Scandal star Kerry Washington in the episode "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot"

Scandal star Kerry Washington in the episode “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”

*Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle, Andre Braugher, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Angela Bassett and Cicely Tyson are up for awards tonight at the 66th Primetime Emmys, beginning at 8 p.m. on NBC.

The network tapped its late night host Seth Meyers to shepherd the ceremony, and the “Saturday Night Live” says his game plan is to get the audience laughing early.

“Having been a nominee and a guest of the Emmys in the audience, that first ten minutes is the best time to get the audience to laugh, because as the night progresses, more and more people are disappointed,” he told the recent TCA Press Tour.

How negative will go with his jokes? Below, Seth explains where he draws the line:

AND THE NOMINEES ARE…

“Scandal” maven Kerry Washington will vie for Lead Actress in a Drama against Michelle Dockery of “Downton Abbey,” Claire Danes of “Homeland,” “House of Cards” star Robin Wright, Julianna Margulies of “The Good Wife” and “Masters of Sex” star Lizzy Caplan.

“House of Lies” star Don Cheadle has been nominated again for Lead Actor in a Comedy. He’ll face Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory,” Matt LeBlanc of “Episodes,” Louis C.K. of “Louie,” William H. Macy of “Shameless” and “Derek” star Ricky Gervais.

Don Cheadle of Showtime's "House of Lies"

Don Cheadle of Showtime’s “House of Lies”

Andre Braugher of Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has already won a Golden Globe for his role as Capt. Ray Holt. He’s up for an Emmy against “Girls” star Adam Driver, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Ty Burrell of “Modern Family,” Fred Armisen of “Portlandia” and Tony Hale of “Veep.”

Andre Braugher of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

Andre Braugher of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

Cicely Tyson and Chiwetel Ejiofor are competing in the lead acting categories for Miniseries or Movie.

Tyson, who won a Tony for her Broadway turn in The Trip to Bountiful, is nominated for Lifetime’s adaptation of the play. Her category includes Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson (“American Horror Story: Coven”), Helena Bonham Carter (“Burton and Taylor”), Minnie Driver (“Return to Zero”) and Kristen Wiig, (“The Spoils of Babylon”).

Cicely Tyson in the Lifetime Original Movie "The Trip to Bountiful"

Cicely Tyson in the Lifetime Original Movie “The Trip to Bountiful”

Ejiofor of the Starz film “Dancing On the Edge” and Elba of BBC America’s “Luther” will face each other as well as “Fargo” stars Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton, and Mark Ruffalo of “The Normal Heart.”

Chiwetel Ejiofor of the Starz film "Dancing on the Edge"

Chiwetel Ejiofor of the Starz film “Dancing on the Edge”

Bassett will face two of her “American Horror Story: Coven” co-stars – Frances Conroy and Kathy Bates – for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV miniseries or Movie.  Allison Tolman (Fargo), Ellen Burstyn (Flowers in the Attic) and Julia Roberts (The Normal Heart) round out the category.

Angela Bassett in "American Horror Story: Coven"

Angela Bassett in “American Horror Story: Coven”

“Luther” and HBO’s “Treme” will battle for Best Miniseries or Movie along with “American Horror Story: Coven,” featuring Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe; “Bonnie & Clyde” and “Fargo.”

Idris Elba in BBC America's Emmy-nominated drama "Luther"

Idris Elba in BBC America’s Emmy-nominated drama “Luther”

ALREADY WINNERS…

“Orange is the New Black” star Uzo Aduba and “Scandal’s” Joe Morton were winners at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards held on Aug. 16. Aduba won for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Crazy Eyes, while Morton’s role as Olivia Pope’s daddy earned him a trophy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama.

Uzo Aduba and Joe Morton pose with their Emmy Awards at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards

Uzo Aduba and Joe Morton pose with their Emmy Awards at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Aug. 16, 2014

Below, the complete list of nominees:

Outstanding drama
“Breaking Bad”
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“House of Cards”
“Mad Men”
“True Detective”

Outstanding actor in a drama
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
Woody Harrelson, “True Detective”
Matthew McConaughey, “True Detective”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Outstanding actress in a drama
Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex”
Claire Danes, “Homeland”
Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”
Kerry Washington, “Scandal”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Outstanding supporting actor in a drama
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”
Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”
Josh Charles, “The Good Wife”

Outstanding supporting actress in a drama
Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey”
Christine Hendricks, “Mad Men”
Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”
Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”

Outstanding writing in a drama
“Breaking Bad”
“Breaking Bad”
“Game of Thrones”
“House of Cards”
“True Detective”

Outstanding direction in a drama
“Boardwalk Empire”
“Breaking Bad”
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“House of Cards”
“True Detective”

Outstanding comedy
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Louie”
“Modern Family”
“Orange is the New Black”
“Silicon Valley”
“Veep”

Outstanding actor in a comedy
Louis C.K., “Louie”
Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”
Ricky Gervais, “Derek”
Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”

Outstanding actress in a comedy
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Melissa McCarthy, “Mike & Molly”
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”
Taylor Schilling, “Orange is the New Black”

Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy
Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine Nine”
Adam Driver, “Girls”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family”
Fred Armisen, “Saturday Night Live”
Tony Hale, “Veep”

Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy
Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Kate Mulgrew, “Orange is the New Black”
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

Outstanding writing in a comedy
“Episodes”
“Louis”
“Orange is the New Black”
“Silicon Valley”
“Veep”

Outstanding direction in a comedy
“Episodes”
“Glee”
“Louie”
“Modern Family”
“Orange is the New Black”
“Silicon Valley”

Outstanding TV miniseries
“Bonnie and Clyde”
“Fargo”
“Luther”
“Treme”
“The White Queen”

Outstanding TV movie
“Killing Kennedy”
“Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight”
“Sherlock: His Last Vow”
“The Normal Heart”
“The Trip to Bountiful”

Outstanding actor in a TV miniseries or movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock Holmes”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge”
Idris Elba, “Luther”
Martin Freeman, “Fargo”
Mark Ruffalo, “The Normal Heart”
Billy Bob Thornton, “Fargo”

Outstanding actress in a TV miniseries or movie
Helena Bonham Taylor, “Burton and Taylor”
Minnie Drive, “Return to Zero”
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Cicely Tyson. “The Trip to Bountiful”
Kristin Wiig, “The Spoils of Babylon”

Outstanding supporting actor in a TV miniseries or movie
Colin Hanks, “Fargo”
Martin Freeman, “Sherlock”
Jim Parsons, “The Normal Heart”
Joe Mantello, “The Normal Heart”
Alfred Molina, “The Normal Heart”
Matt Bomer, “The Normal Heart”

Outstanding supporting actress in a TV miniseries or movie
Frances Conroy, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Allison Tolman, “Fargo”
Ellen Burstyn, “Flowers in the Attic”
Julia Roberts, “The Normal Heart”

Outstanding writing in a TV miniseries or movie
“American Horror Story: Coven”
“Fargo”
“Luther”
“Sherlock”
“The Normal Heart”
“Treme”

Outstanding direction in a TV miniseries or movie
“American Horror Story: Coven:
“Fargo”
“Fargo”
“Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight”
“Sherlock”
“The Normal Heart”

Outstanding reality competition
“The Amazing Race”
“Dancing With the Stars”
“Project Runway”
“So You Think You Can Dance”
“The Voice”

Outstanding variety series
“The Daily Show”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live”
“Real Time with Bill Maher”
“Saturday Night Live”
“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”
“The Colbert Report”