Emmys: Cecily Strong was Saturday Night Live’s biggest snub

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: Cecily Strong performs at the celebration of Urban Arts Partnership 25th Anniversary Benefit at Cipriani Wall Street on March 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Urban Arts Partnership)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: Cecily Strong performs at the celebration of Urban Arts Partnership 25th Anniversary Benefit at Cipriani Wall Street on March 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Urban Arts Partnership) /

Saturday Night Live earned a number of Emmy nominations but Cecily Strong deserved recognition.

The nominees for the 2019 Emmy Awards were announced on Tuesday. For every show and individual recognized with a nomination, there is another that fans feel was snubbed. Saturday Night Live‘s Cecily Strong is in the “snubbed” category this year.

Saturday Night Live received a nomination for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, and Outstanding Directing in a Variety Series. In the acting categories, several hosts and recurring guests were nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor/Actress in a Comedy. Those include Adam Sandler, John Mulaney, Robert De Niro, Sandra Oh, and Emma Thompson.

The only cast member to receive a nomination was Kate McKinnon. She is certainly worthy of the honor and has been one of, if the not the, most featured performers on Saturday Night Live. The only nomination that is a bit of a head-scratcher is Robert De Niro for his role as Robert Mueller. De Niro often looked a tad uncomfortable and a step behind in the live sketches.

But the MVP of season 44 was Cecily Strong. The season demonstrated Strong’s range and talent as a performer that has been improving year after year since she joined the show in 2012. In a year that tried to find a balance between political comedy and original sketches, Strong showed that she could go between the two with ease and elevate the quality of every sketch.

An interview with Strong suggested that the season finale hosted by Paul Rudd would be submitted on Strong’s behalf for an Emmy nomination. It is clear to see why as it features everything that makes Strong a valuable performer, especially in season 44.

Her most popular character during the season was her impression of Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro. The writers wisely decided to the best way to use her was opposite Colin Jost at the “Weekend Update” desk and allowing Strong to shine.

Not only is the impression fantastic but Strong also shows off a skill for physical and slapstick comedy. She manages to hold it together even while Jost starts to lose it with every spit take and outburst by Strong’s Pirro.

Shifting from the political sketches to original, Strong didn’t miss a beat in the finale. She was once again given the chance to show off her singing talents in the “Music Box” sketch. It was a strange sketch that felt at home in the season finale, boosted by Strong and Rudd working off one another.

Strong even showed that she could sing while in character during the cold open. She once again portrayed First Lady Melania Trump and this time was able to give her a little more personality rather than being the cold straight-woman to Alec Baldwin’s President Trump.

One of Kate McKinnon’s most popular characters is Colleen Rafferty, the woman who finds herself the frequent target of extraterrestrial and paranormal torture. It is an original character that hasn’t lost any of its appeal no matter how many times she pops up and drops a line like “my clam casino and my bean burrito.” It is one reason that McKinnon was once against nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

But McKinnon’s character only works because of the other two characters with her in each sketch. These are always played by the host and Cecily Strong as Sharon. Strong is the perfect foil to McKinnon’s Rafferty, having a much more enlightened and peaceful experience. She sets up the absurdity detailed by McKinnon. Strong shows off her MVP perfectly nailing her role and letting McKinnon shine.

If all three characters share a crass or insane story then the sketch would lose some of its luster. It would still be funny but by having Strong and the host play it straight, McKinnon can show off her Emmy Award-winning talents. This shows that no matter what her role in a sketch is, Strong can elevate it and her castmates.

The Emmy Awards whiffed by not nominating Cecily Strong for her work this season on Saturday Night Live. Yes, it is impossible to recognize everyone who deserves the honor. But when Strong had such an impressive performance that was praised by fans and critics, it’s hard not to question the decision to leave her off the list. Thankfully, it sounds like there will be at least one more chance to get it right when Strong returns to SNL for season 45.

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The Emmy Awards will be broadcast on Sept. 22 2019. Fans will no doubt be rooting for Saturday Night Live, Kate McKinnon, John Mulaney and the rest of the nominees. Let’s also hope it will be the last time Cecily Strong is left of the list of nominees for her work on Saturday Night Live.