'Game of Thrones' Emmy Nominations: Here Are the 9 It's Most Likely to Win
The controversial final season still had a number of astounding achievements.
The final Game of Thrones season disappointed many fans, but that didn’t stop HBO’s successful fantasy drama series from doing a victory lap with a record-breaking 32 total Emmy Award nominations this year. How many of those does the series actually deserve?
The television academy announced the nominees on July 16, honoring nine Game of Thrones cast members for their work in Season 8 and an array of other categories. Melisandre actress Carice van Houten, who’s one of the nine nominated, has the same likelihood of winning as her character did surviving the final season — which isn’t that likely at all.
Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss picked up a nomination for the series finale, “The Iron Throne,” in the Writing For a Drama Series category. That’s laughable, as is a nomination for Cinematography, considering how poorly lit the Battle of Winterfell was in Episode 3. In many of the more prominent categories like Lead Actor and Actress or Best Drama, Game of Thrones has to compete with excellent dramas like Fleabag or Killing Eve.
In others, Game of Thrones has crowded the field with multiple nominations in a single category. The most number of awards the show can win is only 24 as a result.
Which awards is Game of Thrones likely to win? Here are 9 of them:
9. Rowley Irlam, Stunt Coordinator
Rowley Irlam joined the Game of Thrones production team as a stunt coordinator in Season 5, for which he already won an Emmy. His work in Season 8 on the several battle sequences won’t go unnoticed. He deserves this award for the long Arya sequence at the end of “The Bells” as Daenerys destroys King’s Landing.
7 & 8. Sound Editing & Mixing
“The Long Might” may have been too dark from a visual standpoint, but nobody can deny how excellent the sound mixing was during the Battle of Winterfell in Episode 3. The sounds of undead wights clashing with traditional warfare with an in-air dragon fight between an ice dragon and two fire dragons was an astounding achievement. Creating and collecting those noises (sound editing), along with blending them together (sound mixing), both deserve recognition.
Game of Thrones is also the only genre series (other than The Handmaid’s Tale) to get nominated for sound mixing, so this should be an easy win in that category. But for sound editing, Star Trek: Discovery is also a contender.
6. Single-Camera Picture Editing
Game of Thrones is nominated for three episodes in the Single-Camera Picture Editing category. The series is up against Killing Eve, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Ozark, each of which is also a strong contender. Considering Game of Thrones has half of all the nominations in this category, however, makes it seem likely that the series will win.
It comes down to which episode was edited better: “The Iron Throne,” “The Long Night,” or “Winterfell.” For simplicity’s sake, that’s the series final, the battle of Winterfell, and the season premiere. The finale was maligned and the battle of Winterfell was poorly lit, so maybe it goes to Crispin Green for the premiere?
5. Miguel Sapochnik, Directing — “The Long Night”
Yet another area where Game of Thrones scooped up multiple nominations, the show is bound to win for Directing just by crowding the category. Yet Miguel Sapochnik deserves recognition for directing “The Long Night,” an episode that took 750 people three months to make. Wrangling that massive a production is impressive enough, but the way that Sapochnik brought it all together is an astounding feat that may never be topped.
4. Ramin Djawadi, Music Composition — “The Long Night”
Few moments in television resonate quite like the dramatic tension that builds leading up to when Arya Stark kills the Night King during “The Long Night,” and that’s all thanks to a score from Ramin Djawadi that instills sheer terror in the viewer with dramatic piano chords. If there’s a single category of all these that Game of Thrones deserves to win, it’s this one.
3. Main Title Design
The main title sequence for Game of Thrones is nothing short of iconic, and even though Angus Wall, Hameed Shaukat, Kirk Shintani, and Robert Feng already won an Emmy for it in 2011, but the drastic overhaul we got in Season 8 deserves recognition. Not only is it a masterful work of art with it’s clockwork gears and crafty design, but it offers deeper insight into the political machinations and new destinations at play in the series.
2. Gwendoline Christie, Supporting Actress
Game of Thrones is almost guaranteed to win Supporting Actress. Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, and Gwendoline Christie were nominated for their four roles on the show, so the odds are in Game of Thrones’ favor. It comes down to who had the best performance: Cersei Lannister, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, or Brienne of Tarth?
Between the heartwarming knighting ceremony, her emotional development as her relationship with Jaime flourished, and the tender way she wrote of his noble deeds in the Book of Brothers, Brienne had the most powerful emotional delivery in Season 8.
1. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Supporting Actor
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was previously nominated for his work on Game of Thrones as Jaime Lannister but has never won, unlike his on-screen brother. Peter Dinklage has long been the show’s best actor as Tyrion Lannister, but he’s already won three Emmys for that role. We have to also consider that Tyrion’s role in Season 8 and Dinklage’s acting were more subdued than usual whereas Coster-Waldau showed us more sides to Jaime Lannister. Sorry Alfie Allen (who was also nominated), it’s not going to happen.
The 71st Primetime Emmys will air on Sunday, September 22 at 8 p.m. Eastern on Fox.