2014 Emmy Award nominations: ‘Game of Thrones’ leads the pack with 19 nods, ‘True Detective’s’ gamble pays off

A bold move by “True Detective” paid off – the HBO crime noir series, which made news when it was submitted as a drama instead of a miniseries, scored a best drama series nod at the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations on Thursday morning.
The Matthew McConaughey-Woody Harrelson vehicle (both veterans landed nods for lead actor in a drama) was nominated in the fiercely competitive category alongside the predictable regulars: “Breaking Bad,” “Downton Abbey,” “House of Cards” “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones.”

Speaking of HBO’s fantasy epic, “Game of Thrones” landed the most nominations with 19. That was followed by a big day for FX: Newcomer “Fargo,” based on the movie, picked up 18 nominations by submitting as a miniseries; in the same category, the network’s gorefest, “American Horror Story: Coven,” nabbed 17 nods. The final season of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and HBO television movie “The Normal Heart,” about the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s, tied for fourth place with 16 nominations each.

Which show did “True Detective” knock off the best drama series list? That would be 2012 winner “Homeland.” The Showtime terrorism nailbiter got bumped after a roundly criticized season – however, star Claire Danes did pick up a nod for best actress in a drama. She was joined by Michelle Dockery of “Downton Abbey,” Robin Wright of “House of Cards” and Kerry Washington of “Scandal.” Julianna Margulies jumped back into the mix after an especially emotional season of “The Good Wife,” while Lizzy Caplan picked up her first nom for Showtime freshman series “Masters of Sex.”

While McConaughey and Harrelson represent “True Detective” on the lead actor in a drama list, the frontrunner is undoubtedly Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad” for his performance during the show’s riveting final season, during which the saga of teacher-turned-meth-kingpin Walter White morphed from cult favorite to full-blown cultural phenomenon. Perennial nominee Jon Hamm was nominated for the seventh straight time for “Mad Men,” along with scenery-chewer Kevin Spacey on “House of Cards” and last year’s surprise winner, “The Newsroom” star Jeff Daniels.

Over on the comedy side, HBO’s Mike Judge “Silicon Valley” – a satirical send-up of tech and startup culture – landed a surprise nomination in the best comedy category, against heavyweight “Modern Family,” which has never lost on Emmys night. (If the ABC sitcom takes home the gold for its fifth consecutive year, it will tie “Fraiser” for the most comedy series wins in history.)

Also up for best comedy: Academy favorites “Veep,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Louie,” in addition to Netflix critically-acclaimed women’s prison series “Orange Is the New Black.”

The latter is not a surprising nomination, but it will make people wonder whether the show – which has more than its share of horrifying storylines and violence – truly is a comedy. Either way, the choice to avoid the drama category was a smart one – Taylor Schilling and Kate Mulgrew both picked up acting nominations for lead and supporting, respectively. Plus, Natasha Lyonne, Uzo Aduba and Laverne Cox all got nods in the guest actress in a comedy category, which means Cox (who is transgender in real life as well as on the show) makes history as the first trangender person to be nominated for an acting Emmy.

Alongside Schilling for lead actress in a comedy, “Mike & Molly” star Melissa McCarthy is back on the list, with Lena Dunham of “Girls,” Amy Poehler of “Parks and Recreation,” and the unstoppable Edie Falco of “Nurse Jackie.” Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has won in the category the last two years, also got a nod and would seem to be the favorite yet again.

Ricky Gervais – whom Hollywood loves to hate – scored a mildly surprising nod in the lead actor in a comedy category for his work on Netflix’s “Derek,” joining Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory” (who notched his third win last year), Don Cheadle of “House of Lies,” Matt LeBlanc of “Episodes” and Louis C.K. of “Louie.” And “Shameless,” which was granted special permission to switch from the drama to comedy category this year, scored a nomination for its lead, William H. Macy.

There was a shake-up over in reality TV side of things. For the first time since the category was created, “American Idol” stalwart Ryan Seacrest didn’t get a nomination for best reality show competition host. He was swapped in favor of Jane Lynch of “Hollywood Game Night,” who is up against the usuals: Tom Bergeron (“Dancing With the Stars”); Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum (“Project Runway”); and Cat Deeley (“So You Think You Can Dance”). Rounding out the category are Anthony Bourdain (“The Taste”) and, of course, Betty White (“Betty White’s Off Their Rocker.”)

As always there were enough snubs to make certain TV viewers furious. Among the top offenses was the exclusion of Tatiana Maslany, the Candian actress who plays a stunning nine different characters on BBC America’s sci-fi thriller “Orphan Black.” Other complaints included the lack of love for “The Americans,” the FX spy drama that only landed one nomination for guest star Margo Martindale; and CBS’s “The Good Wife” not appearing in the best drama category, despite its strongest season ever.

