Cable still rules
|1||Mildred Pierce (HBO)||21 noms|
|2||Mad Men (AMC)||19 noms|
|3||Boardwalk Empire (HBO)||18 noms|
|4||Modern Family (ABC)||17 noms|
|5||Saturday Night Live (NBC)||16 noms|
Hollywood managed to take a break from its preparations for the rapidly approaching Carmageddon early Thursday morning to witness a slightly less catastrophic event: the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' announcement of the nominees for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards.
Leading the pack as it does every year was HBO, with a total of 104 nominations, up from 2010's industry-leading 101. About a fifth of those 104 nominations came from the network's miniseries adaptation of James M. Cain's book Mildred Pierce, starring Kate Winslet, which led all shows with 21 total nominations, though first-year drama series Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones also earned double-digit nomination totals.
The leading nominee among regular series was AMC's Mad Men, which set a series high with 19 nominations this year. Second-year sitcom Modern Family was the top nominee among broadcast network shows, adding 17 nominations to the 14 it collected last year.
It wasn't a terrific year for the broadcast networks in general however; they combined for just 178 nominations this year (not including PBS), compared to 214 the year before. CBS was the leading broadcast network with 50 nominations, followed by NBC (46) and Fox (42); last year's top network, ABC, dropped from 63 to 40 nominations (thanks in no small part to the loss of Lost). And while in 2010 the networks saw first-year shows like The Good Wife and Modern Family scored multiple major Emmy nominations, there were no similar first-year wonders this year. Among this year's freshman broadcast series, only CBS's Mike & Molly, NBC's Harry's Law, and Fox's Raising Hope even registered with Emmy voters, and each of those programs earned just two nominations.
Listed below are this year's nominees in every major category.
The nominations: Best series and specials
|The Big Bang Theory *||The Office|
|Glee||Parks and Recreation *|
|Modern Family||30 Rock|
As expected, critic favorite Parks and Recreation and CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory join four returning nominees in the comedy category. Out are Curb Your Enthusiasm (which did not air last year) and Showtime's Nurse Jackie. Anyone hoping for the emergence of Community and Louie in this category will be disappointed, though the latter show picked up several nominations in other categories.
|Boardwalk Empire *||Game of Thrones *|
|Dexter||The Good Wife|
|Friday Night Lights *||Mad Men|
There are no real surprises here, but that doesn't mean there isn't any good news for fans of quality television. Not only did HBO's fantasy epic Game of Thrones score a best drama series nomination (one of 13 total nominations for the first-year program), but so did—finally—DirecTV/NBC's Friday Night Lights, in its fifth and final season. Another HBO newcomer, the Martin Scorsese-produced Boardwalk Empire, also landed in this category (for one of its 18 nominations), as did three returning nominees, including AMC's Mad Men (which upped its nomination total to 19 this year after scoring 17 last year). Only True Blood among last year's six nominees failed to repeat this year; two additional 2010 nominees (Breaking Bad and Lost) did not air this year. Fan favorite The Walking Dead also failed to register with voters. And despite widespread critical acclaim for its second season, FX's Justified could not secure a nomination here, though it did pick up some nominations in the acting categories, unlike HBO's equally lauded Treme, which was shut out completely.
|The Colbert Report||Late Night With Jimmy Fallon *|
|Conan *||Real Time With Bill Maher|
|The Daily Show||Saturday Night Live|
The name of his show may be different, but Conan O'Brien still finds his late night talk show scoring a nomination in this category; while this year, the honor goes to his first-year TBS series Conan, last year, his version of The Tonight Show scored a nomination. A more surprising—though certainly deserving—newcomer here is Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, which is nominated for the first time in this category in its third season. All other nominees are the same as last year, including The Daily Show, which has won the award in eight consecutive years. Saturday Night Live's nomination, by the way, is just one of 16 this year for that show, pushing its all-time record total for a single show to 142 nominations.
|Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On||Lady Gaga Presents The Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden|
|Carrie Fisher In Wishful Drinking||The Pee-Wee Herman Show On Broadway|
|The Kennedy Center Honors|
|Cinema Verite||Mildred Pierce|
|Downton Abbey||The Pillars of the Earth|
|The Kennedys||Too Big to Fail|
Traditionally two separate categories, the awards for best movie and best miniseries have been consolidated this year for the first time, due to a lack of miniseries entrants in recent years. One of those entrants this year is HBO's five-part depression-era miniseries Mildred Pierce, which topped all programs in 2011 with 21 nominations, much as the network's The Pacific led all programs last year. The most surprising nominee here is The Kennedys, a miniseries that was rejected by several networks (including History, its original home), before eventually landing on the little-known ReelzChannel.
|Antiques Roadshow||Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List|
Deadliest Catch and Hoarders are this year's new nominees, while last year's winner, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, failed to score a nomination this year. Discovery's Dirty Jobs is the other 2010 nominee not to return this year.
|The Amazing Race||Project Runway|
|American Idol||So You Think You Can Dance|
|Dancing With The Stars||Top Chef|
Last year's five nominees (including last year's surprise winner Top Chef and seven-time winner The Amazing Race) return, joined by a sixth entrant, Fox's So You Think You Can Dance.
|The Cleveland Show||The Simpsons|
|Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III|
Frequent winners The Simpsons and South Park are the only returning nominees, while the reborn Futurama has five previous nominations (and one win) in the category, though none since 2004—when the series still aired on Fox. Last year's winner, Disney Prep & Landing, was not nominated.
The nominations: Acting and hosting
|Alec Baldwin||30 Rock||Johnny Galecki||The Big Bang Theory|
|Steve Carell||The Office||Matt LeBlanc||Episodes|
|Louis C.K.||Louie||Jim Parsons||The Big Bang Theory|
Baldwin, Carell, and Parsons are returning nominees, and though Parsons won the award in 2010, Carell will be a huge sentimental favorite to take home this year's trophy for his final season as Office boss Michael Scott. Parsons' Big Bang Theory co-star, Johnny Galecki, and the excellent Louis C.K. received their first-ever Emmy nominations (C.K. received four in total this year, for both his eponymous show and for a stand-up special), while Matt LeBlanc was a three-time nominee for Friends from 2002-04. Three 2010 nominees failed to get nominations this year, but of that group, only Glee's Matthew Morrison was eligible this year. And some experts had predicted the emergence of Community's Joel McHale or Parks and Recreation's Rob Lowe in this category this year; Galecki's nomination, especially, comes as a bit of a surprise.
|Edie Falco||Nurse Jackie||Melissa McCarthy||Mike & Molly|
|Tina Fey||30 Rock||Martha Plimpton||Raising Hope|
|Laura Linney||The Big C||Amy Poehler||Parks and Recreation|
As was the case for comedy actors, the actress category is evenly split between returnees and newcomers. Falling in the former category are Edie Falco (last year's winner), Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler. Laura Linney, a new nominee for Showtime's first-year series The Big C, is a three-time Emmy winner, and was expected to wind up here. The surprises are Martha Plimpton, who previously was nominated as a Law & Order SVU guest star in 2002, and Mike & Molly's Melissa McCarthy, who received her first-ever Emmy nomination. Their inclusion this year means that 2010 nominees Lea Michele (Glee) and Toni Collette (United States of Tara) were left empty-handed in 2011.
|Ty Burrell||Modern Family||Jesse Tyler Ferguson||Modern Family|
|Chris Colfer||Glee||Ed O'Neill||Modern Family|
|Jon Cryer||Two and a Half Men||Eric Stonestreet||Modern Family|
The supporting actor category is virtually unchanged from last year, with Modern Family's Ed O'Neill—surprisingly, a first-time nominee—replacing How I Met Your Mother's Neil Patrick Harris. (Sadly, Parks and Recreation's Nick Offerman was neglected again.) Will all those Modern Family nominees cancel each other out, allowing Cryer or Colfer to eke out a victory? That didn't happen last year, when Stonestreet won.
