Online TV series 'House of Cards' makes Emmy history

Emmy host Neil Patrick Harris
Emmy host Neil Patrick Harris Bang Showbiz

HOUSE of Cards will go down in the history books as the first online-only TV series to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award.

Netflix's political drama, which stars Kevin Spacey, was recognised alongside more traditionally delivered TV series, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Mad Men and Homeland in the best drama category.

Glee creator Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story: Asylum leads this year's nominations with 17 nods, followed closely by Game of Thrones' 16 nominations.

Earning 15 nominations each are long-running sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live and the Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra, which will have a theatrical release in Australia on Thursday July 25.

Director Jane Campion's acclaimed Queenstown-filmed drama, Top of the Lake, was also recognised with nominations for best mini-series or movie, writing for a mini-series, directing for a mini-series and lead actress in a mini-series for Elisabeth Moss.

The Primetime Emmy Awards recognise the best in American television.

The 65th annual awards will be held on September 22 and broadcast live on Foxtel.

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2013 Emmy Awards - selected nominees list:

Outstanding Drama Series

  • 'Breaking Bad'
  • 'Downton Abbey'
  • 'Game of Thrones'
  • 'Homeland'
  • 'House of Cards'
  • 'Mad Men' 

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • 'The Big Bang Theory'
  • 'Girls'
  • 'Louie'
  • 'Modern Family'
  • '30 Rock'
  • 'Veep' 

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie

  • 'American Horror Story: Asylum'
  • 'Behind the Candelabra'
  • 'The Bible'
  • 'Phil Spector'
  • 'Political Animals'
  • 'Top of the Lake' 

Outstanding Reality Competition Series

  • 'The Amazing Race'
  • 'Dancing With the Stars'
  • 'Project Runway'
  • 'Top Chef'
  • 'The Voice' 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

  • Hugh Bonneville, 'Downton Abbey'
  • Bryan Cranston, 'Breaking Bad'
  • Jeff Daniels, 'The Newsroom'
  • Jon Hamm, 'Mad Men'
  • Damian Lewis, 'Homeland'
  • Kevin Spacey, 'House of Cards' 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

  • Connie Britton, 'Nashville'
  • Claire Danes, 'Homeland'
  • Michelle Dockery, 'Downton Abbey'
  • Vera Farmiga, 'Bates Motel'
  • Elisabeth Moss, 'Mad Men'
  • Kerry Washington, 'Scandal'
  • Robin Wright, 'House of Cards'

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Alec Baldwin, '30 Rock'
  • Jason Bateman, 'Arrested Development'
  • Louis C.K., 'Louie'
  • Don Cheadle, 'House of Lies'
  • Matt LeBlanc, 'Episodes'
  • Jim Parsons, 'The Big Bang Theory' 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Laura Dern, 'Enlightened'
  • Lena Dunham, 'Girls'
  • Edie Falco, 'Nurse Jackie'
  • Tina Fey, '30 Rock'
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 'Veep'
  • Amy Poehler, 'Parks and Recreation' 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Bobby Cannavale, 'Boardwalk Empire'
  • Jonathan Banks, 'Breaking Bad'
  • Peter Dinklage, 'Game of Thrones'
  • Mandy Patinkin, 'Homeland'
  • Aaron Paul, 'Breaking Bad'
  • Jim Carter, 'Downton Abbey' 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Christine Baranski, 'The Good Wife'
  • Anna Gunn, 'Breaking Bad'
  • Christina Hendricks, 'Mad Men'
  • Maggie Smith, 'Downton Abbey'
  • Morena Baccarin, 'Homeland'
  • Emilia Clarke, 'Game of Thrones' 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Ty Burrell, 'Modern Family'
  • Adam Driver, 'Girls'
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson, 'Modern Family'
  • Bill Hader, 'Saturday Night Live'
  • Ed O'Neill, 'Modern Family'
  • Tony Hale, 'Veep' 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Mayim Bialik, 'The Big Bang Theory'
  • Julie Bowen, 'Modern Family'
  • Anna Chlumsky, 'Veep'
  • Jane Krakowski, '30 Rock'
  • Sofia Vergara, 'Modern Family'
  • Merritt Wever, 'Nurse Jackie'
  • Jane Lynch, 'Glee' 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

  • Benedict Cumberbatch, 'Parade's End'
  • Matt Damon, 'Behind the Candelabra'
  • Michael Douglas, 'Behind the Candelabra'
  • Toby Jones, 'The Girl'
  • Al Pacino, 'Phil Spector' 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

  • Jessica Lange, 'American Horror Story: Asylum'
  • Laura Linney, 'The Big C Hereafter'
  • Helen Mirren, 'Phil Spector'
  • Elisabeth Moss, 'Top of the Lake'
  • Sigourney Weaver, 'Political Animals' 

Outstanding Reality Host

  • Tom Bergeron, 'Dancing With the Stars'
  • Cat Deeley, 'So You Think You Can Dance'
  • Heidi Klum/Tim Gunn, 'Project Runway'
  • Ryan Seacrest, 'American Idol'
  • Betty White, 'Betty White's Off Their Rockers'
  • Anthony Bourdain, 'The Taste'