A guide to the 2021 Emmy nominees

Gear up for the 2021 Emmy Awards on Sept. 19 by getting to know some of this year’s nominees a little better. Wonderwall.com rounded up everything you need to know about the latest batch of Emmy hopefuls in all the major acting categories, starting with Jason Sudeikis… The “Saturday Night Live” alum is up for three trophies for his work as an actor, writer and executive producer on the Apple TV+ comedy “Ted Lasso”: outstanding lead actor in a comedy series, outstanding writing for a comedy series (for two different episodes) and outstanding comedy series. Despite his extended tenure on beloved NBC sketch show “SNL,” Jason has never been — until now — nominated at the Emmys. With a Golden Globe and a SAG Award already on his mantle this year, all eyes are on the funnyman to see if he can bring home Emmy gold.

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Kate Winslet received the third and fourth Emmy nominations of her career for starring in and executive producing the HBO limited series “Mare of Easttown.” The Oscar-winning star is up for outstanding actress in a limited series or TV movie and outstanding limited or anthology series. The British actress received her first nomination in 2006 for a guest spot on the comedy “Extras” and took her first trophy home in 2011 for her lead turn on the HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce.” It was only a matter of time before she made a television return, and the role of troubled police detective Marianne “Mare” Sheehan proved to be the perfect choice.

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Tracee Ellis Ross is nominated for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series, marking her fifth nod in the category for her work on the long-running ABC comedy “Black-ish.” Her performance as Dr. Rainbow Johnson has received acclaim since the series premiere in 2014, nabbing her a Golden Globe Award in 2017, and this may be her year to win Emmy gold ahead of the show’s eighth and final season.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda has been nominated for six Primetime Emmys throughout his career — and one Daytime Emmy — with two arriving this year: outstanding lead actor in a limited or anthology series or movie and outstanding pre-recorded variety special. He’s being honored for the project that first brought him global acclaim: the Broadway hit “Hamilton.” Disney+ aired a recording of the popular musical that won over viewers and critics alike. Lin-Manuel first won an Emmy in 2014 for outstanding original music and lyrics for the song “Bigger!” from the 67th Tony Awards, but now we’ll see if he can garner a trophy for his best known work.

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Michael Douglas is up for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for the third consecutive year for his work on the Netflix comedy “The Kominsky Method.” He’s been nominated for every season of the series and this marks the final set of episodes for the acclaimed program. The legendary actor has received nine Emmy nominations throughout his career, dating back to acknowledgement for his breakthrough supporting role on the ’70s crime drama “The Streets of San Francisco.” His only Emmy win so far came in 2013 for his portrayal of famous pianist Liberace in the HBO film “Behind the Candelabra.”

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Sterling K. Brown has become a signature piece of the Emmys since receiving his first nomination — and win —in 2016 for his portrayal of Christopher Darden on the FX limited series “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.” He’s received a nomination every year since, including two for the 2021 ceremony: outstanding lead actor in a drama series for “This Is Us” and outstanding narrator for “Lincoln: Divided We Stand.” This is his fifth consecutive nomination for “This Is Us,” on which he’s played Randall Pearson since the show premiered in 2016. He won in the lead actor category for the tearjerker’s first season in 2017.

With a Golden Globe and a SAG Award already on her mantle this year, it came as no surprise when Anya Taylor-Joy scored her first Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie for her work on “The Queen’s Gambit.” The hit Netflix drama about fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon became the streaming platform’s most watched scripted miniseries when it was released in 2020, and the rising star received rave reviews for her performance as the complicated player, who risks her success with a growing addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Anthony Anderson is up for two awards for his work as a star and executive producer of the long-running ABC comedy “Black-ish”: outstanding lead actor in a comedy series and outstanding comedy series. The star’s racked up 11 career nominations so far, having been recognized in the acting category every year since the show began in 2014. He’s previously said that he’s starting to feel like the “male Susan Lucci” with all of his nominations — and no wins. With “Black-ish” gearing up for its eighth and final season, this could be Anthony’s year.

Allison Janney is an Emmys veteran at this point, with 15 nominations under her belt and seven wins. Now she’s up for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for the third time for her performance as recovering addict Bonnie Plunkett on the CBS sitcom “Mom.” Allison won two trophies as a supporting actress on the show before being upgraded in 2017. Her first nomination — and win — came for the hit drama “The West Wing” in 2000; she earned another three for her performance in the years that followed.

Making history at this year’s Emmys is “Pose” star Mj Rodriguez, who’s the first transgender woman to earn a nomination in a major acting category. She’s up for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her performance as Blanca on the groundbreaking FX drama’s third and final season, which finished its run earlier this year. “Pose” featured the largest cast of transgender actors as series regulars in a scripted series and now Mj has received acknowledgement for her acclaimed work as the lead of the winning ensemble.

