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Game of Thrones Popular at the Emmys

This Sunday, the Emmy Awards were handed out, and Game of Thrones (and HBO in general) proved very popular. The show tallied up a total of 12 wins this year at the Emmys, handily breaking the 9 win record set by The West Wing set in 2000. While eight of those awards were in the Creative Arts categories, the show carried four major awards at the Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Supporting Actor for a visibly-surprised Peter Dinklage,  Outstanding Director for David Nutter and “Mother’s Mercy”, Outstanding Writing for David Benioff & Dan Weiss for the same episode, and the big one, Outstanding Drama. Coincidentally, Sunday was also George R.R. Martin’s 67th birthday, so it was quite the present.

Critics and pundits would weigh in on the results, such as Alan Sepinwall for HitFix, James Poniewozik for the NY Times, and Andy Greenwald for Grantland.

The general consensus among these critics is that a significant rules change for the Emmys—wheras in the past voting was done by “blue ribbon panels” of senior members, the voting this year was opened up to basically all members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences—led to voting much more determined by buzz, name recognition, and popularity than in the past. Some like Poniewozik optimistically see the results as corrections for having snubbed the show or actors in some earlier season, but Greenwald’s thoughts on the matter are particularly cogent, as he discusses the fact that Game of Thrones may well be the last show in television “monoculture”—the show that everyone both inside and outside the industry actually watches—and that this level of presence may well be a very determining factor both this year and in future awards seasons to come.

Oh, and speaking of GRRM’s birthday, here’s a fun bit from the evening, when host Andy Samberg wandered the aisles and stopped by George R.R. Martin’s seat to wish him happy birthday… and to thank him for a bit of information he allegedly offered him. Note David Benioff in the background!