This year, Game of Thrones is guaranteed to win more Emmys than any drama ever


(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

In 2015, Game of Thrones was nominated for a whopping 24 Emmy awards. It won 12, more than any other show had ever won in a single year. Game of Thrones had received a healthy number of Emmy nominations during its first four seasons, but something changed after Season 5. The floodgates were open, the critical community embraced HBO’s flagship program, and Game of Thrones swept the show.*

Last week, the 2016 Emmy nominations were announced, and once again, Game of Thrones received a ton of nominations, 23 in all. (24 if you count the Outstanding Interactive Program nomination for the Game Of Thrones Main Titles 360 Experience.) Will it sweep the ceremony again? We’ll find out on September 18, when the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences hands out the Primetime Emmys. (The Creative Arts Emmys, which involves the more technically oriented awards, will be held over two nights on the weekend prior to the Primetime telecast.) But no matter what happens, by the end of the night, the show is all but guaranteed to have amassed more Emmys than other drama series in the history of television.

The math is simple. Throughout the years, Game of Thrones has collected a total of 26 Emmys. That ties it with two other dramas: The West Wing and Hill Street Blues. The thing is, neither The West Wing nor Hill Street Blues are ever going to be nominated for an Emmy again. Game of Thrones, on the other hand, has over a dozen chances to snag at least one this September, and will very likely have yet more chances after Seasons 7 and 8.

And let’s face it: there are a few awards where it would take a miracle to prevent Game of Thrones from winning. For example, how could “Battle of the Bastards” not win a trophy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects? In what world does the show not win Outstanding Stunt Coordination? And after last year, I think the chances are good for the show to pick up a bunch of non-technical awards, too. Three out of the six nominees in the Outstanding Supporting Actress category are from Game of Thrones, and Kit Harington is getting a lot of buzz for his Best Supporting Actor nom. Last year, the show picked up trophies for Best Writing, Best Directing, and Best Drama, and I could see repeats in all three categories.

So basically, it’s a done deal. Game of Thrones will pick up a 27th Emmy, at minimum, and will become the most decorated drama in history.

What does that mean? To start, it’s a testament to the show’s cultural cache. At the end of the day, awards don’t really matter—the show would be good with or without them—but getting this kind of recognition indicates that Game of Thrones is more than a good TV show; it’s a pop cultural phenomena, and it’s fun to be a part of that.

And keep in mind, the show still has two seasons to go. Let’s be conservative and say that Game of Thrones will win six Emmy awards this year, half of what it won after Season 5. Then let’s assume it’ll win three awards each following Seasons 7 and 8. That’s an additional 12 awards, bringing its grand total to 38. That’ll put it above Frasier, which currently holds the record for most decorated comedy series with a total of 37 Emmy awards. If we’re a little less conservative—say the show wins eight Emmys during each of the next three award ceremonies for which it’s eligible—Game of Thrones could even become the most decorated TV series of all time, taking the crown from Saturday Night Live, which has earned 47 statues during its 41 seasons on the air.

Considering that the show’s popularity only seems to be growing, this is very possible. It’s an exciting time to be a fan—it’s rare for a show to inspire both critical acclaim and huge audiences, and it’s a moment we should hold onto. After all, when will something the size of Game of Thrones come around again?

*Also, the Emmys changed the voting rules a bit, which helped.