Emmys 2020 Snubs and Surprises: Zendaya, Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies and More

The 2020 Emmy noms are here! Award nominations tend to come with both surprises and snubs, though this year we gotta say...the surprises hit harder than the snubs!

By Lauren Piester Jul 28, 2020 4:38 PMTags

Pandemic or no pandemic, the Emmys will go on, and now we know who will be competing in this strange year of social distancing. 

The nominations were announced this morning by Leslie Jones, Laverne Cox, Tatiana Maslany, and Josh Gad, and for once, there might have been more surprises than snubs. There felt like a lot more to cheer for than to boo for, though that might have been partly helped by Jones' spirited hosting. 

It was especially fun to hear both Jones and Cox react to Zendaya getting a nomination for Lead Actress in a Drama. It's Zendaya's first nomination and a deserved one that many didn't think she'd get, partly because teen shows have a tough time getting nominated and partly because the drama actress category is truly stacked. 

But Zendaya's not the only surprise, and there certainly were a few snubs. 

Emmys 2020: First-Time Nominees

Pour one out for Reese Witherspoon, who didn't manage to get a nom for either Little Fires Everywhere or Big Little Lies. In fact, Big Little Lies got shut out of almost all the big categories. 

Read on for more snubs and surprises! 


Pose, Outstanding Drama Series

Billy Porter scored a nomination for lead actor, but the show itself didn't make it into the drama series category. There was also no love for all of the other incredible actors, like Angelica Ross or MJ Rodriguez. Porter is fabulous, but he's just one part of a beautiful ensemble. 


Andre Braugher in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Braugher was nominated for the first few seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but his work in season seven (especially in the episode where his dog was kidnapped) was maybe his best yet. Seeing his name was a delightful surprise! 


Kaitlyn Dever in Unbelievable, Lead Actress, Limited Series or Movie

The series was nominated for Outstanding Limited Series, but Dever's work was an essential part of the success of the show, and it seems strange that she isn't honored as well. 


This Is Us, Outstanding Drama Series

This Is Us was arguably at its absolute best in season four. Sterling K. Brown scored a nomination (as he should), but the show is missing out on the big prize this year. 


Stranger Things, Outstanding Drama Series 

We know Stranger Things season three was its best yet, but we feared the competition was too strong to recognize it. We're happy to be wrong! 


Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul, Lead Actor in a Drama 

Odenkirk was on every single list of sure things, and to nominate the series without acknowledging Saul himself seems like an oversight. 


Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist 

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist was one of the most inventive new shows this past year, and it received nothing. At least it's been renewed for a season two, so there are more chances to be had. 


Zendaya in Euphoria, Lead Actress in a Drama 

Make no mistake: Zendaya 100 percent deserves this and more, but sometimes the powers that be forget to recognize performances like this one, especially on teen shows. 


Reese Witherspoon in Little Fires Everywhere, Lead Actress, Limited Series or Movie

Kerry Washington got a nom and the show itself was recognized, so where's the love for Reese?! 


Big Little Lies, Drama Series 

Meryl Streep and Laura Dern both got supporting actress noms, but the show got shut out of all the other major awards this year, after scoring big last time it was eligible (winning Limited Series, Best Actress in a Limited Series, and Best Supporting Actress in a Limited Series). However, that's probably because it competed in limited series for its first season, and now it would be considered a drama series—a much more competitive category. 


What We Do in the Shadows, Outstanding Comedy Series

It's just a little show about vampires, and now it's up against some of the biggest heavy hitters on TV. Is it weird to feel proud of a TV show? 


Never Have I Ever

Mindy Kaling's critically acclaimed comedy didn't get any nominations, and that's a true shame. 


Steve Carell in The Morning Show, Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Carell has been nominated six times for The Office, but has never won. He wasn't on most of the short lists this year, but most of us will never be able to forget his performance in the Apple TV+ hit, even if it's because we were a little bit terrified of him. 


Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid's Tale, Lead Actress in a Drama 

Moss somehow didn't make the cut this year, but the show did. 


Orange is the New Black

Other than a nomination for Laverne Cox as a guest actress, the spectacular final season of the Netflix hit was shut out of the major categories. 


The Mandalorian, Outstanding Drama Series

The Mandalorian is undeniably incredible, but who would have ever imagined the show about Baby Yoda would get an Emmy nom? What a time to be alive. 


David Harbour in Stranger Things, Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Stranger Things was rightfully nominated for best drama, but Chief Hopper didn't make the list this year. 


Better Things 

The FX comedy got zero nominations this year, and it makes no sense whatsoever. 

The 2020 Emmy Awards will air Sunday, September 20 at 8 p.m. on ABC, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.