Table of Contents
- How the Emmy Awards Work
- Who Votes for the Emmys and How Does the Voting Process Work?
- TV Academy Will No Longer Allow Inactive Members to Vote for Emmys (EXCLUSIVE)
- Seth Meyers
- TV Academy ‘Confident’ in Emmy Procedures Following Oscar Flub
- TV Academy Disqualifies Several Emmy Voters for Shady Tactics (Exclusive)
- Everything to Know About the 2019 Emmys
- When are the 2019 Emmys?
- Who’s nominated for Emmys this year?
- Thank you!
- Who’s likely to win?
- Who votes on the Emmys?
- Who’s hosting?
- Who’s presenting?
- Who won at the Creative Arts Emmys?
- What is the story with Game of Thrones at this year’s Emmys?
- How can I watch the ceremony?
- 8 winners and 5 losers from the topsy-turvy 2019 Emmy Awards
- Winner: Game of Thrones
- Loser: Game of Thrones
- Winner: HBO
- Loser: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
- Winner: Amazon
- Winner: Openly queer performers
- Winner: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
- Loser: Netflix
- Winner: Michelle Williams’s speech
- Loser: Diversity (especially racial diversity)
- Winner: The casting categories
- Winner: Thomas Lennon
- Loser: Inevitability
How the Emmy Awards Work
After the deadline for entries, ballots with all of the qualified entries are mailed to academy members. Each peer group member votes in his own category — performers for performers, directors for directors — and everyone votes in the program categories, such as best comedy series and best miniseries. The members send their marked paper ballots to an independent accounting firm, Ernst & Young, to be counted. The top vote-getters in each category — usually five, but there can be fewer — are then announced as the nominees.
The academy asks for volunteers among the members to judge the nominees and choose the best in each category. The volunteer judges are grouped by peers, too, and the number of voters in each category varies. But again, everyone votes in the outstanding program categories. In years past, judging panels met in Los Angeles and watched all of the nominated shows and performances in a two-day marathon. Rod Serling, the prolific writer behind the “Twilight Zone” series, devised the judging panel idea in the 1960s, when he was president of the academy. He and others wanted to make sure that the judges actually watched the nominees, rather than just voting for their favorites.
Putting up decorations outside Shrine auditorium, for the 55th Annual Emmy Awards Photo courtesy CNN
Judging rules can change based on changes in the industry and the needs of the voting body. For example, in 2000, the academy decided to allow members to volunteer to watch tapes of the nominees in their own homes and on their own schedules. This meant that more people could vote in the final process; television critics and others had criticized the former voting procedure, saying that only older people with more time on their hands (that is, not active performers, directors, technicians) would volunteer to participate in an inconvenient, time-consuming judging process. The critics said that the old voting procedure led to some of the best and most daring shows going unrecognized, because the judging panels were older and more conservative. But opponents of the new, more relaxed judging process say that there is no guarantee that the voters will watch the tapes. Essentially, the members are on the honor system.
Once the volunteer voters have mailed their ballots to Ernst & Young, the firm counts them, keeping the winners’ names secret and secure until the awards are broadcast. On the show, a member or two from the accounting firm will be introduced. These representatives will keep the envelopes with them until the presenters actually carry them out on stage.
For more information on the Emmys and related topics, check out the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
- National Television Academy
- R.S. Owens Co., maker of the Emmy statuettes
- Emmy Factoids
- CBSnews.com: The Emmys
Who Votes for the Emmys and How Does the Voting Process Work?
Emmy awards | Evan Agostini/Getty Images
The nominations for the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards are about to be unveiled. As usual, these nominations are decided upon by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, a.k.a. the Television Academy. But who, exactly, are the people making up this organization? And how does the nomination process work?
The Television Academy consists of over 24,000 people, and all of them are members of the entertainment industry in some fashion. The organization is a lot more open than something like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes on the Oscars and only consists of about 7,000 people.
Still, there’s a whole process to getting admitted into the Television Academy. You need to be actively working in the industry, and you have to pay a fee of $200 per year, according to the organization’s website. You also need the endorsement of at least two of your peers.
So the idea is that the winners of the Emmys are getting the award from their peers in the industry. This is as opposed to something like the Golden Globes, which are handed out by an organization of journalists.
How does the actual nomination and voting process work, then?
To start with, a work has to be submitted for consideration, and in order for it to be eligible, it needs to have aired within a certain window. For this year’s ceremony, it would need to be between June 1st, 2017 and May 31st, 2018. This is why certain shows like Veep aren’t up this year. It costs money to submit a show or a person, and there’s usually a whole campaign process involved in order to get the word out there; this is referred to as a “For Your Consideration campaign.”
Determining the Emmy nominations works simply enough. Members are divided into about 30 peer groups, and members of each group vote on the awards related to their field, with the actors voting on the acting categories, directors voting on the directing categories, etc. For categories like Best Drama that aren’t specific to one group, everyone votes.
This voting is accomplished using an online system. After the voting is tabulated, the handful of people or shows that got the most votes end up nominated at the Emmys.
