Search This Blog

Monday, June 16, 2014

2014 Emmy Questions: Game of Thrones

Click here for the introduction to The Cover 3's "2014 Emmy Questions" series

COLD, HARD LOCK NOMINATIONS: Best Drama Series, Best Supporting Actor (Peter Dinklage)

STRONG, EDUCATED GUESS NOMINATIONS: Best Screenplay (David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, "The Children"), Best Direction (Alex Graves, "The Children")

EDITOR'S NOTE: I actually wrote this article two weeks ago, but I wanted to wait until I saw/HBO aired every single episode of Season 4 before I made any cold hard analysis. This Emmy Question series is meant to be questions surrounding eligibility as well as the nominations themselves, however, this last Monday, the Emmy's released their nomination ballots, so we already know who and what is eligible right now. Although, this "curveball" really only changed Question Two.

QUESTION ONE: Will Emilia Clarke earn an Emmy nomination this year?

Last year, Emilia Clarke, the actress who plays Daenerys Targaryen, became the first actor not named Peter Dinklage to earn an acting nomination from Game of Thrones (although technically Diana Rigg also earned an acting nomination in 2013 for her work on Game of Thrones, but that was only for a Guest Spot). However, Clarke's Emmy submission episode, "And Now His Watch Has Ended" was just an incredible episode for her. SPOILER ALERT for those who haven't seen Season 3 of the show yet, in that episode, Dany agrees to trade one of her dragon's for the Unsullied Army and then uses her dragon to destroy the corrupt, slave-owning, a-hole city of Meeren. It was an excellent episode and a phenomenal showcase for Clarke.

The problem in 2014 is that Emilia Clarke doesn't even have as close to a showcase as she did with "And Now His Watch Has Ended". Deanerys spent much of Season 4 just dilly-dallying in Essos while not doing a whole lot. The Khaleesi has had trouble being a true and just ruler, but frankly hasn't had a whole lot to do.

While the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series field isn't terribly competitive this year, Clarke neither has a good Emmy submission episode nor is considered a staple in this category. Therefore, I don't think Emilia Clarke earns a nomination this year.

QUESTION TWO: Will Game of Thrones earn any writing or directing nominations this year?

Both Game of Thrones as a television show and Peter Dinklage as an actor have earned Emmy nominations in each of the three seasons the show has been eligible. However, the Emmy's have been inconsistent when it comes to giving Game of Thrones writing and directing nominations.

In GoT's rookie year, Tim Van Patten earned a nomination for directing the pilot and David Benioff and D.B. Weiss earned writing nominations for writing "Baelor", the show's penultimate episode. The very next year, Game of Thrones failed to earn any writing or directing nominations, which was strange, because the show's best episode (and this still holds true right now) "Blackwater" failed to earn any writing or directing nominations, despite it being the best television episode of that Emmy season. Last year, the show didn't earn any directing nominations, but Benioff and Weiss again earned a nomination for writing the season's penultimate episode, "The Rains of Castamere" (aka The Red Wedding). So what do the Gods have in store for this show this year?

Let's first start with what is actually eligible. On the writing side, Game of Thrones only has one episode eligible- David Benioff & D.B. Weiss for writing the Season 4 finale "The Children". Due to the nature of the Emmy rules, Benioff & Weiss can only submit one episode (even they wrote 7 out of the 10 this season) to be eligible for a nomination. On first glance, it seems odd that HBO and Game of Thrones chose a decently weak episode as their one submission episode (albeit they submitted the episode to be eligible long before they knew what The Internet and the world's reaction to the episode would be), but the show's two best episodes this season weren't written by Benioff & Weiss. The best episode this season was "The Lion and The Rose" (a.k.a. The Purple Wedding) but that was written by George R.R. Martin and the second best episode was probably "The Laws of Gods and Men" (a.k.a. The Trial of Tyrion Lannister) but that episode was written by Bryan Cogman (Cogman also wrote "Oathkeeper"). Therefore, "The Children" was probably the best showcase for Benioff & Weiss. However, the bigger question is why didn't HBO submit Martin and Cogman as being eligible as well? There seems to be no downside to at least declaring yourself to be eligible. My only guess is that since Game of Thrones is unequivocally David Benioff & D.B. Weiss' show, HBO thought either those two men either get a nomination or nobody does. Again though, this seems odd.

