In a Typically Weak Year for Nerdy Emmy Noms, NOCs Still Garner Big Wins

Two of this year’s big Emmy stories split the difference between our PoCness and our nerdiness. You’ve probably heard about the Game of Thrones’ record-breaking wins, and it helps that Viola Davis’ historic win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama is a NOC favorite due to her upcoming role in the DC Cinematic Universe.

While this season of Game of Thrones was not the most well liked, for various reasons, they made Emmy history this year. The show won 12 of its 24 nominations, beating out The West Wing for most wins for a TV show in one year (nine). It is also only the second genre show to take home the Outstanding Drama Series statue, the other being Lost back in 2005.

Aside from Outstanding Drama, Thrones won for Best Supporting Actor (can I get a hearty DINKLAAAGGGEE!), Outstanding Writing in a Drama for the season five finale, and Outstanding Direction in a Drama Series for David Nutter. Nutter is actually a SFF series directing staple: he got his start on the X-Files and directed the pilots for both The Flash and Arrow, as well as Smallville and Supernatural. It’s his second Emmy win after a joint Emmy won in 2002 for Band of Brothers.

In addition to Game of Thrones’ big wins, everyone now knows about Viola Davis’ historic win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama, an award never given to a black actress in 67 years of Emmy history.

Infographic by me.
Infographic by me.

In fact, Davis’ win — accompanied by wins for Regina King for her role on American Crime and Uzo Aduba for Orange is the New Black — is hopefully a tipping point for things in Hollywood to change.

In the meantime, Davis will punch her NOC card in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie as Amanda Waller. In addition to her incredible performances that have won her Oscar nominations — and now and Emmy win, we NOCs already knew she’d be a formidable Waller, just now with some gold under her belt. Much to the chagrin of some soap opera star, but whatever.


Besides these two notable nerdy nominations that got the gold, only a few other shows pinged our nerdy radar. But the Emmys have never really shown much love for the science fiction fantasy genre. As Rolling Stone put it:

Genre television has long been the unwanted bastard stepchild of the Primetime Emmy Awards. Not action, mystery or thriller, mind you… No, we’re talking about science fiction and fantasy, which conventional wisdom would have you believe are less-than-respectable genres in which aliens, vampires, robots and/or dragons supplant more “serious” issues that get explored in mainstream dramas.

Click through for more SFF shows that have gotten Emmy consideration in the past, but the list is a short one.

Obviously if Viola Davis hadn’t won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama, Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany has been overdue for an Emmy for years.

Her inclusion at last in a year with historic nominees in her category — plus the anti-SFF bias, plus her show being on BBC America — definitely stacked the odds against her. Personally, this was the weakest year for her to be nominated, with Orphan Black focusing more on the male clones and their supporting cast this year. Hopefully she will soon get the recognition she deserves.

As I’ve always said, the Emmys need a separate Science Fiction Fantasy category, so that we all get what we want and more SFF shows could also get the recognition they deserve.

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