Lorne Michaels continues to pull ahead with the most Emmy nominations in history for an individual. The “Saturday Night Live” creator and executive producer added a writing nomination to his tally in 2018, bringing his total to 82 — ahead of now-retired HBO documentary maven Sheila Nevins, who’s in second place with 76.
Nevins is still the person with the most Emmys won as an individual in history, at 30.
Speaking of Michaels, it was another stellar season for “Saturday Night Live,” which increased its total Emmy nominations to 252 (adding 21 more this year). But the big change in 2018 is for second place: The return of “Game of Thrones” netted 22 nominations for the HBO series, bringing its total haul over seven seasons to 129. That puts it ahead of long-time leader “ER,” which amassed 124 nominations over its 15 seasons, and now drops to third.
“Game of Thrones” was out of the running last year, but now it’s back — and looking to continue its streak of scoring the most Emmys won by a series in a single season. “Thrones” set that record in 2015, with 12 wins, and then duplicated it in 2016, also with 12 wins.
With “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus out of the running this year, she and Cloris Leachman remain tied for most Emmys won by a female performer, at eight. But looming behind and looking to tie is Allison Janney, who has seven — and is nominated this year for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy.
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Meanwhile, something to look out for next year: Louis-Dreyfus nabbed the record last year for most Emmys won by a performer in the same role and series: six, for playing Salina Meyers on “Veep.” But Candice Bergen is in second place, with five (tied with Don Knotts) for playing the title character on “Murphy Brown.” Bergen will reprise that role next year on CBS — and she’ll be looking to at least tie Louis-Dreyfus once again.
Speaking of records, both “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “The Voice” landed 10 nominations this year, which remains the most any nonfiction/reality program has received in a single year. “Planet Earth II” (2017), “American Idol” (2011), “Dancing with the Stars” (2009) and “The Voice” (also in 2014) have done it previously.
Here are more oddities and trivia behind this year’s Emmy races:
Seth MacFarlane vs. Seth MacFarlane: The “Family Guy” creator will compete against himself in the Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance category, as his roles on both shows (Stewie and Brian on “Family Guy,” plus Stan and Roger on “American Dad”) face off vs. “Family Guy” co-star Alex Borstein, “The Simpsons” legend Dan Castellaneta and “The Scariest Story Ever: A Mickey Mouse Halloween Spooktacular” star Russi Taylor.
Toon Town: Cartoon Network is going to have a hard time figuring out whom to root for in the Outstanding Short Form Animated Program category, as it took the entire race. Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time” (“Ring of Fire”), “Steven Universe” (“Jungle Moon”), “Teen Titans Go!” (“The Self-Indulgent 200th Episode Spectacular! Pt. 1 and Pt. 2”) and “We Bare Bears” (“Hurricane Hal”) are all up for the award, along with Adult Swim’s “Robot Chicken” (“Freshly Baked: The Robot Chicken Santa Claus Pot Cookie Freakout Special: Special Edition”), which, of course, is part of the Cartoon Network family.
The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways: Among the programs facing off in the Outstanding Casting for a Limited Series, Movie or Special category: Netflix’s “Godless” and NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.”
So You Think James Corden Can Dance: James Corden was the man standing in the way of a clean sweep for “So You Think You Can Dance” in the choreography category. The Fox dance competition show landed four of the five nominations in the category, thanks to choreographers Mandy Moore, Travis Wall, Al Blackstone and Christopher Scott. But the fifth nominee came from “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” thanks to the show’s regular feature “Crosswalk: The Musical.” In this case, it was choreographer Chloe Arnold’s routine for “The Greatest Showman, Crosswalk the Musical on Broadway” that landed a nod.
Canceled But Not Completely Forgotten: CBS’ “Superior Donuts” scored a nod in the Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series category; Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle” landed two nods; “Roseanne” also returned to two nods (including one for Laurie Metcalf); “Orphan Black” got one final nom for Tatiana Maslany; and “Portlandia” ends with two final noms, including one for Carrie Brownstein as director, and a final nod in variety/sketch. Also, Netflix’s “Seven Seconds” received a nom for star Regina King after being reclassified as a limited series.
Posthumous Nods: “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” received six nominations this year, including one for Outstanding Informational Series or Special — which includes a nod for late executive producer/host Bourdain. Bourdain is also nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program. Also: Filmmaker and photographer Hugo van Lawich died in 2002, but his archival footage was a major part of the National Geographic documentary “Jane.” He was nominated in the Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program category (with “Jane” director of photography Ellen Kuras).
Extra Amazon Love: It didn’t count as part of Amazon Prime Video’s tally, obviously, but Amazon also landed a nod for Outstanding Commercial, thanks to a spot for the Amazon Alexa device (produced by Hungry Man and created by the ad agency Lucky Generals).
Most Unlikely Nominee: Monica Lewinsky may have a ticket to this year’s ceremony, thanks to the Outstanding Commercial category. The anti-bullying spot featuring Lewinsky, “In Real Life,” from BBDO New York and its production studio, was also nominated.
Define “Contemporary”: The debate will likely wage on over the Outstanding Contemporary Costumes vs. Outstanding Period Costumes benchmarks. One of the shows nominated for Outstanding Contemporary Costumes took place two decades ago (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”), another features flashbacks to two decades ago (“This Is Us”) and a third was for a “Black-ish” episode that featured historic references (the “Juneteenth” episode of “Black-ish”).
Moonlighting Pays Off: Four of the six nominees for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series just happen to be the series’ creator: Donald Glover (“Atlanta”), Bill Hader (“Barry”), Amy Sherman-Palladino (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) and Mike Judge (“Silicon Valley”).
Moonlighting Pays Off, Part II: Viola Davis won the Emmy in 2015 and was nominated in 2015, 2016 and 2017 for playing “How to Get Away With Murder” lead Annalise Keating. She scored another nod this year for the role — but as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, for her appearance on another Shondaland series, “Scandal.”
Moonlighting Pays Off, Part III: James Corden just landed his first performer Emmy nomination, as Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series, for “James Corden’s Next James Corden.” But this year he’s also nominated for Outstanding Interactive Program, Outstanding Variety Talk Series (“The Late Late Show with James Corden”), Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series (“James Corden’s Next James Corden”), and Outstanding Short Form Variety Series (“Carpool Karaoke: The Series”).
Moonlighting Pays Off, Part IV: As he celebrates four nods for “Queer Eye,” in which he stars as one of the Fab Five, Jonathan Van Ness also scored another nomination for the digital series that first gave him fame: Funny or Die’s “Gay of Thrones.” Just as “Game of Thrones” is back, so is the cheeky recap starring Van Ness (which he also executive produces), and it was once again nominated for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series.
Wait, What Category Is This?: The Outstanding Interactive Program competition might as well be branded “Outstanding Variety/Talk, Part II.” The competitors all hail from the late-night world: “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and “Saturday Night Live.”
EGOT Glory: John Legend is one step closer to living up to his last name. Legend landed his first-ever Emmy nomination on Thursday, for playing Jesus Christ in NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar: Live in Concert.” The musician won an Oscar in 2015 for “Glory,” the “Selma” song he wrote with Common; eight Grammy Awards; and won a Tony in 2017 for “Jitney.”
Hey, Get Your Own Damn Awards Show: The film world sneaked into the Emmys via the Outstanding Original Interactive Program category, as “Blade Runner 2049: Memory Lab,” “Coco VR,” and “Spider-Man Homecoming VR Experience” all made the cut.
Music Battle: Bruno Mars landed a nomination in the Outstanding Music Direction category, as music director for his CBS special “Bruno Mars: 24K Magic Live at the Apollo.” He’s the only star nominated in the category, but his special is going up against specials featuring other music titans: “Elton John: I’m Still Standing,” “Super Bowl LII Halftime Show Starring Justin Timberlake,” and “Tony Bennett: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.”
Category Most Likely to Be Hacked by Russia: In the Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music race, Showtime’s “The Putin Interviews” is among the nominees.
Jesus vs. Picasso: Four of the six nominees in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie were playing actual figures: Darren Criss (Andrew Cunanan), Antonio Banderas (Pablo Picasso), John Legend (Jesus Christ), and Jeff Daniels (John O’Neill).
Split Personality: “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany wins as nominees with most credited characters to their name: “Sarah Manning, Helena, Alison Hendrix, Cosima Niehaus, Rachel Duncan, Krystal Goderitch, Elizabeth (Beth) Childs, Jennifer Fitzsimmons, Katja Obinger, Tony Sawicki, Veera Suominen (M.K.), Camilla Torres and Unnamed Clone.” (To be fair, the “Saturday Night Live” cast members are just credited as “Various Characters.’)
Everything Old Is New Again: In the Supporting Actress in a Comedy Category, Laurie Metcalf is back with a nomination as “Roseanne” character Jackie Harris, which last earned her a nod in 1995. Megan Mullally is back with a nom for playing Karen Walker, her “Will & Grace” character, which last got her a nod (and win) in 2006. And Larry David is back as his “Curb Your Enthusiasm” persona for the first time since 2012.
Fictional Nominee: Tony Clifton, the character created by late comedian Andy Kaufman, is among the credited executive producers on the Netflix documentary “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring A Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton,” which earned a nod in the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special category.