Emmys 2023: Biggest surprises from Rihanna noms to ‘Atlanta’ snub

Donald Glover's critical hit and "Saturday Night Live" performances were shut out while Rihanna and Jay-Z earned nods for the "We Found Love" singer's Super Bowl Halftime Show.

It’s officially Emmys season! As theGrio previously reported, the television academy announced nominations for the 75th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on July 12, recognizing some of the best work in television from the past year.

Some favorites like “Abbott Elementary,” “Succession,” and “The Last of Us” predictably collected quite a few nominations, but this year’s nominees were far from par for the course for the television academy. There were some significant surprises, and sizable snubs this year as well, and theGrio’s got you covered with what we think the biggest nominations were and who we think deserves a shot for those coveted awards.

FOX Broadcasting Company, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX And National Geographic 69th Primetime Emmy Awards After Party - Inside
Donald Glover attends FOX Broadcasting Company, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX And National Geographic 69th Primetime Emmy Awards After Party at Vibiana on Sept. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Despite wins from previous seasons, “Atlanta,” Donald Glover’s critically acclaimed FX series, was not on the nominations list. As theGrio previously reported, “Atlanta” took its final bow last fall, airing its fourth and final season on FX to glowing reviews. Described as “transformative” and “masterful storytelling” over the years made the absence of the final season of “Atlanta” all the more shocking.

Another appalling snub is toward our fictional Philly public school teachers. Despite five nominations for “Abbott Elementary” in acting categories, the series did not receive a single nomination in the comedy writing category, even after show creator Quinta Brunson took home the prize just last year.

In other comedy categories, notable “Saturday Night Live” members were not seen on the nominations list, including Kenan Thompson, who has nominations and won Emmys in the past, and Ego Nwodim, who had a stand-out year on the sketch comedy series with various viral moments, specifically her “Lisa from Temecula” sketch.

Despite the snubs, there were still plenty of surprises and nominations to celebrate.

Variety reported that Black women set an acting record with nominations this year. Four Black women, Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Abbott Elementary,”) Janelle James (“Abbott Elementary,”) Ayo Edebiri (“The Bear”), and Jessica Williams (“Shrinking”) were nominated for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, setting an official record.

Dominique Fishback’s exciting nomination for her work in “Swarm” also makes history this year. At 32 years old, Fishback is now the youngest Black woman to earn a Lead Actress in a Limited Series nomination. Nicole Byer, “Nailed It” host and “Grand Crew” star, also deserves congratulations. Byer is now the most-nominated Black woman for Outstanding Host, nominated four times so far. Karamo Brown (“Queer Eye”), Maya Rudolph (“Baking It”), and RuPaul (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”) also earned nominees for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program.

In the Outstanding Host for a Game Show category, Keke Palmer landed a nod for her work on “Password,” earning her second-ever Emmy nomination. Steve Harvey also has a nomination in the category for “Family Feud.”

SCAD TVFEST 2023 – Day 2 Panels & Screenings
Nicole Byer attends Entertainment Weekly Presents Bold School during SCAD TVFEST 2023 on Feb. 10, 2023, in Atlanta. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for SCAD)

Keivonn Montreal Woodard makes history with a nomination for his work on “The Last of Us.” The 10-year-old is now the second deaf actor ever nominated for an acting Emmy, per Variety. Storm Reid also picked up a nomination for her work on the post-apocalyptic HBO drama, receiving recognition in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

Some of music’s biggest stars also nabbed some nominations, including Rihanna and Jay-Z. The “Rude Boy” singer’s Super Bowl Halftime Show nabbed a whopping five nominations this year, earning her first Emmy nods ever. Jay-Z is also nominated for producing the halftime show under the Outstanding Variety Special (Live) category.

Check out the full list of nominees here.

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