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The Television Academy officially opened the ballot for the first round of voting for the 68th Emmy Awards on Monday. Members of the Academy can vote for which shows and performers will move on to the official nominees list. EW combed through list of contenders; here’s a look at the major standouts, missing players, and overall buzzworthy choices.


Ever an Emmy contender, Modern Family has once again thrown every player into the ring for nomination consideration. Well, every player except Sarah Hyland and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons. While Anderson-Emmons, who plays the young Lily Tucker-Pritchett, does not appear on every episode, Hyland’s Haley Dunphy is a major character who had a big arc this past season. A rep for Hyland was unavailable for comment.

Category shuffle

Ensemble shows like Orange Is the New Black, American Horror Story, and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp have the challenge of deciding how many actors and actresses to put in the running. In a twist, Lifetime’s witty and dark dramedy UnREAL decided not to pit its two lead actresses against one another. Shiri Appleby who plays Rachel on the series was pushed as the lead actress, while her equal-screen-time costar Constance Zimmer was pitched for the supporting category. Presumably, the rationale here is to give both actresses a chance to earn nominations and possible gold.

Top dog

Several actors and actresses have multiple submissions, but actor, comedian, and writer Fred Armisen leads the pack. With six entries in three different categories, including outstanding lead actor in a comedy series (Portlandia), outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series (Documentary Now!), and outstanding guest actor in a comedy series (Saturday Night Live, Man Seeking Woman, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Difficult People), Armisen has the most possible chances for a spot in the final nominations. Not far behind him is recent Keanu star Keegan-Michael Key with four entries. The comedian has been considered for his supporting role as Mark Rodriguez in Playing House, Ace in The Hotwives of Las Vegas, and the many characters in Key & Peele, as well as a guest star turn in House of Lies. Saturday Night Live alum Kristen Wiig was entered three times, with two in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie category for The Spoils Before Dying and A Deadly Adoption.

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Live from New York

More than 25 celebrities hosted Saturday Night Live during the window for Emmy consideration, but the long-running variety show submitted the names of only a dozen hosts. The nominees for “Outstanding Guest Actor/Actress in a Comedy Series” are a star-studded mix, featuring famous faces from the acting, singing, and writing worlds: Fred Armisen, Larry David, Drake, Ryan Gosling, Chris Hemsworth, Tracy Morgan, Tina Fey & Amy Poehler (as co-hosts), Ariana Grande, Brie Larson, Melissa McCarthy, and Amy Schumer. It’s only a coincidence that four of the 12 choices are former cast members, right?

Back from the Dead

After his character was killed off two seasons ago, Josh Charles is back on the ballot for The Good Wife. The actor returned to the show for its series finale and is under consideration in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama category. His gig as Will Gardner previously earned him Best Supporting Actor in a Drama nominations in 2011 and 2014.

Dead set

The writing category features submissions from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and the major networks, but AMC might be pushing hardest. The network has high hopes for the sophomore series Fear the Walking Dead, submitting 11 of the show’s 13 episodes so far. The Walking Dead, AMC’s highest-rated show, had seven episodes entered for writing. Also thrown into the mix were AMC’s Hell on Wheels with seven, Halt and Catch Fire with six, and TURN: Washington’s Spies with a whopping eight.

Check out the highlights of HBO’s Game of Thrones submissions here.

The first round of voting runs through 10 p.m. PT on June 27, with the official nominees to be announced on July 14 from the Wolf Theatre at the Academy’s new Saban Media Center. The 68th Emmy Awards will take place on Sunday, Sept. 18 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.