Does Game of Thrones’ final season actually deserve any Emmy Awards?

dany stark

It’s Emmy Season, and Emmy voters are currently voting on which shows and which actors get nominated for Emmys. The actual nominations don’t come out until July, so right now is prime hustlin’ time. That’s why the next few weeks are going to be full of TV actors reminding us about their shows and doing lots of interviews. It will be interesting to see which Game of Thrones actors come out for the Hustling Time – Emilia Clarke has been active, and I feel like she would really like to be recognized with a nomination and win for the final season of Game of Thrones. But the rest of the actors? Kit Harington is in rehab, Lena Headey probably doesn’t give a sh-t and Peter Dinklage is (I hope) extremely embarrassed about the way Tyrion gaslighted Daenerys. And for sure, none of the GoT scripts should get any writing nominations. So what are the chances for Game of Thrones across the Emmy board?

Many high-profile TV series came to an end this past season — among them, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory; The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin; Netflix’s House of Cards and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; and Amazon’s Catastrophe and Fleabag. But none left a bigger Emmy footprint during their runs than HBO’s two stalwarts: Game of Thrones, which has scored 128 nominations, more than any other scripted show in history, and 47 wins; and Veep, which saw Julia Louis-Dreyfus win the Emmy for best actress in a comedy in all six of its previous seasons. Most strikingly, both shows won the series Emmys in each of their past three seasons.

Now the question is, will one or both go out with a four-peat? Thrones’ final season — and, in particular, its series finale, which was watched by an HBO record 13.6 million people — was slammed by critics and many viewers, whereas Veep’s ending was met with the opposite reaction. The contrast is starkest when seen through the prism of IMDb user ratings: The last episode of Veep was the highest-rated of its entire run (9.6 of 10), whereas the finale of Thrones was the lowest (4.5 of 10).

What happened? Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wanted their final two seasons to consist of fewer episodes than the previous six. For character studies like Breaking Bad and Mad Men, which split their last seasons into two, this was not an issue, but for a sprawling epic like Thrones, cutting down the episode count altered the pacing to which viewers had become accustomed, making big moments feel rushed. Furthermore, Thrones boxed itself into a corner by hyping a single question for years: Who will sit on the Iron Throne? The danger was that the audience might not like the answer — and that is precisely what happened.

Only nine shows have won a series Emmy for their final season. Shows with famously satisfying finales have won (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Breaking Bad), lost (Mad Men, The Americans) and not been nominated (Newhart, Justified) — and shows with infamously divisive endings have won (The Sopranos), lost (Seinfeld, Friends) and not been nominated (Lost, Dexter). This is the case because shows do not exist in a bubble — they exist among competition. And, this year, Thrones actually has less of it than Veep.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

I think Emmy voters simply have their favorites no matter what, and so Julia Louis-Dreyfus will probably be a shoo-in for Best Actress in a Comedy, and maybe the affection for her will extend to the show winning Best Comedy. As for Game of Thrones… I think the best chance for GoT walking away with an Emmy is actually for the show, for Best Drama. Emmy voters have shown time and time again that they’re not interested in giving Emmys to the actors (except maybe Peter Dinklage), but they like the show. Or they did. But yeah, if you’re asking if the crappy final season will damage the show’s Emmy chances, it totally will. People were truly MAD about that bullsh-t ending. The TV Academy should take back a couple of GoT’s Emmys just for Tyrion’s “who has the best story?” monologue.

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38 Responses to “Does Game of Thrones’ final season actually deserve any Emmy Awards?”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    GoT should win lots of the technical awards – I’m not as familiar with the Emmys as Oscars so not sure of the specific categories – but even with the bad writing, the music and cinematography etc were incredible.

    And A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms WAS excellent; its just too bad the season went downhill from there. But I could still see the show taking Best Drama Series. I cant think of what else would?

    • maya8 says:

      I think Emilia Clarke deserves one. If nothing else for her dedication to the character till the end. Everyone else it felt to me had checked out for the last season. They were just reciting lines.

      • Becks1 says:

        I agree. This season was her best acting out of the whole series IMO.

      • Tanguerita says:

        Really? I thought she was horrible. Clarke is certainly a lovely person and i wish her good, but she is so bad at what she does. All that eyebrow acting.

