The Emmy nominations are out, and if you're a fan of geek culture, you probably recognize a whole lot of the names on that list from movies, TV shows, and video games you consume.
As geek culture has increasingly become the heart of pop culture, it's sometimes difficult to find a major Hollywood star who has not appeared in a superhero movie or other major genre franchise.
That sometimes feels like it is less true when it comes to award-nominated movies and TV, since the Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes tend to exist in a world all their own.
Hell, the whole reason there are so many Best Picture nominees at the Oscars now is in large part due to the perceived snub that The Dark Knight got in 2008.
It may be something of a surprise, then, that so many of the nominees for acting awards have fairly extensive experience in the world of sci-fi, fantasy, superhero fiction, animation, and other ostensibly "geek" areas.
We are skipping over the folks whose only geek credentials are appearing on The Simpsons or American Dad, as almost everyone in Hollywood gets that invite once they are sufficiently famous and it doesn't necessarily indicate that they are part of that show's target audience. We will, however, mention those kinds of guest roles if the person makes the list because of some other work.
So...where do you know this year's Emmy nominees from? Here goes...!
LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
The world of Wonder Woman was well-represented in this category.
Keri Russell, who became a household name with JJ Abrams and The Batman's Matt Reeves on Felicity in the late '90s, was actually Diana/Wonder Woman in the fan-favorite 2009 animated movie. Besides that, she had minor roles in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Mission: Impossible III. For the truly hardcore geeks in the audience, she appeared in the never-aired live-action pilot to Clerks.
Robin Wright, who appeared as Antiope in this year's Wonder Woman, also snagged a nomination. Before Wonder Woman, Wright appeared in the 2007 CG-animated Beowulf...and of course is probably best known for her role in The Princess Bride.
Viola Davis, who of course played Amanda Waller in last year's Suicide Squad and is expected to return for its sequel, was nominated again for How to Get Away With Murder -- and she has also appeared in Ender's Game, The Andromeda Strain, and Solaris.
Rounding out the category, there's The Handmaiden's Tale star Elisabeth Moss, who took time out between appearing on acclaimed dramas like The West Wing and Mad Men to voice Arisia in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights; and Westworld star Evan Rachel Wood. Besides, y'know, Westworld...she also played Sophie-Anne Leclerq on True Blood.
LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
The actor race is not too much different -- with the exception that you're going back a bit further to track some of these guys's geek roots.
That's definitely true for Kevin Spacey, who played Lex Luthor in 2006's Superman Returns. In the kind of career that makes it easy for critics to take him "seriously," the only other major nerd culture role he had was as Jonathan Irons in the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare video game.
Similarly, Sterling K. Brown from This Is Us has a bit of a history in genre fare: he appeared in Supernatural as Gordon Walker. Soon, though, he's doubling down with both Black Panther and The Predator.
Besides The Omen and Bojack Horseman, there are plenty of things to point to Liev Schreiber with: he appeared in the first three films of the Scream franchise, and was Sabretooth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (for the handful of you out there who haven't pledged to forget that debacle).
Anthony Hopkins, of course, has a long, esteemed career doing serious dramas; his geek cred is pretty well established, too. Hopkins plays Odin in the Thor franchise; he showed up in Beowulf, RED 2, and the Silence of the Lambs franchise. Of course, he's nominated for Westworld, and most recently he played a key role in Transformers: The Last Knight.
Last but not least: Heroes standout Milo Ventimiglia, who has also appeared in the Blade and Wolverine anime-style animated series as Wolverine. He also appeared in the Iron Man and Ultimate Spider-Man series, and briefly in live-action on Gotham.prevnext
LEAD ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE
Felicity Huffman, who was nominated for her work on "American Crime," previously worked on Kim Possible (as Betty Director) and in a fan-favorite episode of The X-Files, based loosely on John Carpenter's The Thing.
Nicole Kidman, for her part, is currently working on Aquaman -- her second DC movie, after a turn in Batman Forever. In the animation department, she appeared in Happy Feet.
Jessica Lange, meanwhile, worked for decades but only very occasionally worked on genre stuff. Before American Horror Story, she was in 1976's King Kong.
