The Emmys officially entered the 21st century Thursday morning when it included two shows from Netflix in major category nominations for the 65th Prime Time Emmy Awards.
The awards for the drama "House of Cards" and the new season of the comedy "Arrested Development" were not unexpected, but that didn't make them any less of a big deal. The Television Academy amended its rules in 2006 to make broadband shows eligible for the Emmys with the stipulation that they had to have a certain number of episodes in a season. Last year, Netflix was eligible for nominations for its co-production with Norway, "Lilyhammer."
But this year, Netflix barreled into major comedy and drama categories, and, in the process, no doubt squeezed out a few otherwise strong nominees from broadcast and cable.
"House of Cards" joined "Breaking Bad," "Homeland," "Mad Men," "Downton Abbey" and "Game of Thrones" in the category of best drama. "Arrested Development" also snagged a nomination for star Jason Bateman in best actor, comedy. The other nominees in the category are Alec Baldwin for "30 Rock," Louis C.K. for "Louis," Don Cheadle for "House of Lies," Matt LeBlanc for "Episodes," and Jim Parsons for "Big Bang Theory."
"Cards" also earned a nomination for Robin Wright in the best actress, drama category. Other nominees in the category include Connie Britton, "Nashville"; Vera Farmiga, "Bates Motel"; Michelle Dockery, "Downton Abbey"; Elisabeth Moss, "Mad Men" and Kerry Washington, "Scandal."
Kevin Spacey, star of "House of Cards," was nominated for best actor, drama, along with Jeff Daniels, "Newsroom"; Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"; Hugh Bonneville, "Downton Abbey"; Damian Lewis, "Homeland"; Jon Hamm, "Mad Men."
"Arrested Development" was squeezed out of a nomination for best comedy by "Modern Family," "Veep," "30 Rock," "Big Bang Theory," "Louis" and "Girls."
Nominees for best actress, comedy, are: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"; Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"; Lena Dunham, "Girls"; Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"; Laura Dern for "Enlightened" and Tina Fey, "30 Rock."
Supporting actress, comedy: Jane Krakowski, "30 Rock"; Jane Lynch, "Glee"; Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen, "Modern Family"; Merrit Wever, "Nurse Jackie"; Mayim Bialik, "Big Bang Theory"; and Anna Chlumsky, "Veep."
Supporting actor, comedy: Bill Hader, "Saturday Night Live"; Ed O'Neill, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ty Burell, "Modern Family"; Tony Hall, "Veep"; Adam Driver, "Girls.
Supporting actress, drama: Maggie Smith, "Downton"; Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife"; Morena Bacvarin, "Homeland"; Emilia Clarke, "Game of Thrones"; Christina Hendricks, "Mad Men."
Supporting actor, drama: Aaron Paul, "Breaking Bad"; Jonathan Banks, "Breaking Bad"; Bobby Cannavale, "Boardwalk Empire:" Jim Carter, "Downton Abbey"; Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones"; Mandy Patinkin, "Homeland."
Nominees for best actress, movie or miniseries, are; Elisabeth Moss, "Top of the Lake"; Sigourney Weaver, "Political Animals"; Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story: Asylum"; Laura Linney, "The Big C" and Helen Mirren, "Phil Spector."
Best actor, movie or miniseries: Al Pacino, "Phil Spector"; Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, "Behind the Candelabra"; Beneditch Cumberbatch, "Parade's End" and Toby Jones, "The Girl."
Best miniseries or movie: "American Horror Story: Asylum"; "The Bible"; "Behind the Candelabra"; "Phil Spector"; "Political Animals"; "Top of the Lake."
Best variety series: "The Colbert Report"; "Saturday Night Live"; "Real Time With Bill Maher"; "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart"; "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon"; "Jimmy Kimmel Live.'
Best reality competition show: "Dancing With the Stars"; "So You Think You Can Dance"; "The Amazing Race"; "Top Chef"; "The Voice."
Reality or competition show host: Ryan Seacrest, "American Idol"; Betty White, "Betty White's Off Their Rockers"; Tom Bergeron, "Dancing With The Stars"; Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, "Project Runway"; Cat Deeley, "So You Think You Can Dance"; Anthony Bourdain, "The Taste."
"American Horror Story" received the most nominations with 17; "Game of Thrones" snagged 16, and "Behind the Candelabra" and "Saturday Night Live" each received 15.
The Netflix factor could have made this year's nominations a disaster, but surprisingly, with a few exceptions, I can't quarrel with too much on the list. Like a doting grandma, Emmy made sure almost every deserving kid went away with a little something.
Big standing "O" for nominating Laura Dern for the canceled "Enlightened." If other comedy nominees feel a little stale, it says more about the dismal state of TV comedy than Emmy's force of habit. Jim Parsons, Alec Baldwin and even Don Cheadle are on the comedy nomination list because where else should Emmy go? The "How I Met Your Mother" cast? I think not.
The drama awards presented the biggest challenge and overall, Emmy acquitted itself acceptably. I wish there had been recognition for the canceled "Vegas." Michael Chiklis and Dennis Quaid were terrific, even if the ratings were low.
But big props to Emmy for recognizing Connie Britton for "Nashville." I wish there'd been room for Hayden Pannetiere in the supporting actress category.
"Game of Thrones" received a lot of nominations, but there should have been more in the acting categories. The one show that deserved better was "The Americans" on FX. More than any other also-ran, it probably suffered most from the Netflix effect. But it's a good show and has a strong following. It should fare better next year.
It's surprising that the movie star effect alone didn't earn Kevin Bacon a nod for "The Following." The show is doing well for Fox, but I can't help wondering if its violence in a year when media violence is a big topic of public discourse, may have played a role in Bacon being overlooked.
The awards were announced by Aaron Paul of "Breaking Bad" and Neil Patrick Harris, this year's Emmys host and a last-minute replacement for "House of Cards" actress Kate Mara who was stuck on location.
The Prime Time Emmys will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre at 5 p.m. Pacific time on Sept. 22
For a complete list of all Emmy nominations, go to www.emmys.com
David Wiegand is The San Francisco Chronicle's executive features editor and TV critic. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @WaitWhat_TV
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