Emmys 2020: Get to Know These 6 Breakout Stars

Fans will be hearing the names of a few first-time nominees at the 2020 Emmys. Keep scrolling to learn more about TV's celebrated newcomers, including Jeremy Pope, Shira Haas and Paul Mescal.

By Samantha Schnurr Sep 20, 2020 7:00 PMTags

Tonight, these breakout stars may have an unforgettable moment. 

That's because for the first time, they've been nominated for a coveted Emmy Award—and those trophies will finally be handed out to a few lucky ones during tonight's show. "This is a huge, huge honor and I'm beside myself," William Jackson Harper, a star of The Good Place, told fans in an Instagram video upon hearing the news of his first nomination. "Television Academy, thank you. To my fellow nominees, I can't believe I'm on the same list with y'all. This is nuts."

In addition to Harper, who is a contender this year for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, the 2020 nominee pool features plenty of first-time honorees celebrating a career milestone this year. While some of the stars up for a golden statue, like Mrs. America's Cate Blanchett, are no strangers to award season, breakout stars like Unorthodox's Shira Haas and Hollywood's Jeremy Pope are gratefully basking in the shine of their breakout stardom. 

Still, while this is their first time being nominated, it isn't the first time that fans have had the opportunity to see their work. From making history on Broadway to achieving critical acclaim in Israel, the following nominees already have quite the impressive résumés to their name—and as evidenced by this first Emmy nomination, they're only just getting started. 

Emmys 2020: Stars React to Their Nominations

Ahead of the tonight's highly anticipated—and first-time remote—show on Sept. 20, get to know more about this year's Emmy newcomers with E!'s gallery below.

And, don't forget to tune in to the star-studded ceremony later this evening, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. After all, it may mark the first Emmy win for one of the famous names below—and you definitely won't want to miss that acceptance speech. 

Jovan Adepo

While the Watchmen actor—known to HBO viewers as Hooded Justice—is celebrating his first Emmy nomination this year for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, Adepo is no stranger to the big or small screen. His previous credits including Fencesmother!The LeftoversJack Ryan and When They See Us. Fans can catch him next in CBS' The Stand, also starring Whoopi GoldbergJames Marsden and Amber Heard. "Thankful for those who push me to challenge myself," he wrote on Instagram in reaction to his nomination, "And through the biggest obstacles, see potential in me when I do not. I Love you. Congrats to all nominees (And my fellow FIRSTS)."

William Jackson Harper

Before earning his first Emmy nod for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for The Good Place, the man known as Chidi Anagonye on-screen had also starred in another breakout hit—Ari Aster's 2019 horror, Midsommar

Shira Haas

The Israeli actress achieved breakout stardom in the United States thanks to her moving lead performance as Esther Shapiro in Netflix's Unorthodox. However, she had already earned critic acclaim in the form of three Israeli Academy Award nominations and one win. The 25-year-old's acting credits include roles in Natalie Portman's A Tale of Love and Darkness, as well as The Zookeeper's Wife and Mary Magdalene. Now, she's up for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. 

"I am so happy and so lucky to have had the privilege of portraying this character and to be nominated for it," she wrote on social media in honor of her Emmy nomination. "Thank you to everyone who took part in the show and made this happen. Thank you to everyone who shared their love. I feel it all. I'm truly grateful."

Jeremy Pope

Before he was playing an aspiring screenwriter in a prejudiced show business for Netflix's Hollywood, the acting newcomer was joining history as the sixth person to be nominated for two Tony Awards in two categories for separate performances in 2019. The Ain't Too Proud alum, who also has a Grammy nod to his name, is now a first-time Emmy nominee and up for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. 

Paul Mescal

At 24 years old, the Irish actor has made a name for himself in the United States thanks to his Emmy-nominated performance in Hulu's Normal People. Mescal, who started out as a stage actor, also stars in the mystery thriller, The Deceived, and has been cast in Maggie Gyllenhaal's directorial debut, The Lost Daughter

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

The first-time Emmy nominee has been a familiar face to audiences for a few years now thanks to his roles in The Get DownBaywatchThe Greatest ShowmanAquaman and Us. And fans will get to see the Watchmen star in many more highly anticipated projects in the coming years, including as the lead in Nia DaCosta's Candyman, as well as Netflix's The Trial of the Chicago 7

The 75th Emmy Awards will now air Monday, Jan. 15, 2024 on Fox.