      • Margareth says:

        @Tanguerita
        I strongly disagree. Clarke has absolute raves for the season, even critics who didn’t like her work in the other seasons are raving about her.

      • Poppy says:

        I agree Emilia deserves to be nominated and win she acted brilliantly

      • E. B. Mann says:

        Way y’all (CB) tell it, seems like Kit’s drinkity-drinking may have prompted them to rush the curtain on the show, and the ravishing Emilia gets screwed out of a trophy. :-[

    • ReginaGeorge says:

      This! The costumes, music, stunt crew, etc. Give them all of the awards for everyone who worked in the background putting it together. Pretty much everyone in that Last Watch documentary.

      However you feel about that last season and all of the great acting that was wasted with repetitive lines, or having them stand in windows holding a wine glass, the people behind the scenes did a hell of a job and deserve it.

      And yet still, the show got killer ratings etc and it was one of the best dramas on TV so I wouldn’t begrudge a nomination/win for Best Drama Series either. IJS

    • Lightpurple says:

      A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms was a fabulous episode, a standout for any season, and deserves consideration.

      The music definitely.

      And yes, the cinematography and technical stuff. Drogon’s performance, and it WAS a performance, in the last episode was remarkable.

    • Snazzy says:

      Yup agreed! Technically amazing.

      Doesn’t really deserve anything else but I could see it potentially winning best Drama just because of the overall impact – so many people watching and talking about it, even if the final pissed a lot of people off.

    • Mo says:

      I suspect there will be a lot of producers and studio types pushing hard for Clarke. Why? She hated, hated the scripts and her character’s story arc AND she still showed up hard, did all the work, and gave a strong performance, which almost redeemed the season.

      And she was right about the scripts and her character. I was talking with a friend who didn’t watch GOT and was astonished by the fuss. Imagine a version of Hamlet where because it is so long, they cut the soliloquies because everybody else is already talking about how Hamlet is going mad.

  2. Moses says:

    No one did Emmy-caliber work this season. That’s not necessarily their fault. They had to work with what they were given and a lot was cut, but still…they shouldn’t get awards for showing up for the last season, not if there are better performances out there.

    • Bella DuPont says:

      I heartily disagree! Emilia Clarke absolutely killed it (for the most part). Definite Emmy contender. ;-)

      • petee says:

        I agree with you on that.She was great.And the music and visual effects also.I miss this show.

  3. Amelia says:

    It’s definitely winning Best Drama. It was the biggest show on TV this year and it also has basically no competition. Handmaid’s Tale isn’t eligible. Pose and Killing Eve are probably not a lot of voter’s cup of tea (i.e. a lot of voters are still old, white men).

  4. Jenns says:

    I think it’ll win big time at the Emmy’s, mostly for it’s overall body of work. If S7, with the terrible Hunt a Wight plot line, can will Best Drama then there is no reason that S8 can’t win.

  5. Lala11_7 says:

    I say…give them ALL EMMYS!!!!!!!!!!

    To me…they CERTAINLY deserve it!!!!!

  6. broodytrudy says:

    I would love to see Lena get an Emmy, since she has deserved one for past seasons and been straight robbed-except the year Frances McDormand won for Olive Kitteridge, I’ll give her that one.

    Otherwise the music, costumes, cinematography (save for the long knight, which I’m sure was gorgeous had we been able to see anything), but i stg if they get an Emmy for writing I’m gonna burn the whole place down.

    • TheMummy says:

      I would loved to have seen her get one as well, But not for this season. It’s no fault at all of hers, but she had very few speaking lines this season, no plot to speak of, and literally all she did was stand around and smirk and look out the window. They did such a huge disservice to Cersei’s character the season. Lena Headey is phenomenal, but she did not have enough material to act at all really, much less act in a way that deserves an Emmy. Totally not her fault. But that’s what it is.

  7. Maria says:

    Who deserves Emmys: All the crew except the writers. None of the cast except for Emilia.

  8. styla says:

    I honestly felt bad for the cast because they were all done dirty… if Emilia’s character had a slower descent into madness she would have NAILED IT. No question. She did well with what she was given though. They all did. And they all grew into their characters so beautifully over the years and this final season just kind of shat on that.