Before her nominee for Feud, Susan Sarandon -- not an actress generally associated with genre fare -- had a surprising number of previous geek-friendly appearances, from The Simpsons and American Dad to Cloud Atlas -- and of course, her career-defining turn in Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Even Reese Witherspoon has some: the Monsters vs. Aliens franchise star has also appeared in King of the Hill, Little Nicky, The Simpsons and The Muppets. Coming up soon, she'll appear in Ava Duvernay's A Wrinkle in Time.prevnext
LEAD ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES/TV MOVIE
There are some big-time actors in this category, and what that means is that it's a few really big roles.
Riz Ahmed, for instance, appeared in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and before that hadn't done a whole lot of recognizable work. He appeared in Jason Bourne, the most recent installment of that franchise.
Benedict Cumberbatch is...well, you know him. Sherlock, for which he's nominated, likely counts -- but even if not, he was just the title character in Doctor Strange, and not long ago, he appeared in Star Trek Into Darkness as Khan.
Hollywood legend Robert DeNiro makes the list -- and yeah! He was Boris in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. Beyond that, you've got Limitless, Machete, and Neil Gaiman's Stardust. He also played a key role in Brazil, Terry Gilliam's brilliant, bizarre genre epic.
Ewan McGregor, of course, was Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels, cementing his place as a geek culture icon forever. He also appeared in Jack the Giant Slayer, Robots, and and Beauty and the Beast.
Beloved indie film icon John Turturro appeared in Cars 2. That's...pretty bad. He gets a little cred back in the eyes of fans (though not much from critics) for his recurring role as Agent Simmons in Michael Bay's live-action Transformers franchise.
Last but not least, you have Geoffrey Rush, an actor you might recognize as Casanova Frankenstein from Mystery Men. He has also appeared in Minions and in a key role in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.prevnext
LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY
Better Things star Pamela Adlon has appeared in a few episodes of Teen Titans Go! as Rose Wilson. Prior to that, she had already made appearances in The Animatrix and King of the Hill. She's probably the most recognizable to many of our readers as Halley Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory.
Mom's Allison Janney, who played Madge Nelson in Minions, is probably best known for roles like The West Wing and 10 Things I Hate About You, but she has also appeared in things like Phineas and Ferb and Finding Nemo. Most recently, she appeared in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Even though she's relatively young, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Elle Kemper has a boatload of credits to her name. The former The Office standout has also appeared in 21 Jump Street, American Dad, Secret Life of Pets, and Smurfs: The Lost Village.
You wouldn't think of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a geeky actress, but she's got plenty of animation experience. She appeared in Planes, A Bug's Life, and Hey Arnold, and most recognizably, she has appeared in a handful of episodes of The Simpsons as Gloria.
Lily Tomlin has done anything, and can do anything. Let's face it. Starting with The Electric Company and The Incredible Shrinking Woman, she's been no stranger to genre fare. Like so many people who were famous in the '90s, she appeared on both The Simpsons and The X-Files -- but arguably the most interesting one is her role as Toki in the English dub of Ponyo.
Even Jane Fonda, the controversial actress and Hollywood royalty, has both Barbarella and The Simpsons under her belt over the years.prevnext
LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY
Last but not least...
Aziz Ansari, who appeared alongside plenty of geek icons on Scrubs for a while, has provided voices for Bob's Burgers and Ice Age: Continental Drift (plus its video game tie-in) and the movie Epic.
Zach Galifianakis, also known for Bob's Burgers, has also appeared in Birdman, The Muppets, and Puss in Boots. Arguably his most recognizable geek role was as Ray Hueston in Bored to Death, in which he played a comic book artist.
black-ish actor Anthony Anderson, who many might recognize from the Agent Cody Banks franchise, also appeared in a slew of geek stuff over the years. Anderson was one of only a few people to successfully transition from the horror comedies of Scary Movie 3 and 4 to Scream 4, a franchise explicitly parodied in his previous films. He also showed up in Richie Rich and Psych, plus did some voice work on Diablo III.
Transparent's Jeffrey Tambor has a history. He appeared in the two Hellboy movies, and of course was the father in Arrested Development. He's also got Archer, Tangled (and Tangled: The Series), Psych, and Trolls under his belt.0comments
Probably you're expecting us to bring up Shameless star William H. Macy's role in Jurassic Park III -- and sure, of course. He was also the narrator on the early episodes of PBS's Curious George, though, and played a minor role on Batman Beyond. Most beloved to us, though? He was The Shoveler on Mystery Men.
...And of course there's Community actor Donald Glover, a geek icon in and of himself, who just recently appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming as a kind of proto version of The Prowler. He also has the Deadpool animated series coming up.prev