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SYFY WIRE Emmys 2021

Emmy Awards 2021: WandaVision, Cobra Kai, The Mandalorian miss out on major categories

By Benjamin Bullard
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Thanks to COVID-19 (and all the movie delays that went with it), this past year’s awards season has been an atypically slight one for big-screen hardware handouts. But over on the small screen, there’s been no such shortage of award-worthy productions. 

With major new Disney+ entries from Marvel alongside repeat Emmys contenders from critical hits at Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ (again), Sunday’s 73rd Annual Emmy Awards lavished tons of love on all the TV goodness that kept fans entertained at home in a stay-put pandemic year. With WandaVision’s sights set on a big debut season jammed with 23 individual nods, would this be the year that the MCU’s small-screen adventures seized the Emmys crown?

Well - not exactly. That honor mostly went to The Crown itself, Netflix’s historical drama about the times of Queen Elizabeth II. The Crown and Apple TV+’s sports comedy Ted Lasso roped in the lion’s share of the evening’s biggest prizes, leaving WandaVision and fellow Disney+ contenders The Mandalorian and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier — each receiving multiple nods — to watch from the sidelines on awards night. 

Throughout the evening, the pattern was largely the same: a generous field of genre nominees would repeatedly come up short against the critically adored powerhouse productions from Netflix and AppleTV+. The Crown ended up being the night’s biggest overall drama winner, beating out The Mandalorian, The Boys, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Lovecraft Country, among others, to win Outstanding Drama Series honors. 

The Crown stars Olivia Colman and Josh O’Connor also swept the individual drama actor and actress awards, topping a slew of contenders that included The Handmaid’s Tale’s Elisabeth Moss and Lovecraft Country’s Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors. Elizabeth Olsen bewitched her way into the nominees list for Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie, but the award eluded the WandaVision star, with Mare of Easttown’s Kate Winslet taking home the trophy. Likewise, Paul Bettany’s lead actor nomination for his portrayal of Vision remained forever a nomination as Ewan McGregor received the trophy for Netflix’s Halston

Royalty of another kind — the chess-playing sort, to be exact — ascended over WandaVision to win the Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series Emmy, with The Queen’s Gambit at Netflix topping the MCU series as well as a field of other non-genre contenders. On the comedy side, Ted Lasso took the spotlight time and again, winning Outstanding Comedy Series honors over Netflix’s Cobra Kai and walking away with tons more individual recognitions. 

But at least some of those 23 WandaVision nominations ended up paying off for Marvel and Disney. Earlier in the week, the artificially-constructed adventures of a grieving Wanda Maximoff did manage to take home Emmy honors for narrative (half-hour) production design, fantasy/sci-fi costumes, and original music and lyrics — the latter award, of course, going to Kathryn Hahn’s witchy surprise number “Agatha All Along.”

Though it stayed quiet on Sunday’s big night, The Mandalorian also got in on the early awards action, scoring seven trophies in a variety of pre-broadcast handouts that included Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup, Outstanding Stunt Coordination, Outstanding Stunt Performance, Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Season or a Movie, Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (One Hour), Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-camera Series (Half-hour), and Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Original Dramatic Score). 

Actors from sci-fi series past did get their spotlight moment, of sorts, in a funny pre-recorded sketch that featured Quantum Leap’s Scott Bakula and Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Alyson Hannigan

Commiserating with fellow career “no-Emmy” stars in a phony support group that included Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander and New Girl’s Zooey Deschanel, the pity party for never, ever taking home a trophy screeched to a hilarious halt when self-help TV guru Dr. Phil strolled out to offer the gang a piece of timely advice: “If you want an Emmy, get yourself booked on Ted Lasso or The Crown!” Fred Savage even popped out from behind the skit’s director’s lens to nod his agreement — though the group wasn’t having it. After all, who wants a belated Emmys endorsement from “the kid from Princess Bride?” as the group put it.

Click here for a full list of all this year’s Emmy Awards nominees.