“Game of Thrones” has been nominated for Best Drama Series for the last five years in a row at the Emmys, and including its eight Creative Arts victories last Saturday, it has won 22 Emmys since it debuted in 2011. This year it will finally win the top prize according to our predictions. Our exclusive Gold Derby odds place it out front at 10/11 to prevail. At the primetime telecast on September 20 it also contends for Best Drama Supporting Actor (Peter Dinklage), Best Drama Supporting Actress (Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke), Best Drama Writing and Best Drama Directing. It only needs to win two of those to break “The West Wing’s” record of nine series wins in a single year.
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“Thrones” received 24 total nominations this year, more than twice as many as “Mad Men,” which has 11 bids, but AMC’s period drama is nevertheless a very close second with 3/2 odds. Indeed, “Mad Men” is one of the only two previous winners in this category, having won four years in a row (2008-2011). A fifth prize would set a new record for most Drama Series victories, but “Mad Men” hasn’t won a single category in four years. Will sentiment for its farewell season push it to a historic win?
Our racetrack odds suggest a two-way race between “Mad Men” and “Thrones,” but are we underestimating the rest of the field? “House of Cards” is next with distant 50/1 odds. This is the third straight nomination for the Netflix political drama, which tied “Mad Men” with 11 nominations, including lead-acting bids for Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. It already won twice at Creative Arts: Best Score (Series) and Best Drama Guest Actor for Reg E. Cathey.
Also with 50/1 odds is “Orange is the New Black,” which has four total nominations this year. It picked up 10 noms and three wins last year when it competed as a comedy, but the switch to drama resulted in a significant shortfall for the sophomore prison series. At the primetime ceremony on September 20, it also contends for Best Drama Supporting Actress (Uzo Aduba).
“Better Call Saul” is the third program that gets 50/1 odds. The AMC freshman drama is a prequel to “Breaking Bad,” which won Best Drama Series the last two years in a row. With “Breaking Bad” off the air, “Saul” could benefit from residual affection for that acclaimed series. It earned seven nominations in all, including Best Drama Writing and acting bids for Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks.
“Downton Abbey” trails with 100/1 odds. It’s nominated for the fourth year in a row for Best Drama Series, and before that it won Best Movie/Miniseries in 2011. It received eight nominations this year, including noms for supporting actors Jim Carter and Joanne Froggatt. It prevailed once at Creative Arts last weekend: Best Hairstyling (Single-Camera).
Rounding out the category is “Homeland,” which gets 100/1 odds despite being the category’s most recent champ: it took this prize in 2012. It was nominated again in 2013, but was left out in 2014 before making a comeback this year. It’s nominated five times, including Best Drama Actress for Claire Danes and Best Drama Directing.
Experts Emmy predictions: All 32 categories
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Photo: Emilia Clarke in “Game of Thrones.” Credit: HBO