After a year off, “Game of Thrones” has returned to Primetime Emmy Award contention in a big way. The fantasy epic drew 22 nominations Thursday, the most for any show — edging out NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and fellow HBO drama “Westworld,” which each attracted 21 nominations. Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” followed with 20 nominations.
FX’s “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” led all limited series with 18 nominations. “Atlanta,” also from FX, was the most nominated comedy series at 16.
Netflix, however, supplanted longtime industry leader HBO as the most nominated network or platform. The streaming service drew 112 nominations, up from 91 last year. HBO, despite the return of “Game of Thrones” to Emmy eligibility for its most recent season, slipped to 108 nominations from 111 last season.
The big haul for Netflix demonstrated the scope of its original programming lineup, which is fueled by unprecedented spending on content that the company’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos in May estimated would, this year, rise to $8 billion. While pay cabler HBO in recent years has relied on a handful of outsize awards-season performers to lift its Emmy fortunes, Netflix’s nominations were spread among a wide array of offerings — “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld” account for nearly half of HBO’s nominations; Netflix, for its part, boasts none of the 10 most nominated series this year.
FX drew 50 nominations, the most of any basic-cable channel. NBC led all broadcast networks with 78 nominations. Other networks or platforms with 10 or more nominations were CBS (34), ABC (31), Hulu (27), Amazon (22), Showtime (21), National Geographic (17), Fox (16), VH1 (12), and CNN (10).
Returning to eligibility in a category it won in 2015 and 2016, “Game of Thrones” was nominated for best drama series alongside last year’s winner “The Handmaid’s Tale,” FX’s “The Americans”; Netflix’s “The Crown” and “Stranger Things”; NBC’s “This Is Us”; and “Westworld.” This year is the first since 2009 that no season-one show was nominated for best drama. Last year, five series were nominated for their premiere seasons.
In the lead drama actress race, last year’s winner Elisabeth Moss of “The Handmaid’s Tale” was joined by fellow 2017 nominees Claire Foy of Netflix’s “The Crown,” Keri Russell of FX’s “The Americans,” and Evan Rachel Wood of “Westworld.” Tatiana Maslany, who won the best lead actress award in 2016 for BBC America’s “Orphan Black,” also earned a nomination Thursday for the sci-fi series’ final season. The lone freshman nominee was Sandra Oh for “Killing Eve,” also from BBC America.
Two series drew two lead-actor nominations each — “Westworld” with Jeffrey Wright and Ed Harris, who were elevated to lead status after competing in the supporting category last season; and NBC’s “This Is Us” with previous nominee Milo Ventimiglia and last year’s winner Sterling K. Brown. Last year’s nominee Matthew Rhys joined his “The Americans” co-star Russell with a nomination. As in the actress category, only one performer from a new series was nominated for best drama actor — Jason Bateman of Netflix’s “Ozark.”
Louis-Dreyfus’ absence from the best comedy actress category, which she has won for six consecutive years, opens up a field that this year includes returning nominees Pamela Adlon of FX’s “Better Things,” Allison Janney of CBS’ “Mom,” Tracee Ellis Ross of “Black-ish,” and Lily Tomlin of Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie,” as well as first-time nominees Issa Rae of HBO’s “Insecure” and Rachel Brosnahan of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Last year’s winner Donald Glover of “Atlanta” was again nominated for best comedy actor, this time alongside “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David; returning nominees Anthony Anderson of “Black-ish” and William H. Macy of “Shameless”; and newcomers Ted Danson of NBC’s “The Good Place” and Bill Hader of “Barry.”
Nominees for best limited series included TNT’s “The Alienist”; “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”; National Geographic’s “Genius: Picasso”; Netflix’s “Godless”; and Showtime’s “Patrick Melrose.” For best actress in a limited series or movie, the nominees were Laura Dern (HBO’s “The Tale”); Jessica Biel (“The Sinner”); Michelle Dockery (“Godless”); Edie Falco (NBC’s Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders); Regina King (Netflix’s “Seven Seconds”); and Sarah Paulson (FX’s “American Horror Story: Cult”). Nominees for best actor in a limited series or movie were Antonio Banderas (“Genius: Picasso”); Darren Criss (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”); Benedict Cumberbatch (“Patrick Melrose”); Jeff Daniels (Hulu’s “The Looming Tower”); John Legend (NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar”); and Jesse Plemons (“Black Mirror: USS Callister”).
(Excerpt) Read more in: Variety