After so many disappointing years of TV award shows failing to give horror series the proper amount of respect that the genre deserves - to say nothing of the film side - I have all but extinguished my expectations whenever nominee announcements roll around. Yet this year, Lovecraft Country pulled off the nearly impossible task of netting 18 different Emmy nominations, more than any other HBO or HBO Max series. And yet, it was less than two weeks before the nominations were announced that HBO confirmed Lovecraft Country's cancellation. So even when horror wins, it still loses.
Had Lovecraft Country excelled with nominations mostly in the Creative Emmys categories, which is usually the case for genre TV, I might not have come out of those announcements quite as frustrated with HBO's cancellation decision. I would have likely stared massive daggers at the TV Academy instead, surely, but that wasn't necessary at all, because the TV Academy showered Lovecraft Country with nominations in every single major acting category under the Drama umbrella save for Guest Actress, as well as for the biggest award of the night, Outstanding Drama Series. Check out the full rundown of above-the-fold nominations below.
Outstanding Drama Series
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series - Jurnee Smollett
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series - Jonathan Majors
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Michael K. Williams
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Aunjanue Ellis
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series - Courtney B. Vance
That quintet of actors delivered some transcendent performances in Lovecraft Country's sole season, bouncing from emotional family drama to body horror to racial tension to dark romance, and all while sprinkling bits of humor and levity when needed. I obviously have no idea if Jurnee Smollett and future MCU star Jonathan Majors will win out in their respective categories, since The Crown and The Handmaid's Tale are Emmy magnets, but the point is that nearly the entire main cast was considered to be among the best on TV. So why did the show deserve to get cancelled?
To flip my earlier sentiment, if Lovecraft Country had ONLY earned the above nominations, and nothing in the Creative Emmy categories, it would at least be slightly more understandable why HBO turned down creator Misha Green's pitch for Season 2. Green herself was nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for penning the amazing series premiere, "Sundown." It's probably worth noting here that even if HBO now reversed course and renewed the drama for a second season, it'd be a stickier issue now that Green signed on for an overall deal with Apple TV+.
Let's look at everything else Lovecraft Country was nominated for, to really drive the point home. Considering all of the acting nominations, the Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series nom should surprise no one. It also earned nods for Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes and Outstanding Stunt Performance for the space-and-time-spanning episode "I Am," while also being recognized for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for the premiere, which also led to Outstanding Sound Mixing, Outstanding Sound Editing, and Outstanding Cinematography. Rounding things out are nominations for Outstanding Music Composition ("Rewind 1921"), Outstanding Music Supervision ("Strange Case"), Outstanding Special Visual Effects, and Outstanding Main Title Design.
One can only hope that Misha Green will go on to bring more brainy horror shows to the table with Apple TV+, which had a massive day of nominations of its own, with Ted Lasso earning a whopping 20. More to the point of this story, the streaming service's horror series Servant, from filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, was recognized for Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series. And while we're at it, Netflix's The Haunting of Bly Manor got the nod for Outstanding Sound Editing For A Limited Or Anthology Series, Movie Or Special. But that's about it as far as non-Lovecraft horror nominations go. (Although if we wanted to count HBO Max's Doom Patrol here for its sometimes quite horrific content and tone, it's an Outstanding Stunt Coordination nominee.)
Let's hope voters know what they're doing when it comes to giving Lovecraft Country all the love when the 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards air on CBS on Sunday, September 19, at 8:00 p.m. ET.