  9. Ameara says:

    I think Emilia is good, but I would give the Emmy to Sandra Oh or Jodie Comer.

  10. TheMummy says:

    Emilia deserves one for this season. She really brought it this time. I know people say she was a wooden actress, but I disagree—especially as the seasons wore on and most especially in season 8. She was actually amazing and acted with a lot of real depth. Also, some of the cinematography in the last two episodes was truly stunning, like the dragon wings behind Dany.

    • Loretta says:

      You’re so right. I though she was an OK actress but this season she was amazing. Her performance was the only beauty of the season. Superb.

  11. Skeptical says:

    Emmys are about marketing. Final seasons usually don’t receive much. They’re at the end of the road.

  12. Loretta says:

    The season not but Emilia Clarke yes. She’s having absolute raves.

  13. Veronica S. says:

    LOL no. Performance for Emilia Clarke, MAYBE, but absolutely nothing else. Not even the technical awards. It may have looked beautiful in some places, but they absolutely deserve to lose those for the unacceptable gaffes with the early episode lighting, leftover coffee cups, and God knows what else was left in frame. There’s no excuse for a series that costs $15 million per episode to have that kind of shoddy workmanship errors. Everybody involved in that save for the acting cast should be embarrassed by that final season. [/FOREVER BITTER]

    • Bella DuPont says:

      Lol @ forever bitter, me too.

      To be honest, I would have forgiven 10x the technical shoddiness for better writing. I would take a whole Starbucks crew criss-crossing the set on camera for a less shoddy end to Gendry/Arya for example.

      Forever Bitter Crew (Vice President) ;-)

  14. Phonycat says:

    Is it just me, or does that actress look like Fred Armisted from Portlandia?

  15. Lidia says:

    This is has nothing to do with the article but I can’t wait for Last Christmas, the new Emilia Clarke movie. It’s directed by Paul Feig and written by Emma Thompson. I think it will be lovely

  16. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    The show runners could have paced the episodes so that Dany’s madness didn’t come out of nowhere, and we see characters grow rather than being “told” they did (so many characters tell the audience “Sansa is really smart now!” but we don’t see her doing anything smart); etc. They also could have done a better job setting up why Bran is King, because as it is, it looks like he’s the biggest villain of all (was that their intent? I don’t know). And why did Tyrion suddenly become dumb, or was he actively undermining Dany? Who knows. The showrunners just wanted to end this show as quickly and as lazily as possible, so they can go off and make $tar War$ money.

    I suspect the other problem is the show runners were overly obsessed with “surprises!” and “no spoilers!” Because if they built up the process of Dany going mad, people might guess the ending – how horrible! By focusing on tricking or surprising the audience, they did an injustice to the over-all show.

    Also, GOT articles should have trigger warnings. I thought I was over this horrible ending, but articles like this bring back the trauma.

  17. Lucy says:

    I really enjoyed Kit and Emilia this season, but it’d be nice to see Maisie Williams and Alfie Allen get some recognition, too. At least for past seasons’ sake, you know?

  18. The Recluse says:

    If it’s up against Chernobyl, then it won’t get best series Emmys.

    • Lidia says:

      Chernobyl is in the limited Series category while GOT is Drama.
      I loved Chernobyl, it was so good.

  19. Viper says:

    I would give it to the show as a whole.

    Emilia Clarke (maybe because I was never a big fan of her character) should not get a thing. She was a bad actress in Season 1 and she never got any better. And so many people seem to think she’s going to set the world on fire now that the show is over? Huh? She bombed HARD on broadway as Holly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She had the charisma of a toilet bug in Solo. And her other Box Office flop, Terminator underperformed as well.

  20. Neener says:

    If nothing else, Drogon deserves an Emmy.

    The three dragons Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion for special effects at the very least.

    Yes, many of those actors should receive acknowledgment of the great job they did. D & D should be ashamed of what they did to this show. HBO and GRRM asked D&D to extend the series to play everything out as it should have been. They made a decision that did a disservice to the show, it’s characters, the fans and the actors. They should have handed over to someone else to do it the justice it deserved.