Emmys 2019 slugfest: Could ‘Game of Thrones’ lose Best Drama?

“Game of Thrones” ended on May 19, and its last season was divisive to say the least; some online fans are out there breathing more fire than Drogon. But will the mixed reactions to the show’s final season make it vulnerable at the Emmys, where its victory for Best Drama Series has seemed as inevitable as “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” sweeping the Oscars at the end of that saga? Gold Derby Editors Marcus James Dixon, Joyce Eng and Daniel Montgomery convened to discuss the state of the race after the “Thrones” finale. Watch them above.

“Just ignore this vocal minority that’s popping up on every aspect of the internet because Emmy voters don’t care about that,” Dixon argues. He doesn’t think the backlash is representative of the general consensus at all, and especially not the consensus of the television academy, which Dixon believes will continue to adore the show from the acting branch all the way down to the industry craftspeople who have showered the show with Emmys in the past. “So even though a lot of people didn’t like it, that’s not going to affect its Emmy chances. It’s still going to win.”

Eng is more sympathetic to the naysayers. “There were a lot of issues with the writing throughout the whole season,” she concedes, “but I agree with Marcus that … the rest of the show is almost unimpeachable from a technical standpoint, and even the actors.” Just as importantly, “there’s no real alternative to beat ‘Game of Thrones’ this year because so many shows just skipped the season.” That includes last year’s fellow Best Drama nominees “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Stranger Things,” “Westworld” and “The Crown,” which might have been the shows best positioned to capitalize if “Thrones” showed any vulnerability this year.

Montgomery is also still predicting “Game of Thrones” to win. There’s no clear alternative, but Montgomery echoes Eng’s sentiments when he points out, “on nominations morning we might find out” if there really is a clear Emmy alternative “if a show drastically over-performs.” Montgomery thinks “Killing Eve” has the potential to “explode in a significant way” after gradually building buzz since its first season. “Ozark” performed better than expected during the guild awards this past winter and could be Netflix‘s best bet this year. And “Better Call Saul” has been waiting in the wings for a few years now and has the potential to win for the first time later in its run just like “Breaking Bad” did.

Do you still think “Thrones” will win top honors? If not, which underdog show do you think is going to be the kingslayer? You can make your predictions right here in our predictions center and update them as often as you like before Emmy nominations are officially announced in July.

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UPLOADED May 29, 2019 1:48 pm