in the glow of recognition.

The nominations for the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards were announced on Tuesday, officially kicking off this year’s awards season. And the celebrities lucky enough to earn a nod were more than ready to celebrate their accomplishments.

"It is a tremendous honor to have our show and third season recognized by The Television Academy alongside such great series and storytellers. Working alongside the brilliant Duffer Brothers continues to be one of the great honors and joys of my career, and our cast and crew is deeply grateful for this acknowledgement," Shawn Levy, director and executive producer of Stranger Things said in a statement after the series received a nomination for outstanding drama series.

Billy Porter, who was nominated for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for Pose, expressed his excitement on Twitter writing "#Grateful."

Jason Hehir, director of The Last Dance, which revolves around NBA legend Michael Jordan's career with the Chicago Bulls, said he is "so proud of our entire team" following the series three Emmy nominations.

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"I'm so proud of our entire team, who worked tirelessly for years to make The Last Dance what it was. I am beyond grateful for their expertise, their dedication and their perseverance amidst unprecedented circumstances as we finished the show in the early stages of this pandemic," Hehir said.

"The Last Dance was about more than just Michael Jordan. It was about a team of people coming together to make sacrifices and achieve greatness in the face of relentless obstacles. It’s a great example for all of us in such challenging times. As an NBA fanatic growing up, it was an honor to sit down with such a wide array of fascinating characters. Their honesty and candor is what made this more than just a sports story, and we’re forever thankful for their time and their openness. Thanks so much to the Television Academy for recognizing this project, and thanks again to everyone who worked so hard to make it a reality."

Michael Jordan in The Last Dance
Courtesy ESPN/Netflix

The Last Dance has been nominated for outstanding picture editing for a nonfiction program, outstanding documentary or nonfiction series and outstanding directing for a documentary/nonfiction program.

Hugh Jackman, who has been nominated for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or TV movie for Bad Education, is also thrilled.

"I'm humbled by the nominations for both me and the film and excited to be named with such a talented group of actors. My immense appreciation goes out to all those who believed in Bad Education — especially the hardworking team at HBO," Jackman said.

"My sincerest thanks to the Television Academy for recognizing Mrs. America, a series and story that is not only meaningful to me but deeply resonant to the times in which we live — times we hoped to illuminate by examining our past," said Cate Blanchett of her nomination for outstanding lead actress in a limited series for Mrs. America, which she starred in and executive produced.

Fellow Mrs. America executive producer Stacey Sher also expressed her gratitude saying: "I am so grateful to the Television Academy for recognizing Mrs. America."

"Our team has been blessed to have the support and partnership of John Landgraf and Gina Balian at FX – the best team in television – who understood that the intersectional feminist dream of representation that the ERA demands, is as vital today as it was in the 70’s. I am lucky to be in the company of incredible producing partners like Cate Blanchett, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Coco Francini and Dahvi Waller as well as our extraordinary cast, directors and creative technicians, who all worked tirelessly to turn our dream into a reality," Sher added.

Stranger Things
Netflix

Amit Rahav shared a sweet video of himself and Shira Haas reacting to Unorthodox receiving eights nominations.

In the clip, Rahav and Haas sat in bed with their hands over their faces as they listened to the nominees being announced. At one point, the two grew excited when Unbelievable was announced, thinking it was Unorthodox. However, just a moment later Unorthodox was called.

The two jumped up and down in excitement before hugging each other repeatedly.

"#Unorthodox just got 8 nominations for the Emmys including Best limited series! So proud of all of the people who took part in this amazing project. Couldn't be happier!!!!!!!" Rahav wrote alongside the video.

Haas and Rahav played husband and wife Esther and Yakov Shapiro, whose marriage falls apart after Esther flees their Hasidic Jewish community in New York to find freedom and her mother abroad.

"I'm grateful for the continued love for all corners of our Maisel family," Rachel Brosnahan, who received a nod for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, said.

