Lead Actor – Limited Series or Movie

Ricky Gervais, Derek Special
With 22 nominations under his belt and two wins, Gervais says he looks forward to losing again this year, “but at least I’m in a different category, so it’ll Derek Special Netflixbe nice to lose to someone other than Jim Parsons.” Famously, while presenting at the 2014 Emmys after losing Best Actor in a Comedy Series to Parsons, Gervais chose to give his acceptance speech anyway. Will he repeat that comic turn if he’s unlucky this year? “I think I’ve handed more out than I’ve won – they do seem to like me getting up there and saying awful things at the Emmys and the Globes. But I’ll make sure the one I’m handing out comes after I’ve lost, then I’ve got something to talk about.” Gervais is genuinely thrilled at this nom for Derek. “I’m over the moon,” he says. “It’s such a tiny little quirky little show going against these huge juggernauts of shows, and it really is still very exciting.” He laughs, “I also get to go and do selfies with the cast of other shows I like.”

Timothy Hutton, American Crime
Timothy Hutton can rest now that any concerns he had that American Crime would find an audience, much less Emmy recognition, are erased by the limited series’ 10 nominations, including his for Outstanding Lead Actor. “I was hoping the show would be watched and that there would be an involvement with all the storylines and all the characters — each of the arcs is so powerful,” he said shortly after hearing about his nomination and that of his fellow American Crime nominees, including Felicity Huffman, who portrays his character’s ex-wife on the show. “It was a special thing to work with an actor like Felicity,” he continued. “We just fell into an interesting rhythm; it was unspoken.” The nominations also validate that, while not a ratings-buster, American Crime is an important network drama that he’s happy ABC has supported, noms or not. “We didn’t know that there’d be a second season, with a new story and new characters, it was an idea that was floated and that we hoped might happen” he said. “This show wasn’t in a place in terms of ratings where we all felt it would be renewed. It’s incredible the faith that ABC had in the show from the beginning all the way through.” Although Hutton hasn’t read the first script of the next iteration of the series — Season 2 will feature the same actors but with a new storyline and characters — he did reveal that he’ll be playing a basketball coach. “I’ve never been in a situation like this,” he said. “I’m very excited about it—working with a lot of the same people, same crew and filming in Austin.”

David Oyelowo, Nightingale
David Oyelowo’s role in Nightingale seems a tricky stream-of-consciousness act to pull off, but, he says, “That’s what I loved about it, it’s what terrified me about it, but Nightingaleit’s also what made the film so utterly unique. I learned the whole film before we shot it because it felt like one long scene.” The film, which was also nominated for Outstanding Television Movie, originally was offered backing by Plan B after Brad Pitt was impressed by Oyelowo’s performance. “I think the thing for Brad is he’s a producer on Selma, so obviously we had just finished working on that. I think it was the juxtaposition of playing Dr King and Peter Snowden. I think for him that really got him going, it was, ‘my goodness, so there is a possibility that people could see you as Dr King and then go on to see you as this guy?’ They’re completely antithetical. You have Dr King, who is an iconic figure who’s known for going anywhere and everywhere for the sake of justice, and then you have a matricidal, mentally-challenged guy who never leaves the house and talks to himself. I think it was the sheer difference in the two characters that Brad was enamored by.” Following Plan B’s support, HBO got on board–a move Oyelowo cites as typical of their progressive programming. “It continues to prove that they are the absolute tip of the spear when it comes to this renaissance that TV is having in america. They’re not scared of going to the uncomfortable places. As an actor you can sometimes think with TV that it’s the lowest common denominator, it’s very soft because it’s trying to get as many eyeballs on it as possible, but HBO are proving that that’s not necessarily all the audience wants.”

Lead Actress – Limited Series or Movie

Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
“It means a lot to feel seen,” Maggie Gyllenhaal says of her nom for The Honorable Woman, “to feel like other people watched it. So much of myself is in it, not literally, obviously my circumstances are very different from Nessa’s and I am a very different woman than she is, but my heart and my mind is in that work. I feel proud of that, it’s hard to really put yourself out there, it’s scary.” Playing Nessa, who is kidnapped, beaten and raped, affected Gyllenhaal “hugely” she says. “I really could feel when I read it that I was going to have to grow up in some way in order to play her.” But the work paid off and Gyllenhaal is excited to celebrate with fellow nominees writer/ director Hugo Blick and EP Greg Brenman. “At the Golden Globes I was with my brother,” she says, “but Hugo wasn’t there. Then I remember being at the SAG awards, and the entire cast of Orange Is The New Black got up and I just missed my people! They looked so proud and happy. But now I’m so thrilled we’re going to all be there together and we’ll get to get all dressed up and celebrate.”

Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Felicity Huffman’s American Crime character, Felicity HuffmanBarb, was a tough one for the former Emmy-winner (Desperate Housewives) to crack. She’s a grieving mother, a bitter ex-wife, and a bit of a racist in John Ridley’s anthology series, which nabbed 10 Emmy nominations. “As an actor you have to find something you can endorse in the character,” Huffman says. “The key to Barb was that she wants to be a good mom. Whether she was a good mom is debatable but her motivation was pure. She wants to take care of her children, even though one is dead. She wants to get justice for her son. How that manifests itself is questionable. And I did have problems. There were many times I went to John and said, ‘Really, she’s gotta say this?’ Ultimately, what I was able to get behind was, as a parent, you would do anything for your kids. You don’t give a shit if people like you or not.” On working with her co-star Timothy Hutton:  “I was working in the pre-production office going over my script and Tim had just landed from New York,” Huffman says. “He walked in, I looked up, and I thought, ‘Oh, you.’ We kind of clicked. I adore him. We adore each other. He’s a brilliant actor, so the level of your game rises.”

Supporting Actor – Limited Series or Movie

Richard Cabral, American Crime
Richard Cabral 2Richard Cabral, in one slow, surprising arc on American Crime, was able to shed much-needed light on the type of character that has dominated his resume (“gang member,” “inmate,” “cholo #2”). As Hector Tonz, Cabral—whose own life mirrors some of Tonz’s gang member backstory—was the only actor in John Ridley’s ensemble to get a happy ending, though he joins co-stars Timothy Hutton, Felicity Huffman and Regina King in garnering acting Emmy nominations today. “I knew American Crime was going to be special, just from the pilot,” Cabral says. “This was the first time that I felt this character type was going to be portrayed in a three-dimensional way. John would give us character details script by script, episode to episode, and he was just telling me, ‘Trust me, Richard, you’re going somewhere.’ So I trusted him. The greatest reason it worked was because I surrendered to John. For me, Hollywood has been trying to portray this type of character for decades and hasn’t been doing it correctly. Now there’s a three-dimensional side. I’m honored to be the one pulling it off. It’s a great beginning.”

Drama Series 

Downton Abbey, Gareth Neame, Executive Producer
With eight nominations this year, Downton Abbey doesn’t show any sign of waning popularity. “The more the show goes on, the more the fans are enmeshed in it,” Downton Abbeyexecutive producer Gareth Neame says. “It’s not a show that gets tired, and it’s not a show that runs out of energy.” As for what we can expect in the upcoming sixth and final season, Neame says, “Since the death of the Matthew Crawley character, Mary rebuilding her life has been a real spine of the show and now that we’re coming towards the last season, we will see a lot of these stories resolve – the ongoing search that Mary has for who she’s going to settle down with is going to be a big part of the final season.” Neame also confirms that cast favorite Dame Maggie Smith, who has several times been rumored to be leaving before the show’s end, will definitely be returning for the last season. “Of course,” he says, “never without her!” Saying goodbye to such a well-loved show will be a wrench, Neame admits. “All of us have loved every minute of it. The cast have pretty much been with us since the first season. It’s going to be very strange to think in a few months time, we’re not going to be making it anymore. To think that you’re entertaining that many people in that many corners of the world is as good as it gets.”

Homeland, Alex Gansa, co-creator
Many thought Homeland was over after Damian Lewis’ Nicholas Brody was killed, however, co-creator Alex Gansa said that the show still resonates, global current events aside, because “of Claire Danes. That way that she inhibits Carrie Mathison is so compelling and she is surrounded by Mandy Patinkin. The character of Peter Quinn that Rupert Friend plays and was created in mind during the second season when Brody wasn’t going to survive; Rupert has stepped up in that role in Season 4 and blossomed. He became the young male lead of the show,” said the Homeland co-creator. Gansa mentioned that Season 5 jumps two years ahead with Carrie in Berlin, Germany, the hub of ‘hack-tavists’. “It is where Laura Poitras, who directed Citizen Four lives, it’s where Jacob Appelbaum lives.They are an anti-surveillance, anti-intelligence agency,” explained Gansa. “The community there begins to suspect Carrie because she’s ex-CIA while the CIA thinks she’s traitor because she’s working in a philanthropic organization.”

Lead Actor – Drama

ray donovan seaosn 2Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
“The challenge with Ray is his level of self loathing, alienation and loneliness that’s unsustainable. He’s a victim of abuse. I think it’s important for him to work that out. I don’t think he’s headed to a good place, and that’s a difficult thing to act. You’re stuck in this chain of behavior…I hope he turns his life around, but maybe then, we won’t have a TV show,” says the actor about his moody Hollywood fixer in Showtime’s crime noir series.

Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
The actor, who celebrates his third Emmy lead acting nom as Machiavellian politician Francis Underwood, is so entrenched in the process of shooting House of Cards particularly season four that, “I haven’t watched season (three)…The interesting territory to explore has been what this character has to contend with when he can no longer operate in the shadows, but in the whitest light; and how this effects his ability to maneuver.”

better call saul amc season 1 episode 10Supporting Actor – Drama

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul
“I’ll be researching the background on Mike Ehrmantraut until the day I die. I still think long before (Better Call Saul), what was Mike doing? I asked the writers the other day, ‘Who was Mike in Love With?'” said the actor on carrying his process from Breaking Bad to spinoff Better Call Saul.

Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
In Netflix’s streaming drama, Bloodline, Ben Mendelsohn’s supporting role is so central to the show, it proves to be more a shared lead alongside Kyle Chandler (nominated for the lead role of John Rayburn). But for Mendelsohn, the individual accolade isn’t so significant, as he says “I’m really happy for the show, I’m happy for the creators, because I think Danny’s a great character; I’m happy for the actors, for all of the family that worked on this, and I extend that to Chloe (Sevigny) and Jamie (McShane).” The Danny Rayburn character resonated with viewers, Mendelssohn says, in part due to the streaming format. “The intensity,” he says, “is greater for people because they spend more time with him, and they can watch him in that really concentrated way. Would he do more streamed TV like this? “Having done one,” he says, “yeah absolutely I could. Danny had…you can feel the impression that he’s made on the people that have connected with the show and that’s pretty special. I don’t know many actors who would put a definite red line through that stuff.”  Speaking to TV’s changing formats moving closer to film, Mendelsohn says, “there’s a lot more crossover, there’s a lot more where those two circles genuinely share a lot of the same space.”

Michael Kelly, House Of Cards
Michael Kelly, whose character, Doug Stamper, has undergone one of the craziest arcs throughout House Of Cards’ three seasons, says he’s as happy today, as happy House of Cards Michael-Kellyyesterday, as he was during his first day on set. “I’d rather work than take a day off, I love this show so much,” he said this morning. So it’s no surprise that his first Emmy nomination, for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, didn’t come without some tears today. Kelly and the Cards cast currently is in the midst of production on season four in Baltimore, so when he and Kevin Spacey broke off-set to watch the noms, he was happy just to hear that the series and its leads—Spacey and Robin Wright—were nominated (the supporting acting categories weren’t televised). It wasn’t until returning to set that showrunner Beau Willimon informed him that he, too, was nominated. “David Fincher from day one, Beau Willimon from day one brought their A-game. This show is special. The crew is special. To be recognized for it is beautiful icing on the cake.” As for what actually is appealing in Doug—who has killed on the show, all in loyal service to Spacey’s Frank Underwood—Kelly thinks it could be the little bit of himself that he injects into a character that in all actually is “a really messed up dude… I’m a good person and I try to do the right thing. If you bring that to the character, then underneath all the twisted decisions Doug makes, he’s a good person. He chooses to do bad for the greater good. That’s the life he chose.”

Comedy Series

Transparent, Jill Soloway, creator
The much-anticipated new season will, Soloway says, delve into the more complex facets of family life. “The question of season one was ‘will you still love me if,’ and, ‘what happens if I come out and show you who I am?’ Now in season two, the whole family are starting to discover and name who they are. They’re claiming their true selves and it’s not going so well! They’re saying, ‘well hold on a second, I don’t want you to be this person, and what about me?’ It’s really getting nice and juicy and complex–like a family soap opera.”

Modern FamilyChristopher Lloyd, co-creator
“I think the directive is to make sure the Emmys aren’t rewarding the same people and the same shows (annually)…” — the co-creator’s observation on how the TV Academy’s post-nom rule changes and move toward a wider voting body might impact this year’s race. Modern Family has won the best comedy series Emmy five years in a row.

Lead Actor – Comedy

Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
With 11 nominations total for its debut season, Transparent has snagged the most TransparentEmmy nods of any comedy series this year. “We’re all very excited,” Jeffrey Tambor says, “we have a table read today and that should be filmed because it’s going to be one of the biggest celebrations. I’m so proud.” Currently in the midst of shooting season two, the laundry list of noms has Transparent’s cast and crew “jumping around like we’re in a soccer match,” according to creator Jill Soloway.