The logo for the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards. | CBS
When it comes to the final winners, this process used to be pretty complicated. The Academy would assemble together a panel of judges to vote rather than having everyone in the organization do so. These judges would be volunteers from the Academy, but it always seemed odd that a small percentage of the actual members of the Academy were voting on the winners.
So in 2015, this was changed so that now, everyone who was eligible to vote during the nomination process votes on the final winners. Once again, you vote for the people within your peer group, and then everyone votes for the big awards like Best Drama Series. And no, you can’t vote for yourself.
In terms of how exactly the winner is decided, this again used to be more complicated, but it’s fairly simple now: you just check off who you want to win, and the person with the most votes takes home the Emmy. The winners used to be determined by a preferential ballot system, but that’s no longer the case as of 2016.
The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will air on September 17th, 2018.
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TV Academy Will No Longer Allow Inactive Members to Vote for Emmys (EXCLUSIVE)
The Television Academy is introducing a vetting process to its Emmy-voting body, in a move that it hopes will “uphold the caliber of the Emmy Awards competition and the vibrancy of its membership.”
In a letter sent to the organization’s membership on Friday afternoon, the Academy detailed new efforts to review Emmy voting status. Beginning in January 2020, the membership renewal process will also serve as determination on whether one is active enough in the industry to vote for the Emmys. Going forward, Emmy voters will be required to meet their peer group’s active membership requirements, which usually includes current or recent working experience in their field. (In many cases, that means multiple credits on productions within the past four years.)
For legacy members who might be retired or have already made their mark on the industry, the Academy will continue to allow members who have worked for two decades in the entertainment business, and would have qualified for active membership for at least 16 years during their career, to vote in the .
Others, such as new members or those who only briefly worked in the industry a while ago, will be shifted to “associate status,” which still includes most membership benefits (such as access to peer group networking events and a subscription to Emmy magazine) — but they will no longer be able to cast Emmy ballots.
“Everything we’ve talked about over the past few years is the integrity and the value of the Emmy award,” chairman/CEO Frank Scherma told Variety. “It’s making sure that the strength of the Emmy stays and continues to grow. It’s very important to us. By doing this, a periodic review of the people voting on these awards, we just want to make sure they are both active professionals and industry veterans who are the best to judge these awards.”
There are already voting and non-voting classifications in place, although those distinctions have not been actively policed by the Academy. But now that the org’s membership base is more than 25,000, the decision was made to keep a closer eye on who is actually helping determine primetime TV’s biggest prize.
TV Academy president-COO Maury McIntyre said he expects that the majority of members will continue to be able to vote on the Emmys, and that those being moved to non-voting status will represent “a low percentage, single digits.”
“It’s written in our bylaws that every year that you renew, if you’ve been a member with voting status, you’re asserting that you still meet all of requirements,” McIntyre said. “We just haven’t been checking it. We just kind of took it on face value that you became a member, you qualified, and you kept being a member. Now that we’re 25,000 members-plus, we know that the industry wants to be confident that the people who are voting for the award are qualified to do so. And we feel this is a good way to show that, and state that with confidence.”
To make sure the Academy has each member’s up-to-date work info, members will be asked to update their credits section on the org’s website.
The vetting will take place when each individual’s Academy membership comes up for renewal — which means it will be an ongoing process over the next several years. The TV Academy has expanded its membership department, adding new staffers to handle the increased workload. “Clearly it’s going to be a bigger undertaking than it’s been in the past, since it’s a whole new way that we’re reviewing,” McIntyre said. “Not only will we have to review new applicants, but we’ll have to review our ongoing ones. But that’s why we’re taking a phase approach. We’re easing into it.”
Scherma and McIntyre said they know there might be some concern with the change, but said their intent isn’t to lose any members. “It’s just a shift of status,” McIntyre said. “And this is about people who maybe worked in the late 1990s for a couple of years and were able to join the Academy, and they haven’t really worked since then. I don’t think that anyone can argue that those people should be voting for the Emmys at this point.”
The vetting process might have an impact on ultimately what is nominated or wins at the Emmys — active members are likely younger, and more diverse, than associate members. (With the exception of new associate members, who are just entering the business and working their way up to active status.) Academy leaders said it was important to keep legacy members in the voting body, however, “because they’ve got the gravitas for all the work that they’ve done over the years, and we feel that they deserve it,” Scherma said.
The Academy will also institute an appeals process for anyone who feels that they should still be eligible to vote in the Emmys, despite being designated an associate member.
“We want to make sure that we don’t rush through this and that we do it right,” Scherma said. “As we’re first starting off, it will be a little bit slower as we figure out things. The last thing we want to do is rush through this and push out members that shouldn’t be pushed out. So we’ll be smart about this, and take our time. If it takes a little longer to do it correctly, we prefer to do that.”
The TV Academy’s decision to take a deeper look at the Emmy voting body comes a few years after the motion picture academy also clarified, in 2016, who is eligible to vote for the Oscars. In a bid to make the Academy Awards more diverse, the Academy ruled that its members are considered active if they’ve worked on at least one film in the past 10 years. Any members who have been active during three 10-year terms gets lifetime Oscar voting rights — as does anyone who has won, or been nominated, for an Oscar. Currently there are just under 8,000 voting motion picture academy members.
