Acclaimed true crime drama series The People vs OJ Simpson has picked up a string of acting nominations for the 2016 Emmys, including a Best Actor nod for former Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr, who played the titular American football star accused of double murder.
The FX show’s breakout star was Sarah Paulson as embattled prosecutor Marcia Clark: a performance that has made her the overwhelming favourite for the Best Actress in a Limited Series category. Paulson has been nominated for Emmys for the past four years, without a win.
Courtney B Vance’s turn as defence attorney Johnnie Cochran also earned him a Best Actor in a Limited Series nod, while co-stars Sterling K Brown, David Schwimmer and John Travolta are all nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series, taking up half of that entire category.
Subtitled American Crime Story, the show was created by Ryan Murphy, the showrunner behind Glee and American Horror Story. Director Ezra Edelman's similarly lauded documentary series, OJ: Made in America, aired in the US last month, too late to be eligible for this year’s Emmys, meaning the Simpson story could return to the awards line-up in 2017.
The People vs OJ Simpson is the favourite in the Best Limited Series category, with competition from from Fargo, American Crime, Roots and the BBC’s John Le Carré adaptation, The Night Manager. The FX series secured 22 nominations, outdone only by Game of Thrones with 23.
HBO’s blockbuster medieval fantasy, which just concluded its sixth season, won a record 12 Emmys in 2015, including its first Best Drama Series gong. This year, it will vie for the top award with Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Homeland, House of Cards, Mr Robot and The Americans.
Mr Robot, which won Best TV Drama Series at the Golden Globes earlier this year, is eligible for the Emmys for the first time. Spy drama The Americans, beloved by critics but previously ignored by Emmy voters, is nominated for the first time for its fourth season.
Comedian Aziz Ansari’s Netflix hit Master of None joined several more established shows in the Best Comedy Series category, including Veep, Modern Family, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Silicon Valley, Blackish and Transparent.
Viola Davis, who last year became the first black winner of the Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, for How to Get Away with Murder, was again nominated this year, in a group of nominees that is orders of magnitude more diverse than those at the Oscars. In fact, while every acting nominee at the 2016 Oscars was white, this is the first ever year in which performers of colour are nominated in every single Emmy leading actor category.
British stars Tom Hiddleston (The Night Manager), Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and Idris Elba (Luther) feature in the Best Actor in a Limited Series category with Gooding and Vance, while Olivia Colman and Hugh Laurie also earned Supporting nods for The Night Manager.
The winners will be announced at the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on 18 September.
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