The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld and Big Little Lies sweep the 2017 Emmy nominations

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Amy Swales
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It’s the biggie in TV land: the Emmy Awards nominations have been announced, and several of our favourite shows, featuring incredible female stars and thoughtfully approached feminist issues, have rightfully received nods.

The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu’s incredible adaption of Margaret Atwood’s seminal novel (currently being shown on Channel 4 in the UK) bagged 13 nominations, including Drama Series, Directing for a Drama Series (Reed Morano and Kate Dennis, separately) and Writing for a Drama Series (Bruce Miller).

Elisabeth Moss is up for Drama Actress, while Ann Dowd and Samira Wiley complete for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Alexis Bledel is nominated for Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

Big Little Lies from HBO, meanwhile, has 16, named in the running for awards such as Limited Series, Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special (Jean-Marc Vallée) and Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Drama (David E Kelley).

Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman are both up for Limited Series Actress, Alexander Skarsgård is nominated for Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, while the female equivalent sees Shailene Woodley up against Laura Dern.

HBO’s sci-fi adaptation Westworld landed 22 nominations across categories – tying with Saturday Night Live for the most nods overall – Drama Series, Directing for a Drama Series (Jonathan Nolan) and Writing for a Drama Series (Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan) to name just a few.

There are also possible gongs for its stars Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright.

However, while the nominations are being hailed as the “most diverse” Emmys to date, nominating more people of colour than last year (25 in the acting categories, up from 22) and honouring shows such as Atlanta, Black-ish and Master of None, some have noted that the gender gap in the TV industry is still apparent when it comes to showrunning.

As points out, none of the 14 best comedy or drama series nominees have a solo female showrunner or creator.

While clearly a reflection of the under-representation of women and gender non-conforming people in the TV and film industry in general, the pieces picks up on some snubs that could have made a difference, such as critically acclaimed, largely female-led shows Queen Sugar, One Day at a Time, Insecure and I Love Dick.

Additionally, Transparent from writer-director Jill Soloway, who identifies as a gender non-conforming queer person, didn’t pick up a nomination for the first time since its premiere three years ago.

The piece also flags up that even expanding the argument to include women who are co-creators or co-showrunners, there are only two: the aforementioned Westworld, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Robert Carlock and Tina Fey).

Across all the writing categories, only one female writer does not share credit with at least one male writer: Sarah Silverman for Sarah Silverman: A Speck of Dust, in the Writing for a Variety Special category.

Other notable nominations from this year’s list include Shannon Purser, who plays Stranger Things’ Barb – a character with minimal screen time perhaps, but who made a big impact – being nominated for Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

Carrie Fisher has been posthumously nominated in the same category for comedy, for her turn in Catastrophe.

Find the the full list of Emmy nominations here. The 69th Emmy Awards take place on 17 September.

Images: Channel 4 / HBO / Rex Features