Seth Meyers is an Emmy Award-winning writer and current host of Late Night with Seth Meyers. Meyers hosted the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2014 and was Emmy-nominated in 2017 and 2018 for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series. In 2018 he hosted the 75th Golden Globe Awards, which was Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Variety Special. In addition, Meyers was named one of the 2014 TIME 100, Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. Meyers began his TV career with Saturday Night Live in 2001, where he was a cast member for 13 seasons. Meyers served as head writer for nine seasons and “Weekend Update” anchor for eight. In 2011, Meyers won the Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for host Justin Timberlake’s musical monologue. In all, Meyers has garnered 20 Emmy nominations for his work in television. Meyers currently executive produces the NBC comedy A.P. Bio and also executive produced and lent his voice to Hulu’s animated superhero show “The Awesomes, which ran for three seasons. In addition, Meyers has joined forces with SNL alums Fred Armisen and Bill Hader to create IFC’s Emmy-nominated docu-parody series Documentary Now! Meyers hosted the 2010 and 2011 ESPY Awards on ESPN and headlined the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner to rave reviews.
TV Academy ‘Confident’ in Emmy Procedures Following Oscar Flub
The Television Academy isn’t shaken by the historic debacle that its film counterpart suffered at the Oscars Sunday night. The organization expressed assuredness Tuesday in the process by which it identifies and announces winners for the Primetime Emmy Awards.
“The Television Academy has hired Ernst & Young to oversee this part of the process and is confident with their safeguards,” a Television Academy spokesperson said in a statement. “Awards shows are very complex productions and we certainly sympathize with a problem like this. Ultimately, it shouldn’t diminish the remarkable work being honored.”
On Sunday, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced “La La Land” as the winner of the Oscar for best picture — before it was revealed two minutes later that “Moonlight” was the actual winner. The error has since been attributed to Brian Cullinan of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has handled vote tabulation and the winners list for the for 83 years.
Ernst & Young has performed those same duties for the Primetime Emmy Awards for 29 years. In a press release issued prior to the 2015 Emmys, the firm described the measures it takes to ensure security and accuracy around voting and the winners’ list: including transporting multiple sets of sealed envelopes to the ceremony in separate cars, and printing winners envelopes internally so that no envelope is ever unsealed outside of the Ernst & Young’s Los Angeles office.
“The security and accuracy of the voting process is paramount to everything we do,” Ernst & Young lead partner Andy Sale said in a statement at the time. “As new voting technologies are introduced, it becomes critical to make sure every possible safeguard is in place to ensure the results adhere to the strict standards we have been enforcing on behalf of the Television Academy for more than a quarter century.”
Ernst & Young declined to comment on whether or how its procedures would be updated in the wake of the Oscars flub. The company also handles voting and results for the Golden Globe Awards.
PwC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued apologies Monday for the mistaken best picture announcement. But uncertainty remained about what led to the mistake, which PwC said stemmed from a system that employs one set of winners’ envelopes and another duplicate set meant to be a backup — which Cullinan mistakenly drew from.
Beatty on Tuesday asked the Motion Picture Academy to provide clarity around the events that led to the error. “Rather than for me to respond to questions from the press about the Academy ceremony, I feel it would be more appropriate for the president of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, to publicly clarify what happened as soon as possible,” Beatty said in a statement.
The Emmy Awards will be held on September 17.
TV Academy Disqualifies Several Emmy Voters for Shady Tactics (Exclusive)
Several members of the Television Academy’s Performers Peer Group (read: actors) have been disqualified from voting for the upcoming Primetime Emmy Awards.
According to a Wednesday memo sent to the group and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, a few members were found to have engaged in or advocated for block voting. That is to say, they discussed voting with other members of the group with the intention of all voting for one or more specific projects.
“The integrity of the Emmy competition is of paramount importance to the Television Academy,” reads the memo from chairman and CEO Frank Scherma and president and COO Maury McIntyre. “Any suggestions of voting impropriety, whether implied or acted upon, are taken very seriously and will not be tolerated.
A spokesperson for the Television Academy declined to comment when reached on the matter. It is not known how many individuals have been disqualified from voting at this point or who they are, but sources say they were notified Wednesday afternoon shortly after the memo went out.
It is also not immediately clear if said members face expulsion from the TV Academy.
Nomination round voting for the 2019 Primetime Emmys only began on Monday. It is open through June 24, with nominations set to be announced July 16.
Read the memo below.
Dear Performers Peer Group Member:
The Television Academy has determined that a few members of the Performers Peer Group have engaged in or advocated for block voting in the 2019 Emmy Awards competition.
As stated in an email sent to the Performers Peer Group on April 3, 2019:
ny implicit or explicit suggestion of quid pro quo and/or block voting for the Emmy competition constitutes a breach of the 2018-2019 Emmy Awards Rules & Procedures and also may be a violation of the Academy’s Code of Conduct. As such, this activity may be grounds for a member to be disqualified from participation.
