Emmys 2020: Netflix scores record 160 nominations


Streaming giant Netflix handily claimed its seat as television’s critical dynamo Tuesday by capturing 160 nominations for the 2020 Emmy Awards, setting an industry record and unseating rival HBO.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company’s massive haul was led by multiple nominations for its violent crime drama “Ozark,” the British royal period piece “The Crown” and the post-World War II show business miniseries “Hollywood.”

HBO, long a favorite of the academy, scored 107 nominations, including 26 kudos for its masked-hero drama “Watchmen.” The series, loosely based on the seminal graphic novel of the same name, is the most-nominated program of the year, up for awards including limited series.


HBO had returned to the pole position last year thanks to the final season of “Game of Thrones” and Bill Hader’s dark comedy “Barry.” The subscription cable network previously enjoyed a 17-year streak at the top of the Emmy nominations heap that was interrupted by Netflix in 2018.

The 2020 Emmy nominations had plenty of unexpected choices in store. And our awards columnist is here to break it all down.

July 28, 2020

This year, though, Netflix surged ahead. Its nomination total was 36% greater than the 118 it secured last year. Netflix has been racing to become a dominant player in television viewing, with an all-encompassing programming strategy that spans trashy reality, documentaries and prestige dramas. Its high-volume strategy has led to its dominance in awards nominations.

Neither Netflix nor HBO had an immediate comment on the nominations.

The winners of the major awards will be announced Sept. 20 on ABC, which is owned by Walt Disney Co.

This year’s Emmys come during the intersection of two pivotal moments in the television industry’s history: the COVID-19 pandemic and the so-called streaming wars.

With out-of-home entertainment options still limited in many areas due to restrictions meant to curb the coronavirus’ spread, viewers have turned to streaming services’ seemingly bottomless wells of content to stay occupied. Meanwhile, the major media companies have recently introduced a bevy of new streaming outlets to compete with Netflix: Disney+, HBO Max, NBCUniversal’s Peacock and the short-form mobile startup Quibi.

Beyond bragging rights, awards such as the Emmys are key for the streaming services because they serve as a way to market themselves to subscribers. Critically acclaimed original shows are how streamers stand out among a growing number of well-funded competitors.


The 2020 Emmy nominations are being announced Tuesday morning by host Leslie Jones, alongside presenters Laverne Cox, Josh Gad and Tatiana Maslany.

July 28, 2020

Among Netflix’s top shows, “Ozark” is nominated for 18 awards, including drama series, lead actor (Jason Bateman) and lead actress (Laura Linney). “The Crown” has 13 nominations, including drama series, lead actress (Olivia Colman) and supporting actress (Helena Bonham Carter). “Hollywood,” science fiction series “Stranger Things” and dark comedy “Dead to Me” also earned multiple nominations.

Besides “Watchmen,” HBO is going into the ceremony with 18 nominations for “Succession,” including drama series and lead actors (Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong). The pay cable network also earned multiple nods for “Westworld,” “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” and “Insecure.”

HBO became a subsidiary of Dallas-based AT&T in 2018 when the phone company acquired Time Warner Inc., which was rebranded as WarnerMedia. At the time, there was concern that the parent company’s demand for more programming from HBO would dilute its boutique brand and that the exit of key executives would hurt the the network’s prospects.

Despite any doubts, HBO has continued to produce critically acclaimed programming. “Watchmen,” set in an alternate reality in which masked vigilantes are outlawed, earned nominations for lead actress (Regina King), lead actor (Jeremy Irons) and multiple supporting roles. “Euphoria” star Zendaya surprised with a lead actress nomination for her performance in that prestige drama.

The 2020 Emmy nominations had plenty of unexpected choices in store. And our awards columnist is here to break it all down.

July 28, 2020

Comcast Corps.‘s NBC led the major broadcast networks with a total of 47 nominations for shows, including “The Good Place,” “This Is Us” and “Saturday Night Live.” ABC was next, with 36 nominations for series including “black-ish.”

Among the ad-supported cable networks, Walt Disney Co.’s FX Networks led with 33 nods. Its nominated shows included the limited series “Mrs. America,” about the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, and the vampire comedy show “What We Do in the Shadows.”

Amazon’s Prime Video also fared well, led by the return of its hit comedy “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Amazon had 30 nominations total, 20 of which went to “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”


Hulu, owned by Walt Disney Co., was next up with 26 nominations, including 10 for “The Handmaid’s Tale” and five for limited series “Little Fires Everywhere.”

Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, had an early success with its “Star Wars” bounty-hunter series “The Mandalorian,” which is up for 15 awards, including drama series. Disney+ has 19 total nominations.

Apple TV+ scored with its star-studded media drama “The Morning Show,” which originally had mixed reviews from critics but has grown on awards voters. Apple TV+ has 18 nominations, including eight for “The Morning Show.”

Pop, a cable network owned by ViacomCBS Inc., aired the final season of “Schitt’s Creek,” a Canadian comedy series with a devoted following. Pop had 16 nominations, 15 of them for “Schitt’s Creek,” about a wealthy family who lose everything and move to a rural town they own.