“Game of Thrones” is likely to be a formidable Emmys contender for HBO. This freshman fantasy series has racked up impressive numbers for the Emmys powerhouse. Indeed, the paycaster renewed it for a second season after just one episode aired. And reviewers were as impressed as viewers as the series rated an impressive 78 at Metacritic.
While the show is favored for a Drama Series bid, can any of the cast reap a nom? The acting branch of the TV academy has proven to be quite snobby about such fare. Even though “True Blood” scored a series bid last year, Anna Paquin was snubbed. Heck, critics darling Sarah Michele Gellar was spurned by the Emmys for her fabled run on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
As the buzz builds for “Game of Thrones” during the Emmy voting period, let’s weigh up each of the Emmy acting contenders:
Pro: The best known of this largely British cast, Bean plays Ned Stark, the main protagonist of the series and one of the more sympathetic characters who meets an untimely end.
Con: Submitted in the Drama Actor race, he faces tough competition from Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”), Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”), Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire”) and Timothy Olyphant (“Justified”).
Pro: As the adulteress Cersei Lannister, Headey has the most prominent role for an actress on the show. As the scheming head of the Lannister clan, she gets to spout some deliciously crafted dialogue
Con: Compared to other Drama Actress contenders who are the focus of their shows (Julianna Margulies is “The Good Wife” and Kyra Sedgwick is “The Closer”), Headey has relatively less screen time.
Pro: Being singled out by the Television Critics Assn. for Individual Achievement in Drama is a big bonus for Dinklage, one of only a handful of non-British actors in this troupe. He serves as the show’s comic relief and has that likeability on his side, which always garners votes come Emmy time.
Con: He faces an uphill battle competing against the five following members of his own cast for a Drama Supporting Actor bid not to mention the many contenders in the running from other highly-regarded fare.
Pro: In the few episodes in which his character King Robert Baratheon is featured, Addy commanded the screen and stole some of the spotlight away from his co-stars.
Con: Addy’s character did not last very long as ruler of Westeros, and might already be forgotten.
Pro: As the scheming Ser Jaime Lannister, Coster-Waldau is the chisel-jawed villain of the piece, memorable for his scene-stealing attempt on the life of a child at the end of the pilot.
Con: Some voters may be asking “Nikolaj Coster-who?” when weighing up his chances.
Pro: As the devious Littlefinger, he has been given some great material to work with, and moves to the forefront in the final episodes.
Con: Like Coster-Waldau above, he is relatively unknown.
Pro: As Jon Snow, the bastard son of Ned Stark, who exiled himself to the far-reaches of The Wall to become part of the Night’s Watch, he is the everyman that some voters will gravitate towards if they watch the show.
Con: Like Dinklage, he faces an uphill battle.
Pro: As fan-favorite Khal Drogo, warlord and ruler of the mysterious and savage Dothraki people, he is showcased in the latter episodes as both a brutal leader and a devoted husband and father-to-be.
Con: Again, too much competition is going to hurt his chances.
Pro: Clarke shines as Daenerys Targaryen whose journey takes her from frightened girl to warrior queen. She could benefit from less Drama Supporting Actress competition than her male co-stars.
Con: Like many of the British cast of this show, she is not known to voters, and may have to wait a season or two before they are familiar enough with her and her work.
Pro: Playing Catelyn Stark, Lady of Winterfell and wife to Ned Stark, Fairley is probably the most likeable characters in the entire show, and is given some great material to work with.
Con: She does not have the same explosive showcase scenes as Clarke.