With the 2014 Emmy Awards nominations due to be announced on July 10, Zap2it is making cases for the actors and shows that deserve some awards love, but would be surprising -- and therefore very exciting -- nominees.
"Game of Thrones" is no stranger to Emmy Awards nominations, but it is a stranger to acting and program Emmy Awards wins. Ever since its premiere, the HBO fantasy series has several earned Outstanding Drama and supporting and guest actor nominations, but has only won once in those categories (Peter Dinklage in 2011).
The reason why viewers will never see a "Game of Thrones" actor nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor or Actress is that the cast opts to submit themselves as either supporting or guest -- a way to acknowledge that they all are smaller pieces of a much bigger puzzle. The primary favorite for nominations seems to be Dinklage (he's won supporting actor once and been nominated two additional times). The only other cast members to earn nominations are Emilia Clarke (supporting) and Diana Rigg (guest), both in 2013.
As great as those three are, it's time for the Television Academy to branch out a bit. There were a number of fantastic performances in Season 4, and they deserve recognition. The full list of actors submitted for Emmy consideration are Lena Headey, Charles Dance, Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Natalie Dormer, Sophie Turner, Kit Harington, Maisie Williams, Clarke, Pedro Pascal and Rigg, and "Game of Thrones" deserves (at least) one actor or actress to be present in all of its eligible acting categories.
The nomination we'd most like to see -- and also would be the most unexpected -- is an Outstanding Supporting Actress nod for Maisie Williams. She emotes more with a silent gaze than many actors do with a monologue, and in Season 4 she was especially standout. At age 17, Williams is one of the strongest players on a show filled with strong adult actors, and she continues to be an asset to the series.
The more likely choice is a nomination for Lena Headey. If the academy needs to choose a recognizable name for the nomination, please let it be Headey over Clarke. As great as Clarke is (and Dormer and Turner are), Headey had the best material to deal in Season 4 and handled it flawlessly -- even her controversial rape scene. Cersei Lannister is a complex character, and the fact that Headey pulls the role off season after season is worth recognition.
For the Outstanding Supporting Actor category, 2014 is really Dinklage's Emmy to lose. Toward the end of the season, it felt like every scene he filmed was made specifically for his Emmy reel, and boy did he deliver. While a nomination for him seems obvious, a second Emmy win is well-deserved.
The more unexpected and exciting choice would be for Charles Dance, if only as a culmination of all the amazing work he's done on this show. Coster-Waldau and Harington were great, but Dance has remained one of the high points of "Game of Thrones." The death of Tywin Lannister is a tragic one if only because Dance will no longer be on the show.
As for the two submitted guest actors, both Rigg and Pascal better get nominations. Rigg seems like a shoo-in after her 2013 nom (her lack of screentime notwithstanding), but as for Pascal, goodness gracious. A lack of a nomination for him would be a travesty, as he managed to turn the short-lived arc of Oberyn Martell into one of the most compelling stories of Season 4. The fan outcry at the Red Viper's death proves the impact he made in a very limited amount of screentime; it's a testament to a fantastic performance.
While "Game of Thrones" surely will earn a Outstanding Drama nomination and handful of acting and technical ones, here's hoping that the academy doesn't go for the obvious actor/actress choices. The show has an ensemble worthy of applause, and the nomination love deserves to be spread amongst the cast members.
Photo/Video credit: HBO