Per the 2018-2019 Emmy Awards Rules & Procedures:
embers found to be engaged or otherwise complicit in quid pro quo and block voting shall have any votes cast invalidated and be disqualified… The Television Academy has therefore disqualified these members from the 2019 Emmy Awards competition, invalidating both their ballot entries and any votes they may have cast. In addition, their conduct may be referred to the Conduct Review Committee for further disciplinary action.
The integrity of the Emmy competition is of paramount importance to the Television Academy. Any suggestions of voting impropriety, whether implied or acted upon, are taken very seriously and will not be tolerated. The Academy will continue to investigate this matter, and will take appropriate action should other members be implicated.
Chairman & CEO
President & COO
Everything to Know About the 2019 Emmys
TV’s biggest night is almost here. On Sunday, the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will honor the best dramas, comedies, limited and variety series of the last year in television.
With heavy hitters like Veep, Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory singing their swan songs this year, there’s a lot to honor during the ceremony. The Television Academy and Fox, this year’s network for the awards show, have done away with a ceremony host (much like the Oscars did, though they came to the decision with much less drama), which they say will allow the broadcast to better focus on the nominees and highlight those shows’ final seasons.
HBO heads into the ceremony with the biggest advantage: a record-breaking 137 nominations for shows like Game of Thrones, Veep, Chernobyl and Barry. Netflix is close behind, having racked up 117 nominations for its series, including Ozark, Dead to Me, House of Cards and Russian Doll.
But the biggest of story of all is the final season of Game of Thrones as it leads the 2019 Emmys with 32 nominations, including Best Drama Series. With its big wins at the Creative Arts Emmys last weekend, the series is expected to take home its share of hardware on Sunday.
It’s not entirely about Game of Thrones at the Emmys, though. After dominating in the comedy categories at the 2018 Emmys, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is close behind with 20 nominations, while Barry and the limited series Fosse/Verdon are tied with 17 nods each.
Here’s everything to know about the 2019 Emmys.
When are the 2019 Emmys?
The 71st Primetime Emmys ceremony will take place on Sunday, Sept. 22, airing from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. E.T. The show will be broadcast live on Fox from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Who’s nominated for Emmys this year?
Billy Porter attends the red carpet event for FX’s “Pose” at Pacific Design Center on August 9, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. Matt Winkelmeyer—Getty Images
Game of Thrones’ final season has broken the record for the most nominations for one series in a single season, according to The Hollywood Reporter, with 32 nominations including Best Drama Series. It’s the fourth time Game of Thrones has led the pack in an Emmys broadcast. The show’s other chances at Emmys glory include Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington, for Lead Actress and Actor in a Drama Series, respectively.
Like Game of Thrones, Amazon Prime’s Fleabag is another contender in many categories. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is nominated in Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in the show, also earning a nod for writing one episode. Harry Bradbeer earned a directing nomination for the same episode, while Olivia Colman and Sian Clifford are both nominated for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, and Fiona Shaw and Kristin Scott Thomas both received nominations for Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
Read More: Here Are the 2019 Emmy Nominations
Ted Danson of The Good Place, which is nominated for Best Comedy, is up forfor Lead Actor in a Comedy Series along with Bill Hader of Barry, Eugene Levy of Schitt’s Creek, Anthony Anderson of Black-ish, Don Cheadle of Black Monday and Michael Douglas of The Kominsky Method. Danson won the award in 1990 and 1993 for his part on Cheers.
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Who’s likely to win?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus attends HBO FYC for “VEEP” at the Landmark Theaters on August 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Jeff Kravitz—FilmMagic for HBO
While it’s possible that Clarke could win the Leading Actress in a Drama Series award, she is up against Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, co-stars of Killing Eve, who are also big contenders for the award. Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder), Laura Linney (Ozark), Mandy Moore (This Is Us) and Robin Wright (House of Cards) fill out the competition.
Clarke’s co-star, Kit Harington, is up against Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia of This Is Us, Pose‘s Billy Porter, Ozark’s Jason Bateman and Bob Odenkirk of Better Call Saul. Prognosticators favor Porter, Bateman and Odenkirk over Harington, but Jon Snow does stand a chance, if slim.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus earned the Leading Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy award for six consecutive years of Veep and she’s poised to win a seventh, which would make her the actress with the most overall acting wins (beating Cloris Leachman), The Hollywood Reporter reports. She faces stiff competition from Phoebe Waller-Bridge of Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel‘s Rachel Brosnahan.
For Best Comedy Actor, Bill Hader is favored to win for his titular role in Barry, but The Good Place‘s Ted Danson is another strong contender.
Game of Thrones looks likely to win the Drama Series award, which it won in 2018, 2016 and 2015, while Veep‘s final season is set to clinch the Comedy Series honor, which it previously won in 2017, 2016 and 2015.
Who votes on the Emmys?
Similar to the Oscars, which are decided by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, members of the Television Academy vote on the Emmys. “The Academy has over 25,000 members, divided into 30 peer groups of specialized fields,” the Television Academy’s website says. Within each specialized field or group, members vote on the awards pertaining to their own peers.
