The 2019 Emmy Nominations Are Full Of Surprises

Nominations for the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards were announced on Tuesday, Jul. 16 and Netflix undoubtedly dominated the most surprising Emmy nominations of 2019. While it's consistently been delivering heavy hitters — remember, it was the first streaming platform to earn an Emmy nod with House of Cards way back in 2013 — it's also been difficult for the bulk of streaming shows to break into awards. Netflix, in particular, produces a massive volume of new shows every year, so it's hard for the Television Academy (and regular audiences, to be honest) to consume everything available. Plenty of diamonds in the rough exist throughout Netflix's reams and reams of content. But anything that isn't a runaway hit tends to get buried like Jon Snow in a pile of bodies during battle.

It's surprising, then, that some of Netflix's subtler shows made a mark on the Television Academy this season. The surprise isn't that they're represented at the Emmys, of course. Fans of these shows know they're great! Rather, the surprise is that the Television Academy actually noticed them in the current crushing onslaught of excellent TV. Here's a non-exhaustive list of some of the impressive upsets this year, from Netflix and beyond.

Russian Doll


Russian Doll birthed both the consummately efficient birthday text ("Sweet birthday baby!") and two Emmy nominations this year. The show is nominated for a whopping 13 awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in Comedy Series. Co-creator Leslye Headland posted an overwhelmed Notes app tweet in response, writing, in part, "Up next: existential crises!"

Schitt's Creek

Schitt's Creek has been on the air since 2015, but this year, the heartfelt (and criminally underrated) comedy finally broke through at the Emmys. The show essentially launched a grassroots consideration campaign on social media after announcing that it couldn't afford the traditional methods — and it worked! This is the first nom for Pop TV, the show's US home, as a network.


World Productions/Netflix

Richard Madden, better known as slain Stark son Rob, won a Golden Globe earlier this year for his work on Netflix's British political drama Bodyguard. Sadly, he got snubbed at the Emmys this year, but Bodyguard did earn "BBC's first Best Drama Series Emmy nomination in nearly 50 years," as one Deadline headline put it. It's also nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.


Pose made a huge splash last summer as an industry leader in trans employment, both on camera and behind the scenes. Fans were furious when the groundbreaking drag ball culture drama was almost entirely shut out from the 2018 awards cycle. (Although Season 1 wasn't eligible for Emmys last year, Pose was eligible and got snubbed at the SAG Awards and the NAACP Image Awards.) Needless to say, the Television Academy stepped up. Pose has been nominated for Best Drama, while Billy Porter gets a Best Actor nod for his role as Pose's resident MC Pray Tell. The series has also been recognized for Outstanding Casting and Outstanding Period Costumes.


Chernobyl was something of a sleeper hit this summer, and while gorgeously well-made with the heft of HBO behind its Emmy consideration campaign, it's both a relief and a surprise to see Chernobyl snag a whopping 19 nominations. Jared Harris, who's probably most recognized for his role as Lane Pryce on Mad Men, is excellent as Soviet nuclear physicist Valery Legasov. He earns a nom for Best Actor in a Limited Series. Chernobyl is also nominated for Best Limited Series, Limited Series Writing, Directing, Casting, Cinematography, Period Costumes, and Production Design. Stellan Skarsgård and Emily Watson each pick up a Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series nom for their work on the show, too.

Black Monday

Erin Simkin/SHOWTIME

Black Monday often plays second fiddle to Showtime's other Wall Street juggernaut Billions. But its star Don Cheadle managed to bag a nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy this year.

Dead to Me

Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Dead To Me, another subtle but critically acclaimed Netflix series, managed to eke out a Best Comedy Actress nomination for its star Christina Applegate. Sadly, she's virtually guaranteed to lose to Julia Louis-Dreyfus, up for her last ever turn as Selina Meyer on VEEP, who has never lost in the category with this role.


Amazon Prime

Fleabag was majorly underrated when its first season dropped on Amazon Prime back in 2016. But, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge's massive Killing Eve success came a Fleabag followup season that finally earned its due at the Emmys. The show is nominated for Best Comedy, Best Comedy Actress, Best Comedy Supporting Actress (twice!), Best Comedy Guest Actress (twice again!), and Best Comedy Directing, Casting, and Cinematography.

The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards are scheduled to air Sept. 22 on Fox.