Hollywood’s A-listers gather on Monday to honour the best in television at the Emmy Awards, with record-breaking fantasy epic “Game of Thrones” back in the competition and once again looking to slay its rivals.
But winter could come early for HBO’s blood-spattered smash hit if it fails to snare the coveted best drama series prize, with last year’s winner “The Handmaid’s Tale” hotly tipped to defend its crown.
Both shows have already picked up some Emmys hardware: “Game of Thrones” won seven statuettes in technical categories at last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys, while “The Handmaid’s Tale” scooped up three.
And both are likely to add to that haul at Monday’s glittering gala in downtown Los Angeles, but the race for the top prize still seems to be a crapshoot, with dark horse pick “The Americans” also in the hunt.
Can “Handmaid” — Hulu’s bleak take on a totalitarian America where women are oppressed, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel — again win over voters, especially in the #MeToo era?
Will “The Americans” — the gripping FX thriller about Soviet sleeper agents in the United States during the Cold War — finally earn some Emmys love after a critically acclaimed six-season run?
Or will “GoT,” the cinematic tale of noble families vying for the Iron Throne, reign supreme once again, on the back of its whopping 22 nominations?
Others in the best drama category include HBO’s futuristic western “Westworld,” Netflix favourites “The Crown” and retro sci-fi mystery “Stranger Things,” and NBC family saga “This is Us.”
The Television Academy’s 22,000-plus members have already cast their ballots for the 70th Primetime Emmys, the small-screen answer to the Oscars — so it’s time for red carpet glamour and heartfelt speeches.
For Robert Thompson, professor of pop culture and television history at Syracuse University in New York, there are no “obvious winners” on the drama side — but a plethora of innovative, quality comedies.
“As peak TV settles into middle age, half-hour comedies are television’s red Corvette,” Thompson said — a shiny new toy for viewers.
With perennial heavy hitter “Veep” out of contention this year, FX’s “Atlanta” — a quirky look at the rap scene in the Georgia capital — is squaring off with Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel” for top honours.
“Atlanta” star and creator Donald Glover, a winner last year for the best lead comedy actor, is tipped to repeat. Overall, the show earned 16 nominations.