It cost Gwendoline Christie, Alfie Allen and Carice van Houten $225 each to submit themselves for consideration to the Emmys, which, given that all three were announced as nominees last week, sounds, retrospectively, like a bit of a bargain. The Game of Thrones actors were not put forward by makers HBO, which is fair enough, I suppose, since the show had roughly 7,000 actors in every episode and not playing favourites would have been a budget-busting exercise in diplomacy. After all, they spent all their money on dragons.

Apparently, it is common practice for people to submit themselves, if their network does not, but it is less common for them to actually win the nod having done so. The internet seemed impressed by the go-get-’em attitude of the trio and, to show its approval, allowed the meme of Brienne of Tarth writing in the Book of Brothers to graduate from a Sex and the City/Mean Girls spoof to a symbol of knowing one’s own value and pushing for what you want.

There is an aptness to the underdog feel of it all, particularly for Christie and Allen, whose Game of Thrones characters had to triumph over not being a man and having their penis chopped off, respectively. But it is also a sign of the general underdoggyness of the entire process this year, which has been a little less predictable and mainstream than usual.

Of course, part of the fun is arguing over who should and should not have been included. Julia Roberts was not recognised for Homecoming, nor Emma Stone for Maniac, and nor was Christine Baranski for The Good Fight, which is particularly egregious because I think she should be given it automatically, every year. The Big Bang Theory, usually an Emmys darling, was denied a victory lap and The Kominsky Method, previously beloved, suddenly lost its shine.

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Meanwhile, smaller shows stepped up to the plate. The charming Schitt’s Creek surprised everyone by bagging a handful of nominations, hitman-comedy Barry picked up 17, while Fleabag (you may have heard of it) scattered its stars all over the acting categories.

Given the sheer amount of television that is being produced now, for an extraordinary number of providers, it should not be a surprise that these categories seem more fragmented than usual. That’s not to say that the big guns have been ousted – GoT, Chernobyl and Veep all performed with predictable dominance – but the potential for upset is thrilling. Oh, and Better Things was robbed.

Steph McGovern: tricky things, four letter words

Steph McGovern



Steph McGovern: pronunciation problems. Photograph: Richard Kendall/BBC/Hat Trick Productions/Richard Kendall

BBC Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern revealed last week that a viewer had sent her an email in which he requested she start to say the word “here” properly. In the “saying it properly” stakes, “here” is no “defibrillator”. It is no “prorogue”, a word that sounds as if it’s tripping over its own shoelaces. “Here” finding itself at the centre of a pronunciation controversy, with its four simple letters, two of which are a lowly “e”, could be the most exciting thing that has ever happened to it.

McGovern is from Middlesbrough and says “here” with two syllables. She has spoken before about the importance of class diversity and encouraging more working-class people into broadcasting. Viewer Trevor, of the email fame, decided to get in touch to inform her that “your accent doesn’t bother me, apart from that one word you mangle”.

I have tried, but I cannot say “here” with one syllable without sounding like someone has just performed a stealth Heimlich manoeuvre on me, or I’m testing out a very bad impression of David Cameron. Still, we might as well put Trevor to good use. He should be dispatched to the States, to lay down the law about the word “squirrel”.

Jennifer Lopez as Robin Hood in high heels? Bring it on

Jennifer Lopez



Jennifer Lopez: turning the tables on bankers. Photograph: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

It takes a lot for a new movie to stand out in a week that gave us both FaceApp’s ability to imagine ourselves as more tired, weary and haggard – for the tech-averse, watching the News at Ten at seems to have the same effect – and the trailer for Cats, which is like FaceApp, but with famous people selecting “feline” instead of “without surgical intervention”. If James Corden and Judi Dench aren’t cosplaying Celebrity Big Brother 2006, the George Galloway/Rula Lenska edition, then I will march on the multiplex and will not be responsible for my actions.

But then the trailer for Hustlers came along. Out in September, Hustlers has the cast of my dreams: Constance Wu, Lizzo, Cardi B and Julia Stiles, who will forever hold a place in the heart of this particular 10 Things I Hate About You fan. Jennifer Lopez leads as a pole-dancer with a sideline in Occupy Wall Street-style rousing speeches, who decides to turn the tables and fleece the bankers who have fleeced the people. A bit like Robin Hood, with higher heels and more impressive core strength. It’s inspired by a true story and looks like everything Ocean’s 8 should have been.

This era of female-led crime capers has been a wonderful treat. The gross-out explosion – Bridesmaids into Bad Moms, Girls Trip and Rough Night – has evolved into a wave of crime movies that have invigorated the genre. Widows, outrageously overlooked for awards last year, set up a summer of bad deeds for Hustlers and The Kitchen, which sees gross-com veterans Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish muscling in on the streets of 1970s New York. If they perform well, perhaps we might get an Ocean’s 9. I’d love to see what it could do with an actual plot.

Rebecca Nicholson is an Observer columnist



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