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PBS’ Downton Abbey – last year’s outstanding miniseries winner – this year invaded the drama series category with sterling results. The PBS period soap opera about an aristocratic family and their servants earned nominations for outstanding drama series and lead performers Michelle Dockery and Hugh Bonneville. Additionally, Maggie Smith, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle and Jim Carter received supporting performer nominations, giving Downton nominees in all of the main acting categories. And Brian Percival and series creator Julian Fellowes earned nominations for directing and writing, respectively.
Downton received 16 nominations in all. But Mad Men and American Horror Story received the most, with 17 each. Mad Men will be going for its record fifth outstanding drama series Emmy this year.
Downton and Med Men will compete against HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones, AMC’s Breaking Bad and Showtime’s Homeland. Mad Men stars Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss are nominees again this year as are Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.
Michael C. Hall (Showtime’s Dexter) and Steve Buscemi (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) round out the lead drama actor field.
FX’s Ryan Murphy thriller, American Horror Story received noms in the miniseries category and for lead actress Connie Britton and supporting performers Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange and Denis O’Hare. And History’s Hatfields & McCoys – which premiered to a record 14.2 million viewers in May – broke into the Emmys in a big way. The mini earned 16 nominations overall, including one for outstanding miniseries and lead actor noms for Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton.
With first-time nominees in multiple performance categories and nominations for freshman series including Showtime’s Homeland, Fox’s New Girl and HBO’s Girls and Veep, there will be plenty of new faces walking the red carpet as nominees at the 64th annual Primetime Emmys.
Lena Dunham, the star and creator of Girls – a slacker Sex and the City – scored her first nomination in the lead comedy actress category, where she’ll compete with fellow newcomer and New Girl star Zooey Deschanel. New Girl supporting actor Max Greenfield also received his first nomination.
Dunham and Deschanel will compete with last year’s winner Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly) and the oft-nominated Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) and Tina Fey (30 Rock). Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) also scored a nomination for comedy lead — she was nominated multiple times for her supporting role on Seinfeld and won comedy lead for The New Adventures of Old Christine in 2006.
While Girls and Veep did receive outstanding comedy series noms, New Girl did not. The complete comedy series field once again includes The Big Bang Theory, 30 Rock, Modern Family and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Don Cheadle earned his first comedy series nom for Showtime’s House of Lies. Jon Cryer, Charlie Sheen’s long-suffering co-star on Two and a Half Men, also earned his first nomination as comedy lead. They will be up against last year’s winner Jim Parsons (Big Bang) as well as Larry David (HBO’s Curb), Louis C.K. (FX’s Louie) and Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), a multiple winner in the category.
Mayim Bialik (Big Bang Theory) and Merritt Weaver (Nurse Jackie) also are first-time nominees in the supporting comedy performer category.
The outstanding drama series performer category also includes many nominees new to their particular categories. Damian Lewis and Claire Danes scored nominations for their roles in Homeland. Anna Gunn and Giancarlo Esposito snagged supporting noms for Breaking Bad, which recently entered its penultimate season on AMC. And Jared Harris, whose character committed suicide on last season’s Mad Men, scored a nom in the supporting drama series category.
Competing against Dockery, Moss and Danes for the lead drama actress Emmy are: Glenn Close (DirecTV’s Damages), Julianna Margulies (CBS’ The Good Wife) and Kathy Bates for her role in the now-cancelled NBC series Harry’s Law.
HBO once again had the most nominations with 81, followed by CBS (60), PBS (58), ABC (48) and AMC (34).
The Emmys will be broadcast live Sept. 23 on ABC with first-timer Jimmy Kimmel serving as master of ceremonies.
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