Patrick Harbron/Netflix
Hillary Busis
July 18, 2013 AT 08:10 PM EDT

Was corrupt congressman Frank Underwood pulling strings at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences this morning? It sure seems that way: His pitch-black Netflix series, House of Cards, scored an impressive nine nominations, including nods for Drama Series and Lead Actor in a Drama. Its huge tally pushed Netflix’s total nomination count to 14 — not bad for a “network” best known for hosting old episodes of Saved by the Bell until this past winter.

For series star Kevin Spacey — who plays the devious Underwood — this amount of recognition is nothing short of revolutionary.  “It’s such a big acknowledgement. We are in many ways the new kids on the block, and to have broken through, it has been really satisfying,” he told EW this morning. “The Academy is more modern than anyone suspected.”

More broadly, the actor believes that House of Cards and Netflix’s Emmy breakthrough could indicate a sea change for TV (and America’s financial health) itself.  “It’s a very exciting time for the industry,” Spacey continued. “Since we debuted, a lot of other organizations and streaming companies have announced that they’re doing original content. The more shows that are produced, the more writers are hired, producers are hired, actors are hired, directors are hired, it means the more people will get employed. It’s better for the economy. It’s a fantastic thing.”

Though Spacey — an executive producer of Cards as well as its star — was disappointed that head writer Beau Willimon was shut out of the nominations, he was overjoyed to hear that his onscreen wife, Robin Wright, won a Lead Actress nod of her own. “It would have felt really incomplete if she hadn’t been recognized alongside me, and I’m so pleased for her,” said Spacey, adding that the two of them have known each other since shooting Hurlyburly together in 1998.

The Underwoods should have a chance to celebrate their big day — and plot how they’ll smoke the competition — in Baltimore, where Spacey, Wright, and the rest of the House of Cards crew are currently “smack in the middle” of shooting season 2.

“I’m sure it will be a very festive day,” Spacey added, though he didn’t give more details about celebration plans — or what fans can expect to see on the drama’s new episodes. Well, at least not beyond this: “If people enjoyed the first season, I hope that they’ll enjoy the second season even more. I can tell you I’ve been having an even better time and having even more fun with it.”

Could he drop any other clues? Yes, said Spacey — “but I’d have to kill you.”

Coming from Frank Underwood, we actually believe it.

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