Eligible work for Emmy consideration this year had to air between June 1, 2018 and May 31, 2019. The nominations round of voting took place from June 10 to June 24 and final nominations were announced on July 16 by actors Ken Jeong and D’Arcy Carden.
Voters had until Aug. 29 to make their picks for the 2019 awards.
This year’s Emmys ceremony has no host, following in the footsteps of a hostless (and quite successful) 2019 Oscars ceremony. While the Academy’s choice to do away with its traditional emcee role came after a highly public controversy, the Television Academy’s decision was intentional from the get-go. “The conclusion was reached that this year, because we were highlighting so many shows going away, that it would be useful to save the time” to highlight and honor those shows, Fox CEO Charlie Collier said during the Television Critics Association press tour. “You have to look at the trade off. If you have a host and an opening number, that’s 15-20 minutes that you don’t have to salute the shows.”
It’s the first time the Emmys will go sans host since the 2003 broadcast, which also aired on Fox, Variety reported. Last year’s ceremony, broadcast on NBC, featured Michael Che and Colin Jost of that network’s Saturday Night Live.
Going hostless may be in vogue now, after all. The 2019 Oscars and last year’s MTV Video Music Awards both had no host, though the VMAs broadcasts have often gone without an emcee in years past. Alicia Keys hosted last year’s Grammys ceremony, but the Recording Academy has not yet announced a host for its next broadcast on Jan. 26, 2020. The Academy has yet to announce whether the next Oscars ceremony, on Feb. 9, 2020, will have a host.
Zendaya attends The Daily Front Row’s 7th annual Fashion Media Awards on September 05, 2019 in New York City. Jennifer Graylock—Getty Images for Daily Front Row, Inc.
Without a host, the Academy is expected to create a star-studded, entertaining group of presenters. The first group of presenters was announced on Sept. 11 and included late night talk show hosts Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers, all Emmy nominees at this year’s ceremony. Angela Bassett, Viola Davis, Michael Douglas and Billy Porter — all nominees — will also present, in addition to Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, Peter Krause (9-1-1), Naomi Watts (The Loudest Voice) and Euphoria star Zendaya.
Game of Thrones cast members to present include nominees Alfie Allen, Gwendoline Christie, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, Carice van Houten, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Maisie Williams.
Kim Kardashian West, Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner will also present, in addition to Gwyneth Paltrow (The Politician), Maya Rudolph and Lilly Singh.
A final group of presenters was announced on the Friday before the ceremony, including Ken Jeong, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jon Hamm and Regina King.
Who won at the Creative Arts Emmys?
Jane Lynch poses in the press room with the award for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” during the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards on September 15, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. JC Olivera—WireImage
The Creative Arts Emmy Awards, held on Sunday, Sept. 15 — one week before the primetime awards broadcast — “honor outstanding artistic and technical achievement in a variety of television program genres, guest performances in weekly series, as well as exceptional work in the animation, reality and documentary categories,” the Television Academy explains.
Game of Thrones conquered this year’s Creative Arts Emmys, coming away with 10 awards. HBO “led all platforms,” the Academy said in a press release, as the network’s own Chernobyl left with seven awards.
Recipients of the guest acting awards came from two series. For comedy, Jane Lynch and Luke Kirby won the outstanding guest actress and actor awards for their roles on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Cherry Jones and Bradley Whitford won the outstanding guest actress and actor awards for the drama category, both for their roles on The Handmaid’s Tale.
What is the story with Game of Thrones at this year’s Emmys?
Cast of Outstanding Drama Series winner ‘Game of Thrones’ poses in the press room during the 70th Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Frazer Harrison—Getty Images
It’s no secret that Game of Thrones has dominated this year’s Emmys conversation. With Clarke’s and Harington’s previously mentioned nominations, as well as six actors and actresses in the supporting acting categories for drama, the series’ final season is looking for a strong finish.
Lena Heady, Maisie Williams and Gwendoline Christie are nominated against each other for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, while Alfie Allen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage are also competing for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
The show is also nominated for Best Drama Series, and co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss earned writing nods for “The Iron Throne” episode.
How many Emmys has Game of Thrones won in the past?
The series has won 57 Emmys to date, including several this year (see below). With this year’s nominations for its eighth season, the show has racked up a total of 160 nominations.
How many Creative Arts Emmys did it win this year?
The show’s final season won 10 awards at the Creative Arts Emmys on Sunday, Sept. 15, just edging out Chernobyl, which had seven wins.
At the ceremony, Game of Thrones won in the Outstanding Casting, Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes, Outstanding Main Title Design, Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic) and Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Limited Series or Movie categories.
The episode “The Long Night” earned its own share of accolades. Ramin Djawadi’s score for the episode won the music composition award, and the episode also won for its picture editing, sound editing and sound mixing. Another episode, “The Bells,” earned the special visual effects award.
For her role as Melisandre, Carice van Houten was nominated for the Guest Actress in a Drama award, but ultimately lost to Cherry Jones of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Should Game of Thrones win big despite its divisive final season?
