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2020 Primetime Emmy Animation Nominees Announced

The Emmy Awards are to American television what the Oscars are to movies. The Television Academy recognises achievement in small-screen entertainment broadcast over the last year (which in US TV terms runs from June 1-May 31). And much as with the Oscars, how accurate they are in their nominations is debatable. The nominations for this year's Primetime Emmys have now been revealed.

The Emmys have several categories dedicated to animation, or which animation is eligible for. The biggest of them is arguably the award for Outstanding Animated Program. The category has been running since 1979, and its earlier years primarily went to one-offs and holiday specials. Since 1990 however, it has been dominated by one show. The Simpsons has been nominated 29 times (only missing out on a nomination in 2014) and won 11 times, including last year. No surprise to see it nominated again this year then. In fact, there are no surprises anywhere in the category, in which every show is a returning nominee. Netflix's BoJack Horseman and Big Mouth both score their second nominations. Rick and Morty also gets a second nomination, having won the category in its first try back in 2018. Rounding out the category is nine-time nominee, two-time winner Bob's Burgers.

It's hard to justify the presence of The Simpsons in the category in 2020. It feels like it gets in every year much as Disney and Pixar do at the Oscars- people who don't care about or respect animation just tick the box for the one they've heard of. The series is long past its best, but in a year where we've had new series such as Undone, Harley Quinn, Central Park and Solar Opposites,  it feels particularly shortsighted.

In the Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program (established in 2008) three-time winner Robot Chicken gets its 10th nomination. Steven Universe follow-up Steven Universe Future is also nominated, on top of five nominations for the original series. The remaining nod goes to Forky Asks A Question, the first for a Disney Plus original animation, which is as close to a surprise as we are getting this year.

The Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance Category, first awarded in 2010, has been dominated primarily by The Simpsons and Family Guy, with the spoils split between the two Fox sitcoms every year so far.  Last year Seth MacFarlane won, but we're guaranteed there won't be a repeat as no Family Guy actors are in the mix this year.  The Simpsons is the most likely winner as both Nancy Cartwright and Hank Azaria are nominated this year. Apple's first adult animation Central Park gets recognition with a nominee for Leslie Odom Junior, while Wanda Sykes is nominated for Crank Yankers.  The final nomination goes to an animated character in a live-action/VFX production,  Taika Waititi for his role as droid AG-11 in The Mandalorian.

A Juried award will also be handed out for individual achievement in animation.

This year's (socially distant) Primetime Emmys will take place on Sunday, September 20.