The made-for-TV movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee led all nominees with 17 bids.
James Gandolfini, who played the emotionally conflicted mob boss on HBO’s The Sopranos, and Edie Falco, who played his wife, both received top acting nominations.
Other best-drama series were Boston Legal, Grey’s Anatomy, House and freshman sci-fi sensation Heroes.
The Sopranos emerged with the most nominations for a series, followed by Ugly Betty with 11 and, with 10 each, sexy medical drama Grey’s Anatomy and critical favourite 30 Rock.
Grey’s Anatomy, which came through a difficult year in which star Isaiah Washington was fired after twice using an anti-gay slur, wasn’t hurt when it came to Emmy bids. Besides best drama series, there were nominations for four supporting cast members and two guest actors.
While Washington was overlooked, co-star TR Knight, who said that Washington had directed the slur at him, did receive a supporting actor nod.
The miniseries The Starter Wife also was a top nominee with 10 bids.
The freshman hit, Ugly Betty, based on a Colombian telenovela, made it into the ranks of best comedy series nominees. It’s joined by Entourage, 30 Rock, Two and a Half Men and last year’s winner in the category, The Office.
Ugly Betty star America Ferrera was recognised with a nod for her starring role.
Entourage, about the adventures of a young movie star and his loyal rat pack, was embraced despite mocking industry stereotypes.
“It may seem sometimes like we’re making fun of Hollywood,” said creator Doug Ellin, “but really we’re just trying to take a comedic look at how things are done here, because this is how it really is for people sometimes.”
In the reality-competition categories, the leading nominee with eight bids was Dancing With the Stars, followed by American Idol with seven.
Joining Gandolfini among lead drama series actor nominees were Hugh Laurie of House, Denis Leary of Rescue Me, James Spader of Boston Legal and last year’s winner Kiefer Sutherland of 24. Last year’s drama series winner was 24 but it was snubbed this time.
Falco will compete with Patricia Arquette of Medium, Minnie Driver of The Riches, Sally Field of Brothers & Sisters, Kyra Sedgwick of The Closer and last year’s winner, Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
“Last year I was totally overwhelmed. I was in my underwear on the sofa at home,” he said.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, adapted from Dee Brown’s nonfiction best-seller, received nominations for best made-for-TV movie, writing and for support acting. The film chronicles the Sioux victory over Custer at Little Big Horn and events leading up to the assassination of Sitting Bull and the Sioux massacre at Wounded Knee Creek in 1890.
Executive producer Dick Wolf said its clutch of nominations was a validation of a very difficult project.
Along with Ferrera in the lead comedy actress category were Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives, Tina Fey of 30 Rock, Mary-Louise Parker of Weeds and last year’s winner, Julia Louis-Dreyfus of The New Adventures of Old Christine.
Their actor counterparts included last year’s winner, Tony Shalhoub of Monk, as well as Ricky Gervais of Extras, Steve Carell of The Office, Charlie Sheen of Two and a Half Men and Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock.