Hulu top contenders for expanded categories at Emmy Awards

The Primetime Emmy Awards are less than three months away, and this year's nominees will be announced on July 28.

For those who make comedies and dramas, the chances of winning have improved since the Television Academy announced it was expanding the number of nominated shows in those categories from seven to eight -- with National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Chairman Terry O'Reilly citing "a wealth of excellent work" submitted this year.

For example, take three shows on Hulu: "The Handmaid's Tale," "Little Fires Everywhere," and "Ramy."

All are popular hits that have also been praised by the critics, so they are definitely part of the Emmy conversation this year. But each has also provoked discussions of larger issues that are so timely right now.

Ramy Youseff acknowledged this in an interview with ABC's "On The Red Carpet" website.

"I think so much of what we look at on the show is less a battle between being Muslim and a battle between being American," he said. "It's battle between who you want to be and who you actually are, between your higher self and your lower self."

The audience for streamed shows grew dramatically in the months since so many of us have been sheltering in place due to the coroanvirus pandemic, and Hulu -- controlled by Disney, the parent company of this ABC station -- was first to win big with "Little Fires Everywhere."

It is a show set in the 1990s and placed firmly at the intersection of race and class.

"A good mother makes good choices," Reese Witherspoon's character Elena tells Kerry Washington's Mia.

"You didn't make good choices," she responds. "You had good choices."

The two stars were the big talents who brought "Little Fires Everywhere," to life. Lexi Underwood is the young performer who is a revelation playing Washington's daughter in the show.

"We drew inspiration from them because they kind of showed us that if they're these strong women at the helm of this process, they're running the set, everything is running smoothly," she said. "We can do that as well."

Megan Stott, who has the tough task of acting opposite Witherspoon, calls her strong and kind.

"She treated us like we were teenagers who were learning and who were important," she said, adding that Witherspoon had become her mentor.

Both stars joined seasoned women behind the scenes to produce the show, with scripts written by a diverse group of writers.

"The idea is to create a fun, safe place for everybody to be really honest," producer Liz Tigelaar said.

That same attitude has guided "The Handmaid's Tale," which has won eight Emmys -- including two for Elisabeth Moss,who takes the accolades in stride.

"You don't go to set holding your Emmy Award" she said. "You're not going to get any good work done with that. You have to leave it at home, forget about it, and go, 'OK what am I doing now?'"

What she hopes to be doing soon is returning to film the next season of the show, after production had to stop just two weeks into Season 4 due to the pandemic.
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