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Final season of 'Succession' tops Emmy nominations with 27 amid writers strike
LOS ANGELES (AP) — HBO dominated Wednesday morning's Emmy nominations, with the elite trio of "Succession," "The White Lotus" and "The Last of Us" combining for a whopping 74, but the dominant theme darkening the scene is the ongoing writers strike and the looming possibility that actors may join them in as little as a day.
"Succession" and its deeply dysfunctional dynasty of one-percenters led all Emmy nominees in its fourth and final season with 27, including best drama, which it has won two of the past three years. It got three nominations for best actor in a drama, with Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong and Kieran Culkin all getting nods for playing men of the Roy clan, and Sarah Snook getting a best actress nomination. It also got four nominations for best supporting actor in a drama.
The cursed vacationers at a Sicilian resort from the second season of "The White Lotus" truly dominated the supporting categories, however, landing five nominations for best supporting actress in a drama — including nods for Jennifer Coolidge and Aubrey Plaza — and four more for best supporting actor.
Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal, the duo on a fungus-filled quest in "The Last of Us," each got lead acting nominations. The show, based on a popular Playstation video game, was second behind "Succession" with 24 nominations. "The White Lotus" had 23.
"Ted Lasso" was tops among comedies with 21 nominations, including best comedy series and best actor for Jason Sudeikis. The Apple TV+ series won both awards for each of its first two seasons, but its threepeat prospects depend on whether Emmy voters favor other contenders like "The Bear" or "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."
The nominations suggested that HBO — which got the most overall nominations by far with 127 — can still dominate even as streaming-only outlets have taken over so much of elite TV. The distinction is increasingly blurred, however, with a huge segment of viewers watching "Succession" and the cable channel's other offerings on the streaming service now known as Max.
Cox, 77, got his best actor in a drama nod despite appearing in fewer than half of this season's "Succession" episodes, though as the Roy family patriarch he loomed just as large over the episodes he didn't appear in. A win would be his first for the role, though he won an Emmy for best supporting actor in a TV movie in 2001.
Strong won in 2020 for playing "eldest boy" Kendall Roy. Culkin got his first nomination for best actor after two previous nominations in the supporting category.
Actors joining movie and television writers on strike would further shut down the industry and be the first time since 1960 that two Hollywood unions were simultaneously striking. While show and film releases will continue, work on upcoming projects will cease — as would actors' interviews and appearances to promote the projects.
The possibility of an industry debilitated by strikes could dampen any joy for the new nominees, and could put the damper on the ceremony scheduled for Sept. 18 on the Fox network.
Sheryl Lee Ralph, who provided the emotional high point of last year's ceremony with her half-sung victory speech for her best supporting actor Emmy in "Abbott Elementary," said she is a "puddle of emotions" after getting nominated again amid the strife.
"Change is hard. Change is difficult. And in the midst of once again of a great moment in my life, I am surrounded by a difficult moment," Ralph told The Associated Press. "This is a fight for artistry, this is not a fight to make people rich."
The nominations were announced by "Community" star Yvette Nicole Brown and Television Academy CEO Frank Scherma, who referenced the labor disputes before at the top of Wednesday's livestream.
"We hope the ongoing guild negotiations can come to an equitable and swift resolution," Scherma said.
But the announcements, while low-key, proceeded as though a show will go on in the fall.
It was not a strong year for Emmy diversity, with the lead categories dominated by shows with largely white ensembles. Pascal, the first Latino nominated as lead actor in a drama in more than two decades, was the only minority nominee in any of the drama series categories.
Representation was stronger in the comedy categories, where Jenna Ortega of Netflix's "Wednesday" was nominated for best actress. The Black actors of ABC's "Abbott Elementary" were again a high point for Emmy diversity, and for the otherwise largely absent broadcast networks. Creator Quinta Brunson was nominated for best actress, while Ralph and Janelle James were nominated for best supporting actress, as was Ayo Edebiri for "The Bear."
That FX series showed some of the Emmys' quirks with its 13 nominations. It appeared in the comedy categories despite its half-hour episodes having more drama than some of the drama nominees. And the awards' eligibility calendar means it got the nominations for its first season, even after many viewers have seen – and largely loved – its second, bringing buzz that probably helped it.
Speaking of quirks, the genre-defying "Jury Duty" rode its cult status to four nominations for streamer Amazon Freevee. A faux reality show for most of its cast and a reality show for one man, it was nominated for best comedy series and best supporting actor in a comedy for James Marsden.
Netflix led streamers with 103 nominations, but its showing was meager in many of the top categories. "The Crown" received its nearly annual deference for best drama and, along with Ortega, Christina Applegate was nominated for best supporting actress in a comedy for the third and final season of Netflix's "Dead to Me." Applegate, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2021, has said the role may be her last.
Netflix fared better in the limited series category, where "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" and "Beef" managed 13 nominations apiece.
More than a year after his death, Ray Liotta was nominated for best supporting actor in a limited series or TV movie for "Black Bird" on Apple TV+.
The "Star Wars" galaxy made a surprisingly forceful showing for Disney+, with three television adaptations — "Andor," "The Mandalorian" and "Obi-Wan Kenobi" — earning a combined 22 nominations. "The Mandalorian" received the most recognition with nine nominations in craft categories like stunt performance and costumes, but the series based on Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi's exile years will compete for best limited series and "Andor" is among the drama series nominees.
The most famous "Star Wars" alum was among those snubbed, however, as Harrison Ford failed to get his first Emmy nomination. Some had expected his name to be called for his acting on the "Yellowstone" prequel "1923" or the Apple TV+ comedy "Shrinking."
AP National Writer Jocelyn Noveck contributed to this report.