|Julie Bowen||Modern Family||Sofia Vergara||Modern Family|
|Jane Lynch||Glee||Betty White||Hot in Cleveland|
|Jane Krakowski||30 Rock||Kristen Wiig||Saturday Night Live|
Supporting actress is another stable category, with Betty White the one newcomer here; she replaces Holland Taylor, a nominee last year for Two and a Half Men. It is White's 17th career nomination. Lynch won the category last year, and she'll be hosting the Emmy ceremony this year.
|Steve Buscemi||Boardwalk Empire||Jon Hamm||Mad Men|
|Kyle Chandler||Friday Night Lights||Hugh Laurie||House|
|Michael C. Hall||Dexter||Timothy Olyphant||Justified|
We can guarantee that there will be a first-time winner in this category this year. Bryan Cranston's streak of three consecutive Emmy victories has come to an end, but only because Breaking Bad debuted too late this year to qualify for this year's awards. His absence opens up a spot for either Hall (0 for 4 previous nominations), Hamm (0 for 5), or Laurie (0 for 6) to finally get the trophy that has eluded him so far. (Our money's on Hamm.) The newcomers in the category are Boardwalk Empire star Steve Buscemi (three previous Emmy nominations, no wins) and first-time nominee Timothy Olyphant.
|Kathy Bates||Harry's Law||Mariska Hargitay||Law & Order: SVU|
|Connie Britton||Friday Night Lights||Julianna Margulies||The Good Wife|
|Mireille Enos||The Killing||Elisabeth Moss||Mad Men|
AMC's first-year drama The Killing may have had its problems, but star Mireille Enos certainly wasn't one of them, and her unexpected nomination is the first of her career. Other newcomers in the category include Kathy Bates (her ninth career nomination) and Elisabeth Moss, who last year was nominated in the supporting category instead. Their additions mean that there is one surprising omission: frequent nominee Kyra Sedgwick, who won the Emmy last year for The Closer. (The other non-returnees are Glenn Close, whose Damages didn't debut in time to qualify for this year's awards, and Mad Men's January Jones, who had a reduced role last season.)
|Andre Braugher||Men of a Certain Age||Peter Dinklage||Game of Thrones|
|Josh Charles||The Good Wife||Walton Goggins||Justified|
|Alan Cumming||The Good Wife||John Slattery||Mad Men|
Since most of last year's nominees in this category were on shows that didn't air this year (including winner Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad), the supporting actor race features a number of new faces this year, with no clear frontrunner. Andre Braugher and John Slattery are the sole returnees; they're joined by well-deserved nominations for the likes of Game of Thrones' Peter Dinklage and Justified's Walton Goggins, each receiving their first career nominations (though Goggins should have been nominated much earlier for his work on The Shield). Josh Charles is also a first-time nominee, while his Good Wife co-star Alan Cumming has a previous nomination.
|Christine Baranski||The Good Wife||Margo Martindale||Justified|
|Michelle Forbes||The Killing||Kelly Macdonald||Boardwalk Empire|
|Christina Hendricks||Mad Men||Archie Panjabi||The Good Wife|
Baranski, Hendricks, and Panjabi (last year's winner) are returning nominees. Margo Martindale's first career nomination is a bit of a surprise, but a welcome one, coming for her memorable season-long co-starring role as Mags Bennett on Justified. The other newcomers in the category are Michelle Forbes (another first-timer) and Boardwalk Empire's Kelly Macdonald. Burn Notice's Sharon Gless, a nominee last year, could not repeat that feat this year.
|Idris Elba||Luther||Greg Kinnear||The Kennedys|
|Laurence Fishburne||Thurgood||Barry Pepper||The Kennedys|
|William Hurt||Too Big to Fail||Edgar Ramirez||Carlos|
Emmy voters clearly liked The Kennedys miniseries, giving it another two nominations here. A pair of HBO movies brought Laurence Fishburne and William Hurt their fifth and second career Emmy nominations, respectively, while the remaining two slots went to programs that barely qualify as "miniseries." Though the French miniseries Carlos was released as a (very long) theatrical film in the United States, it also aired on the Sundance Channel, making its star, Edgar Ramirez, eligible for an Emmy. And while we consider the BBC's crime drama Luther more series than miniseries (it's just short, as most British series are), its inclusion here means that its star, Idris Elba, can finally get an Emmy nomination; Elba was never nominated for his performance as Stringer Bell on HBO's The Wire. (It was a good morning for Elba, who also landed a guest-starring nomination this year for an appearance on The Big C.)
