The 2015 Emmy nominations have been announced and Netflix and Amazon are right up there with the big boys.
Game of Thrones leads the overall pack, with a staggering 24 nominations, followed by limited series American Horror Story: Freak Show with 19 nods and Olive Kitteridge (13). While the fantasy epic’s ruling of the roost suggests another year of the same old faces, though, this year marks a subtle shift in the awards race.
Behind the camera, there has been a 60 per cent increase in the number of women writers and directors nominated in the comedy, drama and long-form categories compared to 2014. And while this year’s Drama and Comedy nominees include veterans such as Parks And Recreation and Homeland, newcomers are in the ring too, from Transparent and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in Outstanding Comedy Series to Better Call Saul in Outstanding Drama Series. Even Orange Is The New Black is a fresh face, thanks to a rule change that means the show is nominated in the drama category.
Over half of the nominees in the four lead performer categories, in fact, are either first-time nominees of from new series: for Outstanding Lead Performer in a Drama, this includes Kyle Chandler in Bloodline, Viola Davis in How to Get Away with Murder, Taraji P. Henson in Empire, Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black, Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul and Liev Schreiber in Ray Donovan.
Similarly in the Outstanding Lead Performer in a Comedy, new names include Anthony Anderson in ‘blackish, Will Forte in The Last Man on Earth, Amy Schumer in Inside Amy Schumer, Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent and Lily Tomlin in Grace And Frankie. (With Kitteridge’s Frances McDowmand, American Horror Story’s Jessica Lange, Veep’s Julie Louis-Dreyfus, House of Cards’ Robin Wright and Tomlin, there are also a large number of roles for women over the age of 40.)
Many of these fresh contenders are coming from Netflix and Amazon – a niche sector that once might have accounted for one or two nods has expanded into a major force to rival the cable and network giants.
This year, Netflix has 34 nominations, beaten only by HBO (126), ABC (42), FX (38) and FOX (35), although it is also responsible for the exclusive non-US distribution of shows such as Better Call Saul, which is not included in the above tally.
House of Cards remains Netflix’s flagship hit: the political drama has 11 nominations, putting it alongside Mad Men and above Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey.
Amazon, though, is neck and neck with its rival. Transparent also has 11 nominations, making it the most nominated comedy series at this year’s Emmy’s.
While it may not have the diverse stable of quality shows that Netflix currently owns, Transparent’s boundary-pushing themes and mature story-telling is a promising start to Amazon’s big TV push, with Hand of God and The Man in the High Castle set to premiere later this year, both with strong, award-friendly credentials.
At a time when the BBC is facing fierce opposition from the government, British drama and talent has also found a captive audience overseas: both Downton Abbey and Wolf Hall have notched up nominations, alongside Limited Series nominee The Honorable Woman, Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case and David Oyelowo in Nightingale.
There are, of course, snubs to be found, from the lack of praise for Hannibal’s technical prowess, let alone acting talent, to Penny Dreadful’s Eva Green. In the case of NBC’s horror series, Fannibals can rest easy: the De Laurentiis Company has pointed out that Hannibal was not eligible for the 2015 Emmys. Penny Dreadful, on the other hand, was ineligible for the 2014 contest, but remains snubbed this year. Even more bizarre is the omission of Ellie Kemper from the Best Actress in a Comedy shortlist, given that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (considered good enough to earn a Best Comedy nod) hinges on its leading lady’s cheerful performance.
Some things, of course, never change. But as Amazon and Netflix increasingly climb the awards ladder, this year’s Emmy line-up is a promising reminder that some things do.
Here is a list of the key nominees in the 2015 Emmys:
Best Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Orange Is the New Black
Best Comedy Series
Parks and Recreation
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Actor in a Drama Series
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Robin Wright, House of Cards
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
William H. Macy, Shameless
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Actress in a Comedy Series
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Variety Talk Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
The Late Show with David Letterman
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
The Amazing Race
Dancing with the Stars
So You Think You Can Dance
Limited Series (formerly “Miniseries”)
American Horror Story: Freak Show
The Honorable Woman
Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Timothy Hutton, American Crime
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Adrien Brody, Houdini
David Oyelowo, Nightingale
Richard Jenkins, Olive Kitteridge
Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Queen Latifah, Bessie
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
Emma Thompson, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street