With a little help from Sandra Oh, Emma Thompson, John Mulaney, Robert De Niro and Matt Damon, NBC’s Saturday Night Live picked up another 18 Emmy nominations today, padding its all-time total to a pretty much unbeatable record-holding 270 total.
With specials and digital nominations, the show has a total of 295 nominations, according to NBC. Creator Lorne Michaels holds the individual record at 88.
Though the 2019 nominations did not include some of the SNL names that have graced recent Emmy nomination lists – Leslie Jones, Aidy Bryant, Kenan Thompson and the show’s resident president Alec Baldwin – Kate McKinnon made the list for a fifth consecutive year (she won in 2016 and 2017).
A perennial and longtime nominee in the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series category (or whatever the category has been called over the decades since 1976), SNL has been on a two-season winning streak, riding the popularity of its Trump-themed cold opens, Baldwin’s frequent appearances and Melissa McCarthy’s lightning-in-a-bottle turn as Sean Spicer (she won in 2017).
This year, though, might prove a bit trickier for NBC’s long-running weekend staple, with competition from Showtime’s buzz-grabbing Who Is America? and even Hulu’s I Love You America With Sarah Silverman. Other nominees are truTV’s At Home With Amy Sedaris, IFC’s Documentary Now! and Comedy Central’s Drunk History.
While SNL‘s cold opens continued to generate some weekly anticipation – will Baldwin show up, mostly – the zeitgeist factor has definitely cooled a bit since the show’s Trump fever set in a few seasons back. This year’s sole contribution to a non-host guest appearance comes from De Niro as the stone-faced Robert Mueller, and he’ll have some tough competition, including fellow visitors to SNL: guest hosts Matt Damon, Adam Sandler and, in what was among the most enthusiastically received performances of the season, former SNL writer John Mulaney. (Competition from other series isn’t easily dismissed either, particularly with Peter MacNicol’s viciously hilarious turn on HBO’s Veep in the mix).
Based on today’s Emmy count though, Sandler might be the one to beat among the SNL hopefuls. In addition to his own nomination, his May 4 episode received five other nominations (for directing, hairstyle, make-up, music direction and tech direction). Mulaney’s episode also had multiple noms, including for production design and lighting.
Sandler’s return to SNL could prove to be a sentimental favorite as well: The episode included his loving tribute – in music – to former cast mate Chris Farley.
That song wasn’t nominated in a music category, but Leslie Jones’ “The Upper East Side” (aka “The UES”) was: Jones and Bryan Tucker wrote the lyrics (music by Eli Brueggeman) to the nominated song for the James McAvoy-hosted episode.
Check it out: