Saturday Night Live, Westworld lead Emmy nominations with 22 each

Late-night comedy show Saturday Night Live and the sci-fi drama Westworld captured the top Emmy nominations with 22 each.

Stranger Things, Veep, Big Little Lies, Fargo among other leading nominees

SNL received numerous Emmy nominations for its cast, hosts and guest stars, including for Alec Baldwin for his recurring portrayal of U.S. President Donald Trump. (SNL/Facebook)

Late-night comedy king Saturday Night Live and the sci-fi drama Westworld top Emmy nominations announced Thursday with 22 each.

The long-running SNL received a wealth of awards for its cast, hosts and guest stars, including Melissa McCarthy's manic, gender-busting take on press secretary Sean Spicer. The show, with Toronto-born Lorne Michaels as its executive producer, dominated the best supporting comedy actress category with three nods, one each for cast members Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Vanessa Bayer. who left the show this season

Other leading nominees include: 

  • Feud: Bette and Joan and Stranger Things (18 nominations each)
  • Veep (17 nominations)
  • Big Little Lies and Fargo, two shows with strong Canadian ties (16 nominations each)
Quebec director/executive producer Jean-Marc Vallee, far right, poses with the cast and crew of his HBO show Big Little Lies: Kathryn Newton, Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon and writer/executive producer David E. Kelley, left to right. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Big Little Lies, the HBO murder mystery, was directed by Quebec's Jean-Marc Vallée, who is up for best miniseries direction. Two of its stars Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman will be up against each other in the category of lead actress in a miniseries. The series also received a nomination for its cinematography, led by Quebec's Yves Bélanger.

Fargo, which was shot in Alberta with many Canadians among the cast and crew, received nods for acting, music and sound, makeup and hairstyling, directing, writing, editing and best limited series, among others. The series stars Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, who plays twin brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy.

Actor Ewan McGregor plays both Ray Stussy, at left, and his brother Emmit on the television series Fargo. (Chris Large/FX Networks/Canadian Press/fxnowcanada.ca)

And Stranger Things' executive producer and occasional director Shawn Levy is from Montreal.

Canadian nominees Samantha Bee, Ellen Page

More Canadian connections were scattered throughout the over 100 nominees announced in Los Angeles. 

The Handmaid's Tale, the dystopian Hulu series inspired by Canadian author Margaret Atwood's book, got 13 nominations, including best drama series. Elisabeth Moss, who plays Offred, was nominated for best lead actress in a drama, one of the Emmys' biggest awards. The series was shot in Ontario and aired in Canada on Bravo.

The Handmaid's Tale scored 13 nominations. The Hulu series is based on a book by Canadian Margaret Atwood, who made a cameo in the show with Offred (Elisabeth Moss). (George Kraychyk/Hulu)

The show's lone Canadian actor — Amanda Brugel of Pointe Claire, Que. — started crying when she found out they got nominated.

"I mean, I think people expected there to be a couple, but 13?" she told CBC News. "In Canada, we celebrate in our own way, but it's not usually as loud as it it south of the border, so it's nice to be a part of sort of a loud celebration. We deserve it."

Toronto-born Samantha Bee got some love for her late-night talk show Full Frontal and several of its offshoots, including her competing Not The White House Correspondents' Dinner special. The show's biting satire and political commentary has often taken aim at U.S. President Donald Trump. Bee's projects earned seven nominations in total, including for best variety talk series.

Samantha Bee has enjoyed strong ratings and critical praise for her show Full Frontal. Her passion and biting satire draw frequent comparisons to Jon Stewart. (TBS)

Halifax's Ellen Page was recognized for her Vice travel series Gaycation while Montreal-born Barry Julien received a nod for his writing on Stephen Colbert's late-night talk series as well as his election-night special.

And 13th, a Netflix documentary on race and the U.S. prison system, picked up eight nominations; notable for its Canadian executive producer Howard Barish who is from Winnipeg, grew up in Toronto but now lives in Los Angeles.

New comic voices, diversity feted

The drama field opened up with the absence of HBO's dominant Game of Thrones, which aired outside the eligibility window for Emmy consideration this year. The same thing happened with Orphan Black, the Canadian sci-fi thriller, depriving Regina's Tatiana Maslany the chance to repeat as best-drama actress.

Newcomers were ready to step in, including breakout series This Is Us. It received 11 nods, including the first best-drama series for a network show since The Good Wife in 2011.

Tracee Ellis Ross, left, and Anthony Anderson appear in a scene from Black-ish. The hit sitcom has masterfully teased insight and humor out of troubling issues including police brutality and the N-word. Both Ross and Anderson were nominated for their acting. (Nicole Wilder/ABC/Associated Press)

Emmy voters showed their willingness to recognize new comic voices as well as diversity.

Donald Glover's freshman Atlanta earned a best comedy bid, as did Master of None, starring Aziz Ansari, and black-ish.

But there was room for an old favourite, Modern Family, although it earned only a handful of bids besides best comedy, including for Ty Burrell in the supporting actor category. Silicon Valley and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt round out the best comedy ranks.

The Emmys will air Sept. 17 on CBS with host Stephen Colbert. Below are some of the big categories; you can read the full list here.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Pamela Adion, Better Things
  • Tracee Ellis Ross, black-ish
  • Jane Fonda, Grace And Frankie
  • Lily Tomlin, Grace And Frankie
  • Allison Janney, Mom
  • Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Donald Glover, Atlanta
  • Zach Galifianakis, Baskets
  • Anthony Anderson, black-ish
  • Aziz Ansari, Master of None
  • William H. Macy, Shameless
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Actress Jane Fonda smiles at the Grace and Frankie Q&A Screening at the Pacific Design Center on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in West Hollywood, Calif. Fonda is nominated for best comedic actress. (Vince Bucci/Invision/The Associated Press)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Keri Russell, The Americans
  • Claire Foy, The Crown
  • Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale
  • Robin Wright, House Of Cards
  • Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder
  • Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Matthew Rhys, The Americans
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
  • Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
  • Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
  • Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
  • Anthony Hopkins, Westworld
Claire Foy stars as Queen Elizabeth II in the Netflix series The Crown. (Netflix)

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • Atlanta
  • black-ish
  • Master of None
  • Modern Family
  • Silicon Valley
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Veep

Outstanding Drama Series

  • Better Call Saul
  • The Crown
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • House Of Cards
  • Stranger Things
  • This Is Us
  • Westworld

With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press