For the last 17 years, HBO has received more Emmy nominations annually than any other network, cable provider, or streaming service. That streak ended on Thursday, when the nominations for the 70th Emmy Awards were announced in Los Angeles. This time it was Netflix, with 112 total nominations to HBO’s 108, that topped the list.
On the one hand, it’s a tangible awards victory for Netflix’s flood-the-market strategy. As my colleague David Sims wrote on Monday, Netflix plans to spend between $12 and $13 billion this year on original programming, while HBO’s budget in 2017 was a thrifty $2.5 billion by comparison. Netflix’s numbers game seems to be paying off. But HBO still dominates when it comes to individual programs. Game of Thrones topped the list of shows this year with 22 total nominations, while Westworld’s 21 nominations drew for second place with Saturday Night Live. In other words HBO still has the blockbusters. But with 13 nominations for The Crown, 12 for the limited-series Western Godless and the sci-fi drama Stranger Things, and 10 for the wrestling comedy GLOW, Netflix has plenty of hits of its own, and it’s barely getting started.
In terms of surprises, the announcement of this year’s nominee slate—presented by Samira Wiley and Ryan Eggold—didn’t have too much to offer. Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which won outstanding drama series in 2017 upon its debut, claimed another 20 nominations, including acting nods for its star, Elisabeth Moss, and its supporting actors. Yvonne Strahovski, who plays Serena, was nominated for the first time in the supporting actress in a drama series category, joining her co-stars Ann Dowd (Aunt Lydia) and Alexis Bledel (Emily). FX’s Atlanta, another sophomore series, added 16 new nominations to last year’s six, including first-time nods for Zazie Beetz (Van) and the writer Stefani Robinson (for the episode “Barbershop”). Other first-time Emmy nominees included Issa Rae, the creator, writer, and star of HBO’s Insecure, who was nominated for lead actress in a comedy series, and Black Panther’s Letitia Wright, who received an outstanding supporting actress in a limited series nod for her role in the Black Mirror episode “Black Museum.”