Emmy Awards: ‘Game of Thrones’ Soars with 24 Nominations

Game of Thrones Emmy Nominations HBO
Courtesy of HBO

The nominations for the 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards have been announced, with HBO’s fantasy drama “Game of Thrones” leading the pack with 24 nominations — including one for outstanding drama series.

Limited series “American Horror: Freak Show” and “Olive Kitteridge” were the second- and third-highest nominees with 19 and 13 nominations, respectively.

Also competing in the drama series category alongside “Game of Thrones” are Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards,” AMC’s “Mad Men” and “Better Call Saul,” Showtime’s “Homeland” and PBS’ “Downton Abbey.”

Comedy series nominees include “Louie,” “Modern Family,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Silicon Valley,” “Veep,” “”Transparent” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

Thanks to “Game of Thrones’” haul, HBO set a new Emmy best by raking in 126 noms in total, topping its previous high of 124 set in 2004.

ABC was a distant second with 42, followed by NBC and CBS with 41 apiece. FX Networks claimed 38 and Fox grabbed 35. Netflix was right behind with 34, followed by PBS (29), Comedy Central (25) and AMC (24).

The wealth of nominations that went to Netflix and Amazon series reflect the breadth of the digital medium these days — and are a sign that Emmy voters were willing to look beyond the tried and true in evaluating the landscape. That was likely aided by the fact that online voting made it easier for the Academy’s 20,000-plus members to take part in noms voting on their own timetables.

Changes in Emmy voting rules were evident in the bumper crop of seven nominees in both the comedy and drama series categories. Other categories such as supporting comedy actress had a whopping eight nominees.

Half of this year’s lead drama actors were first-time nominees in the category including Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”), Kyle Chandler (“Bloodline”), Liev Schreiber (“Ray”), Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”), Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”), and Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”). Also nominated were vets Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss from “Mad Men,” Claire Danes (“Homeland”), Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright from “House of Cards,” and Jeff Daniels for “The Newsroom.”

The biggest surprises came in the category of comedy series, where CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” TV’s most-watched comedy series, was left off the list for the first time since 2010.

Netflix’s newbie “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” broke through in its first season with seven noms, another surprise. Amazon’s “Transparent” was recognized by Emmy voters — an expected move given the accolades showered on the transgender series.

“Louie,” “Modern Family,” “Veep” and “Silicon Valley” were repeat nominees, while NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” made the cut for its final season.

The entry of Amy Schumer (“Inside Amy Schumer”), Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie”) and Lisa Kudrow (“The Comeback”) made for a big shakeup in the lead comedy actress race. Lena Dunham of “Girls” is out of the mix this year, as is Melissa McCarthy for CBS’ “Mike & Molly.”

Jim Parsons of “Big Bang” and Julianna Margulies of “The Good Wife” were among the Emmy stalwarts left out of the race this year.

“Good Wife” also failed to make the cut for drama series, although it grabbed acting noms for Alan Cumming, Christine Baranski and Michael J. Fox.

Among comedy thesps, Anthony Anderson of ABC’s “Black-ish” and Will Forte of Fox’s “Last Man on Earth” were surprise nominees for first-year shows. Jeffrey Tambor of “Transparent” was a slam-dunk given the acclaim for his work as a transgender woman.

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” grabbed supporting acting bids for Jane Krakowski and Tituss Burgess even as star Ellie Kemper did not crack the tough lead comedy actress category.

Another notable statistic from the comedy acting nominees: Edie Falco’s bid for “Nurse Jackie” makes it nomination No. 12 in a lead acting category for “The Sopranos” alum. That makes her tied with Angela Lansbury for the most noms in a lead acting category.

The lead drama actress race is a new ballgame this year with four fresh entrants from last year, including Henson of Fox’s “Empire” and Davis of ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder.” This marks the first time two African-Americans have been nommed in a category that has never been won by a black actress.

ABC broke through in the Academy’s revamped limited series category with “American Crime” grabbing a best series nom as well as acting bids for stars Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton. The field’s other contenders include FX’s “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” SundanceTV’s “The Honorable Woman,” which also garnered a nom for star Maggie Gyllenhaal; HBO’s “Olive Kitteridge” and PBS’ “Wolf Hall.”

The made-for-TV movie category is a motley mix of titles. HBO’s Bessie Smith bio “Bessie,” which earned a nom for star Queen Latifah, is the clear frontrunner in a race that also includes HBO’s “Hello Ladies” wrap-up movie and drama “Nightingale,” which landed a nom for star David Oyelowo. Lifetime’s “Grace of Monaco,” the Grace Kelly biopic that was scrapped for theatrical distribution by the Weinstein Co., landed a nomination, along with National Geographic Channel’s “Killing Jesus” and Acorn TV’s “Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case.”

In the variety series heat, Emmy voters gave a final season salute to CBS “The Late Show With David Letterman,” which nabbed its first nom since 2009. HBO’s “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” moved into the race, edging out perennial HBO nominee “Real Time With Bill Maher.” “The Colbert Report,” “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Saturday Night Live” were repeat nominees.

The reality-competition field was a carbon copy of 2014: “The Amazing Race” (last year’s winner), “Dancing With the Stars,” “Project Runway,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Top Chef” and “The Voice.”

HBO’s “Thrones” comes out of the nominations announcement with renewed momentum in the most competitive Emmy race of all.

The show, which just wrapped its fifth season, has been nominated every year that it has been eligible but has yet to win the top prize.

Peter Dinklage won for drama supporting actor in 2011.

Andy Samberg is set to host the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast, to air live Sept. 20 on Fox. The three-hour ceremony will originate from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

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  1. goatsandmonkeys says:

    the producers attempted to beef up listless writing, and empty scenes with snuff.

  2. bobmelan says:

    wow Ellie got hosed.

  3. Mike M says:

    Good luck to everyone on the Good Wife set this year; my prayers are with you. Nominees please practice your new split screen sides in your dressing rooms… Christine Baranski – TWO nominations… ouch!

  4. RS says:

    And yet again The Walking Dead gets screwed. So many times they should have been up for an Emmy, and it gets passes up each time. WTF ?!?!?!?

  5. Al Swearengen says:

    I just don’t get it, Game of Thrones has its worst season and gets showered with nominations. Where was this kind of love when the show was actually good?

    And why the hell have Dinklage and Clarke been nominated? they did absolutely nothing this season to warrant one.

    At least the Emmy’s did one thing right, Ben Mendelsohn fully deserves that Best Supporting Actor nomination for his outstanding performance in Bloodline.

  6. Alex says:

    Atleast “American Horror Story” got plenty of noms, other then that, IT’S A STUPID LIST!!

  7. Kyle Chandler was not nominated fir the first time. He has been nominated twice before in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category and won for “Friday Night Lights” fifth and final season four years ago.

  8. Isn says:

    How did Clarke get nominated over Harrington?

    • Al Swearengen says:

      She’s more popular, and probably the male voters are attracted to her. I agree with you though, Kit was way better than Clarke this season.

  9. Angel Torres says:

    I take this moment to declare that the Emmys should change their name to annual “Same ol Same ol” awards. It’s almost the exact same nominations as last year and the year before that. Not sure why they bother to even call it Emmys or have a big announcement ceremony. They should just tell everyone to go to their site to see last years noms, again.
    I am not saying that these same nominations aren’t deserving, but there are other actors/shows that work just as hard too but aren’t recognized. AND WHERE IN THE F@&$ DO THEY GET OFF NOT NOMINATING the biggest show if the year (in ratings) in Empire??? Isn’t that what this is about, the year in review? Empire broke ratings records and then broke them all with each passing week, but no nomination??? I tell you, SAME OL SAME OL

    • Ian says:

      Empire wasn’t a good show, by the the way. Popularity doesn’t equal to quality.

      • Jamie says:

        Empire is a great show. Shame it didn’t get nominated. It deserved it.

      • Angel Torres says:

        Why wasnt it a good show? Because it was on Fox and not HBO or the internet? Or was it because it’s a black cast? Really, tell me why it wasn’t a good show?

    • Isn says:

      You are so right. I could swear this is almost identitical to last year.

      • Angel Torres says:

        Exactly!! It’s the same thing every year with the Emmys AND the Golden Globes. It’s like they watch the same 5 shows every year and don’t consider anything else. It has ALWAYS been that way.
        In the years of Seinfeld, it’s was always Seinfeld, Frasor, Mad About You, Friends. All great shows, but it’s like they were nominated year after year and the only shows on TV. There weren’t other channels that showed other shows, just these. And now, it’s the same thing. Same Ol Same Ol

  10. Troubadour Russ says:

    Melissa McCarthy is not on Mom she’s on Mike & Molly.Allison Janney is on Mom.

  11. tvn says:

    Gee, glad you know GOT is getting 24 nominations because we sure don’t see the list anywhere!

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