Game of Thrones, House of Cards top Emmy nods

Emilia Clarke in a scene from Game of Thrones, nominated for a best drama series Emmy award. Photo / AP
Emilia Clarke in a scene from Game of Thrones, nominated for a best drama series Emmy award. Photo / AP

Netflix's House of Cards has made Emmy history with a top drama series nomination, the first time that television's leading awards have recognised a program delivered online as equal in quality to the best that TV has to offer.

The nomination, one of nine nods earned by the political thriller, is a marker in the unfolding revolution in how we receive and watch video entertainment.

"It's really groundbreaking," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix.

"It's beyond our most bold expectations. We were thinking a single nomination would be a win... It's as much a win for Internet television as it is for the content creators."

The most Emmy nominations, 17, went to American Horror Story: Asylum. Close behind was Game of Thrones with 16 nods, while Saturday Night Live and the Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra earned 15 nominations each, including nods for stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.

The bonanza of nominations for Game of Thrones is the swords-and-fantasy show's most-ever and includes a best drama series nod and three acting bids, including a supporting nod for Peter Dinklage.

House of Cards stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright received acting bids, along with a number of other primarily big-screen actors who have migrated to TV for powerhouse projects, with Douglas and Damon among them.

Joining House of Cards and Game of Thrones in the best drama series category are Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Mad Men and last year's winner, Homeland.

Mad Men, which last year missed out on the best drama trophy that would have been its record-setting fifth, eclipsing fellow four-time winners Hill Street Blues, LA Law and The West Wing, gets another shot this year.

The major broadcast networks were shut out of the prestigious category, a repeat of last year and a particular blow with the entry of Netflix's streamed drama. Boardwalk Empire was the only show not to return in the category, its spot claimed by House of Cards.

In the comedy series category, nominees are The Big Bang Theory, Girls, Louie, Modern Family, Veep and 30 Rock, recognised for its final season. Another outgoing comedy, The Office, didn't receive a best series nod.

Another Netflix series, Arrested Development, didn't earn a best comedy series but scored three nominations, including one for star Jason Bateman. Some pundits thought it might earn online's first best comedy series nod, given that it won a trophy in the category for Fox before the network cancelled it.

A six-year-old TV academy rules change allows online entries to compete with cable and broadcast programs, although so far internet shows have popped up only in lower-profile categories. That changed with the 65th Primetime Emmys.

"It certainly is a marker of the new era. ... It will send shock waves through the industry," said Tim Brooks, a TV historian and former network executive, predicted on the eve of the nominations.

They were announced by Aaron Paul, a previous winner for Breaking Bad and nominated again this year, and, in a surprise, Emmy host Neil Patrick Harris. He filled in for House of Cards actress Kate Mara, kept in Santa Fe, New Mexico, by a plane's mechanical malfunction.

"Special thanks to Kate Mara for getting me out of the house before my kids start screaming and crying," Harris said.

An in-demand emcee, the How I Met Your Mother star earned a bid for hosting Broadway's Tony Awards.

Joining Spacey in the contest for best drama series actor are Hugh Bonneville of Downton Abbey; Jon Hamm of Mad Men; Jeff Daniels of The Newsroom and Damian Lewis of Homeland, last year's winner.

Kevin Bacon, one of the big-screen stars trying their hand at TV, was not recognised in the category for The Following.

Breaking Bad, now in its final episodes on AMC, goes out with a best drama Emmy nomination. "What's so great about this thing is it's going to bring us all back together. A little family reunion. So we get to come back together and celebrate the time we had together and the work that we did. It's very exciting," said Paul.

Actresses nominated for their drama series work besides Wright include Vera Farmiga of Bates Hotel; Michelle Dockery of Downtown Abbey; Elisabeth Moss of Mad Men; Connie Britton of Nashville and Kerry Washington of Scandal. Claire Danes, last year's winner for Homeland, got a nod.

Besides Bateman, the nominees for best actor in a comedy are Jim Parsons for The Big Bang Theory: Matt LeBlanc for Episodes; Don Cheadle for House of Lies; Louis CK for Louie and Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock.

Jon Cryer, last year's surprise winner for Two and a Half Men, didn't make the cut this year.

Actresses competing for top comedy acting honours are Laura Dern for Enlightened; Lena Dunham for Girls; Edie Falco for Nurse Jackie; Amy Poehler for Parks and Recreation and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who claimed the trophy last year for Veep.

Most of the 2012 trophy holders have a chance to repeat.

Maggie Smith was nominated again as best supporting actress in a drama for Downton Abbey, which has brought her two trophies. Julie Bowen is up for supporting actress in a comedy for Modern Family.

However, Eric Stonestreet, who claimed the supporting actor award last year for the show, was snubbed while castmates Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ed O'Neill and Ty Burrell got nods.

The nominees:

Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Mad Men

Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Girls
Louie
Modern Family
30 Rock
Veep

Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie
American Horror Story: Asylum
Behind the Candelabra
The Bible
Phil Spector
Political Animals
Top of the Lake

Actor, Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

Actress, Drama Series
Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel,
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Claire Danes, Homeland
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Connie Britton, Nashville
Kerry Washington, Scandal

Supporting Actor, Drama Series
Bobby Cannavale, Boardwalk Empire
Jonathan Banks, Breaking Bad
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

Supporting Actress, Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Morena Baccarin, Homeland
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Actor, Comedy Series
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis CK, Louie
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Actress, Comedy Series
Laura Dern, Enlightened
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Supporting Actor, Comedy Series
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ed O'Neill, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Tony Hale, Veep

Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Mayim Bialik, "The Big Bang Theory," CBS; Jane Lynch, "Glee," FOX; Sofia Vergara, "Modern Family," ABC; Julie Bowen, "Modern Family," ABC; Merritt Wever, "Nurse Jackie," Showtime; Jane Krakowski, "30 Rock," NBC; Anna Chlumsky, "Veep," HBO.

Actor, Miniseries or Movie
Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra
Toby Jones, The Girl
Benedict Cumberbatch, Parade's End
Al Pacino, Phil Spector

Actress, Miniseries or Movie
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
Laura Linney, The Big C: Hereafter
Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals
Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake

Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie
James Cromwell, American Horror Story: Asylum
Zachary Quinto, American Horror Story: Asylum
Scott Bakula, Behind the Candelabra
John Benjamin Hickey, The Big C: Hereafter
Peter Mullan, Top of the Lake

Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Asylum
Imelda Staunton, The Girl
Ellen Burstyn, Political Animals
Charlotte Rampling, Restless
Alfre Woodard, Steel Magnolias

Reality Program
Antiques Roadshow
Deadliest Catch
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
MythBusters
Shark Tank
Undercover Boss

Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
Bravo
The Voice

Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

Children's Program
Good Luck Charlie
iCarly
Nick News With Linda Ellerbee
Forgotten But Not Gone: Kids, HIV & AIDS
The Weight of the Nation for Kids: Quiz Ed!
YoungArts Masterclass

- AP

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