Emmy nominations announced

emmy award

(CNN) — When it comes to comedy, the Emmys are making room for “Girls.”

“Girls,” the polarizing HBO comedy about four twentysomething women finding their way in 21st-century New York, received five nods Thursday when the nominations for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards were announced. Among the show’s nominations were picks for best comedy series as well as best actress in a comedy for creator and writer Lena Dunham.

“Girls” joined fellow newcomer “Veep” as well as comedy mainstays “Modern Family” — which led all comedy series with 14 nominations — “30 Rock” (13 nods), “The Big Bang Theory” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” among comedy series nominees. “Family” won the category last year.

Several veteran shows were among the nominees for best drama series, including “Mad Men” — which has won this category four years running — “Boardwalk Empire,” “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones.” PBS’ breakout hit “Downton Abbey,” which was nominated in the miniseries category last year, joined the crew for best drama, as did Showtime’s “Homeland.”

Thanks to the showings of “Thrones,” “Girls,” “Empire” and the movie “Game Change,” HBO led all networks with 81 nominations. “Mad Men” and the FX series “American Horror Story,” which was put in the miniseries category, led all programs with 17 nominations each. “Downton Abbey” and the History Channel’s “Hatfields and McCoys” both earned 16 nods.

CBS led broadcast networks with 60 nominations.

“Girls” has divided both critics and viewers. Some have dismissed the show for its narrow take on New York and young women, noting the lack of African-American characters, its general hip and upscale settings, and Dunham’s willingness to make her audience squirm as she follows characters into both bedroom and bathroom.

The show’s defenders, on the other hand, applaud Dunham for showing her characters in less-than-flattering lights and observe that “Girls” isn’t the first series to take place in a perceived vacuum. Indeed, “Sex and the City” — to which Dunham’s show has been compared — also showed a thin slice of New York through the lives of four women (and much more glamorously, to boot).

The nominations weren’t without their perceived snubs. Despite both critical acclaim and a growing audience, Louis C.K.’s FX series “Louie” didn’t make the cut for comedy series, though the comedian-writer-DIY guy did receive a nod for best actor in a comedy. NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” missed out on best comedy series as well, though star Amy Poehler got a nomination.

NBC’s self-referential sitcom “Community,” a critical darling that was the subject of heated controversy when the show’s creator, Dan Harmon, was forced out as executive producer in May, got just one nomination, for writing.

However, there were also some surprises.

Don Cheadle, whose Showtime series “House of Lies” received an uneven reception upon its January premiere, earned a nomination for best actor in a comedy series. “Homeland,” about a CIA agent combating terrorism and her own demons, received plenty of attention, picking up nine nominations, including nods for best drama series and stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis.

“It’s an incredible thrill to be nominated our first year out. When we wrote the pilot, we never imagined that the Television Academy would include us in the company of such extraordinary nominees,” “Homeland’s” co-creators Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa said in a statement.

And the ageless Betty White (OK, she’s actually 90) was nominated for best reality show host for “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers.” (Her comedy series, “Hot in Cleveland,” also got recognition, with two nominations.)

The prize for best drama series, usually considered the night’s capstone, looks to be a wide-open race. Though “Mad Men” has won it four consecutive years, AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” featuring Bryan Cranston’s best actor-nominated performance as a chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin, is coming off a strong year, and “Downton Abbey” offers a rich and sumptuous take on early 20th-century life. Moreover, “Thrones,” based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling fantasy novels, “Homeland” and “Boardwalk” all have their partisans.

The nominations were announced by Kerry Washington, star of ABC’s “Scandal,” and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel.

Kimmel, who stepped in for “Parks and Recreation” actor Nick Offerman at the last minute (Offerman suffered travel delays), showed up in pajamas.

“Who are you wearing?” asked Washington impishly.

“This is from the husky baby collection,” Kimmel replied.

Outstanding drama series

“Boardwalk Empire”

“Breaking Bad”

“Downton Abbey”

“Game of Thrones”

“Homeland”

“Mad Men”

Outstanding lead actress in a drama series

Kathy Bates, “Harry’s Law”

Glenn Close, “Damages”

Claire Danes, “Homeland”

Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”

Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”

Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”

Outstanding lead actor in a drama series

Hugh Bonneville, “Downton Abbey”

Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire”

Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”

Michael C. Hall, “Dexter”

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”

Damian Lewis, “Homeland”

Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series

Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”

Giancarlo Esposito, “Breaking Bad”

Brendan Coyle, “Downton Abbey”

Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”

Jared Harris, “Mad Men”

Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”

Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series

Archie Panjabi, “The Good Wife”

Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”

Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”

Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey”

Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”

Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”

Outstanding miniseries or movie

“American Horror Story”

“Game Change”

“Hatfields & McCoys”

“Hemingway & Gellhorn”

“Luther”

“Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia” (Masterpiece)

Outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie

Connie Britton, “American Horror Story”

Ashley Judd, “Missing”

Nicole Kidman, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”

Julianne Moore, “Game Change”

Emma Thompson, “The Song of Lunch (Masterpiece)”

Outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie

Kevin Costner, “Hatfields & McCoys”

Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (Masterpiece)”

Idris Elba, “Luther”

Woody Harrelson, “Game Change”

Clive Owen, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”

Bill Paxton, “Hatfields & McCoys”

Outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie

Ed Harris, “Game Change”

Denis O’Hare, “American Horror Story”

David Strathairn, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”

Martin Freeman, “Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (Masterpiece)”

Tom Berenger, “Hatfields & McCoys”

Outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or movie

Sarah Paulson, “Game Change”

Frances Conroy, “American Horror Story”

Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story”

Judy Davis, “Page Eight (Masterpiece)”

Mare Winningham, “Hatfields & McCoys”

Outstanding host for a reality or reality competition program

Tom Bergeron, “Dancing With the Stars”

Cat Deeley, “So You Think You Can Dance”

Phil Keoghan, “Amazing Race”

Ryan Seacrest, “American Idol”

Betty White, “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”

Outstanding reality competition program

“The Amazing Race”

“Dancing With the Stars”

“Project Runway”

“So You Think You Can Dance”

“Top Chef”

“The Voice”

Outstanding variety series

“The Colbert Report”

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”

“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”

“Real Time with Bill Maher”

“Saturday Night Live”

Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series

Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl”

Lena Dunham, “Girls”

Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”

Tina Fey, “30 Rock”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

Melissa McCarthy, “Mike & Molly”

Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”

Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series

Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”

Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”

Louis C.K., “Louie”

Jon Cryer, “Two and a Half Men”

Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”

Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

Outstanding comedy series

“The Big Bang Theory”

“Curb Your Enthusiasm”

“Girls”

“Modern Family”

“30 Rock”

“Veep”

Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series

Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family”

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family”

Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”

Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family”

Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”

Max Greenfield, “New Girl”

Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series

Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”

Merritt Wever, “Nurse Jackie”

Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”

Kristen Wiig, “Saturday Night Live”

Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”

Kathryn Joosten, “Desperate Housewives”

To see the full list of nominees, visit Emmys.com. The 64th Primetime Emmys will air September 23 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, with Jimmy Kimmel as host.