TCA Award nominations: ‘Empire’, ‘Transparent’, Amy Schumer…

In Thursday’s announcement of the nominations for the Television Critics Association Awards, ratings smash “Empire” and the Golden Globe-winning “Transparent” lead with four bids apiece. Each contends for both Program of the Year and Best New Program. “Empire” is also up for Best Drama Series and Best Individual Achievement in Drama (Taraji P. Henson), while “Transparent” is nominated for Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Individual Achievement in Comedy (Jeffrey Tambor). The 31st annual edition of these awards takes place at the Beverly Hilton on August 8 during the summer press tour. (See the full list of nominations here.)

Critics’ Choice TV Awards shockers: Taraji P. Henson, Amy Schumer

After being snubbed last year, the final season of “Mad Men” earned its first Drama Series nomination since 2013 and its first Program and Individual Achievement (Jon Hamm) nominations since 2012. Also up for Program of the Year are 2012 champion “Game of Thrones” and “The Americans.” The four dramas nominated for Program of the Year also contend for Best Drama Series, as does “Justified”, for the first time since 2012.

The Best Comedy Series lineup was almost completely overhauled from last year, with only “The Big Bang Theory” returning. Besides “Transparent,” two other freshman series — “Jane the Virgin” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” — reaped bids, as did the third season of sketch show “Inside Amy Schumer”.

Last year’s Comedy Series co-winners “Louie” and “Veep” were omitted. Also snubbed (again) is “Silicon Valley,” recently named Best Comedy Series by the Critics’ Choice Television Awards, whose voting membership only slightly overlaps with that of the TCA. (The TCA has nominated CCTA Best Drama Series winner “The Americans“.) 

The two CCTA comedy leading performance winners —  Amy Schumer (“Inside Amy Schumer”) and Tambor (“Transparent”) — were cited here for Best Individual Achievement in Comedy. Competing against them are last year’s winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”), as well as rookies Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”) and Constance Wu (“Fresh Off the Boat”). With four actresses nominated (and the lone actor playing a transgendered woman), this is the most female-heavy the category has ever been in its 19-year history; indeed, the nominees were exclusively male three times over the first decade (1997, 2001, 2004). Among the men squeezed out this year was 2012 and 2013 winner Louis C.K. (“Louie”).

Critics’ Choice TV Awards: Complete list of winners

The 2013 winner on the drama side — Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black“) — was also left off the list this year. Both of the CCTA drama leading performance winners — Henson (“Empire”) and Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”) — reaped bids, as did fellow newcomer Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”), 2011 winner Hamm (“Mad Men”) and perennial also-ran Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”).  

The shows of two of those three newcomers (“Better Call Saul” and “Empire”) contend for Best New Program against “Jane the Virgin”, “Transparent” and superhero drama “The Flash.” Missing from this list is Best Comedy Series nominee “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”. Last year’s New Program winner “Orange is the New Black,” which also contended then for Program of the Year, was shut out by the TCA for its second season.  Similarly forgotten was “Parks and Recreation” for its final season, which had been nominated for Individual Achievement (Amy Poehler) last year and won Best Comedy Series in 2013.

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