Canada Gets Some Recognition in This Year’s Emmy Awards Nominations

The Emmy Awards nominations for 2023 were finally released last week, and while the extensive list certainly featured numerous shows deserving of the recognition, in what has been yet another great year of television as the 21st century golden, there was also some head-scratching snubs, unavoidable as they may be. However, a lot of love has been shown to Canadian talent this year, as well as shows that have been filmed in Canada, so allow me to take the time to highlight each of them.

First and foremost, The Last of Us, which was pretty much exclusively filmed in Alberta, tallied the second-most nominations of any show with 24, only behind Emmy darling Succession, which landed 27 nominations. While it was almost a foregone conclusion that Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey for Best Actor and Actress, the myriad of guests throughout the show were also deservingly recognized, such as Murray Bartlett, Keivonn Montreal Woodard, Anna Torv, Storm Reid, and Melanie Lynskey. Another two nominated actors of particular note is Toronto native Lamar Johnson, who we have likely not seen the last of as he has all the hallmarks of a rising star, and Nick Offerman, who was snubbed year after year for his performance as Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation, with the latter likely being the early favourite. Of course, the show also landed a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series, while the episode “Long, Long Time”, which many deemed the best of the season and arguably one of the greatest TV episodes of all time, received nominations for its writing and direction.

Another nominated American production that has been (partially) shot in Canada is one of the best psychological/supernatural thrillers on TV right now, Yellowjackets, whose time-jumping story structure sees one era of the show set in the Ontario wilderness, though somewhat ironically it was shot in and around Vancouver, with the rest of the show shot in California. Yellowjackets is up for Outstanding Drama Series, as well as a second nod for Melanie Lynskey, nominated in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category, which is particularly stacked this year.

While there are sadly no Canadian actresses nominated at this ceremony (more on that in a moment), there is still some notable actors from the Great North that have been recognized, with the inimitable Martin Short landing yet another nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his gut-busting performance in Only Murders in the Building. In addition to Short, the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series features two Canadians, with Oliver Platt earning a spot for his performance in the massively acclaimed FX show The Bear, while Luke Kirby lands yet another nomination for his performance as comic legend Lenny Bruce in The Marvelous Ms. Maisel, having previously won the award in 2019 for the same role.

The lone female Canadian recognized at this year’s awards is Deborah Chow, who was an executive producer as well as the lone director of the Star Wars spinoff show Obi-Wan Kenobi, which has been nominated for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series. Sadly, one of the biggest snubs of this year is Vancouver’s Sarah Goldberg for her consistently excellent work in Barry. Goldberg only landed a single nomination during the show’s run back in 2019, and it is an utter shame that her intense, visceral performance in the show’s final season didn’t get the recognition it deserved, especially considering that her co-stars Bill Hader, Henry Winkler, and Anthony Carrigan all landed nominations of their own.

And while we are on the topic of snubs, it remains utterly baffling how one of the best comedies on TV, What We Do in the Shadows, which is shot in Toronto, still has not earned a single nomination for its stellar acting (particularly Matt Berry as Lazlo), despite the fact that it earned a nomination for Outstanding Casting in a Comedy Series in 2020. While it continues to earn nominations for its more technical aspects of production (and deservedly so), the fact that this year the show has not been nominated for so much as its writing, not to mention its complete absence from the Outstanding Comedy Series category, is an utter travesty. This is especially egregious when considering that the likes of Jury Duty and Ted Lasso were nominated in both categories instead. Jury Duty is a very enjoyable watch but doesn’t hold a candle to the standards of What We Do in the Shadows, while Ted Lasso failed to maintain the creative momentum established in its first two seasons. But hey, if the insultingly disappointing final season of Game of Thrones can take home the coveted Outstanding Drama Series statue, then anything is possible.

The 75th Primetime Emmy Awards is scheduled for September 18th, while the Creative Arts Emmys section is planned for the 9th and 10th, though with the ongoing strikes by writers and actors, this may be subject to change.

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