A (largely) made-in-Utah show sits atop the Emmy nomination heap — HBO's "Westworld" is tied with NBC's "Saturday Night Live" for the most nominations with 22.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences doesn't keep state-by-state records, but this has to be the most nominations a local show has ever gotten. "Touched by an Angel" got 12 nominations (and no wins) in nine seasons; "Everwood" got two nominations (and no wins) in four seasons.
"Westworld" was nominated as best drama and cast members were nominated in each of the drama series acting categories — Evan Rachel Wood as lead actress, Anthony Hopkins as lead actor, Thandie Newton as supporting actress and Jeffrey Wright as supporting actor.
The Emmys will be presented on Sept. 17, but this already feels like a win to Utah Film Commission director Virginia Pearce.
"Our landscape essentially became another character in the show," she said. "Our backdrops drew people in, and the spotlight on Utah has been a billboard for not only our state's locations, but our state's film industry as a whole."
The series also received nominations for directing, writing, casting, cinematography, costumes, editing, hairstyling, interactive media, main title design, main title theme music, sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects, two for makeup and two for design.
"Westworld" is based on the 1973 movie of the same title. The first season started out slowly, but developed into an enthralling tale about a futuristic theme park — a re-creation of the Old West where humans and robots indistinguishable from humans interact. And some of the robots become self-aware and rebelled.
"Westworld" was not filmed entirely in the Beehive State, but it was filled with spectacular southern Utah scenery — Castle Valley, Fisher Valley, Dead Horse Point State Park and several spots near Arches National Park and Moab.
Other portions of Season 1 were filmed on the Universal Studios' Southern California backlot and locations in West Hollywood, Agoura and Santa Clarita.
The contrast between "Westworld" and "Saturday Night Live" couldn't be more stark. "Westworld" has aired just one 10-episode season, and it will compete against fellow first-time best-drama nominees "The Crown," "The Handmaid's Tale," "Stranger Things" and "This Is Us," along with three-time nominee "Better Call Saul" and five-time nominee "House of Cards."
"Saturday Night Live" has won 50 Emmys in 42 years, from four in its first season to three a year ago. It made big headlines this past season for its jabs at Donald Trump.
That's also reflected in the Emmy nominations for best variety/talk series — nominees "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee," "Last Week With John Oliver" and "Real Time With Bill Maher" were all particularly hard on the president; "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "The Late Late Show With James Corden" somewhat less so.
FX's "FEUD: Bette and Joan" and Netflix's "Stranger Things" each got 18 nominations each; HBO's "Veep" garnered 17.
As usual, HBO leads the way with 110 nominations. (It campaigns hard for the Emmys.) Netflix is second with 91 nominations, and NBC has 60.
"Westworld" will not return for Season 2 until sometime in 2018 — and we don't know if it will air during the eligibility period for the 2018 Emmys, which ends on May 31.