Several perennial favorites snubbed in best of show honors as online streaming catches up to its analog counterparts.
Epic fantasy drama Game of Thrones led the pack of contenders for television’s coveted Primetime Emmy awards Thursday for a second straight year, with nods in an impressive 24 categories.
The grisly show will once again vie for the coveted outstanding drama series trophy—an honor that has so far eluded it—against Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Homeland, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Mad Men. American Horror Story: Freak Show scored the second highest tally with 19 nods, followed by Olive Kitteridge with 13.
Bessie, an HBO film about the life of blues singer Bessie Smith starring Queen Latifah, scored 12 nominations for television’s equivalent of the Oscars, to be handed out on Sept. 20 in Los Angeles. There were also some notable snubs, including perennial favorites The Good Wife, Lena Dunham’s Girls, and The Big Bang Theory—all shut out of best show honors.
Empire, Fox’s debut melodrama about family feuds in a musical empire, only garnered three nominations despite its success with TV viewers, 17.6 million of whom tuned into the first season finale. But fan favorite Taraji P. Henson could make history if she wins in the best actress in a drama category for her portrayal of family matriarch Cookie Lyon—no African American actress has ever won that prize.
Another black actress, two-time Oscar nominee Viola Davis, is nominated in the same category for her work on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder.
Wildly popular retro-cool Mad Men again had a strong showing with 11 nominations for the second half of its final season. “I am so lucky to have been a part of Mad Men and to have played such a wonderful character like Peggy,” said best actress nominee Elisabeth Moss, adding: “I am ecstatic for the rest of my Mad Men family who also got recognized.”
Political thriller House of Cards also scored 11 nods, as did dark comedy Transparent, which won the first-ever Golden Globes for online retail giant Amazon earlier this year. American Crime and Boardwalk Empire took 10 nominations each, followed by political comedy Veep with nine.
Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus—a nominee—quipped, in character: “As president, my staff and I are too busy doing the people’s business to watch television. Nonetheless, we are thrilled to be a part of this celebration of creativity. [Go Jon Hamm!]” she added, referring to the Mad Men heartthrob.
Game of Thrones already garnered the most nominations for last year’s Emmy awards, but went home with none of the big prizes. Drama Breaking Bad and long-time comedy hit Modern Family were named the best shows.
The hotly-anticipated nominations were announced by Orange Is The New Black star Uzo Aduba and Cat Deeley, host of So You Think You Can Dance.
For best comedy series, defending champion Modern Family will go up against Louie, Parks and Recreation, Silicon Valley, Transparent, Veep and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Louie star Louis C. K. is up for best comedy actor, against Anthony Anderson for Black-ish, Matt LeBlanc for Episodes, Don Cheadle for House of Lies, Will Forte for The Last Man On Earth, William H. Macy for Shameless and Jeffrey Tambor for Transparent.
Transparent, about a family patriarch who comes out as transgender, was one of the biggest hits last year for Amazon, which is battling to catch up with streaming pioneer Netflix—home of House of Cards and Orange—for awards glory.
The Primetime Emmys will be hosted by comedian Andy Samberg, star of the award-winning series Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Touching on the perennial theme of lack of diversity in Hollywood, Emmys organizers were keen to point out Thursday that the nominee list included a 60 percent increase in female screenwriters and directors since last year. “This was truly a remarkable year in television,” said Television Academy chairman Bruce Rosenblum. “From the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, to David Letterman’s retirement and the conclusion of Mad Men, television’s creativity, influence and impact continue to grow and have never been stronger.”
Below is a list of the nominees in key categories for the 2015 Primetime Emmy awards:
Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Orange is the New Black
Outstanding Comedy Series
Parks and Recreation
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Lead Actor, Drama
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Lead Actress, Drama
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Lead Actor, Comedy
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Will Forte, The Last Man On Earth
Louis C. K., Louie
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Lead Actress, Comedy
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Lily Tomlin, Grace And Frankie
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks And Recreation
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Supporting Actor, Drama
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game Of Thrones
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Michael Kelly, House Of Cards
Supporting Actress, Drama
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game Of Thrones
Emilia Clarke, Game Of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black
Supporting Actor, Comedy
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep
Supporting Actress, Comedy
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Niecy Nash, Getting On
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Lead Actor, Limited Series or Movie
Timothy Hutton, American Crime
Ricky Gervais, Derek Special
Adrien Brody, Houdini
David Oyelowo, Nightingale
Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge
Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
Lead Actress, Limited Series or Movie
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Queen Latifah, Bessie
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
Emma Thompson, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case
Grace of Monaco
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