LOS ANGELES - Hit fantasy show ‘Game of Thrones’ topped nominations 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.