Features

Ultimate Emmys Bracket: Game of Thrones Enters the Competition

Plus: Fleabag takes on Padma and the Top Chef crew.
  • (Photos: HBO)
    (Photos: HBO)

    In the days leading up to the 2019 Emmy Awards, we're pitting the 26 shows with the most nominations against each other to determine Primetimer readers' favorite Emmy-nominated series of the year. Full details in our kick-off post. 

    On to the first set of match-ups in round two... (Seed number appears before show title)

    Round 2, Match 1

    (Photos: HBO)

    Game of Thrones
    Network: HBO
    Nominations: 32, including Outstanding Drama Series

    It seems silly to have to list the nomination tally of all the other nominated shows as if they're a competitive metric when Game of Thrones went and obliterated the nomination record with a gluttonous 32 nods for their final season. Whether that guarantees that Thrones will run the table on its final Emmys year is a matter of debate, but it definitely is an ostentatious reminder that there are MANY areas in which the show has excelled over the years, from its cast to its direction to its every-changing main-title design. In a bracket tournament format, the question will be whether years of Thrones's TV dominance has given it a loyal fanbase or turned TV viewers resentful.

    Sharp Objects
    Network: HBO
    Nominations: 8, including Outstanding Limited Series

    The dark Gillian Flynn-penned miniseries enters the Emmy race having already picked up a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Television Award, though only for its actors, Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson. Critics raved about its moody themes and sweaty, suspicious Southern atmosphere, but it never quite caught on like director Jean-Marc Valée's previous miniseries, Big Little Lies did. But it may be picking up momentum in the Outstanding Limited Series category against stiff competition: Chernobyl, Fosse/Verdon, When They See Us, and Escape at Dannemora-- Omar Gallaga

    The Matchup: Sharp Objects obliterated the competition in the first round of our Emmys Bracket, earning 92% of votes against The Voice, but Game of Thrones is not The Voice. If we were judging this matchup by the numbers, Amy Adams and her sweaty southern mystery wouldn't stand a chance. But we're not judging by numbers, and the voters might be looking to stick up for an overlooked but undeniably powerful miniseries over the uneven final season for the big dog on the block.

     

    Round 2, Match 2

     

    (Photos: Bravo, Amazon)

    Top Chef
    Network: Bravo
    Nominations: One, for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

    Top Chef has only won this award once, way back in 2010 when it broke the seven-year streak of The Amazing Race. It seems unlikely to reclaim the crown for its Kentucky-set 16th season, however. It was a sure, fine, okay season of television that had a surprising mid-finale elimination, but did not rise to the level of its competitors in the category. Sorry, Padma. -- Omar Gallaga

    Fleabag
    Network: Amazon Prime
    Nominations: 11, including Outstanding Comedy Series

    Let’s raise a Marks & Spencer’s pre-mixed gin and tonic can to Phoebe Waller-Bridge for the triumphant second season of Fleabag, which somehow managed to be perfect from start to finish. After dominating at the TCA Awards last month, can Phoebe Waller-Bridge replicate that success at the Emmys? In the acting categories, she is joined by recent Oscar-winner Olivia Colman (who is looking to add to her EGOT tally), scene-stealer Sian Clifford as Fleabag's sister, as well as Fiona Shaw and Kristin Scott Thomas in the guest category. The (Hot) Priest (Andrew Scott) told us this love would pass; I’m not sure he is right. -- Emma Fraser

    The Matchup: Good on Top Chef for scoring the first upset of the Emmy bracket, toppling Showtime's starry miniseries Escape at Dannemora. But even with its best seasons, Bravo's reality series would be facing a steep challenge against Phoebe Waller-Bridge's fiercely loved comedy. Perhaps the foodies will surprise, but this feels like another triumph for Fleabag, which might be a major contender to take the whole bracket.

     

    Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, The Herald Sun, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, Fleabag, Game of Thrones, Sharp Objects, Top Chef, Emmys Bracket