“Game of Thrones” took down “NYPD Blue’s” Emmy record for most nominations for a drama with a whopping 32, five more than the cop procedural’s 27 in 1994. But it won’t break — or even get to break — “NYPD Blue’s” record in another category: Best Drama Directing. There, everyone in Westeros will have to settle for second best even with a win.
With two Best Drama Directing victories under its belt and three bids this year, “Thrones” can only tie three-time champs come September, “CBS Playhouse,” “The Defenders,” “Hill Street Blues” and “The West Wing.” That means “NYPD Blue’s” benchmark of four wins, which it nabbed in 1994 and 1997-99, will stand for a few more years. No other active drama has more than one directing Emmy at the moment.
SEE ‘Game of Thrones’ makes Emmy history with 32 nominations, more than any drama ever
An 11-time nominee in the category (“ER” and “The Sopranos” lead with 13; “NYPD Blue” had nine, so 4/9 is a baller record), Thrones” wasn’t always a favorite here. It reaped just two bids for its first four seasons, in 2011 and 2014, which means it’s added nine more nominations since 2015, the first year of the new popular voting system and when the show itself took home its first Best Drama Series crown. It garnered back-to-back directing wins in 2015 and ’16 for “Mother’s Mercy” (directed by David Nutter) and “Battle of the Bastards” (directed by Miguel Sapochnik). After sitting out the 2017 cycle, it had two bids last year, but lost to “The Crown.”
Now, with three episodes in the running — “The Long Night” (directed by Sapochnik), “The Last of the Starks” (directed by Nutter) and the series finale “The Iron Throne” (directed by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss) — our early odds have pegged “The Long Night” as the one to beat. It’s certainly the bread of butter of “Thrones”: a massive battle that includes the triumphant moment of Arya (Maisie Williams) coming out of nowhere kill the Night King. But it was also endlessly ridiculed and mocked for being too dark (this is just A+ savagery), though that’s more on the cinematography. And you know if it does win, the Emmys will forever be roasted for honoring an episode that nobody could see.
There’s also the possibility that “Thrones” could vote-split, paving the way for a non-“Thrones” champ, like “Succession,” which won the Directors Guild Award for Adam McKay, or former champ “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which cashed in on 11 nominations for three orphaned Season 2 episodes.
“The Iron Throne” is in second in our odds, followed by “Killing Eve” (“Desperate Times”), “The Handmaid’s Tale” (“Holly”), “Ozark” (“Reparations”), “The Last of the Starks” and “Succession” (“Celebration”).
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