The 2023 Emmy nominations are in: What's old, what's new and what's next?

Emmy award
The old guard was out in force: 27 nods for "Succession," 23 for "The White Lotus" and 21 for "Ted Lasso." But there's a healthy mix of new shows, too, including "The Last of Us," "Jury Duty" and "The Bear."
Willy Sanjuanv | Invision | AP

I had a few questions going into today’s Emmy nominations:

What newcomers could see their stocks rise? (And, more specifically, just how ferocious of a competitor will “The Bear” be?)

While Emmy voters tend to latch on to certain shows and never let go until the end, they also love to honor fresh meat. The debuts of shows like “Poker Face,” “The Last of Us,” and of course, “The Bear” — which would almost certainly benefit from recency bias thanks to the premiere of its widely acclaimed second season during the Emmy voting period — seemed poised for recognition.

Would voters care about the big-budget franchise dramas?

As my colleague Linda Holmes has noted, the drama category is in shake-up mode in the absence of several hit shows that were nominated last year (including “Ozark” and “Euphoria”). Audiences and critics alike seemed relatively cool on the very expensive “Rings of Power” and “House of the Dragon” in comparison to their respective predecessors, but perhaps voters might find room for them within a more wide-open playing field.

Would voters care about controversy?

A couple of shows that on their surface seem ripe for Emmy attention also found themselves battling public relations crises following their release: The ridiculously titled “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” which was called out for being exploitative of a real-life nightmare, and “Beef,” which was called out for hiring a cast member who’s made abhorrent remarks in the past.

How it’s shaken out

And now, we’ve got some answers. The old guard was out in full force, with shows like “Succession” (leading the pack with 27 nods), “The White Lotus” (23), and “Ted Lasso” (21) retaining their intense grip on Emmy voters. Quinta Brunson and her “Abbott Elementary” family (eight), “Better Call Saul” (seven) and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (14) are still admired. And “Yellowjackets” still has some goodwill, too — three nods, including for Drama Series — if not quite as strongly as it did in its previous season.

But excitingly, there’s also a healthy mix of newness in here as well. The shockingly charming feel-good comedy series “Jury Duty” managed to eke out four nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series, which officially puts an ad-supported streaming platform (Amazon Freevee, in this case) in direct conversation with the big dogs. (For what it’s worth, Tubi and Roku Channel each got nods in other categories, for “The Nevers,” “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” and “Die Hart.”)

With 24 nods, “The Last of Us” turned out to be the fresh-faced rookie of the year, coming in as the second-most nominated show right behind “Succession.” This isn’t too surprising; in addition to the expected acknowledgment of Pedro Pascal’s and Bella Ramsey’s performances, it racked up a whole lot of technical and design awards, including editing (Timothy A. Good and Emily Mendez) and makeup (Connie Parker and Joanna Mireau).

Similarly, “The Bear” nabbed 13 nominations for Season 1, nearly half of them for performances (including Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri), but also for editing, sound design and casting, which, if you’ve seen the show — duh.

And there were a ton of first-time nominees, though most of them would hardly be considered industry newbies, including Jessica Chastain (“George & Tammy”), Aubrey Plaza (“The White Lotus”), Daniel Radcliffe (“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story”) and Jason Segel (“Shrinking”). (Love to see rising star Dominique Fishback, the absolute MVP of “Swarm,” get a nod, though!)

Big-budget franchises aren’t going anywhere

The Last of Us” ate up a lot of real estate, but voters still found room for other sci-fi/fantasy fare. “Andor” (eight) and “House of the Dragon” (eight) both made it into the drama category; “Rings of Power,” alas, did not, though it did manage six nominations overall.

Controversy? Where?

Dahmer” and “Beef” each nabbed 13 nominations, proving they could weather their respective publicity speed bumps. Hollywood is going to Hollywood, in case that wasn’t already clear. (And ... I can’t lie: Icky behind-the-scenes stuff aside, “Beef” earned those nods.)

What’s next

Now that we know who’s up for awards, the most pressing question is — when will we actually learn who comes out on top? According to the Television Academy, the 75th awards ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 18, though at least one report indicates that the ongoing WGA writers strike (and impending SAG-AFTRA strike) could mean a postponement in the proceedings. Apparently, there’s a debate going on within the academy about pushing the awards back to November or even as late as January. If so — and assuming final voting periods are adjusted as well — 2023 could turn out to be quite a messy awards season, one where both Emmy and Oscar campaigns duke it out for our attention. I’m exhausted already.

Editor's note: Amazon is among NPR’s financial supporters.

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