Game of Thrones earns a record-breaking 32 Emmy nods

Game of Thrones has slashed its way to historic 32 Emmy Award nominations, including for best drama series, for its eighth and final season, with Canadians also among those in the running in top Emmy categories.

CBC sitcom Schitt's Creek among comedy contenders

Game of Thrones leads this year's nominees for the Emmy Awards. (Helen Sloan/HBO via AP)

Game of Thrones has slashed its way to a record-setting 32 Emmy Award nominations Tuesday for its eighth and final season, with Canadians also enjoying a strong showing in top prize categories.

The bloodthirsty saga GoT's total nods eclipsed the all-time series record of 27 earned by NYPD Blue in 1994.

If Game of Thrones successfully defends it best drama series title and claims a fourth trophy, it will join the quartet of most-honoured dramas that includes Hill Street BluesL.A. LawThe West Wing and Mad Men.

The Emmy voters' acclaim stands in sharp contrast to fan reaction to the show's last hurrah, which included howls of laughter for a to-go coffee cup inadvertently included in one scene and a finale that detractors called unsatisfying. But the show's ratings never faltered for the series based on George R.R. Martin's novels, setting new highs for HBO.

The nominees for best drama series are:

  • Better Call Saul
  • Bodyguard
  • Game of Thrones
  • Killing Eve
  • Ozark
  • Pose
  • Succession
  • This is Us

A wealth of acting nominations for the cast and guest stars, including the show's sole previous winner, Peter Dinklage, helped boost Game of Thrones to a new record of 161 total nominations — breaking its own previous record of 128. The nods include one for sound editing and includes Nova Scotia sound designer Paula Fairfield, a previous winner for her work on the show.

GoT star Emilia Clarke's decision to seek a best actress nomination after a series of supporting actress bids paid off. She's competing in a category that's notable for its diversity, including past winner Viola Davis for How to Get Away with Murder and repeat nominee Sandra Oh for Killing Eve, who has another chance to become the first actress of Asian descent to win the trophy. She lost last year to Claire Foy for Netflix's The Crown.

Two actors of colour, Billy Porter for Pose and previous winner Sterling K. Brown for This Is Us, earned drama series nods.

Comedy competitors

Last year's best comedy series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, led the comedy pack with 20 bids, including for its star and defending champion Rachel Brosnahan. She'll vie with Emmy record-holder Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Veep, who didn't compete in last year's awards because her breast cancer treatment delayed production of the political satire.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has eight Emmys under her belt, including six consecutive lead actress in a comedy series trophies for Veep. If she wins again, she will hold the title of most Emmys won by a performer. (Justin M. Lubin/HBO/The Associated Press)

Louis-Dreyfus — who with Cloris Leachman shares the record for most Emmys won by a performer, eight — has a shot at solo glory if she wins again.

Veep received a total nine nominations for its final season, a warm farewell and one that wasn't to be for The Big Bang Theory, the long-running sitcom that failed to capture a best comedy nomination or any for its actors.

The show has company in other hit sitcoms of the past: Neither Friends nor Frasier were nominated for best series for their final year, both in 2004. 

The nominees for best comedy series are: 

  • Barry
  • Fleabag
  • The Good Place
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Russian Doll
  • Schitt's Creek
  • Veep

Canadians in contention

Schitt's Creek is among several nominees with Canadian cred. Along with best comedy series, the CBC and Pop TV show (also seen on Netflix) earned acting nominations for Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara, as well as a fourth nod for its costumes.

"We knew this series was incredibly special from the beginning and to see not only audiences but critics and fellow industry veterans respond this way... It's a joy," Sally Catto, CBC's general manager of programming, said Tuesday afternoon. 

"And I think it should inspire Canadian talent to see that our talent, our content, our stories can resonate around the world."

Samantha Bee is also a Canuck contender, with her late night show Full Frontal a nominee for best variety talk show. The comedian herself is among the team nominated for outstanding writing for a variety series.

Along with her best series actress nod for Killing Eve, Sandra Oh is also in the running for a guest actress in a comedy series trophy for her stint as host of Saturday Night Live.

Canadian actors Sarah Goldberg (Barry) and Luke Kirby (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) have also picked up nods for supporting and guest roles, respectively. 

Toronto-shot drama The Handmaid's Tale earned nearly a dozen craft and technical nominations, but none in major categories — a quirk arising from the Television Academy's particular window of eligibility for Emmy consideration that also affects shows like Big Little Lies and Stranger Things.

Montreal filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée's thriller series Sharp Objects earned eight nominations, including outstanding limited series and for actresses Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson.

Music in the spotlight

Beyoncé's Homecoming film scored six Emmy nominations, while documentaries on Michael Jackson, R. Kelly and the disastrous Fyre Festival also picked up nods.

Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé earned six Emmy nominations, with the pop star herself picking up four for producing, writing, co-directing and musical direction. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

Beyoncé was nominated for producing, writing, co-directing and musical direction. Homecoming will compete with Springsteen on Broadway in the outstanding variety special (pre-recorded) category. It also earned nominations for costumes and production design.

Leaving Neverland and FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened will compete for outstanding documentary or nonfiction special. Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly is up for outstanding informational series or special.

Other top nominees include the nuclear disaster miniseries Chernobyl with 19 nominations and Saturday Night Live, with 18. When They See Us, the miniseries that dramatized the Central Park Five case and its aftermath, received 16 bids.

The 71st Emmy Awards will air Sept. 22 on Fox and CTV, with the host yet to be announced.

Select nominees for the 2019 Emmy Awards

Lead actor in a comedy series:

  • Anthony Anderson, black-ish
  • Don Cheadle, Black Monday
  • Ted Danson, The Good Place
  • Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
  • Bill Hader, Barry
  • Eugene Levy, Schitt's Creek

Lead actress in a comedy series:

  • Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
  • Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
  • Catherine O'Hara, Schitt's Creek
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Lead actor in a drama series:

  • Jason Bateman, Ozark
  • Sterling K. Brown, This is Us
  • Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Billy Porter, Pose
  • Milo Ventimiglia, This is Us

Lead actress in a drama series:

  • Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
  • Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
  • Laura Linney, Ozark
  • Mandy Moore, This is Us
  • Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards

Limited series:

  • Chernobyl
  • Escape at Dannemora
  • Fosse/Verdon
  • Sharp Objects
  • When They See Us

TV movie:

  • Bandersnatch: Black Mirror
  • Brexit
  • Deadwood: The Movie
  • King Lear
  • My Dinner with Hervé

Lead actor in a limited series or TV movie: 

  • Mahershala Ali, True Detective
  • Benicio Del Toro, Escape At Dannemora
  • Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal
  • Jared Harris, Chernobyl
  • Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us
  • Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon

Lead actress in a limited series or movie:

  • Amy Adams, Sharp Objects
  • Patricia Arquette, Escape At Dannemora
  • Aunjanue Ellis, When They See Us
  • Joey King, The Act
  • Niecy Nash, When They See Us
  • Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

Reality-competition program:

  • The Amazing Race
  • American Ninja Warrior
  • Nailed It
  • RuPaul's Drag Race
  • Top Chef
  • The Voice

Variety talk series:

  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • The Late Late Show with James Corden
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Variety sketch series:

  • At Home with Amy Sedaris
  • Documentary Now!
  • Drunk History
  • I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Who Is America?

A complete list of nominees is at Emmys.com.

With files from CBC News and The Canadian Press


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