Hugh Grant began his acting career more than three decades ago but only received his second Emmy Award nomination this year in the outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie category for his work on the HBO limited series “The Undoing.” He stars as Jonathan Fraser, an oncologist who’s accused of murder. The dark turn is a major departure for the British star, who’s still best known for his romantic-comedy roles. He scored his first Emmy nomination for his performance on the 2019 limited series “A Very English Scandal” but has yet to win an Emmy.

Kaley Cuoco’s 12-season run as Penny on “The Big Bang Theory” made her a household name, but she never got an Emmy nod for her work on the hit sitcom. She received her very first Emmy nominations this year for her work on “The Flight Attendant.” The actress starred in and executive produced the HBO Max comedy about a flight attendant trying to solve a murder for which she’s being framed. Now she’s up for both outstanding lead actress in a comedy series and outstanding comedy series.

Uzo Aduba is nominated for her fifth Emmy this year as one of the five names in the outstanding lead actress in a drama series category. The three-time Emmy winner made a splash as therapist Dr. Brooke Taylor on the fourth season of HBO’s “In Treatment” when it aired earlier this year, marking a massive departure from her breakthrough role on Netflix’s “Orange Is The New Black.” Uzo’s performance as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren previously won her Emmy trophies in 2014 and 2015.

Elizabeth Olsen helped bring “The Avengers” to the small screen: She starred as Wanda Maximoff — aka Scarlet Witch — on the well-received Disney+ limited series “WandaVision.” Now the actress is up for her first Emmy nomination for her work on the superhero show after garnering a nod in the outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie category. Critics fell for her performance as the beloved telekinetic character, helping to prove the Marvel Cinematic Universe is worthy of awards consideration.

One of the year’s biggest breakout stars is “Bridgerton” season 1 lead Regé-Jean Page, who sent hearts aflutter as Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings. The period drama became Netflix’s most watched series and turned its lead heartthrob into a household name seemingly overnight. He’s already confirmed that he won’t be returning to the hit show, having already booked a number of film roles — and with rumors continuing to circulate that he’s being considered to play James Bond — so this will be the Television Academy’s only opportunity to award him for his work.

All eyes were on Emma Corrin when they were chosen to play the late Princess Diana on season 4 of Netflix’s “The Crown” — and the Brit, who in 2021 revealed a preference for she/they pronouns, lived up to the high expectations. Emma’s already won a Golden Globe and SAG Award for their performance and is now up for outstanding lead actress in a drama series. This marks the Emmy debut of the English star and with Elizabeth Debicki taking on the role of Di after a time jump to season 5, it’s Emma’s one chance to strike gold for the show, which is tied for the year’s most nominations.

Elisabeth Moss has picked up 14 Emmy nominations throughout her career, including two in 2021: outstanding lead actress in a drama series and outstanding drama series for her work as an actress and executive producer on Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” She nabbed her first nomination as one of the stars of the acclaimed drama “Mad Men” in 2009 but didn’t win her first trophy until her first season as June Osborne on the dystopian “Handmaid’s Tale” in 2017. She received not one but two awards that year — in the same categories she’s up for this year.

Kenan Thompson has starred on “Saturday Night Live” since 2003, making him the longest tenured cast member in the sketch comedy show’s history. Earlier this year, he also launched his own NBC sitcom, aptly titled “Kenan,” which finds the funnyman playing a morning show host. Now Kenan is up for two Emmy Awards: outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for the first season of “Kenan” and outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for “Saturday Night Live.” These mark the fifth and sixth nominations of his career, following previous nods for his work on “SNL.” He won a trophy in 2018 for outstanding original music and lyrics for the song “Come Back, Barack” that aired on the late night program.

William H. Macy is up for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for the sixth time for his starring performance as the neglectful Gallagher patriarch on the Showtime hit “Shameless,” which aired its 11th and final season earlier this year. The veteran actor nabbed his first Emmy nomination for a guest part on “ER” in 1997, marking the first of 15 nominations throughout his career. He’s won two trophies so far, both in 2003 for his acting and writing efforts on the television film “Door to Door.”

Michaela Coel made a huge splash by creating and starring on the HBO limited series “I May Destroy You.” Now the drama is up for nine Emmys, including four for the British breakout: outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie, outstanding limited or anthology series, outstanding writing for a limited series, movie or dramatic special and outstanding directing for a limited series, movie, or dramatic special. She’s already nabbed four BAFTA TV Awards and now has a chance at her first Emmy statuette.

