Westworld and Saturday Night Live top the 2017 Emmy nominations

Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live
Alec Baldwin in character as Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live

In what’s being hailed as the Platinum Age or Peak TV, Television Academy members this year have been asked to pick through what can best be described as an embarrassment of riches to decide what shows and performers to nominate for the 2017 Emmys.

With the Television Academy on Thursday officially announcing the nominees for the 69th Emmy Awards to be handed out this fall, the clear trend continues to be a steady changing of the guard.

There are more first-time nominees from shows coming from a variety of platforms including cable, broadcast and now digital that are in the race with tried-and-true favorites that have previously dominated as year-after-year repeaters.

The diversification is most apparent in the nominees in the intensely competitive category for outstanding drama series.

Five are first-timers: The Crown, Stranger Things, This Is Us, The Handmaid’s Tale and Westworld. Only two have been nominated previously: Better Call Saul and House of Cards.

Less so among nominees for Outstanding Comedy where Atlanta is the only newcomer. Of the other six, most are fairly fresh: black-ish, Master of None, Silicon Valley and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Meanwhile, Veep and Modern Family are multi-year favorites.

In total nominations, the leaders of the pack are Westworld, the sci-fi western on HBO, and NBC’s Saturday Night Live with 22 each.

A still from Westworld
James Marsden as Teddy Flood and Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy in Westworld

Following in another tie with 18 noms each are Stranger Things, the retro sci-fi mystery, a big fan hit in its first season on Netflix; and FX miniseries FEUD: Bette and Joan, which is about the legendary behind-the-scenes battle between superstars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford when they appeared together for the first time in the film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.

In fifth place with 17 is Vice, HBO’s Washington-based political-comedy stalwart, a frequent Emmy winner in previous seasons.

S.N.L.’s haul is the biggest one-year total ever for the long-running show, And it now holds the all-time record for Emmy nominations of any show with 231.

This year’s so-called Trump effect on comedy and variety shows was a factor behind the many noms: Week after week Alec Baldwin deftly satirized Donald J. Trump, first as candidate and then as president.

Kate McKinnon also parodied both Hilllary Clinton and Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway.

Both are nominated — for best actor and actress in a comedy series.

In addition, a number of S.N.L. guest hosts, most prominently Melissa McCarthy, who did a dead-on impression of White House press secretary Sean Spicer, got nominations in comedy categories.

Westworld’s fistful of nominations, plus multiple nods for Silicon Valley, Big Little Lies and Vice once more hands HBO the top ranking for most Emmy nods overall with 110.

HBO managed to repeat despite the absence of Game of Thrones which wasn’t on during the period of eligibility. It returns this week for its seventh season.

In second place with 91 is the dominant digital streaming service Netflix, with shows like The Crown, Stranger Things and House of Cards.

NBC is in third with 60. Significantly adding to that total is This Is Us, the first network show in many years to be in the running for best drama series; on top of the many S.N.L. nominations.

Hulu, another popular streaming service, is for the first time catapulted into the top ranks, due mainly to the noms for The Handmaid’s Tale, including one for star Elizabeth Moss.

There are several fascinating head-to-head competitions between actresses from the same show competing for the Emmy: Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon for FEUD; and Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon for Big Little Lies.

Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies
Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies

Jane Fonda also gets her first nomination for her Grace and Frankie role, pitting her against co-star Lily Tomlin.

One of most heated competitions is in the Variety Series category, where the Trump effect weighs in most heavily.

The nominees are Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS; the Late Show with Steven Colbert and the Late Late Show with James Corden, both on CBS; Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Real Time with Bill Maher, both on HBO; and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Notably absent is a nomination for the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

While Colbert, Bee, Oliver and Maher made the most of repeatedly skewering President Trump, Fallon may have fallen by the wayside because of seemingly soft treatment of Trump when he guested.

Especially derided was Fallon’s light-hearted tousling of Trump’s signature hair to make sure it was real.

Maher had been considered iffy because of his controversy-stirring use of the N-word on one episode of Real Time that set off a media storm. He’s probably breathing easier having cinched a nomination.

Strong contenders that did not make the cut include the Daily Show hosted by Trevor Noah on Comedy Central and Late Night with Seth Meyers.

There are the usual Emmy nomination snubs, though some seem particularly inexplicable. Most shocking: Rami Malik, last year’s Emmy winner for best actor in a dramatic series for his role as a troubled hacker in Mr. Robot, failed to even get nominated.

