The race for the 2016 Emmys has officially begun. Voting for the TV Academy’s top honors is now open until June 27, and ballots for all categories are available for viewing.
We already knew about some of the season’s more unusual contenders — like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s joint submission as guest actress for hosting “Saturday Night Live,” and Johnny Depp’s bid for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie for “Funny Or Die Presents Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie.”
But Variety perused some of the top categories to find more inevitable oddities, including surprise inclusions (“Doctor Who”!) and exclusions (sorry, “Manhattan”).
• HBO is cutting it awfully close to the wire with the finales of three of their biggest Emmy favorite shows. The final episodes of the current seasons of “Game of Thrones,” “Silicon Valley,” and “Veep” all air June 26, roughly 24 hours before Emmy voting closes. That’s especially rough in the case of “Silicon Valley,” which has submitted its finale for writing consideration. While “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” did not submit their finales in writing or directing categories, they did submit the penultimate installments airing June 19 — nearly a week after voting started. And “Game of Thrones” did submit its finale in cinematography and costume categories. HBO was unable to confirm if Emmy voters will have a chance to see any of the finales in advance of their debut on the network.
• BBC America’s “Doctor Who” has been submitted for Emmy consideration for the first time ever. Now that the American cabler has come aboard as a co-producer, the venerable Brit series is finally eligible for consideration. Although it was not submitted as a drama series, star Peter Capaldi is on the lead actor ballot, showrunner Steven Moffat and director Rachel Talalay are on the writing and directing ballots for the episode “Heaven Sent” and the series is a possible nominee for costumes, production design, prosthetic makeup, and visual effects.
• The “Portlandia” duo of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein have moved up to lead categories for their IFC sketch series after vying in supporting in the past. Armisen even received a nom for supporting actor in 2014. Sketch series performers were first deemed eligible to enter as lead performers last year.
The stars of Netflix’s sketch entry “W/ Bob & David,” Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, are also contending in the lead categories, while “Documentary Now!’s” Bill Hader is in lead, and co-star Armisen is in supporting.
The stars of Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele,” Keegan-Michael Key (a nominee last year) and Jordan Peele, remain in the supporting categories. Amy Schumer, who last year received the first ever lead nomination for a performer on a sketch series, remains in the lead category for “Inside Amy Schumer.”
• Speaking of Armisen, he’s on the Emmy ballot for comedy guest actor a whopping four times. He may have a shot for hosting the season finale of “Saturday Night Live” or playing Robert Durst on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” but it seems like a stretch to also vie for nominations for playing Jesus Christ on FXX’s “Man Seeking Woman” and turning up on Hulu’s “Difficult People.” (And these are in addition to his bids for “Portlandia” and “Documentary Now!”)
• Meanwhile, the aforementioned Keegan-Michael Key is on the supporting actor ballot three times: for “Key & Peele,” natch, and additional slots for USA’s “Playing House” and the Hulu spoof “The Hotwives of Las Vegas.”
• Despite appearing on the ballot in the past, Sarah Hyland is the sole “Modern Family” regular (over the age of 10) not submitted in the supporting categories for Season 7.
• The struggle to define limited series versus drama series generally seems to be settled, but a few series that theoretically may have had additional seasons in success — Amazon’s “Mad Dogs,” NBC’s “Heroes: Reborn,” ABC’s “The Astronaut Wives Club,” Starz’s “Flesh and Bone” — are on the ballot for limited series. Which is where their producers will surely tell you they belonged all along.
Event series like Fox’s “The X-Files” and “Wayward Pines” (which is currently airing its second season), and The CW’s cancelled “Containment” are in the drama category to no one’s surprise.
• In a sign of how quickly things change, WGN’s “Manhattan” (produced by Lionsgate Television, Skydance Television and Tribune Studios) was not submitted for Emmy consideration for its second season. Last year, the studios and network made a big awards push for the prestige drama’s first season, and it did pick up one nom (for main title design, which it won). But the low-rated show didn’t gain any momentum in its second season and was cancelled. WGN has rallied around stronger performing newcomers, “Underground” and “Outsiders,” in its absence.
• Similarly, the final season of Gaumont International Television’s “Hannibal” for NBC has only been submitted in a handful of categories. Star Hugh Dancy is not on the ballot (possibly because it could conflict with his bid for Hulu’s “The Path”), making Mads Mikkelsen and guest star Richard Armitage the lone acting entries. The show was submitted for drama series consideration and writing, but no directors are on the ballot and it’s MIA in tech categories like cinematography and art direction too.