|Taraji P. Henson||Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story||Elizabeth McGovern||Downton Abbey|
|Diane Lane||Cinema Verite||Kate Winslet||Mildred Pierce|
|Jean Marsh||Upstairs Downstairs|
Kate Winslet's nomination for the title role in HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce was as close to a sure thing as you'll find at this year's Emmys. Taraji P. Henson, nominated for the Lifetime movie Taken From Me, and Elizabeth McGovern, for Masterpiece Classic miniseries Downton Abbey, are first-time nominees.
|Paul Giamatti||Too Big to Fail||Tom Wilkinson||The Kennedys|
|Brian F. O'Byrne||Mildred Pierce||James Woods||Too Big to Fail|
|Guy Pearce||Mildred Pierce|
|Eileen Atkins||Upstairs Downstairs||Mare Winningham||Mildred Pierce|
|Melissa Leo||Mildred Pierce||Evan Rachel Wood||Mildred Pierce|
|Maggie Smith||Downton Abbey|
|Will Arnett||30 Rock||Zach Galifianakis||Saturday Night Live|
|Matt Damon||30 Rock||Nathan Lane||Modern Family|
|Idris Elba||The Big C||Justin Timberlake||Saturday Night Live|
Galifianakis and Timberlake were nominated for their SNL hosting duties, while Arnett was also nominated for this same guest role last year.
|Elizabeth Banks||30 Rock||Dot-Marie Jones||Glee|
|Kristin Chenoweth||Glee||Cloris Leachman||Raising Hope|
|Tina Fey||Saturday Night Live||Gwyneth Paltrow||Glee|
Banks and Paltrow are first-time Emmy nominees this year, while it is Leachman's 22nd career nomination.
|Beau Bridges||Brothers & Sisters||Michael J. Fox||The Good Wife|
|Jeremy Davies||Justified||Paul McCrane||Harry's Law|
|Bruce Dern||Big Love||Robert Morse||Mad Men|
Morse and Bridges were nominated here last year, though Bridges' nomination was for a different show (The Closer). It is Fox's 12th career Emmy nomination, and he won in this same category two years ago for Rescue Me.
|Cara Buono||Mad Men||Randee Heller||Mad Men|
|Joan Cusack||Shameless||Mary McDonnell||The Closer|
|Loretta Devine||Grey's Anatomy||Julia Stiles||Dexter|
Mary McDonnell's guest appearance as Capt. Sharon Raydor on The Closer was so successful that a spin-off series (Major Crimes) revolving around her character is now in development. And Mad Men fans might be happy to see first-timer Randee Heller on the list; she's a nominee for her performance as the late Miss Blankenship.
|Tom Bergeron||Dancing with the Stars||Jeff Probst||Survivor|
|Cat Deeley||So You Think You Can Dance||Ryan Seacrest||American Idol|
|Phil Keoghan||The Amazing Race|
Probst has won the award every year in which it has been handed out. Deeley is this year's new addition, replacing Project Runway's Heidi Klum.
More Emmy coverage
To get a full list of the 2011 nominees—including all of the many technical, directing, and writing categories not listed above—visit the official Emmy website. As we get closer to the ceremony, which will be hosted by Glee's Jane Lynch and air live on Fox on Sunday, September 18, we'll determine the expected winners in the major categories by sampling a variety of experts and give you a chance to make your own predictions.
What are TV critics and pundits saying about the nominations? Here is some early analysis:
- Michael Ausiello (TVLine)
- David Bianculli (TV Worth Watching)
- James Hibberd and Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly)
- Margaret Lyons, Joe Adalian, and Willa Paskin (Vulture)
- James Poniewozik (Time)
- Maureen Ryan (AOL TV)
- Alan Sepinwall (HitFix)
What do you think of the nominations? Let us know in the comments section below.