Netflix Dominates 2020 Emmy Nominations, With a Record-Setting 160 Nods

HBO's Watchmen was the most honored show overall

emmy nominees rachel brosnahan, jason bateman
Netflix once again edged out HBO on nominations. HBO, Netflix, Amazon
Headshot of Kelsey Sutton

Netflix is once again coming out on top in Emmy nominations.

The streaming giant, which broke HBO’s 17-year streak in 2018 for most-nominated outlet but was edged out of the coveted position last year, saw prestige dramas including The Crown and Ozark carry it to 160 nominations in the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards ahead of the annual September ceremony.

It’s another victory for the streamer, which has invested billions in originals and has reported surges in subscriptions amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that has left many Americans looking for at-home entertainment, and another upset for HBO, which is serving as the heavy-hitting cornerstone of AT&T’s new streamer HBO Max.

Netflix’s nominations in the 2020 Emmys were spread across the board, proving that the service’s approach of casting a wide net on programming can pay off during awards season. Ozark, the Jason Bateman-led crime drama, brought in 18 total nominations for Netflix, while The Crown pulled in 13. (Bateman also pulled in a nomination for HBO for his guest role in the Stephen King horror adaptation The Outsider.) Unbelievable and Unorthodox also snagged a number of nominations, as well as comedies like Dead to Me and reality competition show Nailed It.

For HBO, which headed into nominations without a hit like Game of Thrones that last year received a record 32 nominations, the cable network came up short, bringing in 107 nominations compared to last year’s 137. The limited series Watchmen brought in the most awards for HBO—or any other television property—with 26 total nominations that ranged from lead actor and actress to visual effects. Comedy-drama Succession brought in 18 nominations for HBO, including two for Lead Actor in a Drama.

It was a promising awards season for streaming’s new kids on the block. Disney+, which landed with a splash in November with its hit Star Wars drama The Mandalorian, saw the series bring in 15 of the service’s 19 total nominations, while Apple TV+ netted 18 nominations total, with several coming from performances in the prestige drama The Morning Show. Well-funded short-form streamer Quibi collected 10 nominations in short-form series categories.

Amazon Prime Video notched 30 nominations, lower than the 47 it brought in a year prior, with 20 of them coming from the hit comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Hulu collected 26 nominations, compared to the 20 it got last year; 10 of them went to its original drama series The Handmaid’s Tale, while buzzy limited series Little Fires Everywhere also got five nominations. (FX Networks, which also airs some shows on Hulu, brought in 33 nominations, including eight for the comedy What We Do in the Shadows.)

Netflix, which has been neck-and-neck with HBO since investing heavily in prestige originals, drew 117 nominations in 2019 and 112 in 2018, each records for the streamer.

Streaming services rule TV

The nominations, announced by Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones, Avenue 5’s Josh Gad, Orange Is the New Black’s Laverne Cox, and Perry Mason’s Tatiana Maslany, once again underscored streaming services’ domination in the television awards circuit. Non-cable properties like ABC pulled in 36 nominations, 10 more than the 26 it got last year, but CBS, Fox, NBC all saw their total nomination counts dip.

But there were breakout hits: Pop TV’s Schitt’s Creek helped the cable network bring in 16 nominations, compared to the four that Pop collected a year ago.

Shows for Outstanding Drama Series include Better Call Saul (AMC), The Crown (Netflix), The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), Killing Eve (BBC America), The Mandalorian (Disney+), Ozark (Netflix), Stranger Things (Netflix) and Succession (HBO). Lead actor nominations include Bateman of Netflix’s Ozark, facing off against Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us, NBC), Steve Carell (The Morning Show, Apple TV+), Brian Cox (Succession, HBO), Billy Porter (Pose, FX Networks) and Jeremy Strong (Succession, HBO).

Lead Actress in a Drama Series nominations include Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show, Apple TV+), Olivia Colman (The Crown, Netflix), Jodie Comer (Killing Eve, BBC America), Laura Linney (Ozark, Netflix), Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) and Zendaya (Euphoria, HBO).

Nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series include Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO), Dead to Me (Netflix), The Good Place (NBC), Insecure (HBO), The Kominsky Method (Netflix), The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime Video), Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV) and What We Do in the Shadows (FX). Christina Applegate of Netflix’s Dead to Me was nominated in the Lead Actress in a Comedy category, going up against Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon Prime Video), Linda Cardellini (Dead to Me, Netflix), Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek, Pop TV), Issa Rae (Insecure, HBO) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish, ABC).

In Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy, Black-ish’s Anthony Anderson (ABC) will go up against Don Cheadle (Black Monday, Showtime), Ted Danson (The Good Place, NBC), Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method, Netflix) Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek, Pop TV) and Ramy Youssef (Ramy, Hulu).

Nominations for limited series include Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu), Mrs. America (FX Networks), Unbelievable (Netflix), Unorthodox (Netflix) and Watchmen (HBO.)

The full list of nominations can be viewed here.

The 2020 Emmys, which will be broadcast on Sunday, Sept. 20, on ABC, will mark a hurdle for a television industry that is figuring out how best to proceed as the Covid-19 pandemic continues seemingly unabated. The presentation, which will be hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel, is slated to take place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, but the exact format of the show remains unclear based on safety precautions that may have to be implemented.

@kelseymsutton Kelsey Sutton is the streaming editor at Adweek, where she covers the business of streaming television.
Publish date: July 28, 2020 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT