Zooey Deschanel
Actress, “New Girl”
Best Actress
Zooey Deschanel may have landed an Emmy nom for lead comedy actress, but the “New Girl” star was feeling more like a baby than her character Jess on the Fox skein.

“My nephew is 9 months old and if you give him a wooden spoon, he gets so excited,” Deschanel said. “I’m like that right now. I’m as excited as a baby. I know I have the best job in the world. When you’re a kid, you dream of doing what you most want to do, and I never in a million years thought this would happen. It’s my wildest dream come true.”

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Bryan Cranston
Actor, “Breaking Bad”
Best Actor in a Drama

“Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston has no idea how the saga of Walter White will end next season — and he likes it that way.

“Along with the fans, I’m wondering too,” he says. “I have no idea. I don’t ask Vince (Gilligan) and he doesn’t tell me. I think it’s better this way. I enjoy the idea that Bryan is on this journey with Walter.”

Cranston was happy to be back in Emmy contention after sitting out last year, when the show was not eligible. But he didn’t take his lead drama actor nom as a given, even though he won three consecutive years for his work on the AMC series.

“I don’t work to get acclaim,” he said. “I work because it’s empowering. Otherwise you develop a sense of entitlement about these things.”

Cranston has been doing a range of feature work in his downtime from “Breaking Bad,” including a major role in the upcoming reboot of “Total Recall.” He’s kept busy behind the camera as a director, and is lined up to direct segs of “The Office” and “Modern Family.” He’s also set to helm the first episode of “Breaking Bad’s” final season.

“I enjoy changing it up,” he said of shifting between comedy and drama series. “Just like in life, you don’t always want to be silly and you don’t always want to be serious.”

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Glenn Close
Actress, “Damages”
Best Actress in a Drama

“Rose Byrne has already texted me!” exclaimed Glenn Close about her “Damages” castmate, who got an early start Thursday and extended congrats to Close on her lead actress Emmy nom. “Rose is a wonderful compatriot throughout this and we’ve developed a deep friendship.”

Close is in the process of developing projects for film that she’s “had on her mind for a while,” but first will return for another season of “Damages.” “In the next season,” she disclosed, “you learn what the seminal events in her life are, and what makes her complicated.”

But for now, Close celebrates her Emmy nomination while visiting her mother in Wyoming. “It was fun to receive the call while with my mom here in Wyoming. She’s so incredibly supportive of everything I’ve done. And, the dogs were thrilled!”

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Jake Kasdan
Director, ‘New Girl”
Jake Kasdan was all smiles on Thursday morning not just for his nom for the pilot of “New Girl,” but for one actor in particular.

“The Max Greenfield aspect of this is so fantastic,” said Kasdan about Greenfield’s supporting actor nom. “He is the nicest guy on earth and has been around for awhile. Till now, he’s been a well-kept secret.”

Kasdan is pursuing a few film projects, but for now has his hands filled with season two of “New Girl” and another Fox comedy “Ben and Kate” bowing in the fall. On top of that, Kasdan will bank on his recent overall deal with 20th TV. “Between ‘New Girl’ and ‘Ben and Kate,’ I think I’ll probably develop at least one comedy and one drama this year.”

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Steve Buscemi
Actor, “Boardwalk Empire”
Best Actor in a Drama

Never let it be said that Steve Buscemi overlooks the worker-bees on “Boardwalk Empire.” As he enjoyed the news of his second consecutive lead actor nom for the HBO drama, he noted that it’s gratifying to see the show’s dozen nominations spread so widely among cast and crew members.

“It’s very nice, especially since I’m just learning of some of the other nominations that are coming in, like hair and makeup. We still have a few episodes we’re filming. I’m on my way to work right now. It’s going to be a great morning in the hair and makeup trailer today,” he said.

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Kevin Costner
Actor, “Hatfields & McCoys”
Best Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

The Emmy nom haul for “Hatfields & McCoys” surprised both cast and crew of the mini. Kevin Costner, who has been nominated for his role as “Devil” Anse Hatfield, initially worried that “Hatfields” “isn’t in vogue at all.” “I’m really happy it turned out this way,” said Costner. “Especially since I didn’t start with the idea that the show would end up here.” Costner absorbed the news of his nom while wandering Oklahoma in search of a shady place to park his tour bus. “I’m touring with a band, and we scored the behind the scenes and making of ‘Hatfields & McCoys.’ We also wrote the theme song and some of our cues found their way into the body of the score. Right now though, I’m just looking for a place to park so that the guys can hang out,” he said.

As for the future, Costner has his sights set on working behind the camera. “I’ve written things I’d like to direct. I’m in possession of another long format story, and I will hopefully bring that to the big screen or to television,” he said.

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Jim Parsons
Actor, “The Big Bang Theory”
Best Actor in a Comedy

Although Jim Parsons already has two consecutive lead comedy actor Emmys under his belt for playing “The Big Bang Theory’s” loveable geek Sheldon Cooper, he’s not exactly expecting a third win.

“Oh my god, obviously I have no clue but the human side of me says no way in hell! I guess anything is possible but that would be a great surprise.”

Parsons has no idea what to expect for the upcoming sixth season, but he has hope that we’ll continue to see more in the blossoming relationship between him and Mayim Bialik, who also nabbed a supporting comedy actress bid.

“I do think we’ll continue exploring the relationship between Sheldon and Amy Fowler, and that’s been one of the great joys, the curious relationship between these bizarre — well I shouldn’t judge them — unique individuals.”

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Damian Lewis
Actor, “Homeland”
Best Actor in a Drama

“I got the phone call completely in my sleep,” “Homeland” star and Emmy nominee Damian Lewis says with a chuckle. “It was like my Emmy alarm clock.”

But it shouldn’t have come as a surprise for the thesp, who has won over critics and viewers alike in his lead role of U.S. Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody, a character who flaunts a nerve-wracking mix of patriotic wartime heroics and possible terrorist underpinnings.

Lewis also notes that it’s the realism of both his character and the show’s brand of suspense that has audiences coming back for more.

“I think people love to be made to feel tense, to squirm,” he says. “There have been other great first seasons on TV, including ’24’ — but there was difficulty continuing to make feel everything real. Here, we have a chance to keep the success rolling — the action of the piece comes from the characters’ conditions, from how they act, from their neuroses, and that’s not gonna change.”

And inspiration for the role still comes strongly for Lewis, who recalled one of the first moments that he realized the show’s potential for brilliance.

“I actually went to [Washington] D.C. and filmed a sequence of me jogging past some of the nation’s most important monuments, finally ending at the Capitol,” Lewis says. “It was a beautiful morning, and I stood there and just thinking: ‘Wow, we’re going straight to the heart of the matter. This is about reality.’ At that moment, I just knew the show was an endeavor worth tackling.”

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Clive Owen
Actor, “Hemingway and Gellhorn”
Best Actor in a Miniseries/Movie

Getting congratulatory calls for his Emmy nom was great, but “Hemingway and Gellhorn” star Clive Owen said the call he received from director Philip Kaufman offering him the role was even more significant.

“I was a fan of Phil Kaufman before the film, so to get the call about the role was amazing,” Owen said. “I immersed myself in Hemingway as much as I could. I’d put it up there as one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”

Owen also just wrapped shooting “Blood Ties” with French director Guillaume Canet. “I’m definitely going to take the next couple months off,” Owen said.

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Max Greenfield
Actor, “New Girl”
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Max Greenfield’s breakthrough on Fox’s “New Girl” has left the thesp in a career whirlwind that now includes an Emmy nom for supporting comedy actor. But it was a moment on the set of the feature “They Came Together” this morning that served as a sign Greenfield has, indeed, finally made it.

“This nomination is very surreal,” Greenfield said. “I’m not screaming and jumping up and down because I’m on set of this movie in New York. I walk into a trailer this morning and Paul Rudd is congratulating me on my Emmy nomination. I was like, ‘What is happening?’ I couldn’t believe it. I was trying to audition for shows two years ago, and now Paul Rudd is giving me congrats in a movie trailer for my Emmy nom.”

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Nicole Kidman
Actress, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”
Best Actress in a Miniseries/Movie

Nicole Kidman may be an Oscar ceremony staple, but the actress is excited to attend the Emmys. “I’ve never been nominated!” exclaimed Kidman.

The thesp picked up a nom for her role as Martha Gellhorn on “Hemingway & Gellhorn” and remarked, “the acknowledgment of her performances was an acknowledgment of her life. I keep reiterating to people, read her things! She was an extraordinary writer.”

Kidman herself “loves going to award shows.” “When you’ve worked in the industry for a long time,” said Kidman, “you really get to see people you’ve known forever.” The Emmys are particularly relevant to Kidman: “I watch a lot of TV here in Nashville, where I live. In fact, that’s why I’m looking forward to watching ‘Nashville’ this fall!”

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Connie Britton
Actress, “American Horror Story”
Best Actress in a Miniseries/Movie

Connie Britton considers her “American Horror Story” lead actress nom to be the perfect sendoff from the series. And though the thesp is now tuning her country singing chops on the set of ABC’s upcoming “Nashville,” her Emmy nomination for “Horror” has allowed her to reflect on her experience with the project.

“I can’t believe I had the opportunity to do a season of that awesome show and get it off the ground with Ryan,” Britton said. “I’m in Nashville right now, and it’s surreal because I’m here prepping for ‘Nashville’ and really being in the mode of this new show when this extraordinary honor comes through for a series I just finished shooting. It all rolls into the next thing. Now, it’s full speed ahead on ‘Nashville’!”

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Bill Paxton
Actor, “Hatfields & McCoys”
Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries/Movie

Having worked on a wide array of film and TV projects, Bill Paxton’s chief concern when approached to do the critically acclaimed “Hatfields & McCoys” had to do with the similarities of the character, Randall McCoy, to Paxton’s role in “Big Love.”

“Randall is a patriarchal figure who’s very religious, like Bill (Hendrickson),” Paxton says. “I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to step into that suit of armor again.”

And though Paxton’s role has paid off with a big Emmy nomination for lead actor in a miniseries, it took a call to friend and onscreen rival Kevin Costner to convince Paxton that this was the right project.

” ‘We get to wear beards and old clothes!’ Kevin told me,” Paxton says, chuckling.

More importantly, Paxton realized the McCoy role let him explore a fascinating part of America’s canon, one that reflects the tensions and politics of one of the country’s most turbulent periods: the Civil War era.

“It’s always been a story that has captured the imagination of the populace. People have come up to me from all walks of life, all over the place, to talk about the show,” he says. “The challenge for me was that the character goes from zero to 60: One moment, these guys are brothers-in-arms and then it all falls apart. You see that both of these families suffer from this, from Randall’s vitriol. There’s a lesson there.”

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Eric Stonestreet
Actor, “Modern Family”
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

While many actors are caught off guard on Emmy nom morning, “Modern Family’s” Eric Stonestreet remembered to set his alarm, only he was an hour off.

“I was out with friends last night and they reminded me about nomination morning, so when I got home I set my phone for 6:29 a.m., thinking, ‘I’ll just wake up a little before the noms.’ Then my phone starts ringing at 5:35 a.m. Anyways, I still feel like we’re doing good work on the show.”

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Anna Gunn
Actress, “Breaking Bad”
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

For “Breaking Bad’s” Anna Gunn, the news of her first Emmy nom for the show is the cherry on top of a booming week for the AMC drama. Series drew its highest numbers ever in its fifth season bow this past Sunday.

“It’s an amazing week,” Gunn said. “We’re coming off Comic-Con which was such a high, it’s been one great thing after another. When we did a panel there, we walked out and there were 4,000 people! We all said, ‘That’s as close to being a rock star as any of us will get.’ ”

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Jared Harris
Actor, “Mad Men”
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

Jared Harris’ character Lane Pryce met an unfortunate end in the season-five penultimate episode of “Mad Men,” and though the thesp says he’s enormously excited about his Emmy nomination for supporting actor in a drama series, he can’t help but want more time on the show.

So what was Pryce’s reaction when show creator Matthew Weiner told Pryce that his arc was coming to an end?

” ‘Damn it!’ pretty much sums it up,” Harris says. “You don’t get to walk off a show like ‘Mad Men’ and easily step into another project that good.”

But Harris knows that his character took viewers on a wild, poignant ride, and he couldn’t be happier with the how it all ended.

“He’s one of those characters that’s frustrated in his ambitions — you can see that he would like to change himself but that old habits are dying hard,” Harris says. “The idea of someone who has ideas and dreams but is bound by his duties and reality — that’s what struck a chord with audiences.”

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Archie Panjabi
Actress, “The Good Wife”
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

It’s been a big season for Archie Panjabi’s character Kalinda Sharma on “The Good Wife,” with moments that she said showcased the edgy P.I.’s vulnerability.

“I think I really loved the moment I found out that my husband had discovered where I’m working and he’s coming to town. I think that’s the first time we saw her exterior crack.”

Panjabi is excited for an upcoming fourth season where she says Kalinda will continue to surprise people. As for today, she’s excited to be celebrating with the cast.

“I’m at work all day, which is probably the best placse to be because there’s a really great spirit here. There are so many people who helped create this character…everyone gets so excited when they talk about Kalinda and her makeup and costumes, so it’s great to be with those people today.”

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Don Cheadle
Actor, “House of Lies”
Best Actor in a Comedy

Instead of setting an alarm for Emmy nom morning, Don Cheadle picked up some extra Zs, along with a nomination for his role on “House of Lies.”

“I had the phone off and slept through the announcement!” said Cheadle. “I keep telling people I’m going to start drinking to celebrate, but it’s too early.”

Thesp is currently working opposite Robert Downey Jr. on “Iron Man 3” before going back to work on “House of Lies.” “‘Iron Man 3’ is a big beast,” Cheadle remarked, “but Robert and I are having fun.” As for his “House of Lies” nom, Cheadle sees it as an opportunity for the show to gain greater exposure. “I hope we continue to gain attention. It’s been a great first year out the gate, and we’re just going to get stronger and stronger.”

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Sarah Paulson
Actress, “Game Change”
Best Supporting Actress in a Movie/Miniseries

Sarah Paulson quickly rattled off the time when she started getting calls about her supporting actress nom for ‘Game Change’: “5:46 a.m., to be exact.” Since then, the actress had been “screaming and pacing” around her home as she absorbed her recognition for her role as Nicolle Wallace.

“Filming ‘Game Change’ for me was very dreamy, and I wasn’t aware of the controversy until after we finished shooting,” Paulson said. “Now I’m on my way to work for the second installment of ‘American Horror Story.’ Jessica Lange is a good friend of mine, so it’s very exciting to work with her. I was in a few episodes last season, and it’s a lot more responsibility to be a series regular. But when Ryan Murphy throws you the ball, you catch it.”

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Matt Weiner
Showrunner, “Mad Men”
Best Drama Series

Though “Mad Men” is an Emmy staple, show creator Matt Weiner still experiences anxiety as the nominations are announced. “When you watch it on TV, I don’t know how it alphabetically worked out that ‘M’ is last, but I’m just like, ‘Oh my god, wait, wait, wait, Oh, there we are!'” Weiner said. “It never feels like it’s just yet another year.”

Weiner is excited to get back into the “Mad Men” writer’s room soon, though he admits that the Emmy noms create a nerve-wrecking atmosphere for him. “It’s terrifying because the closer and closer you get to shooting the new season, the more you feel like a fraud! You’re like, ‘Oh, I know you all really liked last year, but I’m worried you’re going to hate this year!'”

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Leslie Greif
Exec producer, “Hatfields & McCoys”
Best Miniseries

Emmy nomination morning brought out the paternal side of “Hatfields & McCoys” exec producer Leslie Greif, who saw the mini that he labored to make for decades rake in 16 total noms spread widely among cast and crew members.

“To see all my department heads recognized for their contributions — it’s made me a proud papa,” Greif said. “Everyone fought the good fight. I was so overwhelmed by the success and how America received ‘Hatfields.’ My head is just swimming.”

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Cat Deeley
Host, “So You Think You Can Dance”
Best Reality Series

Emmy nomination morning “almost turned into a drama,” according to Cat Deeley. The “So You Think You Can Dance” host began screaming when she heard of her nomination for reality TV show host, her second in two years. “My friend is staying with me and thought someone was breaking in. She almost called 911!”

Deeley is filming a show for Style Network called “Inside.” “I’m hosting and producing it, so I’m already working on that today.” The busy Brit still enjoys hosting “SYTYCD” though, since “the talent is amazing and never gets old. It’s not really like going to work. I know it will one day have to end, but I’ll be so depressed when it does.”

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Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon
Exec producers, “Homeland”
Best Drama

Showtime’s national security thriller “Homeland” capped a successful freshman season with nine Emmy noms covering everything from main title music to lead actor and actress as well as the coveted drama series bid. For exec producers Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, it’s this across-the-board recognition that’s most gratifying.

“We’ve been so fortunate to have a strong awards season, and this is just the exclamation point on that,” Gansa said. “The most profound thing for Howard and me is that everyone we’ve brought on has been acknowledged for their hard work in a lot of different aspects of the show. It’s not about one thing.”

Gordon notes that viewers have connected with the show’s “very relevant, very present” subject matter, and expects it to be the same for the second season, which bows Sept. 30.

“We have everyone back from last season, our writers and directors and all. We’re expecting only the same success,” Gordon says.

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Chris Lloyd
Producer, “Modern Family”

“Modern Family” exec producer Chris Lloyd is thrilled to bring the familial vibe off screen as the series picked up nominations in multiple Emmy categories.

“To have nominations all around in areas like directing, casting, guest stars and acting, it brings a family feeling, a team effort to the show. It’s not just one area of the show that’s getting attention. It feels great, and is the spirit we have at the office.”

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Heidi Klum
Host/Exec Producer, “Project Runway”
Best Reality Program

It’s been a big day for Heidi Klum and the cast at “Project Runway,” who not only received their eighth nomination for reality competition series but are also kicking off the premiere of the show’s 10th season tonight.

“Today couldn’t be better, season ten is a huge milestone for us, a huge celebration, and on top of that an Emmy nomination. There’s a lot of happy faces today, we’re shooting and judging today (for the season) and at the end of the day we will be drinking champagne to celebrate the double happiness,” said Klum.

Klum said that, like fashion, “Project Runway” has continued to reinvent itself over the years to stay fresh for viewers.

“Fashion always creates itself over and over again just naturally. The designers have to always come up with new clothes, and it’s the same way with us, always new fresh faces with new ideas and designs.”

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Robert Herjavec
Judge, “Shark Tank”
Outstanding Reality Program

“Shark Tank” judge Robert Herjavec sees the ABC show’s nom for reality program as a reinforcement of its message that good fortune comes to those who work hard and get a little lucky.

“It’s the little show that could,” he says. “Audiences have really connected with the show’s ability to give people hope, even in these tough economic times. Anyone can make good on their idea and pursue their dream on the show.”

As for the show’s future, Herjavec says the competition can only get fiercer: “The shark bites keep getting more brutal this upcoming season.”

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Charlie Collier
AMC topper

“Good morning! Oh, yeah, what is today again?” joked AMC topper Charlie Collier. On a more serious note, Collier couldn’t help but admire his network’s slew of Emmy noms.

“Every year the AMC exec team comes into my office and we all watch together,” said Collier. “We’ve been fortunate enough over the last six years to have Emmy nominations morning really mean something to us. Just to see the actors and the cast and crews get recognized for their great work, it’s nice to have that validation and feedback.”

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Bertram van Munster
Exec producer, “The Amazing Race”
Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

Ten years of eligibility, ten consecutive noms in the reality-competition category for “The Amazing Race.” Not a bad track record for CBS’ enduring reality fave.

“Every year we are nominated it’s such a thrill. Year after year after year it keeps going…and it’s mind-blowing every time,” said “Race” exec producer Bertram van Munster.

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Danny Strong
Writer, “Game Change”
Best Writing for a Miniseries/Movie

Though the film has just snagged 12 Emmy nominations, “Game Change” scribe Danny Strong had his doubts about helmer Jay Roach’s project at first. Then he decided to read the original novel.

“It’s just a fantastic book that takes you piece by piece through the minds and process behind such a complex political campaign,” Strong says. “It was really inspiring to tackle making that translate to a film.”

Part of that process involved focusing the script around vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. “She truly embodies the American Dream as an individual who comes from very humble roots and got very close to being the vice president of the country,” Strong noted.

But “the movie is ultimately not about Palin — it’s about how our elections are becoming more like reality shows, where someone’s the last to get voted off the island. I think that’s what made it even more compelling,” Strong said.

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Kevin Shinick
Writer, “Mad”
Best Short Format Animated Program

Kevin Shinick, “Mad’s” head writer, used to pour over Mad magazine as a kid. The animated program’s nom in outstanding short-format brings his love of the publication full circle.

“I’m just happy we can bring ‘Mad’ back. I was so excited to turn it into a show…I’ve successfully turned my mid-life crisis into a career,” quipped Shinick.

As for the Emmys, it’s all in the family. “In animation it’s very familial. I know all the guys from the other shows. It’s fun to all be nominated,” Shinick said. “We’re looking at it like, Hey! We all got an invite to the party!”

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Compiled by AJ Marechal, Eddie Kim and Anneta Konstantinides