Any good nomination-morning story starts with a bit of real life intruding in. For Daniel Radcliffe, it was trying to get his baby boy to go down for a nap before he got a string of congratulatory texts. For Nathan Lane, it was walking his dog—“Life goes on, even when you’re nominated for an Emmy,” he says with exaggerated grandeur. And for Riley Keough, it was putting her phone on silent to stay present with her family, before returning to the hubbub that awaited her.
Radcliffe’s nomination for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or TV movie is one of eight earned by Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, a result probably no one imagined when the film originated as a parody trailer on Funny or Die in 2010. But that makes the victory all the more sweet. “It makes me feel good about the way I choose to do things,” says Radcliffe, whose post–Harry Potter career has included swerves into the absurd (2016’s Swiss Army Man) and flat-out ridiculous. “Certainly there was no part of me that was like, I’ll play Weird Al and that will be awards bait.”
Lane will be returning to the Emmys this year for the first time as a winner—he nabbed guest actor in a comedy last year for the same role that got him nominated this year, the shady Teddy Dimas on Only Murders in the Building. He admits that having finally won after seven nominations takes a bit of the pressure off—if he hadn’t won, he says, “I’d have to call Susan Lucci and get some advice.” And he’ll get next year off: He isn’t part of the upcoming third season of Only Murders because of his demanding Broadway schedule, though he’s holding out hope to return in a potential fourth season. And he’s confident they’ve found a good replacement for him; with Meryl Streep among the new season’s stars, “I’m sure they’re engraving her Emmy right now just to save time.”
James Marsden can reasonably claim to be surprised by his nomination—his series Jury Duty, in which he plays an over-the-top jerk version of himself, was an underdog hit in the spring. It surprised almost everyone by getting four nominations, Marsden’s included. “I didn’t think I was ever in the conversation,” he says. “I really didn’t know if the show was either. So it was a genuine surprise when the show got its love.”
Keough, meanwhile, was widely tipped for a nomination for her lead role in the limited series Daisy Jones & the Six, but had made her peace with whatever was going to happen. “I wasn’t set on anything,” she says. “I was kind of okay with either outcome—if I did or didn’t get nominated. And I was very just grateful for the experience.” While she now is a nominee, she’s celebrating the way she probably would have even if she hadn’t gotten a nod: “I’m not working at the moment, so I’ll just spend the time at home with my family and celebrate.”
Paul Walter Hauser, already a Critics Choice and Golden Globe winner for his role in Black Bird, was sweating on behalf of his late costar, Ray Liotta. “You know, this show came out a year ago, and you wonder if people are going to remember everything,” he says. “And Ray really gave one of his greatest performances, just before he left us. That’s definitely something worth celebrating, though bittersweet.”
It all started with a sign from above for Dominique Fishback, nominated in the limited-series category for her powerful turn in Swarm. She woke up in the middle of the night, hours before the nominations were announced, and spotted a good omen: It was 3:22 a.m., and her birthday is March 22. “So I said, Well, that’s good that I caught those numbers,” she tells us. “That’s a good Emmy sign.”
Succession’s J. Smith Cameron, meanwhile, was on vacation in Italy with her husband, writer Kenneth Longerman, when she heard that she’d been nominated for her second Emmy. Upon arriving there, Cameron says, she had reached out via Instagram to White Lotus star Sabrina Impacciatore—also recognized Wednesday by the TV Academy—“because I just assumed she lived in Rome, and we were in Rome. I wrote her a message just on Instagram saying, ‘I don’t even know if you’re here. I kind of assume you live here, but I don’t know that. But we are here and we’d love to buy you an espresso or Prosecco if you’re around.’”