HBO's 'Westworld' and Netflix's 'Stranger Things' are both top nominees.

By Tom Huddleston, Jr.
July 13, 2017

No Game of Thrones, no problem, for HBO following the 2017 Emmy nominations announcement on Thursday. Time Warner’s premium cable network again leads all challengers in total nominations despite the fact that last year’s most-nominated series was not eligible due to the upcoming season’s later-than-usual start.

HBO nabbed a whopping 110 total Emmy nods this year, up from 94 last year, led by 22 nominations for the first season of the sci-fi/Western drama series Westworld, which is nominated for Best Drama Series while Evan Rachel Wood and Anthony Hopkins both landed lead acting nods for their work on the show. Political comedy Veep is also a standout once again for HBO, racking up 18 total nominations, while the limited series murder mysteries Big Little Lies and The Night Of scored 29 nominations combined.

While HBO leading all networks in Emmy nominations is nothing new (the network has now done so for 17 years in a row), this year’s win was more narrow than usual, thanks to Netflix. The popular streaming service scored 91 total nominations this year, up from 54 in 2016. Sci-fi drama Stranger Things led the way for Netflix with 18 nominations, while historical drama The Crown picked up 13 nominations. Both shows earned Best Drama Series nominations for their first seasons, while Netflix also received two nominations in the Best Comedy Series category for Master of None and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Netflix’s massive spending on original content ($6 billion this year alone) in recent years has helped the company increase its global subscription totals while also forcing itself into the mix as one of the premiere homes for prestige television. Notably, Netflix spent a reported $130 million on the first season of The Crown on its way to earning multiple nominations. Netflix couldn’t quite catch HBO this year, but the streaming service topped the next most-nominated network, NBC, by 31 nominations this year while scoring more total Emmy nods than traditional networks ABC, CBS, and Fox combined. Netflix also easily outpaced streaming rival Amazon’s 16 total nominations.

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The absence of HBO’s Game of Thrones—the seventh season of which premieres this Sunday, missing the Emmys’ eligibility period by a few weeks—creates a wide-open race in the awards’ Best Drama Series category. Previous nominees House of Cards (Netflix) and Better Call Saul (AMC Networks) will battle it out with newcomers such as Netflix’s Stranger Things and The Crown, HBO’s Westworld, and NBC’s This Is Us.

Another intriguing new Best Drama nominee is The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu’s popular feminist dystopian series that debuted earlier this year. That series landed 13 nominations overall, including one for lead actress Elisabeth Moss, which represents a major coup for Hulu. The streaming service—which is jointly-owned by four major television networks—scored its first two Emmy nominations ever just last year, but those nods were in relatively minor categories and Hulu eventually went home empty-handed at last year’s awards. But, this year, Hulu actually has more total nominations (18) than rival Amazon, which failed to improve on its own Emmy nominations tally from last year.

With each passing year, streaming services are making bigger and bigger statements at Hollywood’s top awards shows and, with the success of The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu is finally ready to join Amazon and Netflix in disrupting an awards event that was once dominated only by traditional Hollywood studios and companies.

The 69th Primetime Emmys will take place on September 17, with comedian Stephen Colbert hosting the event that will air on CBS.

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