'Game of Thrones' Earns a Leading 24 Emmy Award Nominations

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By Lynn Elber

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — The elaborate fantasy saga “Game of Thrones” received a leading 24 Emmy Awards nominations Thursday, its stature apparently untouched by backlash over a female character’s rape scene.

The series is a contender again for top drama honors, an award that has eluded it since it debuted in 2011. TV academy voters rarely give shows in the sci-fi or other genres the ultimate accolade.

The TV academy took a step toward recognizing the increasingly diverse talent on TV, giving best actress nods to black stars Taraji P. Henson for “Empire” and Viola Davis for “How to Get Away with Murder.”

That sets up a possibility of a history-making win: An African-American actress has never won the top drama acting award.

“I gotta win! I gotta win for history!” an exuberant Henson said when asked about the prospect during an “Empire” panel in May.

However, two-time nominee Kerry Washington of “Scandal” was left out this year.

Also snubbed: hit hop-family drama “Empire,” which was left out of the best drama series category, and series star Terrence Howard, who failed to get a best drama actor bid.

Instead, voters gave nods to favorites such as “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey of “House of Cards” and newcomer Bob Odenkirk for “Better Call Saul,” the prequel to the now-concluded “Breaking Bad.”

Gina Rodriguez, the standout Latina star of “Jane the Virgin,” failed to get a comedy acting nod — despite having won a Golden Globe award for her performance.

Programs getting a last chance for Emmy glory include best drama series nominee “Mad Men,” a four-time winner in the category that would be the most-honored drama ever with a fifth trophy. For star Hamm’s portrayal of Don Draper, it’s a final shot after seven previous nominations.

David Letterman, who retired from “Late Show,” and Stephen Colbert, who left “The Colbert Report” to succeed Letterman this fall, both received variety talk show nominations for their former shows.

“Late Show” was last nominated in 2009 as best variety, music or comedy series and last won in 2002. Colbert’s show won in 2014.

They’re both getting a break: the TV academy split the variety series category into two, one for variety talk shows and one for variety or sketch series like “Saturday Night Live,” making space for more contenders in each.

The nominees are below:

Drama Series 
Better Call Saul, AMC
Downton Abbey, PBS
Game of Thrones
, HBO
Homeland
, Showtime
House of Cards
, Netflix
Mad Men
, AMC
Orange Is the New Black
, Netflix

Comedy Series
Louie, FX
Modern Family
, ABC
Parks and Recreation
, NBC
Silicon Valley
, HBO
Transparent
, Amazon
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
, Netflix
Veep
, HBO

Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Jeff Daniels, Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Lead Actress in a Drama Series 
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatania Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Louis C.K., Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series 
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Michael Kelly, House of Cards

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Keegan-Michael Key, Key & Peele
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Tony Hale, Veep

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Niecy Nash, Getting On
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Gaby Hoffmann, Transparent
Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Limited Series 
American Crime, ABC
American Horror Story: Freak Show
, FX
Olive Kitteridge, HBO
Honorable Woman, SundanceTV
Wolf Hall
, PBS

Television Movie
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case, PBS
Bessie, HBO
Grace of Monaco, Lifetime
Hello Ladies: The Movie, HBO
Killing Jesus, National Geographic Channel
Nightingale, HBO

Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie 
Adrien Brody, Houdini
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Timothy Hutton, American Crime Story
Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge
David Oyelowo, Nightingale
Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall

Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie 
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Queen Latifah, Bessie
Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
Emma Thompson, Sweeney Todd

Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie
Richard Cabral, American Crime
Denis O'Hare, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Finn Wittrock, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Michael Kenneth, Bessie
Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge
Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall

Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie
Regina King, American Crime
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Mo'Nique, Bessie
Zoe Kazan, Olive Kitteridge


Variety Talk Series
The Colbert Report, Comedy Central
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Comedy Central
Jimmy Kimmel Live!, ABC
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, HBO
The Late Show With David Letterman, CBS
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, NBC

Variety Sketch Series
Drunk History, Comedy Central
Inside Amy Schumer, Comedy Central
Key & Peele, Comedy Central
Portlandia, IFC
Saturday Night Live, NBC

Reality-Competition Program 
The Amazing Race, CBS
Dancing With the Stars, ABC
Project Runway, Lifetime
So You Think You Can Dance, Fox
Top Chef, Bravo
The Voice, NBC

Structured Reality Program
Antiques Roadshow, PBS
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Food Network
MythBusters, Discovery Channel
Property Brothers, HGTV
Shark Tank, ABC
Undercover Boss, CBS

Unstructured Reality Program
Alaska: The Last Frontier, Discovery Channel
Deadliest Catch, Discovery Channel
Intervention, A&E
Million Dollar Listing New York, Bravo
Naked & Afraid, Discovery Channel
Wahlburgers, A&E

Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Anthony Bourdain, The Taste

Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Alan Alda, The Blacklist
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
F. Murray Abraham, Homeland
Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards
Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex
Pablo Schreiber, Orange Is the New Black

Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Rachel Brosnahan, House of Cards
Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away With Murder
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
Khandi Alexander, Scandal

Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Mel Brooks, The Comedians
Paul Giamatti, Inside Amy Schumer
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Bradley Whitford, Transparent
Jon Hamm, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory
Gaby Hoffmann, Girls
Pamela Adlon, Louie
Elizabeth Banks, Modern Family
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Tina Fey, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Variety Special
Bill Maher: Live From D.C., HBO
Louis C.K.: Live at the Comedy Store, LouisCK.net
Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen, HBO
The Kennedy Center Honors, CBS
The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special, NBC
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek To Cheek LIVE!, PBS

Directing for a Drama Series
Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire, “Eldorado”
Jeremy Podeswa, Game of Thrones, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”
David Nutter, Game of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy”
Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland, “From A to B and Back Again”
Steven Soderbergh, The Knick, “Method and Madness”

Directing for a Comedy Series
Louis C.K., Louie, “Sleepover”
Mike Judge, Silicon Valley, “Sand Hill Shuffle”
Phil Lord and Chris Miller, The Last Man on Earth, “Alive in Tucson (Pilot)”
Jill Soloway, Transparent, “Best New Girl”
Armando Iannucci, Veep, “Testimony”

Writing for a Drama Series
Gordon Smith, Better Caul Saul, “Five-O”
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones, “Mother’s Mercy”
Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner, Mad Men, “Lost Horizon”
Matthew Weiner, Mad Men, “Person to Person”
Joshua Brand, The Americans, “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?”

Writing for a Comedy Series
David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, Episodes, “Episode 409”
Louis C.K., Louie, “Bobbie’s House”
Alec Berg, Silicon Valley, “Two Days of the Condor”
Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth, “Alive in Tucson (Pilot)”
Jill Soloway, Transparent, “Pilot”
Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche, Veep, “Election Night”

A complete list of nominated works and individuals, including creative arts awards, are listed at the Academy website.

Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. She can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.