No Game of Thrones season was ever as divisive as its eighth and final one, which ended with (spoiler alert) Jon Snow killing his love, Daenerys Targaryen, who had gone mad and killed civilians. “Daenerys has never suggested she had a desire to burn innocents as she did in this episode,” wrote TIME’s Eliana Dockterman. Then, in another unexpected twist, “Bran the Broken” became king.
“It all felt a little empty,” wrote TIME’s film critic Judy Berman. “By the finale, thorny ideological conflicts had been either dropped or reduced to morally straightforward questions like who’s brave and who’s a coward, who kills indiscriminately and who respect human life.”
The finale was so upsetting to some that fans began petitions to fight for a remake of the season with “competent writers.”
Still, despite the season’s faults, the show has been “a series that remains both hugely popular and widely respected at a time when ratings and prestige sometimes seem mutually exclusive,” Berman wrote. The series did win Best Drama last year, but there are many who would argue that a repeat is warranted, as a way for the Television Academy to honor not just the final episodes but an entire series that dominated the conversation of TV for nearly a decade.
How can I watch the ceremony?
Cable TV viewers can tune in live on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 8 p.m. E.T. on Fox. For viewers with a cable account but no TV set — or to watch at a friend’s who doesn’t have a cable provider — you can live-stream the show by logging in with your cable credentials on Fox.com.
Fox will also air the broadcast live on Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu Live, AT&T TV Now, FuboTV and YouTube.
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8 winners and 5 losers from the topsy-turvy 2019 Emmy Awards
Heading into the 2019 Emmys, the conventional wisdom had it that not only would Game of Thrones win Outstanding Drama Series but it would smash its previous record for most Emmys won by any TV show in a single season. Conventional wisdom also held that the Outstanding Comedy Series category was a dogfight between The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Veep, the most recent two shows to win that category. And it held that Outstanding Limited Series was a race between Chernobyl and When They See Us, with an outside shot for Fosse/Verdon.
The actual Emmys, as they so often do, had other ideas.
Some of the above happened, but a lot of it didn’t. Game of Thrones won its fourth Drama Series trophy but failed to break its own record. Neither Mrs. Maisel nor Veep could vanquish Fleabag in several comedy categories. And while Chernobyl won Limited Series, it did so seemingly in a walk; When They See Us ultimately managed just two wins out of 16 nominations, only one of which was broadcast during the primetime awards.
If there was an overall theme to this year’s awards, then, it was a dislike of inevitability. What the 2019 Emmys made clear is that, in an age when more and more broadcasters are dumping huge amounts of money into their awards campaigns in hopes of snagging a prize, the voters are still going to vote for what they like, no matter how many TV Academy members take home paychecks signed by HBO or Netflix brass. The result was a wild, unpredictable night — as well as a genuinely entertaining TV broadcast.
Here are eight winners and five losers from the 2019 Emmy awards.
Winner: Game of Thrones
Look, on the pure level of “Did Game of Thrones win Emmys?” … yes. Yes, it did. The show won a staggering 12 awards total, tying the record it set in 2015 for its fifth season. It won Outstanding Drama Series for the fourth time, joining the august company of Hill Street Blues, LA Law, The West Wing, and Mad Men. It made Peter Dinklage one of the few performers to win four times for the same role and the first since Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston to do so for a drama.
But sometimes these things aren’t about actual winners. They’re about perception. And from that point of view …
Loser: Game of Thrones
The cast and crew of Game of Thrones celebrate their final Emmy win for Outstanding Drama Series. Photo by Amy Sussman/WireImage
Game of Thrones should have won more than 12 Emmys. It just should have. After its record-shattering 32 nominations, after its 10 wins at last week’s Creative Arts Emmys, after everything, it should have been able to take home more than two awards during the Primetime awards.
At the very least, it seemed to have Outstanding Drama Series, Supporting Actor in a Drama (Dinklage), and Directing for a Drama in the bag, which would have made for 13 total wins. But it lost Directing (to the incredibly same-y visuals of Ozark!), and it couldn’t manage to best Julia Garner (again of Ozark) in Supporting Actress or overcome its own network mate Succession in Writing. And that’s to say nothing of the lead acting races, where it was thought to have less of a chance at winning (it did, indeed, lose both, to Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer and Pose’s Billy Porter).
What has to be most galling to the folks behind Game of Thrones is that a resounding night at the Primetime Emmys was supposed to be the best argument they’d have going forward against the idea that the final season was kind of bad. Instead, the best they can now argue is that their haul was more of a Pyrrhic victory than anything else — yeah, technically they won a couple, but they lost many more at the Primetime ceremony.
A healthy suspicion is that vote-splitting felled the show many times, meaning that in categories where it had multiple nominations, it kept robbing votes from itself. (It’s really hard to explain how Ozark won Directing otherwise.) But then consider that Dinklage overcame two of his castmates to win his category and that Game of Thrones lost the Writing category (where it had but one nomination and when the scripts were by far the most criticized element of the final season). Suddenly, a larger picture becomes clear: The show was over-nominated and people got a little tired of it.