"I wish so much that we could be together to celebrate today but this (and some zoom cocktails) will certainly hold us over until we can get the band back together. The company we get to keep across these categories is insane. Thank you to the TV Academy!" Brosnahan said.

Daniel and Eugene Levy, the co-creators and stars of Schitt's Creek also reacted to show's many nods.

"This morning has been the most incredible surprise. We are overwhelmed and filled with gratitude for this recognition. Unfathomably proud of our little show," the father-and-son duo said.

Schitt's Creek was nominated for outstanding comedy series. Eugene was nominated for best lead actor and Daniel was nominated for outstanding supporting actor. Annie Murphy received a nod for outstanding supporting actress and Catherine O'Hara has been nominated for outstanding lead actress.

Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara in Schitt's Creek
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Helena Bonham Carter said she is "thrilled" following her nod for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series for her role as Princess Margaret in The Crown.

"I am thrilled to receive an Emmy nomination. Margaret was a gift of a part and was a dream job. This is icing on the most full fat delicious cake I've ever eaten. Also given these past few months I have become ever more grateful to my television. It has been my window to the world," Carter said.

"And I’m so thankful to the parts that television are now offering to women. We all know middle age is when we get interesting, and it’s so great that stories are being made where we are invited to lead rather than retire to being the mother or grandmother in the background .... women of all ages and colour have never had it better. Thank you Telly!" Carter added.

Tituss Burgess, who is up for outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend, said this nod "strikes differently."

"It's been a rough year for all of us. This honor is about more than acknowledgement. It's about motivation to be my most authentic self so I can create authentic work. This news has lifted me in ways I did not anticipate! Much love and gratitude to the Academy and my Kimmy family," Burgess added.

Helena Bonham Carter, Princess Margaret
Rex/Shutterstock; Netlix

Octavia Spencer's nod for Self Made: Inspired By the Life of Madam C.J. Walker is her first individual Emmy nomination.

"I am humbled and grateful to the Television Academy for this incredible honor and for recognizing the importance of this story.  Today, more than ever, we all have a responsibility to enlighten, educate and entertain an audience and it was a privilege for me personally to portray Madam C.J. Walker, someone who resonated so deeply with me on every level. Thank you to Netflix, Springhill, Warner Bros. Television and Wonder Street Entertainment for being such great partners on this passion project," Spencer said.

Zendaya Coleman, who received her first-ever Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for Euphoria, said she is "speechless."

"I'm honestly speechless, my heart is just overflowing with love and gratitude. I'm so incredibly honored to work beside the talented people that I get to call family. I am a small piece of a big beautiful puzzle and I'm so proud of all of you. Thank you to everyone out there — who's watched and given our show life, thank you @samlev00 @hbo @a25 for everything and @televisionacad for this beautiful acknowledgement, thank you, thank you, thank you. We out here Emmy nominated y'all!" Coleman added.

"Thank you so much to the Television Academy for the overwhelming recognition of WATCHMEN. It has been such a gift to partner with this incredible cast and crew, especially the extraordinary Damon Lindelof, to bring to screen this wild and wildly important story. And thank you to HBO for their unwavering support and belief in this show. I’m so proud that WATCHMEN has lived up to the words that Frank Scherma expressed today  — our duty as filmmakers is to use this medium to make change. This show has truly been one of the greatest experiences of my life, allowing us all to soar creatively and grow in ways no words can describe. Regina, Jeremy, Lou, Jean, Yahya, Jovan, and the rest of our amazing cast - BRAVO - your performances are extraordinary. I’m simply gobsmacked by the roar of these accolades. Thank you!" Nicole Kassell, director and executive producer of Watchmen said.

Bette Midler, who has been nominated for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for The Politician was surprised by her nod.

"What a wonderful surprise! I had a great time on this episode, and this nomination is the icing on what was already a delicious cake. Thank you, Academy, too, for nominating me in a category with some of the greatest comedians alive. What company!" Midler said.

"During these very uncertain times it is moving to be reminded of the impact of telling stories about such brave and fearless women. And to be in the company of such talented women is a great honor. Thank you to Hulu, MGM and the cast and crew," Samira Wiley, who received a nomination for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series for The Handmaid's Tale.

Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in Dead to Me
Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Linda Cardellini also spoke out after receiving a nomination for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for Dead to Me.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be nominated this morning with all of these incredible women whom I admire so much. Especially my dear friend and partner in crime Christina Applegate. You’re my person. I feel so fortunate to collaborate everyday with all of the incredible women who run this show. Liz Feldman, thank you for your genius and for giving life to ‘Jen and Judy.’  What a wild ride. This show is truly a team effort and I am so grateful to everyone involved. Especially our hardworking cast and crew. This is a celebration of everyone’s work today. Love and congrats to all," Cardellini said.

“If a role is a blue print for what we do, I have to say it’s Ellen Kincaid who possessed the big goodwill for all, the big heart and the Moxie, as Ryan Murphy would put it, to capture the special feeling that would earn this nomination. So I’m grateful SHE is who I got to play. In this once in a century moment, goodwill is our real wealth. And in this year's bountiful crop of great performances, it’s a real feather in my cap to be included in this notice from the Academy, who have often been good to me. Hollywood’s designers, writers, directors and my fellow actors were all in an excited top gear this season and it shows. Certainly a glowing highlight of my career that came as a gift," Holland Taylor said of her outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie nomination for Hollywood.

Kerry Washington expressed extreme gratitude after American Son, which she starred in and executive produced, was nominated for outstanding television movie. Washington was also nominated for outstanding lead actress in a limited series for her role in Little Fires Everywhere.

Kerry Washington in American Son
David Lee/Netflix

“To be recognized in this way this morning is such an honor – but to be able to share it with my partner Pilar Savone and our Simpson Street family makes it even more meaningful. The experiences we’ve been able to have this year were beyond our wildest dreams: working with the legendary Norman Lear and Jimmy Kimmel to bring iconic shows from the 70s to new audiences with Live In Front of a Studio Audience, to adapting American Son, a Broadway play about Black lives and police violence to Netflix, to bringing Celeste Ng’s beautiful novel Little Fires Everywhere to life with my incredible friends Reese Witherspoon, Lauren Neustadter and Liz Tigelar. But the tears came this morning when I heard about Lynn Shelton’s nomination for Little Fires Everywhere. I’m so incredibly grateful that the Television Academy has chosen to honor Lynn with this very deserved nomination. I know she’s celebrating in the beyond," Washington said.

Hillary Clinton also thanked the Television Academy after the Hulu docuseries Hillary, which was directed by Nanette Burstein was nominated for outstanding documentary or nonfiction series.

“When I was first approached about participating in a documentary on my life, I didn’t know what to expect. I don’t particularly like to talk about myself, let alone for 35 hours! This was a real leap of faith, but I put my trust in Nanette Burstein and her desire to tell a story bigger than my own. What she managed to unlock was masterful, detailing fifty years of the women’s movement in America through my experiences, and conversely, putting my own journey in a larger cultural and political context. A huge heartfelt thank you to the Television Academy, to Nanette & her team, to Hulu, Propagate, and all those involved with this documentary. And most importantly, thank you to all those who watched it. I hope that this story reminds us that progress is possible, and that television remains an incredibly powerful medium for telling complex stories," Clinton said.

“Secretary Hillary Clinton is one of the most significant public figures in recent American history, and we had the privilege of working with the brilliant, thoughtful Nanette Burstein to tell her story. We had no idea what to expect when we began filming. What we got was a funny, complicated, candid, personal perspective into “…the most investigated innocent person in America”. Nothing was off limits – what you see is what you get. Thank you to the Television Academy for our nomination!" executive producers Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens said.

Laverne Cox, Josh Gad and Leslie Jones presented the nominees on Tuesday during a live, virtual event.While the awards show is set for Sept. 20, it is still unclear what the ceremony will look like due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But while details of the show are still to be determined, last month, Jimmy Kimmel was announced as the host. "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," he said.

This will mark Kimmel's third go as emcee.

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