From Matthew McConaughey to Claire Danes, How Movie Stars Took Over 2014's Emmy Nominees

Well, it's official: television is the new movies. Don't believe me? Just look at this year's list of Emmy nominations, where over a dozen actors who once opened blockbusters and led rom-coms have found themselves, many not for the first time. In practically every acting category, drama or comedy, you'll find at least one or two major movie stars — and that's only the people that actually managed to get nominated. Add in all the snubs, and this year's Emmy nominee list would give you a serious sense of Oscar deja vu.

Not that that's a bad thing. As strange as it may be to see so many movie stars moving on to TV, they've clearly made an impact for the better. What would television be without Claire Danes on Homeland or Kevin Spacey on House of Cards? These actors' nominations are richly deserved, and it's thrilling to see an Emmys ballot filled with so much talent. Still, it is a bit eerie to think that, if the nominations are to judge, TV has officially become taken over by the movies, or at least their stars. No longer can the two mediums be judged as separate entities; for the first time, TV and film are totally, inextricably intertwined. 

I have to imagine, though, how odd it would be if someone from the late '90s or early '00s got to take a look at this year's Emmy ballot. All these huge name actors, many of whom still have thriving film careers, deciding to star in TV shows? It'd be unfathomable. Yet this is entertainment in 2014, and, for better or for worse — and with so much high-quality TV, I think it's for better — more and more movie stars are taking over the smaller screen. What nine of this year's film/TV crossover nominees were doing just 10 years ago:

Kevin Spacey

Then: A highly acclaimed, Oscar-winning actor, known best for American Beauty and The Usual Suspects.

Now: Outstanding Lead Drama Actor nominee for House of Cards, his second for the show and third overall.

Matthew McConaughey

Then: A stoned, shirtless, soon-to-be rom-com king, thanks to movies like The Wedding Planner and the then-upcoming Failure to Launch.

Now: Outstanding Lead Drama Actor nominee for True Detective, his first ever, and creator of the "McConaissance."

Claire Danes

Then: A former child star who was making a respectable transition into adult roles, such as The Hours and Igby Goes Down.

Now: Outstanding Lead Drama Actress nominee for Homeland, her third for the show (she won both previous times) and fifth overall.

Don Cheadle

Then: An up-and-coming star from movies like Traffic and Ocean's 11, and about to star in the film that would win him an Oscar, Hotel Rwanda.

Now: Outstanding Lead Comedy Actor nominee for House of Lies, his third for the show and seventh overall.

Robin Wright

Then: A huge '90s star for movies like Forrest Gump and The Princess Bride.

Now: Outstanding Lead Drama Actress nominee for House of Cards, her second for the show and overall.

Jeff Daniels

Then: A respected, if never huge, actor known for both dramas (Terms of EndearmentThe Squid and the Whale) and comedies (Dumb and Dumber).

Now: Outstanding Lead Drama Actor nominee for The Newsroom, his second for the show and overall (he won last year).

Woody Harrelson

Then: A mostly dramatic actor (The People vs. Larry Flynt) who got his start on TV with Cheers, but quickly left for the "bigger and better" world of film.

Now: Outstanding Lead Drama Actor nominee for True Detective, his first for the show and eighth overall.

Kerry Washington

Then: A prominent supporting star known for roles in Save the Last Dance, She Hate Me, and, later that year, Ray.

Now: Outstanding Lead Drama Actress nominee for Scandal, her second for the show and overall.

William H. Macy

Then: An Oscar nominee for Fargo and a beloved character actor.

Now: Outstanding Lead Comedy Actor nominee for Shameless, his first for the show and eighth overall.

And a few more...

Mandy Patinkin of Princess Bride fame? Jon Voight, the Oscar winner? Maggie Smith, as in Dame Gosford Park "McGonagall" Maggie Smith? Yes, there's been a lot of change over these past 10 years, but looking at the quality of TV today, there's no question that it's been very, very good.

Images: Netflix (2); Showtime (3); HBO (4); ABC

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