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‘Game of Thrones,’ Netflix Lead Emmy Nominees

Variety logo Variety 7/12/2018 Daniel Holloway
© HBO

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 series — 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 the company’s original programming lineup, which is fueled by unprecedented spending that the company’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos in May estimated would, this year, rise to $8 billion. While HBO in recent years has relied on big a handful of outsize awards-season performers such as “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld” 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.

FX drew 50 nominations, the most of any basic cable channel. NBC led all broadcast networks with 78 nominations.

After a long gap between seasons six and seven kept “Game of Thrones” out of Emmy contention last year, the series became this year’s most nominated show. It earned a nomination 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.”

In the lead drama actress race, last year’s winner Elisabeth Moss of “The Handmaid’s Tale” was joined by fellow nominees from last year 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. Previous 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.”

“The Handmaid’s Tale” star Samira Wiley and star “New Amsterdam” star Ryan Eggold revealed this season’s nominees on Thursday. The actors, along with Television Academy chairman and CEO Hayma Washington and president and CEO Maury McIntyre, made the announcement from the Wolf Theatre at the Television Academy’s Saban Media Center.

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