Wed. Oct 28th, 2020

Is ‘Game of Thrones’ the ‘Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’ of the 2019 Emmys?

Game of Thrones (Helen Sloane/HBO)

In 2001, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring made its way to theaters. It was the first of a groundbreaking trilogy as the films were shot back to back.The first two films had so-so results at the Oscars: Fellowship of the Ring won four of its thirteen nominations and The Two Towers won two of its five bids—both were nominated for Best Picture but came up short.  

The Academy kept the trilogy waiting and the final film, The Return of the King won all 11 Oscars it was nominated for: Best Picture; Director; Adapted Screenplay; Film Editing; Costume Design; Production Design; Makeup; Original Score; Original Song for: “Into the Wes;” Sound Mixing and Visual Effects.

Fast forward to 2011 and Game of Thrones debuted and in its first seven seasons has set many Emmy records and, in the process, has won 47 Emmys including three consecutive Best Drama Series (2015-2016 and 2018). But after setting a new record as the most nominated Drama Series for a single season with 32 nominations could its final haul be as historic as the series itself? Could GoT sweep the Emmys like Return of the King swept the Oscars?

Thrones received 32 nominations but those nominations are only in 23 categories. Barring a tie or ties— its max is 23 trophies. It may seem improbable, but many didn’t think the series would break the record for most nominations. Under estimating the series might be unwise as its already over performed. 

Let’s start with taking a look at the Creative Arts categories ranked based on the series past performance:

Their reign hasn’t ended yet!

“The Bells,” Rory McCann, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (photo: HBO)

Best Visual Effects (episode submission: “The Bells”) has received seven consecutive nominations only losing for its first season to Boardwalk Empire (2011). The series and its effects wizards already hold the record for most wins with six to Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager’s three wins each.

Best Production Design for a Narrative Period or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More) (episode submission: “The Bells”), GoThas won five of its six nominations and the last four consecutively (2012, 2014-2016, 2018). And for the designers Deborah Riley, Paul Ghiradani and Rob Cameron this would be each of their fifth consecutive wins.

Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes (episode submission: “The Bells”) four times out of seven GoT proven it did not need dragons to take down the competition—including the last two times consecutively (2012, 2014, 2016, 2018). Even with all of the changes to the category’s specifics (fantasy used to compete with period costumes) it already holds the record of most wins)

Best Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic) (episode submission: “The Long Night”) four wins appears to be the series norm in its seven previous nominations (2012-2013, 2015-2016). However, the series goes into the 2019 Emmys not the reigning champ after being bested by Westworld (which did not air episodes during the eligibility period). Like the team behind the visual effects and costumes the series already holds the record of most wins.

Best Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) (episode submission: “The Long Night”) the series has amassed four wins out of six nominations and is the three-time reigning winner (2012, 2015-2016, 2018). For the mixers a win would tie the record of five wins currently held by ER.

Best Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Limited Series or Movie its surprising that Thrones has only won 3 of its five nomination (2015-2016, 2018) considering they’ve won the similar category at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for each of its previous seasons.

They’ve lost more than they’ve won

“The Long Night,” Richard Dormer, Maisie Williams (photo: Helen Sloan/HBO)

Best Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special (episode submission: “The Long Night”) three times the impressive prosthetics have walked away the winner including the last two consecutively but the series has been nominated for each season (2014, 2016, 2018). A win would increase their record as the winningest series in this category.

Best Casting for a Drama Series only two times has the series casting producers been honored in seven nominations (2015-2016). However, this stat is deceiving as they are currently tied for the most win. A third win would break that tie with such illustrious series as: ER, NYPD Blue, Six Feet Under and The West Wing.

Best Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) (episode submission: “The Long Night”) it’s odd that unlike Sound Mixing the sound editors have only been able to sneak off a with a win twice in seven previous nominations (2012 and 2015). But Paula Fairfield and co. understood that in a dark episode the sound was given a chance to be the star.

Thrones has only been nominated a few times

Best Main Title Design, it comes as no surprise that the series has only received one and nomination and win for the opening sequence (2011). But with a switch up for the final season this give GoT a chance to win a second Emmy and set the record for most wins.

Best Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score) (episode submission: “The Long Night”) it’s hard to believe that Ramin Djawadi has only received one trophy and only two nominations (2018)  Djawadi’s score has become iconic and a win should be a safe bet and could propel him to a Grammy win over the series potential film competition.

Hoping for a Goodbye Win

Carice van Houten (photo: Helen Sloan/HBO)

Best Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series (episode submission: “The Long Night”) with their seventh loss Thrones set the record for most nominated series without a win. Here’s hoping their luck is about to change.

Best Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour) (episode submission: “The Iron Throne”) Thrones did not even receive a nomination in this category since 2013. But the series has eight previous nominations and keeps coming up empty handed. Jonathan Freeman a past three -time winner for Boardwalk Empire (2011-2012, 2015) will try and reverse the shows fortune with an iconic shot of Danerys (Emilia Clarke) with Drogon’s wings.

Best Drama Guest Actress Diana Rigg received four nominations for her role as Lady Olenna but came up short each time. However, Carice van Houten is at the center of “The Long Night” and the show appears to have more support than ever before with 10 acting nominations.

Could they cancel themselves out?

Best Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series (episodes nominated: “Winterfell,” “The Long Night” and “The Iron Throne) GoT has received eight previous nominations and won twice (2015-2016). While having three nominations could lead to the series splitting their support both of their previous wins came at the expense of another episode. And for the cutters this is round three as Katie Weiland who edited “The Iron Throne” and previously won for “The Dance of Dragons” (2015) she bested Tim Porter who cut “The Long Night” and bested Weiland winning for “Battle of the Bastards” (2016).

We’ll be back after the Creative Arts Emmys to look at the top seven categories. And we’ll see if we should once again get out the brooms for a sweep!

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