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Emmys 2019: Five things to watch for ahead of the nominations

Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Emmy nominations arrive Tuesday, roughly nine weeks ahead of the September show and a year out from Meryl Streep unfurling another acceptance speech -- this time for her supporting turn on the second season of "Big Little Lies." (The chilling look of self-satisfaction that ends this Sunday's episode all but sealed the deal.)

The Emmys still doesn't have a host and, taking a cue from the Oscars, probably won't. If you remember the lackluster energy dribbling out of hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost last year -- and I'm guessing you don't -- then maybe this will be a case of addition by subtraction. Unless Billy Porter (FX's "Pose") and Taraji P. Henson ("Empire") could be persuaded to team up, it's not like Fox, the network broadcasting the ceremony this year, is brimming with strong in-house candidates.

What can we expect when the nominations are announced? Surprises, sure. The vast television landscape all but guarantees a splintering of selections. (Look for several categories to exceed their quota of nominees, thanks to the Emmys' rule of granting nominations to contenders that come within 2% of qualifying.) And, since the new seasons of "The Handmaid's Tale," "Big Little Lies" and "Stranger Things" arrived too late to be eligible for this year's awards, there are plenty of openings for newcomers.

Here are five things to look for in Tuesday morning's nominations.

Emmy voters will love the final season of "Game of Thrones" more than you probably did.

"Game of Thrones" has earned a record 128 Emmy nominations over its first seven seasons, winning 47, also the high mark for a prime-time series. The departing HBO drama figures to add to those numbers, even for an anticlimactic final season that could be described, charitably, as a disappointment. (If you're feeling less generous, you might call it an outright disaster for the way it did Daenerys wrong, among many, many other transgressions. Bran? Really?)

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That the rushed storytelling in the last batch of supersized episodes stumbled won't matter to Emmy voters, who will again bend the knee because, for six weeks, "Game of Thrones" ruled pop culture in a way that will be difficult for any TV series to duplicate. Each episode was an event to be debated, dissected and quickly turned into glorious memes, which often were more entertaining than the show itself.

The "Thrones" acting ensemble will look to best its record for nominations -- five -- and they're banking on voters considering Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in the lead categories, a gambit that didn't work out last year. Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau did earn supporting nominations in 2018, with Dinklage winning. Maisie Williams earned a nomination for the show's sixth season; Sophie Turner is aiming to join the club for this final go-around.

And while it's hard to make a case that Headey deserves a nomination for a short season spent mostly on a balcony, gazing into the distance, Emmy voters are creatures of habit and probably will give her a fifth and farewell nod. It seems likely, in fact, that the whole gang will be celebrating Tuesday morning. Except for Isaac Hempstead Wright, because, c'mon, a creepy, faraway stare might earn you the throne, but it shouldn't snag you an Emmy nomination too.

"Fleabag" breaks through. (It'd better.)

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