LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Medieval fantasy “Game of Thrones” scored a record 32 Emmy nominations on Tuesday, but the contenders for the highest honors in television were dominated by newcomers, many of them women, and shows about political and social justice.
The 2019 lineup for the Emmys represented the widest array of first-time nominees in eight years, the Television Academy said, with nine new shows contending for the top prizes of best drama and best comedy series.
They included female-driven BBC America thriller “Killing Eve,” which also won nods for stars Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh; dark comedy “Fleabag,” from Amazon.com’s (AMZN.O) Amazon Studios, which got 11 nominations including for its British creator and star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge; and surreal Netflix time-loop comedy “Russian Doll,” written by its star, Natasha Lyonne.
Laura Linney, a best actress nominee for her role in Netflix drug smuggling drama “Ozark,” said she was “thrilled that I somehow ended up in this group of kick-ass women, who all raise the bar over and over again.”
In a crowded landscape of top-quality shows, A-list stars Julia Roberts and George Clooney were seen as the biggest snubs on Tuesday, failing to get nominations in their high-profile returns to the small screen in “Homecoming” and “Catch-22” respectively.
“The Big Bang Theory,” which ended its run in May as the most-watched comedy on U.S. television, was shut out of the major categories.
HBO (T.N) got a leading 137 nominations, an Emmy record. The Emmy awards will be handed out at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Sept. 22.
HBO’s haul included three-times best drama series winner “Game of Thrones,” and recognition for actors Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams in the show’s final season.
While the nods for “Game of Thrones” were expected, despite a fan uproar over the series finale in May, HBO also scored 19 nominations with its limited series “Chernobyl,” a dramatization of the 1986 nuclear accident in Ukraine and Soviet efforts to cover it up.
“Word of mouth has probably been the most significant way in which this show has achieved this impact,” Jared Harris, a best actor nominee for “Chernobyl,” told Reuters.
The series has played in Russia and brought curious tourists to the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
Netflix (NFLX.O) scored 117 nominations, led by “When They See Us” which racked up 16 nods for director and writer Ava DuVernay’s heart-wrenching dramatization of the wrongful imprisonment of five black teens for a rape in New York in 1989.
“Thank you @Netflix for believing in this story and letting me tell it the exact way I wanted. Appreciate the faith and the fearlessness,” DuVernay wrote on Twitter.
In the comedy category, returning Emmy champ “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” from Amazon Studios got 20 nominations, including for lead actress Rachel Brosnahan.
It will face off against HBO’s political satire “Veep,” which ended its seven-season run in May, and its six-time Emmy- winning star Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the foul-mouthed politician hell-bent on becoming U.S. president.
FX’s groundbreaking LGBTQ series “Pose,” about the drag ball culture in 1980s New York, will contend for best drama and won a first-time nomination for star Billy Porter.
“I’m so grateful to have lived long enough to see this day. ‘Pose’ speaks a truth that has the power to transform hearts and minds,” Porter said in a statement.
Popular shows and past Emmy winners “Big Little Lies” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” were not broadcast during this year’s Emmy eligibility period.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant and Lisa Richwine; Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Susan Thomas