The Saturday Night Fever star's breakout performance as flamboyant lawyer Robert Shapiro earned him his first Emmy nomination for the FX anthology series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Travolta tried to put the nomination into context, in terms of his celebrated career.

"I did not assume at all (that I would be nominated) by the way, because I've been around too long," Travolta told CNN in an interview on Wednesday (03Aug16). "I've been acknowledged over the years for various performances, but the big acknowledgements were Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction and this."

After earning an Oscar for Saturday Night Fever in 1977, it was 17 years before the 62-year-old earned major critical acclaim again as Vincent Vega in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.

"I know how much time between major acknowledgements there can be," Travolta added. "A - never take it for granted and B - be the most surprised by the outcome."

The 10-episode Ryan Murphy helmed series detailed the behind-the-scenes dealings and maneouvering on both sides of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, as well as attempting to put the events into context against a backdrop of police brutality and racism in Los Angeles at the time of the 1994 murders.

Travolta's Emmy nomination is among 22 nominations for the show, which earned rave reviews from the critics. And while he admits it's great to recognised, the actor's main reward is that's he's still working.

"I'm just so happy that I'm still in the game," he smiled.

The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air on ABC on 18 September (16) and will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.