Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

2019 Emmys: Can ‘Game of Thrones’ break the all-time Emmy nomination record for a Drama Series?

(Photo: Helen Sloane/HBO)

After eight seasons Game of Thrones has come to an end with some controversy, tears, record ratings and fanfare.  But the HBO juggernaut is not done yet! The series could still make a final history making Emmy nominations haul. Possibly setting a record that could be impossible for another series to ever match. 

The record of most nominations for a Drama Series is currently 27 achieved by NYPD Blue in 1994. For Game of Thrones this is an attainable goal. Game of Thrones, has maxed out at 24 nominations twice in 2015 (season five) and 2016 (season six) and its lowest nomination haul was all the way back for the second season with 11 in 2012. But, to break the record they will need at least four more nominations than its current best. But, when you consider that those 24 nominations were not in the same categories each year it is feasible. Add in the fact that many of the series that would’ve been their biggest competitors have taken a pass on this year’s Emmy cycle and its starts looking more and more possible.

GoT has received seven consecutive nominations in the following (non-acting) categories: Drama Series; Drama Series Casting; Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes; Sound Editing for Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) and Special Visual Effects. This gets the dragons to five nominations.

“The Bells” (Helen Sloan/HBO)

In 2011 Game of Thrones was snubbed for both Production Design for a Narrative Period or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More) and Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour). But since 2011 the series has received six consecutive nominations.  Only once in 2012, did GoT get snubbed for Drama Writing. This would give HBO’s premier drama series eight nominations. The series will need to return to the nominee lineup Best Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series and Best Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic) after being snubbed last year. Should they return to those two categories this gets the total to 10 nominations but they’ll still need 18 to break the record.

It’s also a safe bet that Game of Thrones will receive a sixth nomination for Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Limited Series or Movie since it was only snubbed in 2012 and 2013. And while Ramin Djawadi has been criminally ignored for Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score) he should receive his third nomination for the final season. Since the opening title sequence remained the same for the series’ first seven season it only was eligible for its first season. But now eligible again for Main Title Design it is a strong possibility it will receive a second nomination. And should the series receive a lot of love look for it to contend for the first time in Best Music Supervision. This would bring their total to 14 nominations.

“The Iron Throne” (Courtesy of HBO)

However, it’s multiple nominations in a single category that will make the difference if they’re going to break the record. Three episodes have been submitted for Best Drama Series Directing; “The Long Night,” “The Last Of The Starks” and The Iron Throne.” The series has been able to score at max two in the directing category for the past three Emmys. In the Best Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour) the above three episodes were also submitted. But there’s a silver lining in 2015 they were able to nab four slots—so three is a strong possibility. The above three episodes were submitted for Best Single-Camera Editing for a Drama Series. In the cutting category they took up half the spots at last year’s Emmys. With two in directing, and three for both cinematography and editing this brings the total to 22. The gap keeps shrinking with Game of Thrones needing 7 to break the record. 

This leaves the record solely on the performers shoulders if Game of Thrones is going to make history. Peter Dinklage is the only cast member to have received a nomination for all seven seasons so it’s safe to assume he’ll receive an eight nomination for Drama Supporting Actor. His onscreen brother played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau had a great final season and should receive his second consecutive nomination. Lena Headey, has also received four consecutive nominations for Drama Supporting Actress so she should be safe for a fifth. And while Carice Van Houten’s performance as Melisandre has been ignored her final appearance should land her a Drama Guest Actress nomination. These four nominations get the series to 26 nominations breaking their own record nomination haul.

But then things get a little harder for the series that has defined the decade. NO actor or actress has ever received a lead acting nomination and after being snubbed last year both Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke will once again try their luck. Both were previous nominees in the Supporting race so it not as if their unknown to the television academy. Maisie Williams had the single best scene in all of television when she killed the Night King and that stab should give her a second Drama Supporting Actress nomination after previously being nominated in 2016. This trio would give GoT the record – 29 nominations.

It’s always safe to have a backup plan though and for Game of Thrones it’s Sophie Turner, Gwendoline Christie and Alfie Allen. Christie and Allen decided to submit themselves for nominations. But if GoT cannot make it into the lead race they’re going to need two from the aforementioned trio to receive their first nomination for the final season. 

Should Game of Thrones over perform – all of the above name’s actors and actresses and the series receives a third directing nomination – than it would max out at a whopping 32 nominations. And it would be decades before a series ever got close to that total.

Nominations for the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced by Ken Jeong and D’Arcy Carden on Tuesday, July 16, at 8:30am PST/11:30am EST.

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