Jean Smart became one of TV’s most acclaimed leading ladies when she starred on the sitcom “Designing Women” from 1986 to 1991, but her first Emmy nomination — and win —didn’t come until she had a guest spot on “Frasier” in 2000. Since then, Jean’s racked up 11 total nominations and an additional two trophies. This year, she’s acknowledged in two categories: outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for “Hacks” and outstanding supporting actress in a limited series for “Mare of Easttown.” Her last win came in 2008 for her supporting work on the sitcom “Samantha Who?” Now we’ll see if she can add another statuette to the mantel.

Another fresh face at this year’s Emmy Awards is Josh O’Connor, who lived up to the pressure of playing Prince Charles on season 4 of Netflix hit “The Crown.” The English star is up for outstanding lead actor in a drama series after scoring both a Golden Globe and SAG Award for his performance. There were high expectations for the latest set of episodes of the period drama, which focused heavily on the relationship between Charles and Princess Diana in the first decade of their relationship — and both Josh and his nominated co-star Emma Corrin delivered.

Billy Porter is up for his third consecutive Emmy in the outstanding lead actor in a drama series category for his performance as Pray Tell on FX’s groundbreaking series “Pose.” He made history in 2019 when he became the first openly gay Black man to be nominated and win in any lead acting category at the Primetime Emmys. The period drama received glowing reviews for its historic third and final season earlier this year, so we’ll see if Billy can snag another piece of gold.

Olivia Colman is up for her second consecutive Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her work on “The Crown.” She played Queen Elizabeth II to rave reviews on seasons 3 and 4 of the acclaimed Netflix historical drama after taking over the role from Emmy winner Claire Foy. The Oscar-winning actress has had four Emmy nominations throughout her career since nabbing acknowledgement for the British limited series “The Night Manager” in 2016, and with this marking her final season on “The Crown,” it could be her time to finally score Emmy gold.

Jurnee Smollett scored her first Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her work on HBO’s “Lovecraft Country.” Long after getting her start as a child star with a featured part on “Full House,” the New York City native received great reviews for her work as Letitia “Leti” Lewis, who’s helping her love interest uncover the mysteries and horror surrounding the death of his father in ’50s Jim Crow America.

Aidy Bryant is up for two trophies this year: outstanding lead actress in a comedy series for “Shrill” and outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for “Saturday Night Live.” These mark the third and fourth nominations of her career; she was previously nominated for her work on the long-running NBC sketch comedy series. Aidy began her “SNL” run in 2012 and branched out in 2019 to create and star on “Shrill” for Hulu. Her acclaimed work as Annie, a Portland journalist trying to find love and self-acceptance, was featured in a third and final set of episodes earlier this year.

Cynthia Erivo is up for her first Primetime Emmy Award with an outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie nomination for her work on the anthology series “Genius: Aretha.” In 2017, she won a Daytime Emmy Award as part of the cast of the hit Broadway musical “The Color Purple” and their performance of the title song on the “Today” show. Now the Tony- and Grammy-winning star is receiving recognition for her portrayal of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, on the third season of National Geographic’s drama program focused on profiling important historical figures.

This year, Ewan McGregor is up for his fourth Emmy, in the outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie category, for the Netflix limited series “Halston.” He garnered his first nomination in 1997 for a guest spot on the drama series “ER,” but has yet to pick up a win. The Scottish actor received acclaim for his performance as the late inspirational American fashion designer Halston, who rose to international fame in the ’70s.

Matthew Rhys received his fifth Emmy nomination this year for his work on the HBO series “Perry Mason.” He’s up for outstanding lead actor in a drama series, a category he was first nominated for in 2016 for FX’s acclaimed series “The Americans.” The Welsh star was acknowledged three times for his work on the Russian spy drama, winning the trophy for its final season in 2018. The first season of period drama “Perry Mason” received rave reviews when it premiered in 2020, so this marks a glowing comeback for the actor.

Leslie Odom Jr. is up for his second consecutive Emmy this year, this time for outstanding lead actor in a limited or anthology series or movie for Disney+’s recording of the Broadway musical “Hamilton.” His Tony- and Grammy-winning work as former Vice President Aaron Burr gave him worldwide recognition, leading to his first Emmy nomination in 2020 for his voice work on the Apple TV+ animated series “Central Park.”

Paul Bettany reprised his “Avengers” role as Vision on the 2021 Disney+ series “WandaVision,” and critics were enamored of his work as the powerful android. Now the English star is up for his first Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie for his work on the superhero show. This marks the first Emmy nomination for the veteran actor, who’s played a wide array of roles since making his TV debut in 1994.

Coming off a breakout year is first-time nominee Jonathan Majors, who’s up for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for his work on HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” — which has 18 nods this year. He received acclaim for his work as Atticus “Tic” Freeman on the horror drama, which follows a Korean War veteran who embarks on a road trip across ’50s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father and runs into an assortment of racist terrors and disturbing monsters along the way.

































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