The Many Accolades of “Game of Thrones”

In celebration of Emmy Night, we decided to take a look back at the record shattering performance of Game of Thrones in the different guilds and awards.

7 min readSep 20, 2020
The cast of Game of Thrones

HBO’s biggest hit in history Game of Thrones already concluded over a year ago, but the conversation around the show doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Tonight the Emmy Awards will be given in a virtual conference, and for the first time in a decade without GoT in the mix, giving room for fresh blood like HBO’s Succession and Netflix’s Ozark to flourish. What makes Game of Thrones different than many popular series or blockbuster movies is that besides the huge fan following it generated among the audience it was highly appreciated and respected by professionals and critics alike and was considered, by all means, a prestige product through and through.

There’s no actual definition to which award ceremony is considered “legitimate” and which is just a group of people that decided to pick their favorites, but on a quick overview on IMDb, it’s listed that among the Award shows this site documents GoT has a total of ~1000 nominations in it’s 8-seasons run, with around 370 of them that they actually won. This number, to put it bluntly, is simply insane. You can go through every acclaimed show you know- if it’s “The Sopranos”, “The West Wing”, “Mad Men” or “Breaking Bad”, none of them has a number that’s even close to this count (and keep in mind, it’s the very same pool of awards IMDb documents across all shows). And if we look at only the prestige ones, mainly those given by professionals from the industry, GoT did pretty amazing in particular.

Emmy-winning director Miguel Sapochnik

Let’s start with the Television Academy Awards- God, I just love the Emmys. They built their love towards the show slowly but steadily, by granting the first 4 seasons of the show awards mainly from the Creative Arts categories, for the people working behind the curtains on the technical aspects of the show. Once the undeniable masterpiece “Breaking Bad” left the building, the love the Academy held for GoT completely blown up- and right now it holds the record of the most wins in history for a scripted series- with a dazzling 59 trophies. I remember waking up at 3am at September 2015 to watch the ceremony, and I just couldn’t believe what I witnessed. The show won a total of 12 Awards, including the major categories of Outstanding Drama Series, Writing, Directing and Supporting Actor for Peter Dinklage- and with that set a new record of most wins by a show in a single year. The year afterwards it managed to tie it’s own record with another 12 wins- 6 of them for the legendary “Battle of the Bastards” episode, including Writing and Directing, that made this episode the most awarded single episode in Emmys history. For Season 7, the show won the long overdue Outstanding Music Composition Emmy for the first time, an event that repeated for the last season. Season 7 racked a total of 9 Awards, which might sound not so much in comparison to the previous two years, but it still a very good number compared to how other classic shows fared in history.

Emmy-winning composer Ramin Djawadi at Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience

But I must admit that the moment that made me the proudest in the Television Academy was just last year, when they declared they do not subscribe to the unwarranted hate-bandwagon that took place on Social Media regarding the show’s final season, and appreciate it for the monumental achievement in television history that it was- giving it 32 nominations (the most any show ever received). Back then it reclaimed it’s record once more with 12 Wins in total, including the prestigious “Outstanding Drama Series” award. In fact, the divisive final season of GoT is actually the most awarded final season of any show in history, which is satisfyingly ironic. By granting the show the “Outstanding Drama Series” Emmy for the fourth time, GoT joined the exclusive club of only four other shows (including classics “The West Wing” and “Mad Men”) that reached this highest ever number of wins in said category. Peter Dinklage also repeated the Supporting Actor win for the fourth time last year, beating Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul previous record and making him the actor that won this award the highest number of times. Alas, it’s sad to think that Peter Dinklage remains the only cast member to win an Emmy for GoT- with the most notable snub, in my opinion, being Lena Headey. In their last year the GoT cast managed to get 10 acting nominations in total, an impressive number for a show of any kind, which might at the bottom line split the votes among it’s nominated actors and cost them the trophy. Ideally, wins are awesome, but nominations count as well. And in that aspect GoT holds another record- the most Emmy nominated show in history with a total of 160 nominations.

Peter Dinklage

Let’s be frank, the Golden Globes never cared much for GoT. Besides one win for Peter Dinklage in the first season, the show didn’t win any other GG, and was even dropped from contention for the Drama Series Category three times. The show got snubbed at the Golden Globed both at it’s first “universally acclaimed” seasons and also in its more polarising last 4. Nevertheless, the Emmys are far from being the only place that showed GoT love throughout the years. Miguel Sapochnik and David Nutter both won the Director’s Guild Award for seasons 5 and 6, the show won Producers Guild Award once and was nominated for the Writers Guild Awards many times. Basically every possible guild you never heard of awarded the show at some point, if it’s Cinematographers, Costume Designers, Visual Effects or even the Location Managers’ Guild.

Even for it’s more divisive final season, it seems all the different award circles didn’t seems to mind of the controversy, at least not to a significant degree. In the 2019 run, the show managed to get most of the nominations it always used to get amond the different guilds, and win roughly the same categories it always did. In the Director’s Guild Awards, both Miguel Sapochnik and David Nutter got nominated for their episodes, ultimately splitting the vote just like what happened in the season prior. The show also got nominated for PGA like it always did, and also managed to snatch a few first time wins — like Peter Dinklage being the first (and last) GoT cast member to win a SAG award, and Nina Gold finally winning the Casting Association Society Award, include many others.

Emmy-winning costume designer Michele Clapton

The show won the MTV awards, if for some reason that’s your cup of tea, and on the other side of the spectrum won the BAFTA at some point and was even nominated for a Grammy for the last two seasons (besides many other places where Ramin Djawadi was awarded for the soundtrack). On the audience side, for example it even holds the record of most wins in the Drama Series of the Year category at the awards experts’ site Gold Derby. Frankly it will become extremely boring to start pointing out names of awards now, but you probably got the point already- the show did amazingly well among professional voters and fan polling all the same.

Emmy-winning director David Nutter

On the same note, not only awards are indications for a show’s success. While no trophies were given at any of these scenarios, GoT managed to do wonders even when it comes to it’s fan following. Every year the show broke new viewership records at HBO and several episodes of it, not even only the notable ones, managed to beat the years-old ratings record the Sopranos finale set. Ever since around Season 5 it was also reported as the most illegally torrented show of every year and also the most engaging one on social media. Exhibitions and concerts of the show flourished across the world, and many fans took guided trips in certain places of Ireland and Dubrovnik, where the show was shot.

David Benioff, Conleth Hill and D.B. Weiss at International Emmy Awards 2019

It will actually be a long time until we can completely put GoT behind us, but if we take a look now, GoT managed to achieve more than any show ever did- in all sorts and types of awards. Few weeks after their final victory lap at the 2019 Emmys, dedicated show-runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were awarded the “Emmy Founder’s Award” at the International Emmys Ceremony- a special award granted to very specific individuals that made a remarkable mark on the TV landscape, which will bring the show’s total Emmys count to a nice rounded 60. I think this event can really signify everyone’s gratitude to HBO, D&D and the entire cast and crew for all the joy granted us in the last decade with this legendary series. “We shall never see it’s like again”.

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