Disney+ Eyeing Critical Validation at 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards

NEWS ANALYSIS — Heading into the 2021 Emmy Awards, Netflix and HBO again headlined the competition with 130 and 129 network nominations, respectively. Not too far behind the slugfest sat Disney+ with 71 nominations, a significant tally for a streaming service less than two years old. Disney+ generated Emmy 19 nominations in its first year.

Many of the Creative Arts categories were handed out Sept. 11-12, with the major awards doled out Sept. 19 in a Los Angeles ceremony broadcast by CBS.

While streamers, including Apple TV+, for the first time spearhead the favorites among major Emmy categories in drama, comedy and limited series, Disney+ has a legitimate chance of winning drama and limited series with “The Mandalorian” and “WandaVision,” respectively.

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It’s a potential feat Netflix has failed to do despite generating 65 major nominations over the years entering the 2021 Emmys. The streamer did win Outstanding Lead Actress in 2018 for Claire Foy in “The Crown.”

This year “The Mandalorian” generated 24 nominations, rivaling “The Crown,” with “WandaVision” just behind with 23 nominations. Notably, Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso” set a record with 20 noms for a freshman show.

At the Creative Arts Emmys, Disney+ won 13 Emmys, bringing its total for the year to 14. Its Creative Arts wins included three for “WandaVision,” the first Emmys for Marvel Studios — including Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for the popular song “Agatha All Along.” Meanwhile, “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” won seven trophies in the technical categories.

When factoring in all of Disney’s over-the-top video brands (ESPN+ and Hulu), the media giant tallied a leading 146 nominations, with Hulu’s “PEN15” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” among the competition in the major categories.

More importantly, Disney+ (with 103 million subs) is projected to pass Netflix (209 million) with 300 million global subs by 2024, according to Ampere Analytics data published by The Guardian. The tally is driven in large part by Disney’s acquisition of Indian streaming platform Hotstar through its $71.3 billion 20th Century Fox assets purchase.

HBO Max won its first Emmy Sept. 12 with Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music for “The Flight Attendant.”