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Netflix and Amazon snag 46 Emmy noms — more than any major TV network

Jeffrey Tambor plays Maura on the new Amazon drama
Jeffrey Tambor plays Maura on the new Amazon drama "Transparent." The series garnered 11 of Amazon's 12 Emmy nominations.
Amazon Studios

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As you know by now, the nominations for the 67th Annual Emmy Awards were announced this morning by Uzo Aduba of "Orange is the New Black" and Cat Deely of "So You Think You Can Dance."

Of course, Emmy darlings like "Modern Family," "Downton Abbey" and "Game of Thrones" snagged a healthy number of noms, but it's the upstarts from streaming services that are gaining significant critical ground this year. 

Together, Netflix and Amazon garnered 46 nominations in many of the more noteworthy categories, like Best Actor, Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Comedy Series. That's more than any of the major networks, with ABC as the frontrunner with 42 nominations. (NBC and CBS have 41 and Fox has 35.) 

Unlike Netflix, however, Amazon's success lies mainly on the shoulders of one hit show, Jill Soloway's "Transparent," starring Jeffrey Tambor as the patriarch of a family who comes out as trans. 

Warning: The video below contains harsh language

Andy Greenwald, staff writer for Grantland and co-host of the Hollywood Prospectus podcast, joined The Frame to talk about the increased recognition for streaming services and their shows, some of the more frustrating aspects of this year's Emmy nominations, and the curious case of Acorn TV.

Interview Highlights:

What frustrated you most about this year's Emmy nominations?

I think that, for the umpteenth straight year, the Emmys have had a very hard time figuring out how to parse the drama categories. Personally, and I know I'm not alone in this, I think the finest drama on TV at the moment is an FX show called "The Americans." And for the third straight year the Emmys have almost completely ignored that show and maintained a bizarre — and in fact, worrying — addiction to things like "Downton Abbey," which really are not worthy of that sort of consideration.

And then there are other smaller things, like when you see the Emmys recognize Netflix's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," which is a terrific show, but then neglect to nominate its star, Ellie Kemper? There's just some dot-connecting that they always seem to fail to do, but by and large I think that the nominations this year were fairly reasonable.

People who have paid attention to the Emmys historically remember when HBO dipped their toe in the water, and then before you knew it they were blasting everybody out. Now we have Netflix and Amazon with a respective 34 and 12 nominations. What do you think that says, and were they well-deserved picks in their categories?

I think it speaks quite well of the Emmys and of the TV industry in general that they've been relatively quick to embrace the upstarts, and instead of viewing Netflix and Amazon as threats to the industry, they're seeing them as potential saviors of the industry and recognizing excellence, no matter where it may originate.

That said, "House of Cards" being nominated for best series is another reason to slap yourself on the forehead on a day like this. But Amazon's brilliant "Transparent" was nominated, and I'm impressed, because I don't think the Grammys are going to be nominating an exclusive on Jay-Z's Tidal service any time soon, so I think the Emmys are in front of a lot of other media in this regard.

There was a nomination for a streaming service I've never heard of, and maybe you've never heard of it either. What is Acorn TV?

Acorn TV is something that appears to be on my Apple TV when I turn it on and I flip past it on the way to Hulu Plus, and that's about as much as I can tell you.

It's not all about acorns; they did get a nomination for "Agatha Christie's Poirot: Curtain, Poirot's Last Case."

So it's not just squirrels that watch it, but elderly squirrels.

I want to talk a little bit more about "Transparent," which did incredibly well, receiving 11 of Amazon's 12 nominations.

"Transparent" is unquestionably one of the best shows on television on any service, any screen you could possibly watch. It was a surprise winner at the Golden Globes last fall, and I think that momentum helped Emmy voters notice it.

It's really a shining example of what these new entrants into the marketplace can do, which is take a script and subject matter — in this case a transgender parent and the fallout in a family, things that generally would have been pushed aside or not embraced — and suddenly give it the full force of their marketing and budget and allow it to be the best artistically that it could be. It's really a triumph for Amazon, it's a triumph for Jill Soloway, Jeffrey Tambor — and it's a really good thing for TV that shows like that are getting made and recognized.

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