Oprah Winfrey, despite raves for her performance, came up empty for starring in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the HBO original production, though it did get nominated in the Best Movie category.

And Lena Dunham, ending the final season of Girls, an HBO show she co-created and starred in for six years, got no love from Emmy voters for her swan song.

She is left out of the nominations for best acting in a comedy series; she won the Emmy in that category in the show’s first season in 2012.

Altogether nominations in nearly 200 categories were announced. The bulk are for technical achievements, like best camerawork and production design.

The Creative Arts Emmy Awards covering these categories will take place on Saturday, September 16, and will air on FXX.

The 69th Emmy ceremonies for the key Primetime Awards will take place on the next night, Sunday September 17.

Steven Colbert will host from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and it will be on CBS.

Here are the top nominations:


Atlanta (FX)
Black-ish (ABC)
Master of None (Netflix)
Modern Family (ABC)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Veep (HBO)


Better Call Saul (AMC)
The Crown (Netflix)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
House of Cards (Netflix)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
This Is Us (NBC)
Westworld (HBO)

Millie Bobbie Brown in Stranger Things
Millie Bobbie Brown as Eleven in Stranger Things


Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder)
Claire Foy (The Crown)
Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Keri Russell (The Americans)
Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)
Robin Wright (House of Cards)


Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul”)
Matthew Rhys (The Americans)
Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan)
Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)


Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)
Aziz Ansari (Master of None)
Zach Galifianakis (Baskets)
Donald Glover (Atlanta)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)


Pamela Adlon (Better Things)
Tracee Ellis-Ross (black-ish)
Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie)
Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)


Big Little Lies (HBO)
Fargo (FX)
Feud: Bette and Joan (FX)The Night Of (HBO)
Genius (National Geographic)


Riz Ahmed (The Night Of)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock: The Lying Detective)
Robert De Niro (The Wizard of Lies)
Ewan McGregor (Fargo)
Geoffrey Rush (Genius)
John Turturro (The Night Of)


Carrie Coon (Fargo)
Felicity Huffman (American Crime)
Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies)
Jessica Lange (Feud)
Susan Sarandon (Feud)
Reese Witherspoon (Big Little Lies)

Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange in Feud
Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis and Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford in Feud


John Lithgow (The Crown)
Jonathan Banks (Better Call Saul)
Mandy Patinkin (Homeland)
Michael Kelly (House of Cards)
David Harbour (Stranger Things)
Ron Cephas Jones (This Is Us)
Jeffrey Wright (Westworld)


Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Uzo Aduba (Orange Is the New Black)
Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things)
Chrissy Metz (This Is Us)
Thandie Newton (Westworld)


Alec Baldwin (Saturday Night Live)
Louie Anderson (Baskets)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Tony Hale (Veep)
Matt Walsh (Veep)


Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)
Vanessa Bayer (Saturday Night Live)
Leslie Jones (Saturday Night Live)
Anna Chlumsky (Veep)
Judith Light (Transparent)
Kathryn Hahn (Transparent)


Full Frontal With Samantha Bee (TBS)
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC)
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
Late Show with Steven ColbertLate Late Show With James Corden (CBS)
Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)

Bill Maher on Real Time
Bill Maher on Real Time, one of many hosts to feed off the “Trump effect”


The Amazing Race (CBS)
American Ninja Warrior (NBC)
Project Runway (Lifetime)
RuPaul’s Drag Race (vh1)
Top Chef (Bravo)
The Voice (NBC)


Black Mirror: San Junipero
Dolly Parton’s Christmas Of Many Colors: Circle Of Love
The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks
Sherlock: The Lying Detective (Masterpiece)
The Wizard Of Lies


Billy On The Street (truTV)
Documentary Now! (IFC)
Drunk History (Comedy Central)
Portlandia (IFC)
Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Tracey Ullman’s Show (HBO)


Antiques Roadshow
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Fixer Upper
Lip Sync Battle
Shark Tank
Who Do You Think You Are


Born This Way
Deadliest Catch
Gaycation With Ellen Page
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked
United Shades Of America: With W. Kamau Bell


Alec Baldwin (Match Game)
W. Kamau Bell (United Shades Of America With W. Kamau Bell)
RuPaul Charles (RuPaul’s Drag Race)
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (Project Runway)
Gordon Ramsay (MasterChef Junior)
Martha Stewart & Snoop Dogg (Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party)

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