Baltimore-made 'House of Cards' makes history with major Emmy nominations

Netflix and its Baltimore-based "House of Cards" made history Thursday as the Primetime Emmy Award nominations were announced in Los Angeles.

It was the first time a series not presented on over-the-air broadcast or cable TV was nominated in the major categories.


"House of Cards" offered a new business model for the TV industry when it debuted in February with a full season's worth of episodes streaming online.

And while the money part of the model is still being debated, the artistic excellence of the series was affirmed with nominations in some of the biggest categories: best drama, Kevin Spacey for best dramatic actor and Robin Wright for best dramatic actress.

Spacey and Wright play the husband and wife team at the heart of this dark drama about political power in backstage Washington. David Fincher, director and executive producer, was nominated for best direction in a drama.

"All of us at 'House of Cards' are honored by the nominations," said Beau Willimon, writer and executive producer. "It's such a thrill to have the collective efforts of our talented cast, crew, designers, directors and writers recognized by the Television Academy.  We're proud to call Maryland our home and to work with such wonderful local crews and vendors."

"We couldn't be happier that the hard work of the stellar creative team and talent has been recognized for their exceptional efforts." said Modi Wiczyk, co-CEO of Media Rights Capital, the company that packaged and produced the series.

"This recognition from the Emmys confirms that producing high-quality programming allows a series to speak for itself, regardless of the platform, and Netflix is a great home for premium content," he added.

Overall, Netflix earned 14 nominations -- nine of them for "House of Cards."

"We are overwhelmed with 14 nominations and honored by a warm welcome which corroborates what we have always believed, that great television is great television regardless of where, when and how it is enjoyed," said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer.  "We are so proud of our series creators and their groundbreaking work on 'House of Cards,'  'Arrested Development' and 'Hemlock Grove.'"

In the best drama category, "House of Cards" will be going up against: "Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "Game of Thrones," "Homeland" and "Mad Men." Last year's Emmy went to "Homeland."

Spacey will be competing with: Hugh Bonneville ("Downton Abbey"),  Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad"), Jeff Daniels ("The Newsroom"), Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") and Damian Lewis ("Homeland").

Wright will be facing: Connie Britton ("Nashville"), Claire Danes ("Homeland"), Michelle Dockery ("Downton Abbey"), Vera Farmiga ("Bates Motel"), Elisabeth Moss ("Mad Men") and Kerry Washington ("Scandal").

A re-tooled "Arrested Development" did not do as well for Netflix, but Jason Bateman was nominated in the best comedy actor category.

While 14 Emmy nominations is a big breakthrough number for Netflix, it hasn’t yet changed the TV game -- not by a long shot. Perennial Emmy winner HBO earned 108 nominations.

There was more Maryland flavor to the HBO nominations, with "VEEP," which is also produced in the Baltimore area, making Emmy history.

The savvy political satire was nominated as best comedy with star Julia Louis-Dreyfus being nominated as best actress. The former "seinfeld" star won the Emmy last year in this category.


With his year's nomination, her 14th, Louis-Dreyfus broke Lucille Ball's record as the most nominated comedic actress in Emmy history.

"Although I'm thrilled with these nominations, we're keeping the champagne on ice a little while longer,"  "VEEP" series creator and executive producer Armando Iannucci said in an emailed statement. "For constitutional reasons 'Veep's nominations have to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. People tell me that usually doesn't take long."

Supporting actor and actress Tony Hale and Anna Chlumsky received nominations as well.

"I am completely floored," Hale said in an emailed statement. "I can't believe I'm on a list with all those talented guys. And to have Julia, Anna and the show nominated...this is nuts.  Very very grateful."

Casting director Pat Moran, a Baltimore legend for her hometown work that dates back to the earliest John Waters and Barry Levinson productions, was also nominated for her work on "VEEP." It was her eighth nomination. She has won twice, including last year for her work on HBO's "Game Change" made-for-TV movie.

"It never gets old," Moran said Thursday. "I'm still overwhelmed -- and I keep scratching my head. But I have a great team here... and there are some great actors to chose from in the Baltimore and Washington area."

Reacting to the major nominations for the two Baltimore-made series, Moran said, "Last year, it was 'Game Change' and 'VEEP.' This year, 'House of Cards' and 'VEEP.' I'll tell you what, you come to Baltimore to make your movie or show, and we'll get you some gold. At least, we'll get you to the dooor of some gold."

Meanwhile, "Phil Spector," an HBO film produced by Levinson and Tom Fontana, the team that made "Homicide: Life on the Street" in Baltimore, earned top nominations in the best movie or mini-series category. It also picked up nominations for best actor and actress in a movie or mini-series for Al Pacino and Helen Mirren.

Moran won her first Emmy for casting on "Homicide."