“The Crown,” Netflix’s lavish chronicle of the British royal family, and the best drama winner at the 2021 Emmys, was also nominated in the category this year — although some critics found it difficult to warm to the show’s fifth season, which introduced a new cast.
The moment of triumph for HBO comes at a time of transition for the network, which since last year has been managed by debt-ridden parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery. The network is now part of a streaming service that has dropped its call letters (goodbye HBO Max, hello Max). And, for the first time, HBO is in the process of licensing venerable older series — “Insecure,” and soon “Six Feet Under,” “Band of Brothers” and “True Blood” — to its archrival, Netflix, in a trial . by Warner Bros. Discovery to drum up cash.
HBO had the three most nominated shows: “Success” (27), “The Last of Us” (24) and “The White Lotus” (23). The race for best actor in a drama is shaping up to be yet another “Success” Roy family competition, pitting one-time winner Jeremy Strong against two-time nominee Kieran Culkin and four-time nominee (and one-time winner, for a mini-series (2000)) Brian Cox. And HBO completely swept the best supporting actor in a drama category: eight out of eight, all shared between performers of “Success” and “The White Lotus.”
Of course, the last time a single network earned four nominations in the best drama category, 31 years ago, it came home empty-handed. It was in 1992 that NBC earned nominations for “I’ll Fly Away,” “LA Law,” “Law & Order” and “Quantum Leap.” All four series lost to that year’s winner, CBS’s “Northern Exposure.” .
This year’s best actor in a comedy category will face Jason Sudeikis, who won two years in a row for playing the title role in “Ted Lasso,” against Jeremy Allen White, who plays an ambitious and restless chef in “The Bear.” The other candidates in the category are Bill Hader for “Barry”, Jason Segel for “Shrinking” and Martin Short for “Only Murders in the Building”.
Awards prognosticators believe Quinta Brunson could be on a slippery slope to winning for “Abbott Elementary.” Brunson received writing honors at the Emmys last year for her light-hearted ABC workplace comedy, and would be the first black woman to win best actress in a comedy since Isabel Sanford won in 1981 for “The Jeffersons.” She will face Christina Applegate from “Dead to Me”, Rachel Brosnahan for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, Natasha Lyonne for “Poker Face” and Jenna Ortega for “Wednesday”.