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  • James Kunovski

2019 Emmys: Thoughts on Drama

Record-breaking recognition for Game of Thrones’ deflated denouement overflows into every category, leaving narrow room for everybody else. How will this dynamic affect the results? Here’s a look at the drama nominations.

Drama Series

Better Call Saul


Game of Thrones

Killing Eve




This Is Us

Will Win: Game of Thrones

Should Win: Succession

Glaring Omission: The Deuce

Game of Thrones, with thirty-two nominations, was recognised by nearly every peer group in the Academy. As everyone votes for the best program it has an irrefutable lead. Ideally, this award should go to anybody else. Namely Succession or Better Call Saul.


Lead Actor

Jason Bateman, Ozark

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Kit Harington, Game of Thrones

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul

Billy Porter, Pose

Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

Will Win: Billy Porter, Pose

Should Win: Billy Porter, Pose

Glaring Omission: Brian Cox, Succession

It would be hard to ignore the delicious campiness of Billy Porter’s Pray Tell. Perhaps Porter plays the role with heavy notes of sentimentality, but the showiness blends well with the operatic intentions of the series. It is the type of performance that insinuates itself well into the scenery-chewing canon of Ryan Murphy’s filmography. This breakout performance, which would become a record-breaking win, will hardly go unnoticed.


Lead Actress

Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones

Jodie Comer, Killing Eve

Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder

Laura Linney, Ozark

Mandy Moore, This Is Us

Sandra Oh, Killing Eve

Robin Wright, House of Cards

Will Win: Sandra Oh, Killing Eve

Should Win: Jodie Comer, Killing Eve

Glaring Omission: Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce

Sandra Oh was a favourite to win last year. She completely understands Waller-Bridge’s original concept and lets that vision push her performance to greatness. Though I’ve found her co-star, Jodie Comer as Villanelle, stands out with her multitude of accents and characters (reminds me of Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black). We know her dangerous capability but her chilling, petulant charm is intoxicating to watch. It is a smooth cocktail that Comer mixes brilliantly well.


Supporting Actor

Alfie Allen, Game of Thrones

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul

Michael Kelly, House of Cards

Chris Sullivan, This Is Us

Will Win: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Should Win: Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul

Glaring Omission: Kieran Culkin, Succession

This season, nine performers from Game of Thrones received nominations. Most are surprising. Of his colleagues, Peter Dinklage did the best. Unfortunately, he was brought down by a screenplay that diminished the wit and conniving intelligence that initially defined Tyrion, but he still brings in a commendable effort. I wish in this instance that the Television Academy would focus its lens on subtler performances given by the two supporting players from Better Call Saul.


Supporting Actress

Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones

Julia Garner, Ozark

Lena Headey, Game of Thrones

Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve

Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones

Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones

Will Win: Julia Garner or Fiona Shaw

Should Win: Julia Garner, Ozark

Glaring Omission: Rhea Seehorn, Better Call Saul

Having four-stacked nominees from the same show, all with such underwhelming entry episodes will pave the way for Garner and Shaw. When it comes down to who will get the cake, my bet is on Garner because of her character's unmissable and theatrical Midwestern presence.



Game of Thrones, The Iron Throne

Game of Thrones, The Last of the Starks

Game of Thrones, The Long Night

The Handmaid's Tale, Holly

Killing Eve, Desperate Times

Ozark, Reparations

Succession, Celebration

Will Win: Succession, Celebration

Should Win: Succession, Celebration

Glaring Omission: Pose, Pilot

Adam McKay, of The Big Short and Step Brothers did some fine minute work building Succession’s distinct style, while also infusing his signature aptitude. He contained the dialogue and effectively implemented the camera’s presence to convey the story. On the note of omissions, how could voters ignore the über-style of Pose, or favour the two-dimensional Game of Thrones finale over Better Call Saul.



Better Call Saul, Winner

Bodyguard, Episode 1

Game of Thrones, The Iron Throne

The Handmaid's Tale, Holly

Killing Eve, Nice and Neat

Succession, Nobody Is Ever Missing

Will Win: Succession, Nobody Is Ever Missing

Should Win: Succession, Nobody Is Ever Missing

Glaring Omission: The Deuce, Our Raison d’Être

Succession writer Jesse Armstrong holds no punches in his socially-conscious satire and quasi-exposé of the media mogul Roy family. No stranger to social and political satires (we’ve seen his work in The Thick of It and Peep Show), he toys with his modus operandi to great effect. In a television landscape, where shows sometimes blend with each other, his writing has left the mark for Succession to rise above the rest and become another classic of this era.


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