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Emmy's Biggest Surprises

The ceremony may be a month away, but the recent nominations provoked enough intrigue and outrage to keep viewers buzzing until the big night

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Emmy Virgins, Prepare to Get Busy.
Out with the old, in with the Orange. This year’s acting categories are flush with first-time nominees, especially from Netflix’s prison dramedy, Orange Is the New Black — five Litchfield inmates are up for statuettes, star Taylor Schilling and breakouts Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Natasha Lyonne, and Laverne Cox. Clearly, they’re relishing the moment: ”I sent my son an email [about the nomination],” Mulgrew told EW on July 10, shortly after the news was announced. ”But I’ll keep this one close to the vest for a few days and just enjoy it selfishly all by myself.” (Overall, the darkly comedic series brought in 12 noms, while House of Cards earned 13 — cementing Netflix’s role as a Frank Underwood-level power player.) Other actors with their first taste of Emmy love: Game of Thrones‘ Lena Headey, House of Cards‘ Kate Mara, Masters of Sex‘s Lizzy Caplan, and True Detective‘s Matthew McConaughey, who seems destined to take home the statuette come Aug. 25. (Break out the bongos!) Meanwhile, fellow first-time nominee Joe Morton (a.k.a. Scandal‘s Papa Pope) shared his post-nomination plans: ”We were up in the Finger Lakes to celebrate the Fourth of July, and my girlfriend went to a winery nearby and came back with three bottles of sparkling red wine called Scandalicious,” he said. ”I think we’ll open one of those tonight.”

You Betcha! FX’s Fargo Wins Big.
Fargo‘s Colin Hanks had the same reaction as many Coen brothers fans when FX announced a miniseries adaptation of the 1996 cult classic: ”Why?” Ten thrilling episodes and 18 Emmy nominations later, the answer seems clear. Though successful movie-to-TV adaptations are scarce, Hanks — who scored a nomination in the Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie category — credits writer Noah Hawley for creating a weird winter wonderland that stands on its own. ”The great decision was ‘Let’s make something that can exist in the same universe as the film but is not a carbon copy,”’ Hanks says. ”We can borrow tone, we can borrow [the] look, but…let’s do something different.” (Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman are up for lead actor.) As for talk of a possible season 2, the show has not yet been renewed and Hawley has said that any follow-up would likely focus on new characters. Supporting-actress nominee Allison Tolman hopes her officer Molly Solverson gets at least a cameo: ”I’m waiting with bated breath like everyone else.”

How Can Sherlock Be a ”Movie”?
Here’s a mystery worthy of Holmes: Why is Sherlock considered a movie by the Emmy Awards when the BBC/PBS cult fave is obviously a series? It’s a matter of deductive elimination: Sherlock cannot be submitted in the series category because it has only three episodes per season. But it cannot be submitted as a miniseries, either, since Sherlock episodes tell self-contained stories rather than a continuous full-season story line. Ergo, it’s a movie! Sort of: PBS’ Masterpiece actually entered Sherlock by sending just one 90-minute episode (the season 3 finale) — so Sherlock the series isn’t nominated for a movie Emmy at all, just one episode is. Elementary, right?

The Tatiana Snub is Good for Orphan Black. No, Really.
There was no joy in Clone Club on Emmy nomination day: Mighty Tatiana Maslany, who dons a heroic arsenal of wigs and accents to play multiple genetic copies on BBC America’s Orphan Black, had been snubbed. Again. Fans protested loudly and often, sending Maslany’s name trending worldwide; the show’s official Twitter account got in on the action by posting GIFs of Orphan‘s Rachel (one of Maslany’s many alter egos) destroying her office. But look on the bright side, fellow nerds: In the long run, the big snub could work in Maslany’s favor. For one thing, it preserves Orphan‘s hard-won cult status; it also stokes self-righteous fan fervor, ensuring that support for an eventual Maslany nomination will only grow as the show continues. And if nothing else, Maslany’s in good company: Katee Sackhoff never got nominated for playing Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica, nor did Kristen Bell for Veronica Mars or Sarah Michelle Gellar for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Although Gellar did win a Daytime Emmy for All My Children. Maybe Tatiana should look into playing evil twins…oh, wait.)

Thanks, But No Thanks.
Inside Amy Schumer did not receive a nomination in the Outstanding Variety Series category. (Boo!) We reached out to the star — who did land a writing nod — to ask what she would have said on Emmy night had her Comedy Central show won: ”I would like to thank chardonnay for being so oaky and giving me something to look forward to at the end of the day. And I would like to thank the guys I slept with freshman year of college. Without them, I would have nothing to write about.”