After being largely ignored by the Television Academy through most of its six season run, the Cold War era FX spy series The Americans today finally felt a warm embrace, with four nominations in major categories.
It isn’t often that a show so inexplicably forgotten by the Academy during its run gets so many nominations when it is all over. The Americans is an exception, nominated for Best Drama Series, Best Actor for Matthew Rhys, Best Actress for Keri Russell, and Outstanding Writing for executive producers Joel Fields and creator Joseph Weisberg for Start, the widely acclaimed series finale.
“Speaking for the cast, the crew, the producers and directors, and what the heck, we’ll speak for the network and studio, too, it’s hard to move on after six years working on this show that we’ve loved so much,” said Fields and Weisberg. “But this wonderful recognition from our peers makes it easier.”
The love wasn’t universal. Noah Emmerich was once again snubbed for his understated role as the FBI agent Stan Beeman, who lived across the street from Philip and Elizabeth Jennings and only figured out in the final episodes that his best friend wasn’t running a travel agency, but rather had for years been part of a married spy team perpetrating mayhem for the Russians, right under his nose as the Soviet Union and America waged a Cold War during the Reagan Era in the 1980s. His long awaited parking lot confrontation with the Jennings clan, when he stood between them and their return to Russia, was one of the show’s most riveting moments, with an unexpectedly poignant climax.
Also missing from the nominations was Margo Martindale as the seasoned Russian handler. Her final season was exceptional in that her character Claudia bared her own rough upbringing in Mother Russia, as she and Elizabeth Jennings tried to school her daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) in the ways of spy craft and devotion to a communist homeland.
Martindale twice won Emmys for Outstanding Guest actress in 2016 and 2015, in what so far has been the only Emmys the show has won. She was also nominated in 2014.
The Americans also featured overlooked performances these past few seasons by such actors as Taylor, Frank Langella, Costa Ronin, Dylan Baker and others.
The show has done many things for its participants, onscreen and off — Rhys and Russell fell in love and got pregnant during the series run, dropping the bombshell on Weisberg and forcing him to have to obscure the results by strategically hiding the baby bulge. If the Television Academy thaw extends to actually voting Emmys for Best Dramatic Series, or for Rhys, Russell or Fields/Weisberg, perhaps those winners will hail their comrades and their underrated performances in their acceptance speeches.