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Get yourself ready for the Emmys with our one-stop guide to this year’s nominations

2015 emmy nominations guide to the emmys game of thones
Game of Thrones Image used with permission by copyright holder
The 2015 Primetime Emmy Award nominations have been confirmed, and this year we see a number of new entrants, including AMC’s Better Call Saul, new streaming TV originals, like Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and actors getting their first nods, including Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany. And, of course, Game of Thrones (HBO) is taking the cake once again with a whopping 24 nominations.

Perhaps most interesting from the list of nominees is the more than 40 nominations for streaming television original series, including those from Netflix and Amazon, with almost one show or actor representing every category. The top-nominated shows included House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix), and Transparent (Amazon Instant Video.)

And while many of the shows and actor nominations are returning hits from years prior, this year brings a number of new programs and actors into the fold. In terms of shows, Better Call Saul, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, How to Get Away With Murder, Orphan Black, and others have broken in to join the usual suspects. And on the acting side, actors like Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Taraji P. Henson (Empire), and Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder) are getting much-deserved recognition.

Outstanding Drama Series

Mad Men
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Along with typical entrants Game of Thrones (HBO), Homeland (Showtime), Downton Abbey (PBS), and Mad Men (AMC), Netflix’s House of Cards and Orange is the New Black were also nominated in this category. But joining them this year — with a good chance of winning if ratings and viewer stats have anything to do with it — is AMC’s Better Call Saul, the prequel, of sorts, to Breaking Bad. The show broke cable TV records with 6.9 million viewers tuning in to the first episode, making it the highest-rated TV show to debut on cable ever. Keep in mind that the winner in 2014 was, in fact, Breaking Bad, so Better Call Saul winning in 2015 would make a great double-hitter for writer Vince Gilligan.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Modern Family
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Netflix managed to creep into this category as well with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, one of its newest original series, while Amazon’s Transparent returns. Modern Family (ABC) is still standing strong and has a good chance of taking the award home again. Other nominees include Louie (FX), Parks and Recreation (NBC), Silicon Valley (HBO), and Veep (HBO.) Trying to call a winner for this category is extremely tough. As a reminder, last year’s winner was Modern Family.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Better Call Saul
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Better Call Saul’s Bob Odenkirk got a nod in this category for his role as the show’s lead character, Jimmy McGill, along with Kyle Chandler for his role as John Rayburn in Netflix original series, Bloodline. Given Mad Men’s series finale this year, however, could Jon Hamm, who came up short last year, finally take the trophy? Despite being nominated for the award every year since Mad Men has been on TV, Hamm has never won. Other nominees include Jeff Daniels from The Newsroom (HBO), Kevin Spacey from House of Cards (Netflix), and Liev Schreiber from Ray Donovan (Showtime). The winner at the 2014 Emmys: Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Homeland Image used with permission by copyright holder

Given the reception the show has been getting (its first season finale was the highest-rated for Fox since Grey’s Anatomy),  it’s no surprise that veteran actor Taraji P. Henson was nominated for her role as Cookie Lyon in Empire (Fox.) But she faces some stiff competition from nominees like Claire Danes from Homeland (Showtime), Robin Wright from House of Cards, and Elisabeth Moss from Mad Men. And there are two other new show entrants in this category: Viola Davis for her role as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away With Murder (ABC), and Tatiana Maslany for her role as a number of clones in Orphan Black (BBC America). This is Maslany’s first nomination, and given her ability to play multiple roles so distinctly, she has a good chance of taking this one home this year. Last year’s winner, Julianna Marguiles from The Good Wife (CBS), wasn’t even nominated this year.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Transparent Image used with permission by copyright holder

In addition to Matt LeBlanc for Episodes (Showtime), Don Cheadle for House of Lies (Showtime), Louis C.K. for Louie (FX), William H. Macy for Shameless (Showtime), and Jeffrey Tambor for Transparent (Amazon Instant Video), a few newcomers appear on the nominee list in this category: Anthony Anderson from black-ish (ABC), and Will Forte from The Last Man on Earth (Fox). Given the rising star of streaming video services, and attention around the transgender community of late, Tambor has a good chance of taking this one home, especially since Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory (CBS), a repeat winner and recipient of last year’s award, is noticeably absent from the nominee list this year.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Inside Amy Schumer
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Seeing as she’s just about the hottest comedian out there today, it would be a surprise if Amy Schumer didn’t take home the award for Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central.) But she will face some good competition from Lisa Kudrow in The Comeback (HBO), Lily Tomlin from Grace and Frankie (Netflix), Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie (Showtime), Amy Poehler from Parks and Recreation (NBC), and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep (HBO). Louis-Dreyfus took home the award last year.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones Image used with permission by copyright holder

The new entrants in this category are Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut for Better Call Saul and Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn from Bloodline. But it will be tough to beat out fan favourite Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones. Aaron Paul managed to do it last year for his role as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad. But with that series completed, Dinklage may be able to take it home this year. Other nominees include Jim Carter as Mr. Carson, Downton Abbey (PBS), Alan Cummings as Eli Gold, The Good Wife (CBS), and Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper, House of Cards.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Orange is the New Black
Orange is the New Black Image used with permission by copyright holder

While there are no new shows represented in this category, there are a number of stellar actresses that will make it a tough call as to who might win. Among the nominees are: Joanne Froggat as Anna Bates, Downton Abbey; Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones; Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones; Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart, The Good Wife (CBS); Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris, Mad Men; and Uzo Aduba as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, Orange is the New Black. Last year, the year of Breaking Bad, Anna Gunn took home the award for her role as Skyler White in the popular AMC series.

Outstanding Support Actor in a Comedy Series

Girls Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ty Burrell kills it as the goofy but lovable Phil Dunphy in Modern Family, as evidenced by his win last year for the role. But he has a pretty diverse list of competitors this year in the category. Most notable is new entrant Tituss Burgess as the ever-flamboyant and over-dramatic Titus Andromedon in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Other nominees include Andre Braugher as Captain Ray Hold in Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox), Adam Driver as Adam Sackler in Girls (HBO), Keegan-Michael Key as various characters in Key & Peele (Comedy Central), and Tony Hale as Gary Walsh in Veep.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Image used with permission by copyright holder

Given past awards, chances are good that Allison Janney will take home the award once again for her role as Bonnie on Mom (CBS). But there’s another new entrant from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline Voorhees – that may shake things up. Other nominees include Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory (CBS), Niecy Nash as Denise “Didi” Ortley on Getting On (HBO), Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy on Modern Family, Kate McKinnon as various characters on Saturday Night Live, Gaby Hoffmann as Ali Pferrerman on Transparent, and Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer on Veep.

Other Awards

Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley Image used with permission by copyright holder

Notable shows like The Last Man on Earth, tech-friendly Silicon Valley (HBO), American Horror Story: Freak Show and Transparent were nominated for outstanding directing as well, and several actors received nominations for supporting roles in American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX), including Denis O’Hare as Stanley, Finn Wittrock as Dandy Mott, Sarah Paulson as Dot & Bette Tattler, Angela Bassett as Desiree Dupree, and Kathy Bates as Ethel Darling.

The 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards will air on September 20. You can view a full list of Emmy nominees here.

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