Emmy nominations: Leading contender ‘Succession’ competes with trailblazer ‘Squid Game’
Netflix drama from South Korea is the first non-English language series to vie for television’s top honor.
LOS ANGELES — “Succession” received a leading 25 Emmy nominations Tuesday, but the satirical drama about the rich and ruthless has a landmark rival in “Squid Game,” the first non-English language series to vie for television’s top honor.
“Squid Game,” a South Korea-set drama in which the poor are fodder for brutal games, earned a best drama nomination and 13 other bids for September’s Emmy Awards. “Succession” captured the best drama trophy and eight other awards when it last vied for Emmys, in 2020.
“Ted Lasso” was the top comedy series nominee with 20 bids and has the chance to earn its second consecutive best comedy trophy, as academy voters proved undeterred by its sophomore season turn to the emotional dark side.
Other top nominees included the tropical resort-set anthology dramedy “The White Lotus,” which also received 20 nominations; the comedies “Hacks” and “Only Murders in the Building” with 17 bids each, and teenage dysfunction drama “Euphoria.” Its 25-year-old star, Zendaya, was crowned best actress in 2020 and on Tuesday became the youngest person ever nominated twice for acting.
Departing series that might have expected salutes were instead snubbed, including the beloved family drama “This Is Us,” which received one bid, for original music and lyrics. An equally beloved family comedy, “black-ish,” earned only costume and hairstyling nominations. “Ozark,” which wrapped its run last season, fared better, with 13 bids including best drama series.
The final season for “Insecure” earned a lead comedy actress bid for its creator-star Issa Rae, while the return of “Atlanta” brought its creator and lead Donald Glover a shot at a best actor trophy to bookend his 2017 award.
The crowd-pleasing and acclaimed “Abbott Elementary” made a splashy debut in its first year, earning seven nominations including a best comedy nod and a lead acting bid for its creator, Quinta Brunson. The recognition for the ABC show was a rare bright spot for broadcast networks, which were otherwise shut out of the comedy and drama series races.
The other nominees for best comedy series are “Barry”; “Curb Your Enthusiasm”; “Hacks”; “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; “Only Murders in the Building”; “Ted Lasso” and “What We Do in the Shadows.”
Best drama series nominees include “Better Call Saul”; “Euphoria”; “Severance”; “Stranger Things” and “Yellowjackets.”
The modern vampire comedy “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Yellowjackets,” a combined thriller and coming-of-age saga that’s created major buzz, showed Emmy voters have both a sense of humor and adventure. Controversy apparently left them unfazed: “Dave Chappelle: The Closer,” which drew criticism for its transgender mockery, picked up a pre-recorded variety special nomination.
“Only Murders in the Building,” a cheery crime romp headed by the charmingly unlikely trio of Selena Gomez, Steve Martin and Martin Short, earned best comedy actor bids for its veteran stars but left Gomez off the list.
Netflix’s global sensation “Squid Game” followed in the footsteps of 2020 Oscar darling “Parasite,” also made in South Korea. But “Pachinko,” a sweeping and much-lauded South Korean family drama, failed to garner any Emmy nods.
Emmy rules allow for a non-English language show with a U.S. production partner to compete, but it took the rise of streaming services to make it happen. The Emmys were once dominated by broadcast and later cable shows made primarily for North America, but streamers target that market and a wide swath of others — and are finding that shows made in Asia, Europe and elsewhere can carry worldwide.
“Squid Game” boosted rare Asian representation with five acting nominations, including a lead actor bid for Lee Jung-jae and supporting actress nod for Jung Ho-yeon. The show already had proved a groundbreaker at this year’s Screen Actors Guild, where Lee and Jung received the first guild acting trophies for a non-English language show.
The longstanding lack of shows with any dialogue other than English is demonstrated by NBC’s 1980 miniseries “Shōgun,” based on the James Clavell novel about early 17th-century Japan. The bilingual production by a U.S. studio was a pioneer but not a trend-setter when it won the best limited series Emmy and acting nods.
The other nominees for best comedy series actress are Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Kaley Cuoco, “The Flight Attendant”; Elle Fanning, “The Great”; Issa Rae, “Insecure” and Jean Smart, “Hacks.”
Other nominees for actor in a comedy series include: Bill Hader, “Barry”; Nicholas Holt, “The Great”; Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”; Steve Martin, “Only Murders in the Building”; Martin Short, “Only Murders in the Building.”
The nominees for drama series actor are: Jason Bateman, “Ozark”; Brian Cox, “Succession”; Lee Jung-jae, “Squid Game”; Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”; Adam Scott, “Severance” and Jeremy Strong, “Succession.”
The best drama series actress nominees are: Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”; Laura Linney, “Ozark”; Melanie Lynskey, “Yellowjackets”; Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”; Reese Witherspoon, “The Morning Show” and Zendaya, “Euphoria.”
The limited series nominees are: “Dopesick”; “The Dropout”; “Inventing Anna”; “The White Lotus”; “Pam & Tommy.”
The nominees for variety talk series are: “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”; “Jimmy Kimmel Live”; “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”; “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
Television Academy President Frank Scherma kicked off the nomination announcement by saying that a record number of shows had been submitted, which reflects that series production was an all-time high after being drastically reduced during the pandemic.
The Emmy ceremony is set for Sept. 12 and will air on NBC, with a host yet to be announced.