Netflix Garners Emmy Nominations For Second Straight Year


For the second year in a row, Netlflix’s original content made a big splah in the Emmy Nominations that were released yesterday:

Three Netflix series collected 15 prime-time Emmy nominations in the highest profile categories on Thursday, fluffing up the industry cred that the online subscription service has been grooming with its edgy original programming.

Netflix, the online subscription video service with the most subscribers, has been using original shows like “Orange Is the New Black,” “House of Cards,” and “Derek” to cast itself in the mold of a television network more than the video library and DVD-by-mail service that are its roots. Netflix has credited its award-snagging, buzzed-about originals for boosting its subscriber rolls, though it defers from providing any direct links between original content and subscriptions. Traditional Hollywood players have grumbled about Netflix’s bragging about hits without providing hard viewership stats like ratings.

On Thursday, “Orange Is the New Black” was nominated for outstanding comedy series. The show, set in a women’s prison, also received nominations for the program’s writing and directing — an episode helmed by Jodie Foster got the nod. Taylor Schilling was nominated for best actress in her role playing protagonist Piper. Kate Mulgrew, who plays Red, was nominated for best supporting actress. Three others were in the running for outstanding guest actresses: Natasha Lyonne as Nicky Nichols, Uzo Aduba as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, and Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset.

Ricky Gervais, star of “Derek,” was nominated for best actor in a comedy series. Netflix embraces “Derek” as one of its originals, though the program was aired in England on traditional television before it “debuted” on Netflix in the US. The comedy drama follow a middle-aged man who works in a nursing home.

“House of Cards,” a political drama, again rounded up a slew of nominations, after several last year and one win for directing. The program was nominated for best drama, best writing, and best directing. Stars Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey are candidates in the best acting categories, and Kate Mara’s brief appearance earned her an outstanding guest actress nominHoation.

Last year, Netflix picked up nominations for both House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, although neither show won in any of the categories in which it had been nominated. Several of the reports this year, meanwhile, have noted that Netflix has received another round of nominations while its competing online streaming service Amazon Prime Instant Video did not even though it too has several original run series available at this time. As The Huffington Post’s Alexis Kleinman notes, though, the real battle seems to be between Netflix and HBO:

HBO may be the king of Emmy nominations, but Netflix is fast becoming a threat to the throne.

HBO got 99 of the Emmy nominations announced on Thursday, the 14th year in a row the cable network has gotten more nods than any of its rivals. It also produced the show with the most nominations: “Game Of Thrones,” with 19.

But Netflix garnered 31 nominations more than doubling last year’s haul of 14. That puts Netflix at 7th on the list of networks getting nominations, but it is climbing up the ranks quickly. And the networks ahead of it are all “real” TV networks like CBS and ABC. Their nomination tallies aren’t growing as fast.

And Netflix is the more efficient nomination-getter: HBO’s 99 nominations are for a total of 26 shows, miniseries, movies and specials. Netflix’s 31 nominations were for just 5 shows, specials and movies. That comes out to an average of 3.8 nominations per show for HBO and just over 6 per show for Netflix.

What’s perhaps most surprising is that Netflix is a website, not a traditional TV channel. Netflix has only been around for 17 years, while HBO has been around for 42.

HBO may have had a head start, but it might not be long before Netflix catches up. Netflix only has a small amount of content made exclusively for the site. That could change as the site grows. Last year was the first year that shows created expressly for online streaming were nominated for Emmys, and people are increasingly watching shows online.

As the quality of online streaming original programming like this continues to get better over time, we can expect Netflix and someday Amazon to become more competitive with HBO and other networks when it comes to garnering these awards. This year, most likely, we’ll still see the big awards go to the more traditional networks, but that’s not going to last forever.

The other notable fact is that, like last year, none of the drama series nominated for an Emmy this year come from any of the broadcast networks. They are all either from a free or paid cable network, or Netflix.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Ron Beasley says:

    I watched the first season of House of Cards but only 2 episodes of the second season before I lost interest. It only required a half of the first episode of Orange is the New Black for me to lose interest at which point I cancelled Netflix.

  2. James Pearce says:

    Kate Mulgrew, who plays Red, was nominated for best supporting actress.

    I just finished the new season and I have to say this nomination is well-deserved. They did excellent work this season.

    But let’s not kid ourselves that Emmys fuel the biz. The networks get more viewers in re-runs than these smaller niche programmers.

  3. Tillman says:

    Isn’t there a wide funding disparity between HBO and Netflix? A series like Game of Thrones has ridiculous production value compared to what you see on either House of Cards or Orange is the New Black.

  4. Tillman says:

    @Ron Beasley: House of Cards suffers from having the exact same atmosphere/underlying presumptions about Washington that every single political thriller does: Washington is utterly corrupt, you have to be utterly corrupt to get things done, it’s a corrupt place, dark, corrupt, disparaging adjectives aplenty. The British version (also on Netflix and excellent*) gets away with it if only because British politics is of a different flavor than American.

    * It also succeeds more than the American in my opinion because the focus is tightly on the main character instead of a larger cast, and his asides to the audience are numerous. Spacey’s acting is great, but his character is too cynical. He pities people while Richardson revels in them.

  5. @Tillman:

    A series like Game of Thrones has ridiculous production value compared to what you see on either House of Cards or Orange is the New Black.

    Of course, a show like House of Cards or Orange is the New Black doesn’t need the same budget Game of Thrones does to reach the equivalent level of visual quality.

  6. @Tillman:

    I’ve always preferred the Yes, Minister view of government, where everyone is mostly well intentioned, but you end up with a lot of “spontaneous corruption” from the unintentional systemic effects of multiple competing factions.

  7. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Orange is the New Black is amazing, and its nominations are well-deserved. A few weeks ago, I consumed the first two seasons over the course of 10-ish days.

  8. PJ says:


    Isn’t there a wide funding disparity between HBO and Netflix? A series like Game of Thrones has ridiculous production value compared to what you see on either House of Cards or Orange is the New Black.

    On the subject of Game of Thrones and production value, there’s this excellent video.

  9. Ron Beasley says:

    I have replaced Netflix steaming with Acorn Video streaming where I can get some high quality British and Australian series.

  10. Cletus says:

    Emmys are a joke. Aside from breaking Bad &Thrones, the best actors and shows never win.
    (see Justified) I long for the days of Sopranos, breaking bad, Wire, Deadwood, Shield, & Rome. there’s very little on now that has the type of quality.