Game of Thrones earns a leading 23 Emmy Award nominations

Power-and-blood fantasy saga Game of Thrones ruled the Emmy nominations Thursday with a leading 23 bids, including best drama, while a real-life epic of murder and celebrity, The People v. O.J. Simpson, was close behind with 22 nods.

Canadians Tatiana Maslany, Ellen Page, Thomas Middleditch, Samantha Bee earn nods

Lena Headey appears in a scene from the season 6 finale of Game of Thrones, which has earned a leading 23 Emmy Award nominations. (HBO/Associated Press)

Power-and-blood fantasy saga Game of Thrones ruled the Emmy Award nominations Thursday with a leading 23 bids, including best drama, while a real-life epic of murder and celebrity, The People v. O.J. Simpson, was close behind with 22 nods.

Game of Thrones, which won a record 12 Emmys last fall including best drama, gets the chance to claim its second top award. Veep, last year's best comedy series winner, also will get another shot at holding office and, with 17 nominations, was the comedy leader.

Tracee Ellis Ross, left, and Anthony Anderson were both nominated for their hit sitcom Black-ish. (Nicole Wilder/ABC/Associated Press)

Breakthrough nominations include a best comedy series nod for sophomore black-ish, which brought the African-American family sitcom back to network TV, with bids as well for its stars, Anthony Anderson — who helped announce the awards live on Thursday and read his show's name with glee — and his co-star Tracee Ellis Ross.

Anthony Anderson loses it over his Emmy nomination

6 years ago
Duration 1:00
Black∙ish star goes nuts when his name is called and again when show gets the nod

"I'm on cloud nine right now," Anderson said afterward. "When hope becomes reality, that's what it is. I was just a 9-year-old kid growing up in Compton, Calif., with a dream and this is the dream that I had."

They were among a number of black actors recognized by TV academy voters, who have started to keep pace with TV's growing diversity — in sharp contrast to moviedom's Academy Awards, which were slammed as #OscarsSoWhite this year.

Viola Davis, the How to Get Away with Murder star, who last year became the first woman of colour to win a best drama actress trophy, was nominated again. So was Empire star Taraji P. Henson.

Each of the major acting categories included at least one minority nominee. But there were no major nods for the stars of Fresh Off the Boat or other Asian-American actors, or for Latinos, which has been a recurrent Emmy pattern.

An ever-shifting TV landscape

Networks have reason for concern as well. In the increasingly crowded TV universe, traditional broadcasts again lost Emmy ground to emerging platforms, including streaming services Netflix and Amazon, both of which boosted their tallies. Even HBO, which again earned the most bids led by Game of Thrones, marked a retreat in what had been its ever-growing dominance: its haul dropped from 126 nods last year to 94 this time.

Rami Malek and his hacker-turned-activist drama Mr. Robot was one of the newcomer shows recognized by Emmy voters. (David Giesbrecht/USA Network/Associated Press)

Game of Thrones and Mr. Robot will compete with Better Call SaulHomelandHouse of Cards, The Americans and Downton Abbey, the last a nod for its farewell season. But the final season of The Good Wife was not recognized, and star Julianna Margulies also was snubbed.

For Stephen Colbert, it was the inaugural season of his CBS late-night show that was overlooked, while network colleague James Corden earned a best variety talk series bid for his Late Late Show.

Aziz Ansari received a lead comedy acting bid for his series Master of None, a first for an Indian-American actor, and the show received a best comedy series nomination. Rami Malek, of Egyptian descent, earned a top drama acting nod for his role as a renegade hacker in another freshman, Mr. Robot, which also will compete for drama honours.

Aziz Ansari picked up nominations for his Netflix comedy Master of None. (K.C. Bailey/Netflix/Associated Press)

The Americans, which gained in attention last season, also earned bids for its stars, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

Besides Russell, Davis and Henson, lead drama actress bids went to Claire Danes for Homeland and Tatiana Maslany for Orphan Black.

Malek and Rhys will be competing with Kevin Spacey for House of Cards, Kyle Chandler for Bloodline, Bob Odenkirk for Better Call Saul and Liev Schreiber for Ray Donovan.

A host of the ensemble Game of Thrones cast received Emmy nods, including (from left) Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage and Maisie Williams. (HBO/Associated Press)

The ensemble cast of Game of Thrones found leading bids elusive. Peter Dinklage, named last year's best supporting actor, will defend his title, with a nod also going to Kit Harington, who plays fan favourite Jon Snow. Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey earned supporting actress bids in a year that the show's female characters gained the upper hand.

On the comedy side, VeepBlack-ish and Master of None will tussle for the trophy with five-time champ Modern FamilyTransparentSilicon Valley and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

A top acting nod for Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays a U.S. vice president now elevated to the Oval Office, gives her the chance to score her fifth consecutive win and set a record.

White House comedy Veep and its star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, are reigning Emmy comedy winners. (Lacey Terrell/HBO/Associated Press)

She and Ross will be competing with Ellie Kemper in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Laurie Metcalf in Getting On, Amy Schumer in Inside Amy Schumer and Lily Tomlin in Grace and Frankie.

Black-ish star Anderson, who got his second nod, will be competing with last year's winner, Jeffrey Tambor of Transparent, along with Ansari, Will Forte for The Last Man on Earth, William H. Macy for Shameless and Thomas Middleditch for Silicon Valley.

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which recounted the football legend's sensational, racially charged trial for the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, is a best limited series nominee and earned a number of acting awards for its cast's portrayal of well-known figures.

Sterling K. Brown (left) and Cuba Gooding, Jr. (centre) appear in a scene from The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which earned a hefty 22 Emmy nominations. (Ray Mickshaw/FX/Associated Press)

Lead nominations went to Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson, Courtney B. Vance as defence attorney Johnnie Cochran and Sarah Paulson as prosecutor Marcia Clark. Supporting bids were given to Sterling K. Brown as prosecutor Christopher Darden, David Schwimmer as Simpson friend Robert Kardashian — patriarch of the now-famous family — and John Travolta as defense attorney Robert Shapiro.

Gooding and Vance will compete with Bryan Cranston as President Lyndon B. Johnson in All The Way, Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, Idris Elba in Luther and Tom Hiddleston in The Night Manager.

In a phone interview, Paulson said that despite joy over her recognition she was happiest to learn that Brown was nominated for his portrayal of Darden.

"I jumped up and down .... more about that than about my own," Paulson said. "I owe my performance, whatever it is, to him."

Canadians earn kudos 

Tatiana Maslany, left and right, plays more than 10 cloned characters in Orphan Black. She earned a second Emmy nomination for the role on Thursday. (Space/Canadian Press)

Canadian Orphan Black actress Maslany's nod is her second career Emmy Award nomination. The Regina star earned a best lead actress in a drama nod Thursday for playing multiple clones in the sci-fi thriller, which airs on Space and BBC America. Maslany was nominated for an Emmy last year and a Golden Globe in 2014. 

Nelson, B.C.'s Middleditch was among the first-time Emmy contenders, in the running in the lead actor in a comedy category for the HBO series Silicon Valley.

Toronto's Samantha Bee earned her first career Emmy nomination for writing on her variety series Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, which airs on TBS and the Comedy Network. Actors Michael J. Fox and Molly Parker are up for trophies for guest roles — Edmonton-born Fox for The Good Wife and Parker, who hails from Maple Ridge, B.C., for House of Cards

The Viceland travelogue Gaycation with Ellen Page follows the Oscar-nominated actress and her pal Ian Daniel as they explore LGBTQ cultures around the world. (Viceland/YouTube)

Ellen Page is also up for her first Emmy, as executive producer on Viceland's Gaycation With Ellen Page, which is nominated for best unstructured reality program.

Meanwhile, TV veterans Lorne Michaels and Paul Shaffer earned nominations again: the former for writing on Saturday Night Live and the latter for his music direction on A Very Murray Christmas.

Other homegrown talent up for Emmys this year include:

  • Elisabeth Williams of Montreal, for production design on the Alberta-shot Fargo
  • Shirley Inget, also for production design on Fargo
  • Shane Smith in the outstanding informational series or special category for the HBO series Vice

Beyoncé​, Adele score Emmy nods

Beyoncé​'s Lemonade, her album that was accompanied with an HBO special featuring music videos for each track, earned nominations for outstanding variety special and outstanding directing for a variety special. She shares those nominations with co-director Khalil Joseph. 

Beyoncé​'s Lemonade, her so-called visual album, earned four Emmy nominations. (Beyonce.com/HBO)

Lemonade is also up for outstanding picture editing for a variety special and production design for a variety, nonfiction, event or award special.

Adele Live In New York City will also compete for outstanding variety special. It aired on NBC last year and featured live performances of songs from her earth-shattering comeback album, 25. Adele's special, which taped at Radio City Music Hall, is also nominated for several other awards, including outstanding directing for a variety special and lighting direction for a variety special.

The Sept. 18 Emmy show will be broadcast live on ABC from 8-11 p.m. EDT, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

Partial list of 2016 Emmy nominees:

Best drama series 

  • Better Call Saul
  • Downton Abbey
  • Game Of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • House Of Cards
  • Mr. Robot
  • The Americans

Best comedy series 

  • Black-ish
  • Master Of None
  • Modern Family
  • Silicon Valley
  • Transparent
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Veep

Lead actress, drama series

  • Claire Danes, Homeland 
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder 
  • Taraji P. HensonEmpire
  • Tatiana MaslanyOrphan Black 
  • Keri Russell, The Americans 
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards

Lead actor, drama series 

  • Kyle Chandler, Bloodline 
  • Rami MalekMr. Robot
  • Bob OdenkirkBetter Call Saul
  • Matthew RhysThe Americans 
  • Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan 
  • Kevin SpaceyHouse of Cards

Lead actor, comedy series 

  • Anthony Anderson, Blackish
  • Aziz Ansari, Master of None
  • Will Forte, Last Man on Earth
  • William H. Macy, Shameless
  • Thomas MIccleditch, Silicon Valley
  • Jeffery Tambor, Transparent

Lead actress, comedy series

  • Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Laurie Metcalf, Getting On
  • Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
  • Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
  • Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

​Lead actor, limited series or movie

  • Bryan Cranston, All the Way
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
  • Idris Elba, Luther
  • Cuba Gooding, Jr., The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
  • Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Lead actress, limited series or movie

  • Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
  • Felicity Huffman, American Crime
  • Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
  • Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Lily Taylor, American Crime
  • Kerry Washington, Confirmation

Supporting actor, drama series 

  • Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul 
  • Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline 
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones 
  • Kit Harington, Game of Thrones 
  • Michael Kelly, House of Cards 
  • Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Supporting actress, drama series:

  • Maura Tierney, The Affair 
  • Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey 
  • Lena Headey, Game of Thrones 
  • Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones 
  • Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones

Supporting actor, comedy series 

  • Louie Anderson, Baskets 
  • Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine 
  • Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele 
  • Ty Burrell, Modern Family 
  • Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 
  • Tony Hale, Veep

Supporting actress, comedy series 

  • Niecy Nash, Getting On 
  • Allison Janney, Mom 
  • Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live 
  • Judith Light, Transparent 
  • Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent 
  • Anna Chlumsky, Veep

​Reality competition

  • Amazing Race
  • American Ninja Warrior
  • Dancing with the Stars
  • Project Runway
  • Top Chef
  • The Voice

Variety talk series

  • Comedian in Cars Getting Coffee
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
  • The Late Late Show with James Corden
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon

Outstanding TV movie

  • A Very Murray Christmas
  • All the Way
  • Confirmation
  • Luther
  • Sherlock

Limited series

  • American Crime
  • Fargo
  • The Night Manager
  • The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story​
  • ​Roots

With files from The Canadian Press and CBC News


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