Last night at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, House of Cards made history as the first series from an online video provider, Netflix, to win a major category award.
In all, House of Cards received nine Emmy nominations, taking home two Creative Arts Emmys for its casting and cinematography at a ceremony on 15 September. But it was last night’s win that marks a historical milestone for internet TV providers.
David Fincher’s award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series is a defining moment for the streaming-platform-turned-production-house, coming out on top of major US networks HBO, AMC and Showtime.
With House of Cards, Netflix took a fresh new approach to TV production, committing US$100m for two seasons up front, without even seeing a pilot. True to the platform’s on-demand style, all 13 episodes of season one were available on Netflix at once, turning the traditional TV series model on its head.
This strategy was recently celebrated by House of Cards lead actor Kevin Spacey at the Edinburgh Film Festival. The Oscar winner was also in the running for an award last night, but lost out to Jeff Daniels for HBO’s The Newsroom.
House of Cards was also in the running for Outstanding Drama Series, a highly contested category that was won by Breaking Bad. Though produced by AMC, Breaking Bad has a dedicated following on Netflix, where episodes of the final series are available as soon as they air in the US. Anna Gunn, who plays Skyler White on the show, also took home an award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
Arrested Development, another Netflix-produced affair, received two Creative Arts nominations, as well as a nomination for Jason Bateman as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
In total, Netflix notched up 14 Emmy nominations, and won three.