Behind every lead TV actor and actress is a supporting player who makes them look good — and this morning, Emmy voters did a (mostly) excellent job honoring the men and women who truly did give the best supporting performances of the year.
The best news came in the comedy categories, so let’s start there. It wasn’t a surprise to see another nomination for HBO’s dark hitman comedy Barry, but I was emotionally prepared for the male-dominated cast to overshadow relative newcomer Sarah Goldberg, who plays Sally, Barry’s fiercely ambitious yet wildly conflicted aspiring actress girlfriend. Honestly, Goldberg deserved a nomination — and perhaps even the win — for Sally’s episode 7 monologue by the pool alone.
More good news on the Barry front: A nomination for professional scene-stealer Anthony Carrigan, who plays relentlessly polite Chechen mobster NoHo Hank. Not only did he (and the writers) manage to expand the breakout character’s role without overexposing him, Carrigan also showed us a deeper, more somber side to Hank’s usually sunny personality.
As expected, the near-perfect second season of Fleabag raked in nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series and Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for creator/star Phoebe Waller-Bridge. What a delight, though, to see voters highlight Sian Clifford’s wonderfully controlled, intensely felt performance as Fleabag’s uptight sister Claire. Naturally, Oscar winner and general U.K. national treasure Olivia Colman also earned a nod, for her gloriously passive-aggressive turn as Godmother. Please, folks, if you haven’t yet binged Fleabag, just watch this scene (below). It’ll tell you everything you need to know about what you’ve been missing.
In the drama and limited series categories, the Academy got (almost) everything right. Asante Blackk, the newcomer who is so incredibly heartbreaking in Netflix’s When They See Us, earned a nod for his role as the young Kevin Richardson. (Director Ava DuVernay discovered him at a school play in Baltimore!) The ladies of Game of Thrones got their due, as did Fiona Shaw — a highlight in the otherwise disappointing second season of Killing Eve. (Shaw also earned a guest actress nomination for her brief-but-hilarious turn as a counselor in Fleabag.)
But now we need to talk about a supporting snub. Perhaps the biggest snub of all the snubs and surprises this year.
How, in the name of all that’s holy, did voters fail to nominate Better Call Saul’s Rhea Seehorn? As my colleague Darren Franich wrote so eloquently last year, as Jimmy McGill’s girlfriend, moral compass, and occasional partner-in-crime, Seehorn is giving one of the most subtly compelling and nuanced performances on television, period. Seehorn’s most breathtaking moment this season was largely dialogue-free, as she listened to Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk, who was nominated) read a letter from his late brother Chuck McGill (Michael McKean, nominated in the guest actor category). While Jimmy has largely compartmentalized his complicated emotions about Chuck, Kim Wexler feels every last one of them. Watch, marvel, and mourn for an actress who deserved better than this latest snub.
Which supporting actor or actress were you most excited to see nominated? Post your thoughts below.