Emmys Who? The 2021 TCA Award Nominations Are a Nigh-Flawless Celebration of Great TV

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Emmys Who? The 2021 TCA Award Nominations Are a Nigh-Flawless Celebration of Great TV

As a member of the Television Critics Association for many years, I should say that I’m always proud of the TCA Award nominations and winners—especially since I vote on them! But that’s not always true. The TCA usually gets things pretty right, certainly better than the Emmys, but our categories have their own issues. The Best Performance awards are historically not separated by gender, which may be accidentally progressive now, but it also means fewer overall distinctions. There’s a lovely, if limited simplicity to the categories, like leaving out Supporting or Guest roles. And yet, this laser-focus also make us critics, who have consumed ungodly amounts of television over the calendar year, really make some tough choices about who truly was the best.

Like with the Emmy nominations this year, those choices were a little easier in 2021 (the TCA nomination calendar follows the Emmys, so June to May). There were fewer shows, fewer hits. The “drama” acting category also includes miniseries, which dominated—but not really to the exclusion of many great drama performances themselves. The truth hurts!

“This was an incredible year for fresh, inclusive content and new creators, and our nominations are a reflection of that,” said Melanie McFarland, TCA President and TV Critic for Salon. “The TCA membership selected from a wealth of original offerings that broke fresh ground and presented exciting, thought-provoking experiences that redefined the television landscape. Although we will not be able to honor these landmark achievements in-person, we look forward to celebrating 37 years of the TCA Awards and sharing our top picks when the winners are unveiled.”

Overall, I might truly be the most proud of this batch of TCA nominees than I ever have been. The Emmys got things pretty right, but the 37th Annual TCA Awards have absolutely nailed it. You’re welcome. Now for the hard part… who should win?

Below is the list of 2021 Television Critics Association nominees, excluding the Career Achievement and Heritage Award winners, which will be announced along with the rest of the category winners later this summer:

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA
Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You – HBO
Ethan Hawke, The Good Lord Bird – Showtime
Thuso Mbedu, The Underground Railroad – Amazon
Elizabeth Olsen, WandaVision – Disney+
Mj Rodriguez, Pose – FX
Omar Sy, Lupin – Netflix
Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit – Netflix
Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown – HBO

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY
Bo Burnham, Bo Burnham: Inside – Netflix
Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant – HBO Max
Maya Erskine, Pen15 – Hulu
Renee Elise Goldsberry, Girls5Eva – Peacock
Charlotte Nicdao, Mythic Quest – Apple TV+
Jean Smart, Hacks – HBO Max
Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso – Apple TV+
Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso – Apple TV+

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN NEWS AND INFORMATION
Allen v. Farrow – HBO
City So Real – NatGeo
Framing Britney Spears – FX/FX On Hulu
Frontline – PBS (Eight-time Winner in Category)
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark – HBO
Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special – CBS
The Rachel Maddow Show – MSNBC
60 Minutes – CBS (2012 Winner in Category)

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN REALITY
Couples Therapy – Showtime
Deaf U – Netflix
The Great Pottery Throw Down – HBO Max
Legendary – HBO Max
Nailed It! Double Trouble – Netflix
The Real World Homecoming: New York – Paramount+
Taste the Nation – Hulu
Top Chef: Portland – Bravo

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUTH PROGRAMMING
The Baby-Sitters Club – Netflix
Bluey – Disney Jr.
Donkey Hodie – PBS Kids
Emily’s Wonder Lab – Netflix
Odd Squad – PBS Kids
Sesame Street – HBO
Waffles + Mochi – Netflix
Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum – PBS Kids

OUTSTANDING NEW PROGRAM
Bridgerton – Netflix
The Flight Attendant – HBO Max
Hacks – HBO Max
I May Destroy You – HBO
Mare of Easttown – HBO
P-Valley – Starz
Ted Lasso – Apple TV+
WandaVision – Disney+

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN MOVIES, MINISERIES OR SPECIALS
Bo Burnham: Inside – Netflix
The Good Lord Bird – Showtime
I May Destroy You – HBO
It’s a Sin – HBO Max
Mare of Easttown – HBO
The Queen’s Gambit – Netflix
The Underground Railroad – Amazon
WandaVision – Disney+

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA
Bridgerton – Netflix
The Crown – Netflix
For All Mankind – Apple TV+
The Handmaid’s Tale – Hulu
Lovecraft Country – HBO
The Mandalorian – Disney+
Pose – FX
P-Valley – Starz

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY
The Flight Attendant – HBO Max
Girls5Eva – Peacock           
Hacks – HBO Max
Mythic Quest – Apple TV+
Pen15 – Hulu
Superstore – NBC
Ted Lasso – Apple TV+
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist – NBC

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN VARIETY, TALK OR SKETCH
The Amber Ruffin Show – Peacock
A Black Lady Sketch Show – HBO (2020 Winner in Category)
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah – Comedy Central
Desus & Mero – Showtime
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – HBO (2019 & 2018 Winner in Category)
Late Night with Seth Meyers – NBC
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert – CBS
Saturday Night Live – NBC
Ziwe – Showtime 

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR
Bridgerton – Netflix
Hacks – HBO Max
I May Destroy You – HBO
Mare of Easttown – HBO
The Queen’s Gambit – Netflix
Ted Lasso – Apple TV+
The Underground Railroad – Amazon
WandaVision – Disney+ 



Allison Keene is the TV Editor of Paste Magazine. For more television talk, pop culture chat and general japery, you can follow her @keeneTV

For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.