'The Handmaid's Tale' Scores 11 Nominations for Season 2 Thanks to Rule Change

The Handmaid's Tale

The Hulu series garnered a surprising 11 nominations despite technically being ineligible for top prizes.

When the nominees for the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards were announced on Tuesday, The Handmaid’s Tale garnered a surprising 11 nominations despite technically being ineligible for top prizes.

Thanks to a new rule, dubbed the “dangling episodes rule,” three episodes from the second season that aired outside of the 2018 eligibility period were up for consideration for individual achievement at this year’s ceremony. The series, however, could not compete for top prizes like Outstanding Drama Series or major acting categories because season two had already been nominated at the 2018 Emmys. 

Season three, which premiered after the 2019 eligibility window closed, will be considered for next year’s awards.

The 2019 nominations for the series includes a notable nod for Bradley Whitford for Outstanding Guest Actor. The former West Wing star joined season two as the cryptic Commander Lawrence and has since become a major part of season three. This marks his sixth Emmy nomination. Cherry Jones, meanwhile, earned her second consecutive Outstanding Guest Actress nomination for playing June’s mother, Holly. This is her third Emmy nomination total. 

June’s mom proved lucky for the series with creator Bruce Miller and Kira Snyder nominated for writing the episode, “Holly,” while Daina Reid was nominated for directing it. Reid is also the fourth female director to pick up a nomination for the show after Kari Skogland, Kate Dennis and Reed Morano, who became the first female director to take home the Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series in 22 years after Mimi Leder won for ER in 1995. 

A major player at the Emmys, it’s no surprise those three episodes -- “Holly,” “Postpartum” and “The Word” --  garnered recognition. In its debut season, the Hulu series was nominated for 13 awards, taking home eight, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actress for Elisabeth Moss’ performance as June. The following year, the show picked up 20 nominations and won three. The series now has a total of 44 nominations and 11 wins for its first two seasons. 

The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will be handed out live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 22 on Fox. Check out the full list of nominees below and check out ET Live and ETonline for ongoing coverage of the awards.