Brow Beat

“Elated and Humbled”: Kenan Thompson, Jessica Biel, and Other First-Time Emmy Nominees React

An illustration featuring Tiffany Haddish, Betty Gilpin, and Kenan Thompson beside an Emmy statuette.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by NBC, Netflix.

This year’s Emmy nominations may have been dominated by familiar shows like Game of Thrones, but there were also quite a few individuals being recognized for the very first time. The Television Academy has identified 36 performers who received their first nomination on Thursday, from entertainers for whom 2017 was a breakout year, like Cameron Britton and Tiffany Haddish, to long-overdue veterans like Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best reactions from first-time nominees.

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Megan Amram
An Emmy For Megan is living up to its name: The web series starring Amram, who also works as a writer on The Good Place, received two nominations. Amram took to Twitter with her reaction.

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Jessica Biel
Biel was nominated for Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for playing Cora Tannetti on The Sinner, which USA recently renewed for a second season (although Biel is rumored to be leaving the show). The actress told People she’d be celebrating her first nomination by spending some quality time with her three-year-old son: “We are going to cheers his orange juice in his sippy cup and my champagne in my champagne glass. And then I’m going to bed early! I’m like, Netflix and chilling. That’s my celebration.”

Cameron Britton
Britton was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role as serial killer Edmund Kemper in the Netflix crime series Mindhunter. The series is based on the murders Kemper committed between the 1960’s and 70’s, including the killing of his own mother and grandparents.

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Darren Criss
This former star of Broadway and Glee received a nomination for his role as Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. “Zorro, Dr. Strange, Harry Dunne, Todd Alquist, and Jesus Christ … pretty incredible company to keep,” the actor said in a statement. “Humbled by your talent, Antonio Banderas, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeff Daniels, Jesse Plemons, John Legend.”

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Betty Gilpin
Gilpin plays Debbie Eagan, who is known as “Liberty Belle,” on Netflix’s ’80s wrestling series GLOW. Gilpin tweeted her stunned reaction to the nomination:

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Tiffany Haddish
This comedy queen, known for everything from hitting on Leonardo DiCaprio to a standout role in Girls Trip, was nominated for her turn at hosting Saturday Night Live.

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John Legend
Singer and songwriter John Legend was nominated for his titular role in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. His costar, Sara Bareilles, also snagged her first nomination for playing Mary Magdalene.

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Ricky Martin
Martin’s Emmy nod was for his role in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. He played Versace’s long-term partner, Antonio D’Amico.

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Issa Rae
Rae’s freshman nomination comes for her lead role on Insecure, which she created and co-wrote. The show has also earned her two Golden Globe nominations.

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Kenan Thompson
This Emmy nomination for Thompson, who is currently SNL’s longest-employed actor, is well-deserved.

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Letitia Wright
Last, but certainly not least, is Letitia Wright, who was nominated for her role as a supporting actress in the Black Mirror episode “Black Museum.”

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