LOS ANGELES - The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, a TV mini-series exploring racial tensions that strained the criminal justice system 20 years before the Black Lives Matter movement, dominated the Primetime Emmy nominations Thursday along with HBO's medieval fantasy Game of Thrones.
The 10-part drama on basic-cable channel FX chronicling the sensational, polarizing murder trial of O.J. Simpson in 1995 earned 22 nominations in all, including a bid for best limited series and best actor for Cuba Gooding Jr., for his title role as the disgraced former football star.
Sarah Paulson was nominated as best actress in a limited series for playing the lead prosecutor, Marcia Clark, and Courtney B. Vance was nominated for his performance as defense attorney Johnnie Cochran, who led Simpson's "Dream Team" of lawyers in winning his acquittal.
Game of Thrones topped the field of Emmy contenders with 23 nominations overall, including nods for best drama series, two for best supporting actor and three for best supporting actress. The hit show, based on the fantasy novels series A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin, won for outstanding drama series at last year's Emmy Awards.
The FX crime drama Fargo, loosely based on Joel and Ethan Coen's motion picture of the same name, was the third-most nominated production, with 18 nominations, including a bid for best limited series and a nod for Kirsten Dunst as best actress in that category.
Premium cable outlet HBO, a perennial powerhouse of Emmy-lauded programming, led all networks in nominations with 94 mentions in total.
Game of Thrones will compete in a seven-way race for best drama with Showtime's CIA thriller Homeland, FX's Cold War espionage saga The Americans, AMC's quirky legal story Better Call Saul, the final season of PBS's period melodrama Downton Abbey, Netflix's political mystery House of Cards, and USA Network's new computer-hacking tale Mr. Robot.
In the comedy series category, HBO's political satire Veep, led with 17 nominations, including a nod for best actress for Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Veep will vie in the comedy category against HBO's Silicon Valley, ABC's black-ish and Modern Family, Netflix's Master of None and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Amazon's Transparent.
Netflix's women's prison dramedy Orange is the New Black, a usual critical darling and previous best comedy nominee, was shut out of the major Emmy categories this year.
The Emmy Awards, voted for by the 20,000-plus members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, are the top honors for U.S. prime-time television. The winners will be announced at a ceremony Sept. 18 in Los Angeles.