LOS ANGELES — Tina Fey’s satirical sitcom, 30 Rock, led the pack with 22 nominations as this year’s Emmy contenders were announced Thursday, while Canadians were well represented on the list with nods for Michael J. Fox, Kiefer Sutherland, Sandra Oh and William Shatner.
Fox is up for best guest actor in a drama, for his appearance on ; Sutherland is nominated for best lead actor in a miniseries or movie, for a special two-hour version of 24; Oh is up for best supporting actress in a drama, for playing Dr. Christina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy; and Shatner is nominated for best supporting actor in a drama, for his role on Boston Legal.
Fox’s five-episode stint on Rescue Me was his first acting role in several years, following guest appearances on Boston Legal in 2006 and Scrubs in 2004.
The ’60s retro series, Mad Men, leads the drama pack with 16 nominations and, with 30 Rock as best comedy, was honoured last year as best drama. They now have a shot at repeating their performance at September’s awards.
The TV movies Grey Gardens, with 17 nominations, and Into the Storm, with 14 nominations, were among the front-runners. Chandra Wilson of Grey’s Anatomy and Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory helped make the announcement at the TV academy’s theatre — and both proved to be among the lucky.
“No! . . . This is some sort of trick fest,” said Parsons, when his nomination for lead actor in a comedy series was announced.
“I feel a little dreamlike right now,” Parsons said later about his first-time Emmy nomination.
“I’m going to the party” was Wilson’s response to her bid for lead actress in a miniseries or movie for Accidental Friendship. She was also nominated for supporting actress in a drama series for Grey’s Anatomy.
In a sad tribute, Farrah’s Story, a documentary account of Farrah Fawcett’s battle against cancer, was nominated in the nonfiction special category. Fawcett died June 25.
“It’s very bittersweet. Farrah passed away three weeks ago today,” said Alana Stewart, who helped film her longtime friend.
“I know that she would be so, so happy. This was so important to her, this project. She’s been nominated before, and I just know that this would be the most important one of all.”
The number of contenders in series and acting categories were expanded this year, which may have allowed room for some unexpected bids, including a rare best-comedy series nomination for an animated series, Family Guy.
Even long-running The Simpsons had to settle once again for inclusion in the category designated for animated programs. Only one animated program besides Family Guy has gained a nomination among filmed comedies — The Flintstones in 1961.
The series fields are especially crowded, with seven contenders in both drama and comedy categories. Joining Mad Men are fellow cable dramas Big Love, Breaking Bad, Damages and Dexter.
Two network dramas, House and Lost, also made the cut.
Among comedies, the nominees besides 30 Rock and Family Guy include other network series How I Met Your Mother and The Office. Cable contenders include Entourage, Flight of the Conchords and Weeds.
In announcing that the traditional five nominees would grow to six in top categories, the TV academy noted that a tie could expand the field even more.
Affection was scarce for series that came to an end last season, including long-running medical drama ER, Boston Legal and Battlestar Galactica. There was a scattering of nominations among them, but nothing in the marquee categories of acting or best series. Another just-ended series, The Shield, was shut out.”
Also snubbed for major awards were Desperate Housewives and Jon&Kate Plus 8, left out of the reality series category. Top-rated TV show “American Idol” is a contender in the reality-competition category.
NBC found little glory in its late-night lineup, with Jay Leno’s final season with Tonight and Conan O’Brien’s farewell season of Late Night missing from the variety, music or comedy series category. O’Brien took over as Tonight host this year.
Car-buff Leno drew a nomination for online series Jay Leno’s Garage, nominated in the short-format nonfiction program category.
Vampire saga True Blood and its Winnipeg-born star Anna Paquin, who won a Golden Globe earlier this year, were shut out of the major categories.
Academy voters have a history of slighting sci-fi and fantasy series, dating back to Star Trek and including Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Among the actors nominated for lead actor in a miniseries or movie are Kenneth Branagh for Wallander: One Step Behind and Ian McKellen for King Lear. While Sutherland gained a nomination for the movie 24: Redemption, he failed to get a nomination for the 24 series itself.
The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, with Neil Patrick Harris as host, will air live Sept. 20 from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
Harris also is a nominee, for best supporting actor in a comedy series, for How I Met Your Mother.