LOS ANGELES: Blood and guts fantasy epic “Game of Thrones” is tipped to triumph on Sunday as the most successful show ever at the coveted Emmy Awards, television’s equivalent of the Oscars.
The HBO series already has nine statuettes from last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys, which mainly reward behind-the-scenes personnel, giving it a total haul over the years of 35 — more than any other drama series.
When Emmys in top categories are handed out at a glitzy evening ceremony in downtown Los Angeles, experts predict the show will pass the 37 won by long-running sitcom “Frasier.”
HBO’s saga about noble families vying for control of the Iron Throne is the odds-on favorite in the coveted best drama category according to Gold Derby, a website pooling experts’ awards predictions.
It is also ahead in the supporting actor, supporting actress and directing categories, and is running a close second in drama writing behind cyber-security thriller “Mr. Robot.”
If the prize-giving goes as expected, “Game of Thrones” would be the most-awarded narrative series since the first Television Academy prize-giving in 1949.
“I think ‘Game of Thrones’ will be a big winner on Emmy night,” Debra Birnbaum, executive editor for TV at entertainment industry magazine Variety, told AFP.
“With all the nominations it has in those five categories, it’s going to take home at least three trophies, and break the record.”
The all-time Emmy list of winners — which includes nonfiction — is topped by NBC comedy sketch show “Saturday Night Live,” with 44 awards.
Glory for ‘People v. O.J. Simpson’?
FX’s hotly tipped “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” has 13 nominations — more than any other show — in multiple categories on Sunday, having already won four technical Emmys.
Its victory for best limited series is seen as the surest thing of the night while Sarah Paulson and Courtney B. Vance are expected to be rewarded for their acclaimed portrayals of sparring attorneys Marcia Clark and Johnnie Cochran.
Sterling K. Brown is odds-on for his supporting actor role while Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski lead a writing category in which three of the six episodes nominated are from “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”
“We gave the script to a few people. Our producing partners and the studio were responding really positively, so we said, ‘Oh, that’s cool,'” Alexander told AFP.
“But you never know if something is going to be a hit. Anyone who says that is a liar.”
FX’s acclaimed spy drama “The Americans” could pull some surprises at Sunday’s ceremony, with Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell seen as popular outside bets for best actor and actress in a drama.
“They are geniuses. They are unbelievable, incredible together,” show creator Joe Weisberg said at a discussion panel for Emmy-nominated writers in Beverly Hills on Thursday.
“We are always talking about the fact that no matter what we write for them, they do something with it that we hadn’t expected.”
Russell is running third in the betting for tightest race of the night, with Robin Wright (“House of Cards”) expected possibly to squeak past last year’s victor Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”).
“There is almost as much drama in the race for best drama actor,” said Gold Derby editor Tom O’Neil.
“Like Robin Wright, her co-star Kevin Spacey has never won an Emmy, but now he has decent odds to break through — 7/2. However, ‘Mr. Robot’ star Rami Malek leads with 8/11 odds.”
And in the best actress in a comedy category, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is going for her fifth consecutive Emmy for her role as the hapless acting president on HBO’s “Veep.”
In the battle of the networks, perennial favorite HBO leads the nominations, though with a reduced tally from last year.
But the biggest early success story has been Fox’s FX subsidiary, which got 56 nominations, a new record for a basic cable company.
The festivities will begin in the late afternoon — under clear, sunny skies — with the usual red-carpet parade by the stars.
The ceremony, hosted by funnyman Jimmy Kimmel, starts roughly at 5:00 pm (0000 GMT Monday).