In a few years, when people look at the Emmy record books and see that Game of Thrones won 58 awards across its eight seasons, including Outstanding Drama Series four times and that it had two years where it won 12 awards total — they’re going to think (rightly!) that the Emmys loved this show. But from the vantage point of right now, in 2019, it’s not hard to feel like team Thrones hoped everything would go differently.
Even with Game of Thrones’ unsteady evening, HBO pretty well cleaned up. It won nine total awards during the night, leading to a smashing total of 34 when you add in the Creative Arts Emmys. And its wins were from a wide spread of programs — Barry and Chernobyl and Game of Thrones and Last Week Tonight and Succession. Plus it had the two biggest winners of the year when all Emmys ceremonies are added together, thanks to Game of Thrones’ 12 and Chernobyl’s 10.
Yeah, it was probably expecting to perform better in the Comedy categories (where only Bill Hader won for his lead performance in Barry), but you can’t have everything. The HBO Emmy party should be pretty happy, all things considered.
But we can’t abandon HBO entirely just yet. For the network had one other fairly significant loser …
Loser: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Julia Louis-Dreyfus failed to make it seven-for-seven in Emmy wins for Veep. HBO
The Emmys have bestowed favor on Julia Louis-Dreyfus many, many times in the past. She’s won eight awards as an actor, a record she shares with Cloris Leachman. (She’s also won three awards for producing.) But though six of her eight acting Emmys are for her starring role on Veep, she didn’t win for the show’s final season of eligibility. The award went to Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge instead.
Louis-Dreyfus was heavily favored to win this year, and not only because she’d been on an unbroken winning streak for playing hapless politician Selina Meyer — the most wins any actor has received for playing the same character. In 2017, the day after she won her sixth Veep Emmy, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. A little over a year later, in October 2018, she announced that she was cancer-free. Veep’s seventh and final season, which had been delayed for Louis-Dreyfus’s treatment, premiered last spring.
That cancer-beating narrative made it seem like Louis-Dreyfus was due for a record-breaking win. But after she lost the Emmy to Waller-Bridge, when she and the rest of the cast of Veep arrived onstage to present a different award, she seemed to take it all in stride, cracking jokes in character as Selina Meyer: She lamented that she’d been told she’d be up there alone to present and referred to co-star Timothy Simons as “Jonah,” his character’s name. And given that Louis-Dreyfus has never failed to earn a nomination for any TV show where she’s been a series regular since Seinfeld’s third season, it’s pretty clear this won’t be her last time at the Emmys.
In the race among the big three streamers to see who can become the biggest Emmy darling, Amazon has jumped out to a commanding lead. Hulu’s eight Handmaid’s Tale wins in 2017 feel like a distant memory, and Netflix still hasn’t won one of the big three awards (Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Comedy Series, and Outstanding Limited Series) in its time competing.
But Amazon not only won Comedy Series for the second year in a row (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in 2018, Fleabag in 2019), but it also had the second-highest awards total of the night with seven. And it boasted the night’s winningest show with Fleabag, which won four awards. (Fleabag also won the Casting award and an Editing prize at the Creative Arts Emmys, which brought its overall total to six.) On top of that, Mrs. Maisel won eight awards in total, making it the third-winningest program of the year. Altogether, those wins show just how well Amazon’s Emmy strategies have paid off.
And as if that weren’t enough, it pulled off a pretty stunning upset in the Supporting Actor in a Limited Series category, where Ben Whishaw vaulted over several contenders from the much more hyped Chernobyl and When They See Us to win for his work in A Very British Scandal. Which brings us to …
Winner: Openly queer performers
No openly gay actor of color has ever won the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category — or, at least, that was the case before Billy Porter won for Pose. And though other openly gay actors have won in the supporting categories before, this felt different. Whishaw thanking his husband, Mark Bradshaw, from the stage is the sort of thing that still feels new at the Emmys, which have often lagged behind the Tonys and the Oscars in terms of queer representation.
And even when the 2019 Emmy winners weren’t queer themselves, they often took a moment to shout out, say, trans rights (as Supporting Actress in a Limited Series Patricia Arquette did, nodding to her late sister Alexis Arquette, a trans woman). Or you’d have someone like Fleabag’s Andrew Scott, an openly gay actor who wasn’t even nominated but was such a big part of season two that creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge spent a significant portion of her Comedy Series acceptance speech praising his work.
And speaking of Phoebe Waller-Bridge …
Winner: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Phoebe Waller-Bridge is on top of the world. She won three Emmys — for starring in, writing, and producing Fleabag — and as if that weren’t enough, she created Killing Eve, which won Jodie Comer the Lead Actress in a Drama Series award. Waller-Bridge is a British writer and actor whose demeanor combines “acidic” and “goofy” into a cocktail that works surprisingly well, and now she is headed off to help write the next James Bond movie and could theoretically do just about anything she wants going forward. (Her next TV project is an HBO series called Run. We’re instantly into it.)
She may never have it this good again, but in 2019 it’s really good to be Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
The streaming giant came into the evening poised to win big, with 27 nominations. That meant it was second only to HBO (which had 34).
