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Nomination surprises: 'The Mandalorian,' Quibi get Emmy love

NEW YORK – The Emmy Award nominations announced Tuesday included some snubs and surprises.

THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE

“The Mandalorian” — maybe thanks to Baby Yoda — snagged a surprising 15 nominations, mostly technical nods for things like production design, costumes, stunts, makeup and cinematography.

But it also earned Disney+ a nod for guest actor in a drama series for Giancarlo Esposito and a spot in the best drama race. It had gotten no nominations at the Golden Globes.

“The Mandalorian” stars Pedro Pascal as the mysterious title character, navigating his way through the Star Wars galaxy. The show has helped boost Disney and proven that there is a lot more life in the Star Wars franchise outside of the Skywalker Saga.

One of the hit characters from the show resembles a baby version of Yoda. A second season for “The Mandalorian” is coming in October

YES, SOMEBODY IS WATCHING

HBO’s “Watchmen,” an adaptation of one of the most acclaimed graphic novels of all time, was ignored by the Golden Globe voters but not by the Emmys.

The dark superhero tale earned a leading 26 nominations, including for cinematography, costumes, original music, three for directing and three for editing.

Jeremy Irons and Regina King got lead actor nods, while Yahya Abdul-Mateen, Jovan Adepo, Jean Smart and Louis Gossett Jr. earned supporting nods. “Watchmen” was also nominated for outstanding limited series.

The show follows a group of masked vigilantes with no real superpowers and addresses race relations in a way that proved to be extremely timely.

Despite glowing reviews from critics, HBO’s adaptation proved to be divisive among some comic book fans. Some disdainful viewers were frustrated that showrunner Damon Lindelof’s “Watchmen” was too political.

PLENTY OF LOVE FOR BITE-SIZED PLATFORM

Quibi, the mobile phone-only platform that offers installments of movies and TV shows in 10 minutes or less, found itself long on Emmy admiration.

The platform was launched at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and has endured a rocky start, with fewer subscribers than hoped. The company submitted more than a dozen shows for Emmy consideration and got a healthy 10 nods, mostly in the short form comedy or drama categories.

Laurence Fishburne, Jasmine Cephas Jones and Stephan James all got nominations for the police drama “#FreeRayshawn,” while Christoph Waltz got a nod for “Most Dangerous Game” and Corey Hawkins for “Survive.”

Anna Kendrick earned a nomination for “Dummy,” Kaitlin Olson for “Flipped” and Kerri Kenney-Silver for a reboot of “Reno 911!” In addition, “Most Dangerous Game” and “Reno 911!” also earned outstanding short form comedy or drama nods. Quibi earned as many nominations as Comedy Central and BBC America.

That represents a success for Quibi's creators Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, who have been pushing for the platform to finally get some buzz and recognition. In its first year, that's no small accomplishment.

TALK ABOUT 'EUPHORIA'

Rising star Zendaya has gotten her first Emmy Award nomination and now she gets to hang with royalty — well, at least fellow nominee Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Crown.”

The star of HBO’s teenage drama “Euphoria” had previously won Teen Choice Awards and a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award for roles in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” "Rewrite the Stars” and “The Greatest Showman.” Now the 23-year-old has an outstanding lead actress Emmy nod.

“Euphoria” follows a group of suburban high school students as they try to construct an identity amid shifting allegiances and a backdrop saturated with social media. The show stars former Disney Channel star Zendaya as Rue, an on-and-off recovering drug addict who narrates her life.

“I’m honestly speechless,” Zendaya said on Twitter. “My heart is just overflowing with love and gratitude. I’m so incredibly honored to work beside the talented people that I get to call family. I am a small piece of a big beautiful puzzle and I’m so proud of all of you.”

‘DEVS’ BRUSH-OFF

Quantum mechanics is not often the subject of a TV series, and Emmy voters chose to largely ignore the cerebral FX series “Devs.”

The show starring Nick Offerman earned only four nominations, including for sound editing, special visual effects, cinematography and sound mixing.

Alex Garland, who wrote and directed each episode, created an absorbing meditation on the very essence of human existence and free will, all hidden in an elegant techno-thriller. But it got no cheers in the best limited series category.

Fans of Garland’s breakthrough film “Ex Machina” found familiar stylish fingerprints: Unrushed storytelling, cool menace, elegant doses of philosophy, an affinity with darkness and stillness, profound musical choices and striking visual effects. But some critics were put off by its pretense and air of detachment.

AIRING JORDAN

Michael Jordan proved his competitive pull once more as the ESPN documentary “The Last Dance” earned three Emmy nominations.

The documentary won nominations for outstanding documentary, documentary directing and editing.

The 10-part docuseries, airing on ESPN in the United States and on Netflix elsewhere, details the 1998 Bulls’ season, Jordan’s final year with the team and the organization’s last championship.

It was ESPN’s most watched documentary ever. The series was also a hit on social media. It was the trending topic on Twitter for five straight Sundays. The network moved up the docuseries to April from June in order to fill the void left after most sports were shut down in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

LOW-KEY ‘HOMELAND’ SEND-OFF

“Homeland” ended its eight-season run on Showtime this April, but the Emmys didn't give it much of a goodbye gift.

The show earned just one nomination — for directing. Star Claire Danes will not win a third Emmy in her role as CIA analyst Carrie Mathison, nor will Mandy Patinkin get a statuette for his Saul Berenson.

“Homeland” over its run has won eight Emmy awards — for outstanding drama series, writing, editing and casting, among the trophies. Danes won back-to-back awards for best actress in a drama from 2012-13 and co-star Damian Lewis won once.

But after debuting with such a splash in its first few seasons, the show hasn't won an Emmy since 2013, despite getting plenty of nominations since then. Emmy voters largely shrugged this time and let Danes' Carrie Mathison drift into the Russian sunset.

Another show that used to be red-hot with Emmy voters and also said goodbye is ABC’s “Modern Family,” with five record-tying best comedy series Emmys over 11 seasons. On Tuesday, its last season got just a nod for sound mixing, directing and a posthumous nomination for Fred Willard, who played Frank Dunphy.

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Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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For more on this year’s Emmy Awards, go to: https://apnews.com/EmmyAwards