In an era of abundant prestige television, it really is an honor just to be Emmy-nominated. Presented by Ryan Eggold and Emmy nominee Samira Wiley July 12 in Los Angeles, the list of 70th Emmy Award nominations included newcomers and mainstays, comedies and dramas, and more than a few surprises this year amid an ever-changing TV awards landscape.
HBO’s “Game of Thrones” beat its wings and bared its fangs after a year out of contention, earning a whopping 22 nominations. The previous winner of Best Drama Series and record holder for most Primetime Emmy wins in a single year could repeat both feats this season, with an impressive showing in technical categories plus stars Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Diana Rigg, and Lena Headey also vying for prizes. In terms of total nominations per network, Netflix led for the first time with 112, followed closely by HBO with 108, NBC with 78, and FX with 50.
NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” also fared well among the nominations, continuing its trend of recent years. The sketch comedy show, which includes two-time Emmy-winning cast member Kate McKinnon (plus Alec Baldwin, Kenan Thompson, Aidy Bryant, Leslie Jones, and guest hosts Tina Fey, Tiffany Haddish, Donald Glover, and Bill Hader) tied with HBO’s “Westworld” at 21 nods. Competing for the first time against “Game of Thrones” in many drama categories, “Westworld” scored repeat nominations for Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright and Thandie Newton, plus new nominees Ed Harris and Jimmi Simpson. Netflix’s “The Crown” and “Stranger Things” led that network’s haul, earning 13 and 12 nods, respectively. Season 2 of NBC’s “This Is Us” netted eight nods including Milo Ventimiglia, Ron Cephas Jones, and last year’s winners Gerald McRaney and Sterling K. Brown (also nominated for a guest appearance on Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”). FX flourished as usual in the limited series categories, with Darren Criss, Ricky Martin, Edgar Ramírez, Finn Wittrock, Penélope Cruz, and Judith Light of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” all recognized.
Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” followed up its dominating eight wins last year with another strong showing in the drama races, earning recognition for Elisabeth Moss as both leading actress and executive producer, plus stars Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel, Ann Dowd, Joseph Fiennes, Kelly Jenrette, Cherry Jones, and Wiley, with 20 nods total. Could the dystopian series’ second season fend off its competitors to keep the top prize? The same could hold true for Glover’s FX hit “Atlanta,” which also earned its producer-star dual Emmys; the boldly experimental comedy brought its nomination count to 16 including Zazie Beetz, Brian Tyree Henry, and Kat Williams, with Glover earning an astonishing four total. (Hader, star of HBO’s “Barry,” also earned the distinction of hearing his name four times.)
Freshman comedies including “Barry,” Netflix’s “GLOW,” and Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” joined “Atlanta,” HBO’s “Silicon Valley” and returning hit “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” and ABC’s “Black-ish” in the race for Comedy Series (HBO’s “Veep” and its star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, previous big winners, are not eligible). “Maisel” earned an impressive 14 nods, including for lead Rachel Brosnahan and supporters Alex Borstein, Tony Shalhoub, and Jane Lynch. No new series joined the Best Drama category, although BBC America’s “Killing Eve” earned leading actress recognition in Sandra Oh, the first person of Asian descent to be nominated in the category.
Who do you think will win TV’s highest honors? The 70th annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in dual ceremonies: the Creative Arts Emmys will take place Sept. 8–9, followed by the final show Sept. 17, to be aired on NBC and hosted by Michael Che and Colin Jost at the Microsoft Theater in L.A. For a full list of nominees, visit emmys.com.
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