2013 Emmy Nominations Announced, ‘American Horror Story’ Tops List, ‘Cards’ Makes History

From top left: Michael Douglas ("Behind the Candelabra"); Kerry Washington ("Scandal"); Kevin Spacey ("House of Cards"); and Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("Veep") (Photo: HBO/ABC/Netflix)

The nominations for the 65th Annual Prime-time Emmy Awards were announced Thursday morning in Hollywood, and as always, there were the usual suspects and the surprises.

“Breaking Bad’s” Aaron Paul and this year’s Emmys host Neil Patrick Harris (filling in for “House of Cards” actress Kate O’Mara at the last minute) presented the nominations — and each earned a nod for themselves as well: Paul for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and Harris for Outstanding Producer/Host of the Tony Awards.

Once again, cable shows dominated the Emmys’ attention; FX’s anthology series “American Horror Story: Asylum” topped the list with the most nominations at 17, followed closely behind by HBO’s “Game of Thrones” with 16, and the Michael Douglas-Matt Damon Liberace movie “Behind the Candelabra” scoring 15 noms. With that, HBO came out on top overall, with 108 total Emmy nominations.

And in an Emmys first, Netflix’s political drama “House of Cards” made history with its impressive nine nominations, becoming the first online series to ever garner any Emmy nominations, including Lead Actor and Lead Actress nominations for stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, as well as an Outstanding Drama Series nod. Netflix also scored with Jason Bateman earning an Outstanding Comedy Actor spot for the streaming site’s revival of “Arrested Development,” along with two other “AD” nods (although the series itself was shut out of the Best Comedy category). It’s a bold move by the Emmys to reward a production from the modern TV-viewing model and helps to re-define “prime-time TV” and multi-platform experiences in the process.

Other fun surprises included an Outstanding Drama Actress nom for “Scandal’s” sizzling Kerry Washington, which is notable since the last time an African-American actress was nominated for a Leading Role in a Drama was in 1995 (Cicely Tyson for “Sweet Justice”). That makes Washington just the fifth black actress ever nominated for Best Drama Actress, and she could make Emmy history in September by becoming the first ever to actually win. (And as “Scandal” viewers know, Olivia Pope can make anything happen!)

In another deserved surprise, there was a Best Actress nom for the sublimely wacky performance by Vera Farmiga in A&E’s “Bates Motel” as teen-aged Norman Bates’ “psycho” mama Norma. When you add in the not-a-surprise nod for “Homeland’s” unstoppable Claire Danes, this category has already become a very heated race with seven superb actresses nominated.

Another “huh?” moment: In two unexpected Outstanding Reality Host nominations (that might be kind of a stretch), we have Betty White for her candid-camera series “Off Their Rockers” (which, ironically, just got canceled last week), and Anthony Bourdain for ABC’s cooking competition “The Taste” (while Bourdain is awesome, “The Taste” lacks zest).

The Emmys telecast, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air live on Sunday, Sept. 22 on CBS.

Here are the 2013 Prime-time Emmy Nominations for the Major Categories:


Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Hugh Bonneville, “Downton Abbey”

Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”

Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”

Damien Lewis, “Homeland”

Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Connie Britton, “Nashville”

Claire Danes, “Homeland”

Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”

Vera Farmiga, “Bates Motel”

Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”

Kerry Washington, “Scandal”

Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/watch/Today/6997291302039453112/37701187900/2013-Emmy-Nominees-Announced/embed 580 476]

Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Benedict Cumberbatch, “Parade’s End”

Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra”

Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra”

Toby Jones, “The Girl”

Al Pacino, “Phil Spector”

Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Asylum”

Laura Linney, “The Big C: Hereafter”

Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector”

Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake”

Sigourney Weaver, “Political Animals”

Outstanding Reality Host

Tom Bergeron, “Dancing with the Stars”

Anthony Bourdain, “The Taste”

Cat Deeley, “So You Think You Can Dance”

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, “Project Runway”

Ryan Seacrest, “American Idol”

Betty White, “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy

Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”

Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development”

Louis CK, “Louie”

Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”

Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”

Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy

Laura Dern, “Enlightened”

Lena Dunham, “Girls”

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”

Tina Fey, “30 Rock”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama

Bobby Cannavale, “Boardwalk Empire”

Jonathan Banks, “Breaking Bad”

Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”

Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”

Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”

Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama

Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”

Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”

Emilia Clarke, “Game of Thrones”

Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”

Morena Baccarin, “Homeland”

Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Adam Driver, “Girls”

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family”

Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family”

Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”

Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”

Tony Hale, “Veep”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”

Jane Lynch, “Glee”

Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”

Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”

Merritt Wever, “Nurse Jackie”

Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock”

Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

“The Amazing Race”

“Dancing with the Stars”

“Project Runway”

“So You Think You Can Dance”

“Top Chef”

“The Voice”

Outstanding Variety Series

“The Colbert Report”

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”

“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”

“Real Time with Bill Maher”

“Saturday Night Live”

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie

“American Horror Story: Asylum”

“Behind the Candelabra”

“The Bible”

“Phil Spector”

“Political Animals”

“Top of the Lake”

Outstanding Comedy Series

“30 Rock”

“The Big Bang Theory”



“Modern Family”


Outstanding Drama Series

“Breaking Bad”

“Downton Abbey”

“Game of Thrones”


“House of Cards”

“Mad Men”

The 2013 Emmys Awards will be handed out on Sunday, Sept. 22 on CBS.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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