Lead Actress – Comedy

Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
A text from her former Friends co-star Matt LeBlanc this morning broke the news to Lisa Kudrow that she’d picked up a nomination for bringing Valerie Cherish back from nine years in the wilderness. “He said, ‘Yay,’ and I wrote back, ‘Are we going to the Emmys?’ He replied: ‘Yes we are…’” They’re both stars of shows about the making of shows, though Valerie is somehow more redeemable than the cypher of himself LeBlanc plays on Episodes. “I think she’s a decent person, but she’s honestly phoney,” notes Kudrow. “The show doesn’t hide who she really is much. If anything what we hid is the decent person underneath – right until the last episode of this season.” But she doesn’t play well with others, which contrasts the harmony behind the scenes that Kudrow credits for making the show what it is. “It’s a complete collaboration down to Clark Mathis and the camera operators,” who frequently appear on screen as the faux-documentarians capturing the action. “It’s this domino effect that makes it better, and suddenly you see where it’s sorely missed.” A third season won’t take another nine years. “If it took us that long this time, we’d be done,” she laughs. “The conversations have moved on, but it’s about finding the time. If we chanced on something that was like, ‘Oh my God,’ we’d be moving faster. But we’re talking.”

Supporting Actor – Comedy

Tony Hale, Veep
A takeaway moment for Tony HaleTony Hale Veep 1 this season on Veep as President Selina Meyer’s guy Friday? “When Gary stands up for himself. It’s probably the most fun process to rehearse, execute; it was so rewarding,” says Hale whose character was called by Meyer “a middle-age man who sanitizes her tweezers.” Gary, wasn’t alone, but political consultant Amy (Anna Chlumsky, also nominated as best supporting actress comedy) press secretary Mike McLintock (Matt Walsh) also lost it on Meyer. “It’s when the stakes rise and their responsibilities rise. For Gary, he would rather have Selina abuse him than ignore him. For him, it’s suicide not having access to her.”

Supporting Actress – Comedy

Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

“I’m so shocked. I thought I was being punked this morning when I got the phone call!…I turned to my four-year-old son and said ‘Mommy got nominated for an Emmy!’ He looked at me with a blank star on his face and asked ‘Can we play now?’ I didn’t know who else to tell.”

kate mckinnonKate McKinnonSaturday Night Live

“There was the week when Justin Bieber threw eggs at someone’s house, and there was a bit for him to appear in a larger piece. Colin Jost was writing it. Bobby Moynihan went up to him at 5AM and asked what Jost was working on. Jost asked Bobby who should play Justin Bieber and he responded ‘Kate should play him.’ It just developed from there. I love to dance and it was one of the times I got to move.” — how the SNL performer landed the role of Justin Bieber.

 

Host For Reality Or Reality-Competition Program

Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Project Runway
“We’re getting a little tipsy already because it’s also our last day shooting our 14th season and people keep bringing champagne,” Heidi Klum says of celebrating nominations both for her and for co-host Tim Gunn. Season 14 will employ a new draft of guest judges, including Bella Thorne, Ashley Tisdale, Ciara and Tracee Ellis Ross. After so many years of Project Runway, Klum says, “I think what’s really been working for us is our show is about design–it’s not about the reality aspect that a lot of the shows have, where it’s about trash talk or the personalities–it’s really about design and people love to watch talented people.” When Klum first began hosting she says, “I really didn’t have anyone to model it on, so I was always just myself. I speak the way I speak and I don’t really prepare.” Her co-host and fellow nominee Tim Gunn also brought an organic presentation style to the show. “He is unbelievable,” Klum says. “When we started so many years ago, we didn’t have a part for Tim. We found him, he was a teacher at Parsons, and we fell in love with him and built him into the show. He’s been the man by my side for so many years, and we work very well together. We love each other, we support one another, and we’ve been having a great time together.”

Guest Actress – Drama Series

Rachel Brosnahan, House Of Cards
Rachel Brosnahan“Rachel had to go,” is Rachel Brosnahan’s bold acceptance of her character’s demise at the end of Season 3 of House Of Cards, a role that earned her a guest actress Emmy nomination for a shorter run than the extended arc she portrayed during Season 2. “On a show like (Cards), I’m amazed I lasted that long,” she laughs. “But this is the only way that storyline could’ve ended, for Doug to move forward and become the ruthless powerhouse that he once was and needs to be again.” For Brosnahan, the nomination caps a role that originated as “call girl” and got extended through the first season to give Corey Stoll’s character a longer arc. When Stoll’s Peter Russo had his untimely end, Rachel then got entwined with Michael Kelly’s Doug Stamper during Season 2. “This feels like some sort of bizarre Cinderella story,” she says. This is a complete shock. I was straight out of drama school and got cast on this new show nobody knew anything about on this new thing called Netflix. It was supposed to be one maybe two episodes. Beau Willimon, our showrunner, has been such a champion of mine from the very beginning. This is owed to him. Working with Michael was such a dream. He was the best scene partner you could ask for… I think Michael and I are both thrilled that (Rachel’s character) ended in such a weird, twisted and complex way to round out this weird, twisted and complex storyline. We had a blast shooting it.”