Pedro Pascal and Indira Varma appear in a scene from season four of TV's Game of Thrones. HBO Canada
HBO's epic fantasy series Game of Thrones leads all series with 19 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including best drama.
Game of Thrones will compete with Breaking Bad, True Detective, House of Cards, Downton Abbey and Mad Menat the Aug. 25 ceremony, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced Thursday in LosAngeles.
Game of Thrones, based on a series of high-fantasy books by George R.R. Martin, is a premium cable series that often generates water-cooler discussion and online debates about its sexual politics and frequent plot twists.
The show features several noble families fighting for control of a mythical land called Westeros. During its recently completed fourth season, it became the most-watched show in HBO's history, surpassing The Sopranos.
Cast members Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey picked up nominations for best supporting actor and best supporting actress, respectively.
The 19 nominations for Game of Thrones pushed HBO's overall nods this year to 99, the most of any network.
Other top nominees included a pair of ambitious miniseries, the Calgary-shot Fargo, with 18 bids.
American Horror Story: Coven is another big contender with 17 nominations. The AIDS drama The Normal Heart received 16 nods, including best TV movie. The meth kingpin drama Breaking Bad got 16 bids for its final season, including best drama and best actor nod for star Bryan Cranston.
The 66th prime-time Emmy Awards ceremony will have big-screen star power to spare.
This year's Academy Awards best-actor winner Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) and nominee ChiwetelEjiofor (12 Years a Slave) are both nominees for TV projects, as is past Oscar winner Julia Roberts.
Television academy chair Bruce Rosenblum introduced the Emmy nominations event by saying, "Quality television is now platform agnostic" — an observation that was reflected in the nominees.
Online streaming company Netflix Inc. more than doubled its nominations for TV's highest honours compared to last year, reaching 31 with political thriller House of Cards earning 13 nods.
Another Netflix program, Orange is the New Black, was among the leaders in the comedy categories, with 12 nominations including for best comedy series, along with a nod for star Taylor Schilling.
The prison-set hybrid "dramedy" could have been entered in either the drama or comedy category, and the decision to go for the latter appears to have paid off.
Other comedy nominees include The Big Bang Theory, Louie, Silicon Valley, Veep and Modern Family.
Canadian Matt Lloyd scored a nomination for outstanding cinematography on Fargo, while Jackie Lind, another Canuck, is up for outstanding casting for a miniseries.
Canadians did not fare so well in other categories.
Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany was snubbed in the lead dramatic actress category for a third year, despite recently winning a Critics' Choice Television Award for her work on the show.
Here's a complete list of nominees in six major categories:
Outstanding drama series
- Breaking Bad (AMC)
- Downton Abbey (PBS)
- Game of Thrones (HBO)
- Mad Men (AMC)
- True Detective (HBO)
- House of Cards (Netflix)
Outstanding lead actor in a drama series
- Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
- Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
- Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
- Jon Hamm, Mad Men
- Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
- Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Outstanding lead actress in a drama series
- Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
- Claire Danes, Homeland
- Robin Wright, House of Cards
- Kerry Washington, Scandal
- Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
- Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex
Outstanding comedy series
- The Big Bang Theory
- Modern Family
- Orange is the New Black
- Silicon Valley
Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series
- Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
- Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
- Don Cheadle, House of Lies
- Louis C.K., Louie
- William H. Macy, Shameless
- Ricky Gervais, Derek
Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series
- Lena Dunham, Girls
- Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
- Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
- Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
- Taylor Schilling, Orange is the New Black
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