But while HBO won nine of its awards, Netflix only won four. Jharrel Jerome took home the lead actor in a limited series Emmy for his performance in When They See Us, Ava DuVernay’s miniseries about the Central Park Five. Bandersnatch, the choose-your-own-adventure Black Mirror movie, won in the television movie category. And Ozark took home two awards: one for supporting actress Julia Garner and one for Jason Bateman for directing.
That’s a disappointing showing for Netflix, which for the past several years has been eager to rack up major awards. In 2013, the Netflix original series House of Cards became the first streaming-only TV series to be nominated for major awards, garnering four nominations and winning one (for director David Fincher). Its paltry haul this year likely hurts even more next to streaming rival Amazon, which turned its 15 nominations into seven wins, with shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Fleabag taking home some of the night’s biggest honors.
What’s more, When They See Us was considered Netflix’s prime contender to win lots of Emmys, but it could only manage two wins out of its 16 nominations — for Jerome and for its casting (awarded earlier, at the Creative Arts Emmys). Director and writer DuVernay couldn’t overcome the Chernobyl juggernaut.
But Netflix has repeatedly poured money into awards campaigns and shows no signs of slowing, with movies like Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman on the docket for the upcoming Oscar season as well as a slate of TV and movies in contention for the Golden Globes, which take place in January. With deep pockets, big ambitions, and development deals with many hot talents like Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes, it’s likely that Netflix has years of Emmy showings in its future.
Winner: Michelle Williams’s speech
Williams won Lead Actress in a Limited Series for her tremendous work in FX’s Fosse/Verdon, and she gave the night’s biggest and best speech, calling for equal pay for women — especially women of color — and declaring that she’s ready for a world where women might thank their bosses, as she could, “for allowing her to succeed because of her workplace environment and not in spite of it.”
Watch the full speech below:
Loser: Diversity (especially racial diversity)
The Emmys rallied after the early winners provided white face after white face. After all, both the Limited Series lead actor Jharrel Jerome and Drama Series lead actor Billy Porter are black, and as mentioned above, this was a good year for queer representation.
But by and large, the 2019 Emmys were among the whitest in recent memory. Of the 12 acting winners, only Jerome and Porter were winners of color, and the three writing and three directing categories were all won by white folks, with only Waller-Bridge’s win in Comedy Writing adding a woman to a mix that was otherwise comprised entirely white men.
Some of this is just a function of the shows that were up for awards. Popular, racially diverse series like Atlanta weren’t even eligible for this year’s ceremony.
Still, for whatever reason, the Academy didn’t nominate plenty of very good actors of color who might have been terrific winners (like, say, anybody from Pose who wasn’t Porter). The Emmys’ strides in diversity over the past five years have been heartening, and there was plenty to celebrate in 2019. But it also felt as though all involved had taken a step back, even if moments like Jerome’s win were electrifying.
Winner: The casting categories
Don’t look now, but the casting categories at the Creative Arts Emmys are becoming some of the most important harbingers of larger success. For instance, Fleabag won only two Creative Arts awards — but one was for casting, which has now called the correct Outstanding Comedy Series winner for the last five Emmy ceremonies.
The record for calling Outstanding Drama is a bit spottier, but the Creative Arts award for casting has called three out of the last five. And Limited Series casting has called seven of the last eight (though the one that missed was this very year, as When They See Us won for casting but ultimately lost Outstanding Limited Series to Chernobyl). If you want to win your Emmy pool, this is a category to pay attention to.
Winner: Thomas Lennon
The always entertaining actor and writer Thomas Lennon was the guy providing quick jokes to shepherd viewers in and out of the ceremony’s ad breaks, and his “random facts” about the various winners as they marched up to the stage were often very funny, like this bit about the cast of Saturday Night Live.
He was a highlight in a production that mostly moved efficiently, to the degree that toward the end of the show, a female announcer simply started reading off lists of nominees to keep things moving, a decision that mostly worked.
And, also, the show featured this gag, which is great, even if Lennon had nothing to do with it. (Consider this “winner” slot one for a telecast that mostly succeeded.)
The Emmys’ 2015 switch to a voting system where everybody in the TV Academy gets to vote on the awards (rather than restricting voting to specific members of blue-ribbon panels) initially coincided with dull years when shows swept their way to the win — see also that first time Game of Thrones won 12 Emmys. But the 2019 Emmys showed that the new system has introduced a sense of wild unpredictability to the awards. Would a show like Fleabag ever have won under the old system? Probably not. The same is true for Succession’s win for Writing, a decision surely bolstered by the show’s stellar second season airing while voting took place.
Emmy voters in 2019 seemed to chafe against the inevitability of certain narratives. Sure, they would give Game of Thrones some trophies, but not enough to shatter any records. And they might have enjoyed Veep and Mrs. Maisel at one time or another, but this year, they loved Fleabag more.
It turns out that passion still counts for something at the Emmys, even with how big and bloated and corporate they’ve become. Game of Thrones can win 12 awards. But it can’t win everything. And in and of itself, that’s a good sign for the Emmys’ future.
Correction: Fleabag won two Creative Arts Emmys, not just one.