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Sci-Fi/Fantasy and the 2012 Emmy Award Nominations

'Game of Thrones' is still strong, while newbies and horror make a splash


64th Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations

Kerry Washington and Jimmy Kimmel announce the nominees for the Outstanding Drama Series Award during the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations on July 19, 2012.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Last year Game of Thrones got 13 Emmy nominations, and a win for Peter Dinklage.

This year, Game of Thrones is still one of the top-nominated drama series alongside Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Mad Men, and the like, with almost as many slots in the Emmy tote board: 12. One notable sci-fi/fantasy presences in last year's list are strikingly absent: True Blood got four nominations last year, but this year it's been shut out.

Futurama, like last year, got two nods, and on the bright side the genre Emmy contingent gained four new players from the freshman class: Once Upon a Time, Grimm, Falling Skies, and Touch.

The Game of Thrones Game

HBO's Game of Thrones was nominated again for Outstanding Drama Series, alongside Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Homeland, and Mad Men (last year's winner). All of these are prestige series with intense critical acclaim and fan fervor, though Homeland is probably the weakest of the six.

The Supporting Actor category, in which Peter Dinklage is again nominated as Tyrion Lannister (so, what, he's the only good actor on the show?), is interestingly split: Aaron Paul and Giancarlo Esposito are both nominated for Breaking Bad, Brendan Coyle and Jim Carter are both nominated for Downton Abbey, and there's Jared Harris from Mad Men as well.

Thrones is also up for Outstanding Art Direction, Outstanding Casting For A Drama Series, Outstanding Costumes For A Series, Outstanding Hairstyling For A Single-Camera Series, Outstanding Makeup For A Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic), Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup For A Series, Miniseries, Movie Or A Special, Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series, Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series, Outstanding Special Visual Effects, and Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media -- Enhancement To A Television Program Or Series. In most of these it's competing against the usual suspects -- Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, etc., with here and there an interloper into the clique (e.g., The Good Wife).

The Other Shows

Like Game of Thrones, Futurama repeated its nominations from last year: it's up for Outstanding Animated Program, and Maurice LaMarche is again up for Outstanding Voice Over Performance. The show, which won last year, stands a very good chance against American Dad!, Bob's Burgers, Nickelodeon's The Penguins of Madagascar, and The Simpsons. The competition for the brilliant LaMarche, also the defending champ, is Brenda Strong, Dan Povenmire, Rob Riggle, Kristen Wiig, and Hank Azaria.

The Wizards Of Waverly Place got one more nomination for Outstanding Children's Program. (Last year's winner was A Child's Garden Of Poetry.)

The miniseries nominations were split largely among Hemingway & Galhoun, Sherlock, Game Change, Great Expectations, and Hatfield & McCoys, but Syfy's above-average rendition of Treasure Island snuck in as well: it's nominated for Outstanding Cinematography For A Miniseries Or Movie and Outstanding Costumes For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special. The first I can understand -- it's shot really well -- but the costumes weren't anything magical.

Touch made its first Emmy appearances with nominations in two oddball categories (which is perhaps appropriate): Outstanding Special Visual Effects In A Supporting Role, and Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music. Falling Skies also appeared for the first time, nominated for the regular Outstanding Special Visual Effects category, and Grimm popped up under Outstanding Stunt Coordination.

Once Upon a Time's debut on the nominations list involves competing with Thrones in all three its categories: Outstanding Special Visual Effects, Outstanding Costumes For A Series (as well as Boardwalk Empire, The Borgias, and Downton Abbey) and Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup For A Series, Miniseries, Movie Or A Special (the other entrants being Boardwalk Empire and both American Horror Story and The Walking Dead.)

Horror Story

That brings up the other interesting development: Two horror series made a big splash on this year's nominations.

The highly regarded, Bram Stoker Award-winning American Horror Story on FX was nominated for a pile of awards, for some reason as a miniseries rather than as a drama (there were 12 episodes in season 1 -- that's more than Falling Skies, for example).

The nominations kick off big with Outstanding Miniseries or Movie and acting nominations for Connie Britton, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange (who already won the Golden Globe for this performance), and Denis O'Hare. It was also nominated for art direction twice, casting, costumes, editing, hairstyling, title design, make-up, prosthetic make-up, sound editing, sound mixing, and stunt coordination, for a total of 17. Those are all miniseries/movie categories except for prosthetics, stunts, and title design, which are umbrella categories.

And AMC's The Walking Dead, meanwhile, kept up its cred with nominations for prosthetic make-up, sound editing, and visual effects.

By the way, want to know something really startling? It used to be that the visual effects category was all sci-fi/fantasy. The other visual effects nominees this year are a TLC documentary on anatomy ... and Pan Am.

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