See below for our immediate reactions to nominations in the top categories.

The list of nominations for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Outstanding Drama Series
“Breaking Bad” (AMC)
“Downton Abbey” (PBS)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“Mad Men” (AMC)
“True Detective” (HBO)
“House of Cards” (Netflix)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: So long, “Homeland.” Though many people were surprised “The Good Wife” — a highly-rated network drama coming off arguably its most compelling season ever — didn’t make the list.


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom” (HBO)
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards” (Netflix)
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men” (AMC)
Matthew McConaughey, “True Detective” (HBO)
Woody Harrelson, “True Detective” (HBO)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Pretty typical here, except “Downton Abbey’s” Hugh Bonneville missed out on a nomination for the first time, as did “Homeland’s” Damian Lewis, who won in 2012. But that left room for the “True Detective” duo.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)
Claire Danes, “Homeland” (Showtime)
Robin Wright, “House of Cards” (Netflix)
Kerry Washington, “Scandal” (ABC)
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife” (CBS)
Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex” (Showtime)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Pretty standard list, except the academy shows “Masters of Sex” some love with Lizzy Caplan’s first nomination; though it seems like Julianna Margulies has this category locked up with her strongest “Good Wife” season ever.


Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan” (Showtime)
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland” (Showtime)
Josh Charles, “The Good Wife” (CBS)
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Again, the list isn’t much different from last year, though academy voter favorite Jon Voight showed up for newcomer “Ray Donovan.” This is some tough competition: Will the voters award two-time winner Aaron Paul for his final “Breaking Bad” year or Josh Charles for all he went through on “The Good Wife”?


Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)
Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife” (CBS)
Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men” (AMC)
Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Unsurprisingly, Christina Hendricks and Christine Baranski continue their four-year streak of being nominated; Lena Headey sneaks in there for “Game of Thrones,” taking over for co-star Emilia Clarke.


Outstanding Comedy Series
“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
“Louie” (FX)
“Modern Family” (ABC)
“Veep” (HBO)
“Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix)
“Silicon Valley” (HBO)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Everyone’s reaction was the same for this one: “Huh? ‘Silicon Valley’?” No “Girls” this year, but it seems like a law there must be at least two HBO series in the best comedy category.


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”
Don Cheadle, “House of Lies” (Showtime)
Louis C.K., “Louie” (FX)
William H. Macy, “Shameless” (Showtime)
Ricky Gervais, “Derek” (Netflix)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Man, the academy loves Matt LeBlanc. Ricky Gervais didn’t show up in anyone’s predictions, but it doesn’t really matter because Jim Parsons will probably win as usual. But hey, good for “Shameless” for getting some love in at least one category after switching to comedy.


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham, “Girls” (HBO)
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie” (Showtime)
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation” (NBC)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep” (HBO)
Melissa McCarthy, “Mike & Molly” (CBS)
Taylor Schilling, “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Is it just a rule that when Melissa McCarthy is in a big summer movie, she also has to get nominated for an Emmy? (A lot of people speculate her 2011 win for her CBS sitcom was really a win for “Bridesmaids.”) And Taylor Schilling was anything but a lead in “OITNB” but it doesn’t really matter.


Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Adam Driver, “Girls” (HBO)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family” (ABC)
Fred Armisen, “Portlandia” (IFC)
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family” (ABC)
Tony Hale, “Veep” (HBO)
Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (Fox)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Poor Eric Stonestreet — after winning twice, this is the second year in a row he’s been snubbed in favor of his “Modern Family” co-stars. (Though in fairness, Ed O’Neill dropped off the list, too.) Andre Braugher gets a well-deserved nod here for playing the never-amused police captain on the new Fox show, though the head-scratcher on this one is Fred Armisen.


Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
Julie Bowen, “Modern Family” (ABC)
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep” (HBO)
Allison Janney, “Mom” (CBS)
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
Kate Mulgrew, “Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Lots of new faces here, as Allison Janney, Kate McKinnon and Kate Mulgrew knock Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”) and Jane Lynch (“Glee”) off the list. Last year’s winner, Meritt Wever (“Nurse Jackie”) didn’t make it, either.


Outstanding Miniseries
“American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
“Fargo” (FX)
“The White Queen” (Starz)
“Bonnie and Clyde” (Lifetime)
“Treme” (HBO)
“Luther” (BBC America)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Nicely done, “Fargo,” escaping the cutthroat best drama category and sliding nicely into the miniseries spot. And while “American Horror Story” racks up the nominations by pulling the same trick, it has never paid off with a win.


