“Game of Thrones” defied the TV academy’s long-standing bias against science-fiction and fantasy fare and reaped 13 Emmy nominations for its first season, including a bid for Best Drama Series. Among the six nominees, that put it in third place behind “Mad Men” (19 nominations, a record for that show) and “Boardwalk Empire” (18) but ahead of “The Good Wife” (nine), “Dexter” (five) and “Friday Night Lights” (four).
Our editors and users agree that the top drama race is a three-way battle between reigning three-time champ “Mad Men,” HBO’s other freshman series “Boardwalk Empire” and the sophomore season of “The Good Wife.” While “Game of Thrones” is a longshot in that category, it is a strong contender in many of its other races.
“Game of Thrones” is based on George R. R. Martin‘s best-selling “A Song of Ice and Fire,” a series of fantasy novels set in the fictional medieval Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The saga traces the travails of the kingdoms’ noble families who scheme, plot and kill for control of the Iron Throne. Critics responded well to its high production values and predominantly British cast, and the series scored a respectable 79 at Metacritic. Matt Roush (TV Guide) raved, “the real magical wizardry here lies in the rich storytelling, embroiling a bounty of memorable characters young and old in a fatalistic free-for-all of dynastic mayhem.” Mary McNamara (LA Times) proclaimed it “a great and thundering series of political and psychological intrigue bristling with vivid characters, cross-hatched with tantalizing plotlines and seasoned with a splash of fantasy.”
Although “Game of Thrones” reaped 13 bids, it managed just one acting nod for supporting player Peter Dinklage who had already been nominated by both the CCTA and the TCA. Our editors and users predict him to be a solid contender in this race. “Game of Thrones” vies for both directing and writing. And, not surprisingly, the epic production reaped a slew of creative and technical bids, where its best chances for Emmy glory lie.
A win for the team behind the show’s heralded main title design seems almost assured, despite that category being a relatively competitive one this year, and the special visual effects category looks like a good bet, as “Fire and Blood,” the season finale, features a stunning walk through fire, wide shots of fantastical lanscapes and the much anticipated emergence of Danaerys’ baby dragons. The show also has a very good shot at winning stunt co-ordination, casting, sound editing (the nominated episode “A Golden Crown” features a lively ‘trial by combat’, a spellbinding Dothraki ritual and the violent death of a main character) as well as either of the makeup categories, for the extensive work on display for the speaking cast of over 160 actors, including facial hair, scarring, burns, body painting, wigs, hairpieces and the “golden crown” for which the title of the nominated episode comes from.
BEST DRAMA SERIES
“Game of Thrones”
BEST SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTOR
Peter Dinklage (“Baelor”)
BEST DRAMA SERIES WRITING
David Benioff and Dan Weiss (“Baelor”)
BEST DRAMA SERIES DIRECTING
Tim Van Patten (“Winter Is Coming”)
BEST CASTING – DRAMA SERIES
Nina Gold and Robert Sterne
BEST COSTUMES – DRAMA SERIES
Michelle Clapton and Rachael Webb-Crozier (“The Pointy End”)
BEST HAIRSTYLING – SINGLE-CAMERA SERIES
Kevin Alexander and Candice Banks (“A Golden Crown”)
BEST MAIN TITLE DESIGN
Angus Wall, Robert Feng, Kirk H. Shintani and Hameed Shaukat
BEST MAKEUP – SINGLE-CAMERA SERIES (NON-PROSTHETIC)
Paul Engelen and Melissa Lackersteen (“Winter Is Coming”)
BEST MAKEUP – SERIES (PROSTHETIC)
Paul Engelen and Conor O’Sullivan (“A Golden Crown”)
BEST SOUND EDITING – SERIES
Stefan Hendrix, Tim Hands, Michelle McCormack, Steve Fanagan, Andy Kennedy, Jon Stevenson, Robin Whittaker, Caoimhe Doyle, and Eoghan McDonnell (“A Golden Crown”)
BEST SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS – SERIES
Adam McInnes, Angela Barson, Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor, Raf Morant, Henry Badgett, Damien Mace, Stuart Brisdon, and Graham Hills (“Fire and Blood”)
BEST STUNT COORDINATION
Paul Jennings (“The Wolf and the Lion”)
Check out the extraordinary Emmy-nominated opening titles in the clip below: