Michael Pitt, left, and Steve Buscemi star in the HBO drama ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ which received 18 Emmy nominations.
LOS ANGELES -- Premium pay channel HBO dominated the nominations Thursday for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, earning a stunning 104 nods, including honors for its two freshman series, Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire, as well as the acclaimed miniseries Mildred Pierce and the TV movies Cinema Verite and Too Big to Fail, about the nation's banking crisis.
In fact, Mildred Pierce, the period melodrama starring Kate Winslet in the role that Joan Crawford made famous in 1945, earned the most nominations, with a staggering 21 nods including best miniseries, best actress for Winslet, and best director for Todd Haynes.
There wasn't a close second in the nominations. CBS had the second-largest amount of nominations, with 50, followed by NBC with 46. But rival premium cable network Showtime also scored with a best series nomination for Dexter as well as a nod for its star, Michael C. Hall. Also performing well: Edie Falco of Nurse Jackie, Laura Linney of The Big C, and Matt LeBlanc of Episodes.
The series with the largest number of nominations were Mad Men with 19, Boardwalk Empire with 18, Modern Family with 17, and Game of Thrones with 13.
Nominated in the best drama series category are Mad Men, which has won this top prize three years in a row, along with Dexter, The Good Wife, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, and Friday Night Lights."
Best comedy series nominations went to Glee, Modern Family, Parks & Recreation, The Office, and 30 Rock. One surprise: The Big Bang Theory finally earned its way into this category after four seasons. Glee's 12 nominations reflected a bit of a sophomore slump: It was a drop from the 19 nominations earned by the Fox musical comedy last year.
Joining Hall in the best actor in a drama series category are Steve Buscemi for Boardwalk Empire, Kyle Chandler for Friday Night Lights, Hugh Laurie for House, Jon Hamm for Mad Men, and Timothy Olyphant for Justified.
Best actress nominees in a drama series are Kathy Bates for Harry's Law, Connie Britton for Friday Night Lights, Mireille Enos in The Killing, Jean Marsh for Upstairs/Downstairs, Julianna Margulies for The Good Wife, and Elizabeth Moss for Mad Men.
Lead actors nominated in a comedy series along with LeBlanc are Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock, Steve Carell for his final season on The Office, newcomers Louis C.K. for Louie, and Johnny Galecki for The Big Bang Theory, and last year's winner, Jim Parsons, also for The Big Bang Theory. Louis C.K. also earned a nomination for the editing of his comedy series.
Joining Falco and Linney in the lead comedy actress category are Tina Fey for 30 Rock, Melissa McCarthy for Mike & Molly, and Amy Poehler for Parks & Recreation.
Though the Emmys are criticized for doling out honors to the same old faces and same old shows year in and year out, five of the 12 nominated comedy and drama series are first-time nominees.
There also were several first-time nominees among the performers in the comedy and drama series. First-timers to be nominated for lead performance in a comedy series included: Linney for The Big C, Martha Plimpton for Raising Hope, Galecki for The Big Bang Theory, and McCarthy of Mike & Molly. (McCarthy was one of the performers on hand to announce the nominations Thursday morning, and was shocked to find out that she was herself a nominee.)
First-timers nominated for lead performer in a drama series included: Bates, Enos, Buscemi, and Olyphant.
Justified fans finally feel justified. FX's acclaimed modern-day Western police drama was ignored by the Emmys last year, but with Season 2 it picked up four acting nominations, including nods for lead actor Olyphant and supporting player Walton Goggins.
Two octogenarians who are Emmy favorites -- Betty White and Cloris Leachman -- also earned nominations. White received her 17th Emmy nomination for supporting actress in a comedy series, for Hot in Cleveland, and Leachman picked up her 22nd nomination in the same category for her role on Raising Hope.
There also were some surprises in the TV movie and miniseries category. The ReelzChannel's controversial miniseries The Kennedys, which received mixed reviews, earned 10 nominations including best movie or miniseries, as well as nominations for stars Greg Kinnear and Barry Pepper, who play John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, respectively.
Although there has been a lot of funding turmoil at PBS, it earned 43 nominations, including 11 nominations for its lavish Masterpiece Theatre miniseries about the British aristocracy, Downton Abbey, which was nominated for best miniseries and best lead actress in a movie or miniseries for Elizabeth McGovern. Masterpiece Theatre's reboot of its 1970s classic, Upstairs/Downstairs, earned six nominations, including one for Jean Marsh for lead actress in a TV movie or miniseries. It's deja vu for Marsh: She was nominated three years in a row for her performance in the series when it originally aired.
Rounding out the nominees in the movies and miniseries category is Pillars of the Earth, which will be competing with Mildred Pierce, The Kennedys, Too Big to Fail, Cinema Verite, and Downton Abbey.
Jane Lynch, who won the Emmy for supporting actress in a comedy for Glee last year, is hosting the ceremony. The show is set to air Sept. 18 on Fox.