LOS ANGELES (AP) — HBO’s “Game of Thrones” slashed its way to a record-setting 32 Emmy nominations Tuesday for its eighth and final season, leading HBO back to dominance over Netflix, the streaming service that bumped it last year from atop the increasingly crowded television heap.
The bloodthirsty saga’s total eclipsed the all-time series record of 27 nods earned by “NYPD Blue” in 1994.
If “Game of Thrones” successfully defends it best drama series title and claims a fourth trophy, it will join the quartet of most-honored dramas that includes “Hill Street Blues,” ”L.A. Law,” ”The West Wing” and “Mad Men.”
The Emmy voters’ acclaim stands in sharp contrast to fan reaction to the show’s last hurrah, which included howls of laughter for a to-go coffee cup inadvertently included in one scene and a finale that detractors called unsatisfying. But the show’s ratings never faltered for the series based on George R.R. Martin’s novels, setting new highs for HBO.
A wealth of acting nominations for the cast and guest stars, including the show’s sole previous winner, Peter Dinklage, helped boost “Game of Thrones” to a new record of 160 total nominations — breaking its own previous record of 128.
Series star Emilia Clarke’s decision to seek a best actress nomination after a series of supporting actress bids paid off. She’s competing in a category that’s notable for its diversity, including past winner Viola Davis for “How to Get Away with Murder” and repeat nominee Sandra Oh for “Killing Eve,” who has another chance to become the first actress of Asian descent to win the trophy. She lost last year to Claire Foy for Netflix’s “The Crown.”
Last year’s best comedy series, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” led the comedy pack with 20 bids, including for its star and defending champion Rachel Brosnahan. She’ll vie with Emmy record-holder Julia Louis-Dreyfus of “Veep,” who didn’t compete in last year’s awards because her breast cancer treatment delayed production of the political satire.
Louis-Dreyfus, who with Cloris Leachman shares the record for most Emmys won by a performer, eight, has a shot at solo glory if she wins again.
“Veep” received a total nine nominations for its final season, a warm farewell and one that wasn’t to be for “The Big Bang Theory,” the long-running sitcom that failed to capture a best comedy nod or any for its actors. The show has company in other hit sitcoms of the past: Neither “Friends” nor “Frasier” were nominated for best series for their final year, both in 2004.
“Frasier” stars Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce did collect actor and supporting actor Emmys, respectively, while the “Friends” cast members with bids came away empty-handed.
Other top nominees include the nuclear disaster miniseries “Chernobyl” with 19 nominations and “Saturday Night Live,” which dew on Robert De Niro’s talents to play Robert Mueller last season, with 18. “When They See Us,” the miniseries that dramatized the Central Park Five case and its aftermath, received 16 bids.
The 71st Emmy Awards will air Sept. 22 on Fox, with the host yet to be announced.