2015 Emmys Trivia: 14 Things You Didn’t Know About This Year’s Nominations

Mark Davis/NBC
Louis CK, Emmy

By now you’ve read about the big Emmy surprises and woeful snubs. But that’s not all. We’ve combed through the nominations to uncover some of the oddities and trivia behind this year’s Emmy races. (Plus: Visit the TV Insider Emmys page for more coverage.)

Louis CK, network: The comedian’s website LouisCK.net scored two nominations for the special Louie C.K.: Live at the Comedy Store–as many as The CW, and more than BBC America, ESPN, the Hallmark Channel and others. The busy star, as usual, landed several nominations for multiple projects, including his FX series Louie and even for his guest host stint on Saturday Night Live (in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series category). Perhaps it’s time for him to just launch his own channel already?

Channel pre-emptions: The CW was snubbed yet again this year, with a hoped-for major Jane the Virgin nomination not in the cards. But it’s not the only major network to get the Emmy cold shoulder. They may be two of the largest cable networks in the country, but USA and TNT didn’t receive any nominations. ABC Family, MTV, Syfy, VH1 and OWN were also completely shut out.

Waiting’s the hard part: Several major names landed their first-ever nomination this year, such as Maggie Gyllenhall (The Honorable Woman), Adrien Brody (Houdini) and Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder). But perhaps no one has waited as long for his or her first at-bat, at least in the same program, as Tress MacNeille. The voice actress has been working on The Simpsons since 1990, yet this year’s nomination in the Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance category is her first-ever Emmy nod. MacNeille landed the nod for voicing Laney Fontaine, Shauna and Mrs. Muntz in the episode “My Fare Lady.”

History of the Emmy, Part I: The Academy paid tribute to comedy icon Mel Brooks by nominating him for playing himself (in FX’s The Comedians, for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series), and as a writer (Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen, for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special). Also, FX’s A Tribute to Mel Brooks was nominated in the Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Program category.

History repeats itself (or, History of the Emmy, Part II): Among actors nominated for playing historic figures: Damian Lewis as Henry VIII and Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell (Wolf Hall), Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith and Mo’Nique as Ma Rainey (Bessie), Adrien Brody as Harry Houdini (Houdini)… and Tina Fey as Marcia (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), who is based on famed O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark.

But what I really want to do is direct: Writer/showrunner/producers landing directing nominations include Louis C.K. (Louie), Mike Judge (Silicon Valley), Jill Soloway (Transparent), Armando Ianucci (Veep), Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer) and Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story: Freak Show).

Hamming it up: This is the fourth time Jon Hamm has managed to score both a drama and comedy acting nomination in the same year. This year, he’s up for his final turn as Don Draper on Mad Men in the Outstanding Drama Actor category, as well as Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne in the Guest Comedy Actor field. Similarly, in 2009, 2010 and 2012, he was nominated for both Mad Men and 30 Rock in the same categories. The Television Academy loves to nominate Jon Hamm (he’s up to 15 nods now) yet he’s never landed a win.

Splitting the difference: Speaking of actors landing both drama and comedy nods, Allison Janney is nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy category for her series Mom, and also in the Drama Guest Actress race for Masters of Sex.

First time’s the charm: The freshest Emmy category of them all this year may be the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie field. While Ricky Gervais has been nominated for 22 Emmys and won two, his competitors are all first-timers: Adrien Brody (Houdini), Timothy Hutton (American Crime), Richard Jenkins (Olive Kitteridge), David Oyelowo (Nightingale) and Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall). Meanwhile, the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series is also teaming with stars who have never been honored with an acting Emmy. As a matter of fact, among the nominees, only William H. Macy has won an acting Emmy–in 2003, for the TV movie Door to Door.

Drunk in Emmy Love: In the Outstanding Special Class Program category, nominees include the Golden Globes, the Oscars, the Tony Awards… and Beyonce and Jay Z, for their HBO special On the Run.

Better than a Grammy: The Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl is nominated for HBO’s Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways in the Outstanding Informational Series or Special race, as well as for directing the series (in the Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming category). Katy Perry is up for an Emmy in the Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program category, for her Super Bowl Halftime Special.

Ken Burns’ Sophie’s choice: The filmmaker is nominated twice in the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series category, for PBS’ The Roosevelts, and for PBS’ Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. Two very different concepts.

Canceled but not forgotten: They experienced an untimely demise, but shows like The Millers (Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series) and Constantine (Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary or Fantasy Program, One Hour or More) at least live on in the Emmy nominations.

Watch your back, Hector Ramirez: For several years now, Ramirez has extended his lead as the most-nominated individual in Emmy history. The cameraman now has a record 74 career Emmy nominations, including two more this year: In the Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Limited Series, Movie or A Special category (yes, that’s all one category!) for his work on CBS’ The Kennedy Center Honors, and in the Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Series category, for Dancing with the Stars.

But HBO’s documentary maven, Sheila Nevins, is closing in quick. Nevins is now at 71 lifetime Emmy nominations, including four more nominations this year: In the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special category, she’s a part of nominated films The Case Against 8, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. Also, her Alan Alda and the Actor Within You: A YoungArts Masterclass was nominated in the Outstanding Children’s Program category. Nevins already has the most Emmys of anyone in history, with 29 as of last year.