The divisive final season of Game of Thrones smashed the record for most Primetime Emmy nominations by a drama series in a single year, earning a whopping 32 nods Tuesday. HBO's fantasy epic enraged fans with its bumpy conclusion but still trounced the competition to strengthen its iron grip on the small-screen equivalent of the Oscars. The Marvelous Mrs Maisel - Amazon's story of a 1950s housewife-turned-stand up comic - was a distant second on 20 nominations.
"Thrones" is the most decorated fictional show in the awards' seven-decade history, and now has 161 nominations overall - including 47 wins. "For those who will be adding 2019 to their long list of nominations and or wins from other years - it never gets old!" said Television Academy chairman and CEO Frank Scherma.
The show about families vying for the Iron Throne broke a 25-year nominations record for a drama series in a single year previously held by "NYPD Blue," which earned 27 nods in 1994. Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington were recognized in the lead acting categories, while eight other "Thrones" cast members swept the board in the supporting and guest acting categories. The shortened eighth and last season also won a slew of technical awards.
"Thrones" capitalized on a threadbare year for drama, with several big hitters such as "The Handmaid's Tale" missing from the main categories. The next highest-placed drama - AMC's "Breaking Bad" prequel "Better Call Saul" - managed just eight nominations.
HBO's acclaimed limited series "Chernobyl" placed third overall this year with 19 nominations, ahead of perennial Emmys powerhouse "Saturday Night Live" on 18. Dark hitman comedy "Barry," also from HBO, was joint fifth overall on 17 nods, tied with FX mini-series "Fosse/Verdon."
This year's nominations saw HBO reclaim its title for most-nominated network from web streaming giant Netflix, which last year had ended its 17-year winning streak. HBO claimed 137 nods to Netflix's 117 - a record for each, meaning the pair tighten their joint stranglehold on the prestigious awards. Netflix's "When They See Us," the true story of five men wrongly accused of raping a Central Park jogger, earned 16 nominations including eight acting nods. "Thank you to the real men for inviting me to tell their story... Love you, brothers," tweeted series creator Ava DuVernay.
Amazon Prime enjoyed a stellar year, more than doubling its haul to reach 47 nods, just behind NBC with 58. As well as "Maisel," dark British comedy "Fleabag" performed well for Amazon, with five of its actresses receiving nominations including lead Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Waller-Bridge, who is currently rewriting the upcoming 25th James Bond film, also received a writing nomination for "Fleabag." "CRYING AND DYING ... I cannot speak!!!!!! Our whole team is in bits," tweeted Sian Clifford, who earned supporting actress recognition.
But there was disappointment for the final season of CBS ratings smash "Big Bang Theory," which failed to register in any main categories. A-listers Julia Roberts and Jim Carrey were shunned by voters, who ignored their respective performances in Amazon's "Homecoming" and Showtime's "Kidding." While Netflix/BBC thriller "Bodyguard" earned a drama series nod, its lead actor Richard Madden was a surprising omission.
The Emmys recognizes shows that were on in the 12 months to May 31. That meant several voters' favorites were absent from main categories this year, including Hulu's new season of "The Handmaid's Tale." The former drama series winner still managed to pick up 11 nominations in technical categories, for episodes submitted from the tail-end of its previous season. "Big Little Lies" and "Stranger Things" also just missed the cut-off this time around.
The Television Academy's 24,000 members sifted through a record number of entries for this year's Emmys. The nominations were announced in a livestreamed presentation from Los Angeles hosted by "The Good Place" actress D'Arcy Carden and "The Masked Singer" panelist Ken Jeong. Final-round voting will now begin to pick winners who will be revealed at a glitzy Los Angeles show on September 22.