24 Emmy nominations yesterday is still the highest number of any show this year in any category, and is a major chunk of HBO’s whopping 126 nominations this year, the most of any network (or streaming service.) George R.R. Martin is chuffed.
Congratulations are in order for David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, our showrunners, all our writers and directors and producers, our amazing cast and our incredible crew, and of course the good folks at Home Box Office, who made all this possible.
It’s an incredible list, I applaud everyone on it… and all of those who didn’t make it either. GAME OF THRONES is what it is because of the untiring efforts of the best cast and crew in television today. Many were recognized by the Academy today for their work… but others, equally dedicated and talented, were not. But the show would not the hit it is without their talent and dedication.
It really is. But we here at WiC were puzzling over some of the choices yesterday after the excitement died down and we took a hard look at the decisions. As I ran through the ten pages of nominations yesterday it seemed odd to me that “Hardhome” wasn’t coming up as much as I expected, but it wasn’t until I really looked at the finished list and thought about it that I realized where the two oddities were and why they bothered me.
The first one: Visual Effects. I assumed “Hardhome” was a shoo in for this. Instead
is nominated for….”The Dance of Dragons.” What? The seamless zombie battle where characters like The Night’s King and the White Walker Jon fought seemed like real people is not nominated for visual effects? How did the scene where the dead rose up en mass as a CGI character raised his arms not get the nod for visual effects?
Meanwhile Dany’s dragon ride, though awesome and emotionally satisfying, had some of the worst seams and green screen roughness that almost felt like one was seeing a 1980s era fantasy movie. This is not a knock on the production per se–the fact is that they only have so much money. They dedicated that budget to making “Hardhome” a stunner, and therefore Dany and her dragons just didn’t have the budget to do quite as much clean up work as they probably would have liked. Even the stills show the rough edges.
Another point that Martin brings up is the other nomination that made me do a double take.
Even where GOT itself is concerned… I am thrilled to see both Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey among the nominees, but I wanted Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner and Natalie Dormer as well… it’s great that two of our episodes got nominated for directing, but how did they overlook “Hardhome?”… and will Iain Glen and Conleth Hill and John Bradley West ever get any recognition, and…
How did the academy overlook “Hardhome” for directing? It seems selfish to complain when they nominated two episodes for the honor. And I understand the finale “Mother’s Mercy” getting the nod, what with Cersei’s walk and the sheer amount of death scenes involved. But “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”? In case anyone happened to forget, that was the episode that many reviewers called the worst of the season. Most of that got drowned out by Sansa’s rape scene and the boycott cries that followed. But seriously? This was the one with the terrible Sand Snake fight scene. And the one with the awkward slavers scene. And the one where Loras and Margaery were arrested! Ok, well maybe that part wasn’t so bad. But still! Who would pick this over “Hardhome?” Unless of course, they just wanted to extend a middle finger to all those boycotters.
Still, as Martin points out, arguing who should be nominated over what is silly. After all,
led in nominations last year too, and we all saw how that turned out.
…before we do too many cartwheels, it would be wise to remember that GAME OF THRONES also led the Emmy nominations last year, with 19 nods, only to get skunked on the night of the televised awards. The same as the year before, and the year before that. Like many fantasy shows before us, GOT is often honored for our special effects, costumes, makeup, stuntwork, set design, and cinematography (this year, please note, we have four of five finalists for cinematography), but seldom for writing, directing, or acting. Peter Dinklage’s Emmy as Best Supporting Actor for season one remains the ONLY award the show has ever won in those categories, in fact.
Last year the only person who took home anything was Martin himself, who got a prop typewriter from Weird Al and company. I suppose we should hope that this year’s host, Andy Samberg, who is known for his comedy singing troupe The Lonely Island, will make sure to do something similar so
can take home something come September 20th if this happens again.
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It’s pretty laughable, in my opinion, that the show is getting so many nominations now, after a year in which the quality of the writing and the show in general took a massive nosedive. Then again, I suspect that most awards are more about hype than they are about actual artistic merit.
“Meanwhile Dany’s dragon ride, though awesome and emotionally satisfying, had some of the worst seams and green screen roughness that almost felt like one was seeing a 1980s era fantasy movie. This is not a knock on the production per se–the fact is that they only have so much money. They dedicated that budget to making “Hardhome” a stunner, and therefore Dany and her dragons just didn’t have the budget to do quite as much clean up work as they probably would have liked. Even the stills show the rough edges. ”
To my eye I only saw seams after Drogon’s take off. I think with a Peter Jackson budget the CGI of Drogon landing and chewing and flaming could have been spruced up, but that all looked VFX wise fine for a TV show , in fact never seen it done that well for a TV show before.
Only after Drogon launches himself does it look , off, but I think that due to the fact that, and I’ll bet on this, Emilia did not do a separate studio based green screen work. (like they did for the recent King Kong, say.) Seemed a composite from just the bull ring shooting.
Just three more Emmy’s and the show would have beaten NYPD Blue for most Emmy nominations for a drama series in a single year. So close!
The pit required tons more CGI than Hardhome. That dragon did not exist at all, and that pit was tiny compared to the final product. But all those wights were actual actors just wearing makeup or green tights. They didn’t have to make something out of nothing. They could just use the actor’s facial expressions and movements. With Drogon there was none of that, and they still had to find a way to get Emilia up there and ride the darn thing.
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