Three Game of Thrones actors submitted themselves for Emmys…and got nominations

Normally, in the course of Emmy campaigns, networks undertake much of the costs of promoting their own shows, and HBO is no exception. However, in this final run at the Emmys, not one, but three stars from Game of Thrones decided to shoot their shots … and succeeded.

This comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which says that Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), Carice van Houten (Melisandre) and Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) all put themselves forward for Emmy consideration, rather than HBO doing the work for them. The lot of them ended up on the ballot, along with Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Tagaryen), all of whom HBO submitted the paperwork for.

This isn’t some sort of break in the rules, as THR is careful to note. However, what it doesn’t mention is that the Television Academy votes for the nominees as well as the winners. Granted, only “specific peer groups” vote for the acting nominees, rather than the entire Academy, but this indicates that there’s some real support for these three actors and their work in the final season of Game of Thrones.

Could an upset be in the cards? Could Alfie Allen win the Emmy over Peter Dinklage, who’s won it several times already? Might Gwendoline Christie win out over multiple nominee Lena Headey? When I was prognosticating about how many Emmys the show could win, I couldn’t come to a real conclusion for either the Outstanding Supporting Actor or Outstanding Supporting Actress categories, in part because both of them are just stacked with Game of Thrones stars. This bit of news muddies the waters even further, as does how big Christie’s thank-you tweet is:

Now, of course, it’s an honor just to be nominated. However, the fact that this is all getting publicity suggests that in this period before final votes are submitted, voters might be looking at Christie, Allen, and van Houten in a new light. Everyone loves an underdog, after all. With the final vote deadline on August 29, there might be a good chance that one — or more than one — of them can walk away with an Emmy.

The Television Academy encourages people to put themselves forward, but THR notes that it’s not likely for those kinds of submissions to actually result in nominations. With three successes in one year, who knows? Maybe things will get a bit more open in years to come.

Or it could be that Game of Thrones is just too strong! Either way, it’s shaping up to be an intriguing Emmy race in these categories. We’ll be watching on September 22 to see how it all shakes out.

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