Courteney Cox, Britney Spears, and LGBTQ Story: 6 Emmys to Take Away

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US actresses Courteney Cox (L) and Jennifer Aniston attend the 46th American Film Institute Life Achievement Award Gala at the Dolby Theater, Hollywood. Image: AFP / Valerie Macon

“The Crown” and “The Mandalorian” led the charges in the Emmy nominations last Tuesday as television prepares to honor a year changed by the pandemic.

Here are six takeaways:

Streamers sink or swim

In what is widely referred to as the “streaming wars” of TV, the various new online platforms have had a very mixed day.

Disney + and Apple TV + triumphed among the new kids on the block, receiving 71 and 34 nods in their sophomore years (up from 19 and 18 on debut).

HBO Max interfered with original streaming titles like “Hacks” and “The Flight Attendant” to beat HBO’s grand total, just behind rival Netflix in the entire network race.

But in an increasingly crowded market, Paramount + only earned six nicks and NBC’s Peacock crashed with just two nominations in their starting years.

TV or not TV?

Every year the Emmys have to reassess an existential question: “What actually is television?”

Is it Steve McQueen’s critically acclaimed “Small Ax,” an anthology of five small-screen films about London’s non-Oscars West Indian immigrants? Or is it “Hamilton” – a live recording of the Broadway smash hit stage musical, bundled on Disney +?

The lines are becoming increasingly blurred with streaming, but Emmy voters at least made their preferences clear on Tuesday.

“Hamilton” received 12 nicks, including a whopping seven nominations for acting, while “Small Ax” earned a poor one for cinematography.

First-time nominations

With the pandemic constraining television productions year-round, many established shows were missing – which made room for a bevy of nominees to break through for the first time.

Forty-four rising stars received actor recognition that year, including “I May Destroy You” creator and actress Michaela Coel, “Bridgerton” heartthrob Rege-Jean Page and “WandaVision” lead actress Elizabeth Olsen.

The Crown newcomers Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin are first time favorites to star as Prince Charles and Princess Diana, as is Anya Taylor-Joy for The Queen’s Gambit.

Kaley Cuoco eventually received her first nomination for “The Flight Attendant” after years of unrecognition on the hugely popular sitcom “The Big Bang Theory”.

Transgender story

Another first-time contestant, MJ Rodriguez made history as the first transgender woman nominated for a starring role with the Emmys.

Rodriguez plays mother hen Blanca Rodriguez in Pose, the groundbreaking FX show that explored New York’s underground ballroom culture in the 1980s.

GLAAD, an American organization that works for greater inclusion of LGBTQ in the media, welcomed its nomination as a “Breakthrough for Transgender Women in Hollywood”.

Courteney and Conan

Tuesday’s nominations were heavily nostalgic – especially for Courteney Cox and Conan O’Brien.

Cox is known to be the only “Friends” star who was never nominated for an Emmy during the original run of the hugely popular sitcom.

Voters eventually did so to some extent by nominating the much maligned Friends: The Reunion, which Cox was executive producer, for four awards, including best recorded variety special.

Meanwhile, veteran late night talk host O’Brien, who retired “Conan” last month, received his first Emmy nick on the variety show in 10 years.

Britney Documentation

Pop star Britney Spears is embroiled in a high profile legal battle to end the tutelage she has been under since her public collapse in 2008.

Just one day before another big Los Angeles court hearing, she’s back in the limelight thanks to two Emmy nominations for the feature-length documentary “Framing Britney Spears”.

Produced by FX and The New York Times, it focuses on the role of the paparazzi and the tabloids in the singer’s demise and helped raise awareness of her adoring fans’ #FreeBritney campaign. DC / JB

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