Next, we'll move on to directors. Three directors from Game of Thrones are eligible to earn a nomination this year: Alex Graves for "The Children", Neil Marshall for "The Watchers on the Wall", and Alik Shakharov  for "The Laws of Gods and Men". There are two head-scratchers from this as well. The first being, "Why did Alex Graves choose his worst episode as his Emmy submission episode?" Graves directed the superb "The Lion and The Rose" (which should be his Emmy submission episode) and is responsible for the excellent fight sequence in "The Mountain and The Viper". Frankly, out of the four Game of Thrones episodes he directed this year, "The Children" is probably his "worst". Again, HBO and Game of Thrones didn't know how well this finale would be received (or if it was even finished by the time they threw their hat in the ring) but they should have gone with the sure thing in "The Lion and The Rose".

The other head-scratcher is the omission of Michelle MacLaren. MacLaren is one of the best working TV directors out there and currently has two Emmy nominations for directing Breaking Bad's "Gliding All Over" and "One Minute". She will probably earn her third directing  Emmy nomination for directing Breaking Bad's "To'hajiilee". Outside of D.B. Wiess (who made his directorial debut with Episode 1's "Two Swords"), Michelle MacLaren is the only Game of Thrones director in Season 4 to not be eligible to earn a nomination for her work on the show in 2014. Granted, the two episodes MacLaren directed for Game of Thrones this season, "Oathkeeper" and "First of His Name", might be two of the weakest episodes this season, but to not even ask to be nominated seems ridiculous. Plus, as we'll see in a moment, it doesn't matter if her submission episodes are "weak", her name alone might propel Game of Thrones to earn a directing nomination in 2014.

In three seasons, Game of Thrones has only earned one directing nomination, and when you look at the recent history of the Emmy's, that nomination seemed to have been awarded because the Emmy's like the director, and not because the Emmy's like the show itself. As mentioned earlier, Tim Van Patten directed The Pilot and earned an Emmy nomination for his work. Since then, Tim Van Patten has earned two Primetime Emmy's for directing Boardwalk Empire, including a win last year. I also believe Van Patten will earn another directing nomination this year. On the other hand, Game of Thrones has earned a whopping zero directing nominations in that same time frame.

On the directing side, I do ultimately believe Alex Graves will earn an Emmy nomination for his strong, strong work this season. I think Breaking Bad earns two directing nominations for its final season (although the Emmy's have not awarded that show two nominations in a single year beforehand), True Detective is absolutely going to earn a directing nomination for "Who Goes There" and, as mentioned earlier, Tim Van Patten is going to earn a nomination. Graves will have to compete with two-time Emmy nominee Lesli Linka Glatter (Homeland), Masters of Sex, and possibly a third or fourth episode of Breaking Bad, but I ultimately in my heart of hearts think Game of Thrones finally breaks through this year in the directing category.

On the writing side, I don't think this is the year for David Benioff & D.B. Weiss. A weak submission episode combined with strong efforts from Breaking Bad, Mad Men, True Detective, and possibly Homeland, means I believe Benioff & Weiss will be on the outside looking in this year. 

QUESTION THREE: Will Peter Dinklage win another Emmy this year?

In 2011, Peter Dinklage won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. He won that year (his first year eligible), but he did not go up against any Breaking Bad actors, because in 2011, Breaking Bad was not eligible. In 2012, Dinklage was again nominated, but he lost to Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad). In 2013, Dinklage was again nominated and again lost, although this time it was not to Aaron Paul or Jonathan Banks for their work on Breaking Bad, but to Bobby Cannavale for his work on Boardwalk Empire. In 2014, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that Peter Dinklage will be nominated again. But will he win?

I think Peter Dinklage has to be the favorite to win Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series this year for his work in the show's sixth episode "The Laws of Gods and Men" (aka The Trial of Tyrion Lannister). Hitfix's Daniel Feinberg has Dinklage as the favorite, many people at GoldDerby has Dinklage as the favorite, and I personally believe Dinklage is going to win it all. Peter Dinklage's reaction throughout the trial are superb, but the speech he gives at the end of the episode put him over the top. The Internet and Twitter exploded for their love of Tyrion and Dinklage and it was just universally accepted that that episode was, at minimum, Dinklage's Emmy submission episode, and at maximum, was the episode that will win it all for Dinklage. When there is that sort of unequivocal support for a performance or episode like there was after seeing "The Laws of Gods and Men" you usually become the winner at the Emmy's. I just don't know how any Emmy voter can watch that episode and not immediately hand Peter Dinklage the award right there. 

In summation, do I think Peter Dinklage wins another Emmy this year? Yes, yes I do. 


If you would like to comment on this post, please visit our Facebook page