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2014 Emmy Nominations: ‘Downton Abbey,’ ‘True Detective’ among the honored

By Bill Carter

New York Times News Service

Published: Thursday, July 10 2014 10:17 a.m. MDT

"Downton Abbey" is among this year's Emmy nominees.

Nick briggs,

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It’s not just television — it’s everything that’s good on video, as far as the Emmys are concerned, a point driven home emphatically as the nominations for this year’s awards were announced Thursday.

The expected showdown between outstanding drama series spread across cable and pay television services and included some of the most highly praised shows in recent memory. AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” in its last season, and HBO’s “True Detective” were nominated and are expected to be strong contenders for the top honor. They were joined by “Game of Thrones” on HBO, which topped the list with 19 nominations, and “House of Cards” on Netflix, with 16.

“Downton Abbey” and “Mad Men” were the other dramas nominated.

Indeed, Netflix, the subscription service, was far more a presence than it was last year, racking up 31 nominations, including major nominations in the top series and acting categories for “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” That was more nominations than some of the networks, including Fox, which had 18. A&E had one nomination.

The strong showing for Netflix was driven by 13 nominations for “House of Cards” and 12 for the newcomer “Orange Is the New Black.” Both had multiple entries in the acting categories. Other big winners included two FX mini-series, “Fargo,” which racked up the second highest total (after “Game of Thrones”) of nominations with 18 and “American Horror Story” with 17. “Breaking Bad” had 16, as did the HBO movie “The Normal Heart.” “True Detective” had 12.

“Saturday Night Live” also scored well with 14 nominations. It continued to hang in with the late night talk shows, earning a nomination for outstanding variety series. Also earning nominations in that category were the shows hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, who by next year will be network competitors, as well as “The Daily Show” and Bill Maher on HBO.

The Emmys, scheduled to take place Aug. 25 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, will be telecast on NBC. Seth Meyers, host of a late-night talk show on that network, will emcee the ceremony.

In general, broadcasters continued to struggle against the onslaught of strong entries from across the spectrum of video, with even CBS’ “The Good Wife,” after a widely praised season, shut out of the best drama category.

The only broadcaster with a nominee in that competitive group was PBS, with “Downton Abbey.”

In the comedy-series category, the broadcast networks fared slightly better, with ABC’s “Modern Family,” which has won the Emmy in each of the last four years, and CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” earning nominations, along with “Veep,” “Louie,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Silicon Valley.”

CBS led the broadcasters with 47 nominations (dwarfed by perennial leader HBO with 99), followed by NBC with 46 and ABC with 37. PBS had 34. The remaining strength for the four big networks is in comedy, where it still managed the nominations for “Big Bang” and “Modern Family,” a four-time winner.

In the acting categories drama was again the stronghold of non-network shows, though Julianna Margulies of “The Good Wife,” Kerry Washington of ABC’s “Scandal,” and Michelle Dockery of “Downton Abbey” did break into the best actress list. Also in the group were the newcomer Lizzy Caplan, widely praised for her performance in Showtime’s “Masters of Sex”; Robin Wright of “House of Cards” and the incumbent winner, Claire Danes from “Homeland.”

Notable omissions included Elisabeth Moss of “Mad Men,” Tatiana Maslany for “Orphan Black,” Keri Russell for FX’s “The Americans” and Vera Farmiga for A&E’s “Bates Motel.”

On the men’s side it was all non-broadcast contenders: Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson for “True Detective,” Bryan Cranston for “Breaking Bad,” Jeff Daniels for HBO’s “Newsroom,” Kevin Spacey for “Cards” and one more nomination for Jon Hamm of “Mad Men,” who has never won this award.

Omissions included Michael Sheen of “Masters of Sex,” James Spader of “Blacklist” and Matthew Rhys of “The Americans.”

Netflix scored a bit of a surprise nomination for Ricky Gervais in the lead actor category for his show “Derek.” He was joined in that group by regulars like Jim Parsons of “Big Bang,” Louis CK of “Louie,” Don Cheadle in Showtime’s “House of Lies” and Matt LeBlanc in Showtime’s “Episodes.” A newcomer there was William H. Macy, which Showtime elbowed into the comedy categories to try to get some nods, and got this one.

The category for best actress in a comedy included mostly repeat performers: Amy Poehler of “Parks and Recreation,” Melissa McCarthy of “Mike and Molly,” Edie Falco of “Nurse Jackie,” Lena Dunham of “Girls.” Again “Orange” broke into the party with its star Taylor Schilling.

The strategizing that went into the gaming of categories was evident and in some cases paid off. For instance, “Fargo” and “True Detective” have the exact same format (closed-ended series with plans for additional seasons with different casts) but both claimed a host of nominations in separate categories — mini-series vs. drama series — when they could have canceled each other out had they gone head to head.

Falco always gets some grief for being listed in the comedy actress group because her performance is so dramatically compelling — but she is at least in a half-hour show, the format of all the other comedy nominees.

Then there is the category of outstanding guest actor in a comedy series, which somehow now includes the stars who guest host “SNL” — including, this year, Jimmy Fallon and Louis C. K. Both stars would have shown up in the list of nominees anyway, since C. K. has multiple nominations for his “Louie” series and Fallon is up for the first time as host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

A list of nominees in the major categories is below. (The full list is available at the Emmys website.)

Best Comedy Series

“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

“Louie” (FX)

“Modern Family” (ABC)

“Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix)

“Silicon Valley” (HBO)

“Veep” (HBO)

Best Drama Series

“Breaking Bad” (AMC)

“Downton Abbey” (PBS)

“Game of Thrones” (HBO)

“House of Cards” (Netflix)

“Mad Men” (AMC)

“True Detective” (HBO)

Best Mini-Series

“American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)

“Bonnie & Clyde” (Lifetime)

“Fargo” (FX)

“Luther” (BBC America)

“Treme” (HBO)

“The White Queen” (Starz)

Best Actor In A Comedy Series

Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)

Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes” (Showtime)

Don Cheadle, “House of Lies” (Showtime)

Louis C.K., “Louie” (FX)

Ricky Gervais, “Derek” (Netflix)

William H. Macy, “Shameless” (Showtime)

Best Actress In A Comedy Series

Lena Dunham, “Girls” (HBO)

Melissa McCarthy, “Mike & Molly” (CBS)

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie” (Showtime)

Taylor Schilling, “Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix)

Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation” (NBC)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” (HBO)

Best Actor In A Drama Series

Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)

Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards” (Netflix)

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men” (AMC)

Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom” (HBO)

Matthew McConaughey, “True Detective” (HBO)

Woody Harrelson, “True Detective” (HBO)

Best Actress In A Drama Series

Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)

Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”

Claire Danes, “Homeland” (Showtime)

Robin Wright, “House of Cards” (Netflix)

Lizzie Caplan, “Masters of Sex” (Showtime)

Kerry Washington, “Scandal” (ABC)

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