LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — What do computer hackers, the divisive U.S. presidential campaign and racial tensions have to do with the Emmys?
Possibly a lot, if TV academy voters favored shows plugged into modern anxiety when they cast ballots for the 68th prime-time Emmy Awards . The ceremony airs 8 p.m. EDT Sunday on ABC with host Jimmy Kimmel.
Hours before the ceremony, security concerns loomed large after 29 people were injured in an explosion Saturday in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck asked Emmys attendees to remain vigilant in the wake of explosions in New York City and New Jersey.
Beck said there are no known credible threats to security in Los Angeles, but asked those attending Sunday’s Emmys in downtown Los Angeles to report any suspicious activity.
On the red carpet, Judith Light was being fully transparent when she told bleacher fans how difficult it is to walk a red carpet in heels.
“I can’t walk, but thanks,” the actress, nominated for her role in a comedy series for Amazon’s “Transparent,” said as she responded to shouts and cheers from fans in the red-carpet bleachers.
Jeffrey Tambor, who plays her transgender spouse and is vying to repeat as best comedy actor, shared serious words about the series.
It’s “changing the landscape of television. I think it’s changing the landscape, period,” he said.
If the stars looked especially hot this year, the mercury was involved: Temperatures were in the 90s. Fans who waited hours for celebrities to arrive had the worst of it, with one women requiring treatment by paramedics.
For this year’s awards, Golden Globe-winning “Mr. Robot,” a conspiracy thriller about a troubled hacker, is vying for the top drama series award and best actor honors for star Rami Malek.
Biting political satire “Veep” is seeking its second consecutive best comedy series award, and bleak political drama “House of Cards” is looking for its first major win, as are its stars, Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.
A sitcom that has aggressively taken on issues including use of the “N-word” and police brutality, “black-ish” is up against “Veep” for top comedy honors in a field that also includes “Master of None,” ”Modern Family,” ”Silicon Valley,” ”Transparent” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
“Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus is in the hunt for her fifth best comedy actress trophy for her portrayal of vice president-to-president Selina Meyer.
“Mr. Robot” will be vying with last year’s formidable champion, “Game of Thrones,” this year’s most-nominated show. The fantasy saga could break the record it set in 2015 for most wins by a series in a single year, 12: It already earned nine creative arts honors last weekend and is up for five more trophies Sunday.
Besides “Mr. Robot” and “House of Cards,” ”GOT” will compete with “Better Call Saul,” ”Homeland,” ”The Americans” and the farewell season of “Downton Abbey.”
There will be more than ego tallies at the awards, with diversity in Hollywood an ongoing issue. The Emmys have outpaced the much-criticized Academy Awards, and each of this year’s major acting categories includes at least one minority nominee. Among them is “How to Get Away with Murder” star Viola Davis, who last year became the first woman of color to be honored as best drama series actress.
A pair of key changes made by the TV academy could affect the outcomes in Sunday’s 27 categories. It revised how votes are cast and counted, switching from a ranking and points system to letting voters simply check off their top choice. That sharpened the selection process and might affect past winners who managed to collect enough second-place votes to overcome the competition.
In another revision, this one implemented last year, voting was expanded from blue-ribbon panels to — depending on the award — giving substantially more or all of the academy’s 20,000-plus members the chance to vote for finalists.
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