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Emmys

Why you should watch the Emmys this year

Anthony Anderson loses his mind, and Viola Davis, Regina King and Taraji P. Henson all receive repeat nominations

Hark! The Emmys seem as if they might actually be kind of interesting this year.

Thursday morning, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced nominations for the 68th prime-time Emmys, which air Sept. 18 on ABC. The proceedings are almost always too long and fairly predictable – the main complaint from critics is that the same shows and actors tend to win year after year, even after they’ve fallen out of the zeitgeist and there’s more interesting fare to be had. See: Modern Family, which once again has been nominated in the outstanding comedy series category.

But this year seems as if there might be at least somewhat of a shakeup to the usual dynastic voting, and after last year’s wins for Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder) and Regina King (American Crime), we’re also looking at the possibility of some new, browner Emmy dynasties.

By far, the most fun part of this year’s Emmy announcement proceedings was watching Black-ish star Anthony Anderson, accompanied by Gilmore Girls star Lauren Graham, shout with glee when he received a nomination for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for the second straight year. Anderson was equally energized when Taraji P. Henson was nominated again for her work on Empire and gave a shout-out to his fellow Howard University Bison (we are everywhere, and we are legion. Hate if you want) and he went ballistic when his co-star and TV wife Tracee Ellis Ross was nominated as well.

Dear television academy, can we just have Anderson do this every year please?

Some other highlights worth noting: Beyoncé, marking another notch in her quest for world domination, earned a nomination with Khalil Joseph for directing a variety special for Lemonade. Tracy Morgan was nominated for hosting Saturday Night Live, his first time back on the show since surviving an auto accident that took the life of one of his friends, James McNair, in 2014. Kerry Washington earned a nomination for playing Anita Hill in HBO’s Confirmation, and Idris Elba earned a nod for Luther. Aziz Ansari was nominated for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series for the first season of Master of None and Keegan-Michael Key was recognized for the final season of Key and Peele.

The category to watch this year, however, will be outstanding limited series. This is always one of the more interesting categories of the night because the turnover each year makes it unpredictable, and this year it’s especially stacked. The shows nominated are Roots, The Night Manager, American Crime, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and Fargo. Maybe they can just cut the trophy up and split it?

The limited series acting categories are just as competitive. Bokeem Woodbine – the guy who played Mike Milligan and will forever be known for his eerily creepy recitation of Jabberwocky on Fargo – is nominated in the same category as co-star Jesse Plemons.

This year marked an enormous shakeup for late-night talk shows. Both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report used to be reliable presences in the outstanding variety series category. Under new host Trevor Noah, The Daily Show has floundered in an election year full of would-be easy layups for such a show. More surprising is that Larry Wilmore’s Nightly Show failed to capture a nod, but it, too, still seems to be struggling to find a consistent voice. Daily Show alum John Oliver is present, but Stephen Colbert’s Late Show failed to make the cut. So did Full Frontal With Samantha Bee.

Here are the nominations for the 68th Emmy Awards, airing Sept. 18 on ABC and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel:

Outstanding Drama Series
The Americans (FX)
Better Call Saul (AMC)
Downton Abbey (PBS)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Homeland (Showtime)
House of Cards (Netflix)
Mr. Robot (USA)

Outstanding Comedy Series
Black-ish (ABC)
Master of None (Netflix)
Modern Family (ABC)
Silicon Valley (HBO)
Transparent (Amazon)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Veep (HBO)

Outstanding Limited Series
American Crime (ABC)
Fargo (FX)
The Night Manager (AMC)
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
Roots (History Channel)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Keri Russell, The Americans
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
Idris Elba, Luther
Cuba Gooding Jr., The People v. O.J. Simpson
Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grille
Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson
Lili Taylor, American Crime
Kerry Washington, Confirmation

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth
William H. Macy, Shameless
Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Laurie Metcalfe, Getting On
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
Michael Kelly, House of Cards
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Maura Tierney, The Affair
Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones
Constance Zimmer, UnREAL

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Louie Anderson, Baskets
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Tony Hale, Veep
Keegan-Michael Key, Key and Peele
Matt Walsh, Veep

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Anna Chlumsky, Veep
Gaby Hoffman, Transparent
Allison Janney, Mom
Judith Light, Transparent
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Niecy Nash, Getting On

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Jesse Plemons, Fargo
Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson
Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
David Schwimmer, The People v. O.J. Simpson
John Travolta, The People v. O.J. Simpson
Bokeem Woodbine, Fargo

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Hotel
Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Regina King, American Crime
Melissa Leo, All the Way
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story
Jean Smart, Fargo

Outstanding Variety Talk Series
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (Crackle)
Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS)
Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (NBC)

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
Documentary Now! (IFC)
Drunk History (Comedy Central)
Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central)
Key & Peele (Comedy Central)
Portlandia (IFC)
Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Outstanding Television Movie
A Very Murray Christmas (Netflix)
All the Way (HBO)
Confirmation (HBO)
Luther (BBC One)
Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (BBC One)

Outstanding Reality Competition Program
The Amazing Race, CBS
American Ninja Warrior, NBC
Dancing With the Stars, ABC
Project Runway, Lifetime
Top Chef, Bravo
The Voice, NBC

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Hank Azaria, Ray Donovan
Mahershala Ali, House of Cards
Max von Sydow, Game of Thrones
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards
Paul Sparks, House of Cards

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Ellen Burstyn, House of Cards
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Laurie Metcalf, Horace and Pete
Carrie Preston, The Good Wife
Molly Parker, House of Cards

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Christine Baranski, The Big Bang Theory
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Melora Hardin, Transparent
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Laurie Metcalf, The Big Bang Theory
Amy Schumer, Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Larry David, Saturday Night Live
Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
Peter MacNicol, Veep
Tracy Morgan, Saturday Night Live
Martin Mull, Veep
Bradley Whitford, Transparent

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program
RuPaul Charles, RuPaul’s Drag Race
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Steve Harvey, Celebrity Family Feud

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway
Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol

See the complete list of directing, writing, and reality, and documentary awards here.