Outstanding Television Movie
“The Normal Heart” (HBO)
“The Trip to Bountiful” (Lifetime)
“Killing Kennedy” (National Geographic Channel)
“Sherlock: His Last Vow” (PBS)
“Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” (HBO)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Expect this to be a tough race between Ryan Murphy’s much-hyped “The Normal Heart” and Nat Geo’s “Killing Kennedy” starring Rob Lowe.


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge” (Starz)
Mark Ruffalo, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
Billy Bob Thornton, “Fargo” (FX)
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: His Last Vow” (PBS)
Idris Elba, “Luther” (BBC America)
Martin Freeman, “Fargo” (FX)

IMMEDIATE REACTION:Billy Bob Thornton is a big enough name that he might be able to break the curse of “AHS” and actually score a win here for a miniseries that could technically also just be a drama.


Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Matt Bomer, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
Martin Freeman, “Sherlock: His Last Vow” (PBS)
Joe Mantello, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
Colin Hanks, “Fargo” (FX)
Jim Parsons, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
Alfred Molina, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Hey, two nominations for Jim Parsons — that guy is talented. It seems like this will probably go to someone from “The Normal Heart,” though good for Colin Hanks on landing his first nom.


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Cicely Tyson, “The Trip to Bountiful” (Lifetime)
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
Kristen Wiig, “Spoils of Babylon” (IFC)
Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton and Taylor” (BBC America)
Minnie Driver, “Return to Zero” (Lifetime)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Another common reaction: “What? Kristen Wiig was in a miniseries?”


Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
Frances Conroy, “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
Allison Tolman, “Fargo” (FX)
Ellen Burstyn, “Flowers in the Attic” (Lifetime)
Julia Roberts, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)

IMMEDIATE REACTION:
Think the academy will be able to resist giving an Emmy to Julia Roberts? Probably not, though she’ll have some tough competition with Ellen Burstyn’s for Lifetime’s unintentional comedy “Flowers in the Attic.”


Outstanding Variety Series
“The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)
“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (Comedy Central)
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC)
“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (NBC)
“Real Time With Bill Maher” (HBO)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)

IMMEDIATE REACTION: Colbert snapped “The Daily Show’s” 10-year winning streak last year, and with all the buzz about his new career move, it’s likely he’ll do it again.


Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
“The Amazing Race” (CBS)
“Dancing With the Stars” (ABC)
“Project Runway” (Lifetime)
“So You Think You Can Dance” (Fox)
“Top Chef” (Bravo)
“The Voice” (NBC)


Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program
Betty White, “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” (NBC)
Tom Bergeron, “Dancing With the Stars” (ABC)
Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum, “Project Runway” (Lifetime)
Cat Deeley, “So You Think You Can Dance” (Fox)
Anthony Bourdain, “The Taste” (ABC)
Jane Lynch, “Hollywood Game Night” (NBC)


Outstanding Structured Reality Program
“Undercover Boss” (CBS)
“Antiques Roadshow” (PBS)
“Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” (Food Network)
“Mythbusters” (Discovery)
“Shark Tank” (ABC)
“Who Do You Think You Are” (TLC)

Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program
“Alaska: Last Frontier” (Discovery Channel)
“Deadliest Catch” (Discovery)
“Flipping Out” (Bravo)
“Million Dollar Listing” (BRavo)
“Wahlburgers” (A&E)
“Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan” (BBC America)

Outstanding Variety Special
“AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To Mel Brooks (TNT)
“Best Of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Primetime Special (NBC)
“Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays” (HBO)
“Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles” (HBO)
“The Beatles: The Night That Changed America” (CBS)
“The Kennedy Center Honors” (CBS)

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Diana Rigg, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Kate Mara, “House of Cards” (Netflix)
Allison Janney, “Masters of Sex” (Showtime)
Kate Burton, “Scandal” (ABC)
Margo Martindale, “The Americans” (FX)
Jane Fonda, “The Newsroom” (HBO)

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Paul Giamiatti, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)
Reg E. Cathey, “House of Cards” (Netflix)
Robert Morse, “Mad Men” (AMC)
Beau Bridges, “Masters of Sex” (Showtime)
Joe Morton, “Scandal” (ABC)
Dylan Baker, “The Good Wife” (CBS)

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Nathan Lane, “Modern Family” (ABC)
Jimmy Fallon, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
Bob Newhart, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
Steve Buscemi, “Portlandia” (IFC)
Louis C.K., “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
Gary Cole, “Veep” (HBO)

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix)
Natasha Lyonne, “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix)
Melissa McCarthy, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
Laverne Cox, “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix)
Tina Fey, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
Joan Cusack “Shameless” (Showtime)

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
Vince Gilligan, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
Moria Walley-Beckett, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Beau Willimon, “House of Cards” (Netflix)
Nic Pizzolatto, “True Detective” (HBO)

Outstanding Direction for a Drama Series
Tim Van Patten, “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
Vince Gilligan, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
David Evans, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)
Neil Marshall, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Carl Franklin, “House of Cards” (Netflix)
Cary Joji Fukunaga, “True Detective” (HBO)

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, “Episodes” (Showtime)
Louis C.K., “Louie” (FX)
Liz Friedman and Jenji Kohan, “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix)
Alec Berg,“Silicon Valley” (HBO)
Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche, Armando Iannucci, “Veep” (HBO)

Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series
Ian B. MacDonald, “Episodes” (Showtime)
Paris Barclay, “Glee” (Fox)
Louis C.K., “Louie” (FX)
Gail Mancuso, “Modern Family” (ABC)
Jodie Foster, “Orange is the New Black” (Netflix)
Mike Judge, “Silicon Valley” (HBO)

Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special
Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
Noah Hawley, “Fargo” (FX)
Neil Cross, “Luther” (BBC)
Steven Moffat, “Sherlock: His Last Vow” (PBS)
Larry Kramer, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)
David Simon and Eric Overmyer, “Treme” (HBO)

Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, “American Horror Story: Coven” (FX)
Adam Bernstein, “Fargo” (FX)
Colin Bucksey, “Fargo” (FX)
Stephen Frears, “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” (HBO)
Nick Hurran, “Sherlock: His Last Vow” (PBS)
Ryan Murphy, “The Normal Heart” (HBO)

Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series
Jonathan Krisel, “Portlandia” (IFC)
Don Roy King, “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
James Hoskinson, “The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)
Chuck O’Neil, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (Comedy Central)
Dave Diomedi, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (NBC)

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
Dave Bone and Paul Greenberg, 67th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
Billy Crystal, “Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays” (HBO)
Sarah Silverman, “Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles” (HBO)
Barry Adelman, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler Jon Macks, Dave Boone, Alex Baxe, Robert Carlock, Sam Means, Seth Meyers, Mike Shoemaker, “The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards” (NBC)
Ken Ehrlich and David Wild, “The Beatles: The Night that Changed America” (CBS)

Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special
Glenn Weiss, “67th Annual Tony Awards” (CBS)
James Lapine, “Six By Sondheim” (HBO)
Gregg Gelfand, “The Beatles: The Night That Changed America” (CBS)
Louis J. Horvitz, “The Kennedy Center Honors” (CBS)
Hamish Hamilton, “The Oscars” (ABC)
Beth McCarthy Miller and Rob Ashford, “The Sound Of Music Live!” (NBC)

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series
Jessi Klein, Amy Schumer, Emily Altman, Jeremy Beiler, Neil Casey, Kurt Metzger, Kyle Dunnigan, Christine Nangle, Daniel Powell, “Inside Amy Schumer” (Comedy Central)

Jay Martel, Ian Roberts, Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Alex Rubens, Rebecca Drysdale, Colton Dunn, Rich Talarico, Charlie Sanders, “Key & Peele” (Comedy Central)

Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Jonathan Krisel, Graham Wagner, Karey Dornetto, “Portlandia” (IFC)

Opus Moreschi, Stephen Colbert, Tom Purcell, Richard Dahm, Barry Julien, Michael Brumm, Rob Dubbin, Jay Katsir, Frank Lesser, Glenn Eichler, Meredith Scardino, Max Werner, Eric Drysdale, Paul Dinello, Nate Charney, Sam Kim, Aaron Cohen, Gabe Gronli, Matt Lappin, “The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)

Elliott Kalan, Tim Carvell, Steve Bodow, Dan Amira, Travon Free, Hallie Haglund, JR Havlan, Matt Koff, Dan McCoy, Jo Miller, Zhubin Parang, Daniel Radosh, Lauren Sarver, Jon Stewart, Rory Albanese, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (Comedy Central)

AD Miles, Patrick Borelli, Gerard Bradford, Luke Cunningham, Mike DiCenzo, Mike Drucker, Jess Dweck, Dicky Eagan, Jimmy Fallon, John Haskel, Josh Lieb, Arthur Meyer, Chase Mitchell, Dan Opsal, Gavin Purcell, Jon Rineman, Albertina Ross, Jason Ross, David Young, Michael Jann, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (NBC)

Complete list of technical nominations at emmys.com

(This post has been updated.)

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Emily Yahr is an entertainment reporter and pop culture blogger for the Style section. She joined the Post in May 2008, a week before she graduated from the University of Maryland, and worked on Lisa de Moraes' TV Column and blog.
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