LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Hit fantasy show Game Of Thrones topped nominations on Thursday for the Primetime Emmy awards, while streaming service Netflix upped its challenge to traditional networks for TV's version of the Oscars.
Premium cable channel HBO's grisly royal feud saga scored 19 nods including for best drama series, followed by Fargo - based on the quirky 1996 Coen brothers' movie - with nominations in 18 categories.
Other notable nominees included Netflix's breakthrough women's prison show Orange Is The New Black, earning nominations for five members of its cast, and the new HBO crime drama True Detective.
As well as Orange Is The New Black, other female-led shows like Veep, The Good Wife, Scandal and American Horror Story: Coven also made strong showings, especially in acting categories.
"I feel like the happiest girl in the world," Laverne Cox - a nominated Orange star who is openly transgender - told Variety.
"I feel amazing, effervescent happy cloud nine through the moon; every cliche... for feeling really great." Billy Bob Thornton, nominated for lead actor in a miniseries for Fargo, told the Hollywood Reporter: "I'm not sure I'll do much celebrating today, as I'm kind of a hermit. I think the next time I go out will be to attend the Emmys." Overall, HBO won the most nominations with 99, while online streaming giant Netflix doubled its number of nods from last year with 31.
In terms of shows, American Horror Story: Coven was third with 17 nods, followed by 16 for Breaking Bad, the cult series about teacher-turned-drugs kingpin Walter White which ended last year, and the same number for AIDS drama movie The Normal Heart. A slew of British actors are in the running, including Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Idris Elba, repeat nominees Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey and 12 Years A Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor.
- Good Wife, Homeland star snubbed -
But there were also some notable snubs, including CBS's widely-acclaimed The Good Wife in the best drama race, where Game Of Thrones is up against Breaking Bad, Mad Men, House Of Cards, True Detective and Downton Abbey. Also snubbed were Homeland star Damian Lewis and Elisabeth Moss of Mad Men.
In the best comedy race, Orange Is Ihe New Black was nominated alongside long-running series The Big Bang Theory, Louie, Modern Family and Veep, as well as HBO newcomer Silicon Valley. True Detective scored lead actor nominations for its co-stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, up against Kevin Spacey (House Of Cards), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men).
Lead drama actress nods went to Dockery, Lizzy Caplan for Masters Of Sex, Claire Danes for Homeland, Julianna Margulies for The Good Wife, Kerry Washington for Scandal and Robin Wright for House Of Cards. "How incredibly humbling to be nominated not only a third time but among a group of exceptionally talented and critically acclaimed actresses," Mayim Bialik, a supporting actress nominee for The Big Bang Theory, told the Hollywood Reporter.
The best drama race is largely a battle of cable shows. Downton Abbey is carried on public broadcaster PBS and House Of Cards is available on Netflix.
Game Of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin's best-selling novels about power struggles between feuding clans in seven mythical kingdoms has won a devoted global fan base, reportedly including President Barack Obama.
The 66th Primetime Emmys show will be hosted by comedian Seth Myers in Los Angeles on Monday, August 25.
The nominations were announced in a pre-dawn presentation by TV stars Mindy Kaling and Carson Daly, at the headquarters of the Television Academy in Los Angeles.