'Watchmen' Star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Reflects on the HBO Series' 26 Emmy Nominations (Exclusive)

The show is the most-nominated of the year. Actor and nominee Yahya Abdul-Mateen II says, 'It feels so good to be in this moment.'

Watchmen, HBO’s superhero series starring Regina King and the first modern TV show to depict the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, is up for 26 awards, including Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for King’s acclaimed performance, making it the most-nominated program of the year.   

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who is up for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his role on the series, tells ET, “It feels so good to be in this moment.” 

The breakout star then went on to acknowledge the creative team, which includes creator Damon Lindelof, writer Cord Jefferson as well as directors Nicole Kassell, Steph Green and Stephen Williams, all of whom are nominated for writing and directing. 

“This is about the actors and the creative team and the writers,” he continues, before giving a shout-out to the fans “who watched the show and who tuned in every week. And then who went online to have dialogue and have conversations about the show and about America's history, America's troubled past and about where we are now.”

The nominees for the 72nd Primetime Emmys come two months after the protests over George Floyd’s death reignited the Black Lives Matter movement. The protests have called for the end of systemic racism in the country as well as more inclusive representation of Black voices and experiences on screen and in Hollywood. 

During that time, many pointed to Watchmen for tackling those issues with deftness and humanity. “I'm just really excited to be a part of something that was entertaining, important, but also useful,” Abdul-Mateen II says, adding that the series “wasn't made to be experienced in a vacuum.” 

In addition to the 26 Emmy nominations, Watchmen has scored a number of accolades, including two Critics' Choice Television Awards and a Peabody Award for Entertainment

The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards will be handed out live Sunday, Sept. 20 during a broadcast hosted by Jimmy Kimmel on ABC.