23 Sep 2019

Games of Thrones, Fleabag dominate the Emmys

4:55 pm on 23 September 2019

Longtime Emmy darling HBO scored more wins than any other network at today's Emmy awards, taking home 34 trophies, including best drama series for its global hit Game of Thrones.

Games of Thrones, Patricia Arquette, 
Julia Garner
Bottom: Jodie Comer, Jharrel Jerome Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Clockwise from the top: the cast of Games of Thrones; Patricia Arquette, Julia Garner, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jharrel Jerome and Jodie Comer. Photo: AFP

The accolades, given out today in Los Angeles, give HBO new bragging rights in the increasingly competitive battle for viewers of streaming video.

HBO is available on pay TV and online. Parent company AT&T Inc plans to unveil an expanded streaming service called HBO Max next spring to compete with Netflix, Amazon's Prime Video, new offerings from Walt Disney and Apple, and others.

Game of Thrones scored 12 awards overall, while HBO's limited series Chernobyl won 10.

Game of Thrones triumphed in spite of a lukewarm response from critics and fans, many of whom signed a petition to have the whole season remade.

The show is already the most honoured series and most-nominated drama in Emmy awards history.

D.B. Weiss (C) and cast and crew of "Game of Thrones" accept the Outstanding Drama Series award onstage during the 71st Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on September 22, 2019.

DB Weiss, centre, and the cast and crew of Game of Thrones accept the Emmy for outstanding drama series. Photo: AFP

Amazon landed the Emmy for best comedy series and five other awards for its quirky British comedy Fleabag, one of the company's 15 wins. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, an Amazon comedy about a 1950s housewife-turned-comedian, received eight Emmys.

Jodie Comer won best leading drama actress for playing Villanelle in Killing Eve.

British actress Jodie Comer poses with the Emmy Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for "Killing Eve" during the 71st Emmy Awards

Jodie Comer added an Emmy to the Bafta she won earlier this year. Photo: AFP

Fleabag's creator and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge took home the prize for best leading comedy actress, best comedy series and best comedy writing.

"It's so wonderful and reassuring to know that a dirty, pervy, angry and messed-up woman can make it to the Emmys," she laughed, referring to the show's lead character.

Waller-Bridge also joked that the possibility of winning awards was the reason she wrote the series in the first place.

"I find writing really hard and really painful, but I'd like to say from the bottom of my heart that the reason that I do it is this," she said, holding up the Emmy statuette. "So it's made it all really worth it guys, thank you so much."

Waller-Bridge's win for leading comedy actress was a particular surprise, as she was nominated against Emmy favourite Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

The US actress has previously won in this category six times for her role in Veep, and was widely expected to win again for the show's seventh and final series.

The show's director, Harry Bradbeer, won the prize for best director for a comedy series.

"I think for a director, something like Fleabag only comes along once in your life," he said in his acceptance speech.

"Thank you Phoebe for coming into my life like some kind of glorious grenade. Scientists are still trying to work out how someone so incredibly talented can be so utterly lovely."

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Outstanding Comedy Series Winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Director for a Comedy Series Winner Harry Bradbeer

Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Harry Bradbeer pose with their Emmys. Photo: AFP

Other British winners include Ben Whishaw, who won best supporting actor in a limited series for his role in A Very English Scandal.

Netflix, the company that pioneered streaming video, finished in second place overall with 27 awards. They included best television movie for interactive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, which let viewers choose plot turns throughout.

Executive producer Charlie Brooker, while accepting the award on stage, thanked Netflix's creative and technical team "who pulled off a magic trick".

Annabel Jones (C), Charlie Brooker (L) and Russell McLean (R) accept the award for Outstanding Television Movie "Bandersnatch"

Charlie Brooker, left, Annabel Jones and Russell McLean accept their award for outstanding movie. Photo: AFP

Other notable winners included Patricia Arquette who won the Emmy for best supporting actress in a limited series, lead actor in a limited series Jharrel Jerome, for When They See Us and Julia Garner, best supporting actress in a drama series, Ozark.

HBO had dominated the Emmys for years with hits such as The Sopranos and Sex and the City. It ran up a 16-year streak as the most-honoured network until 2018, when Netflix and HBO tied with 23 awards each.

HBO's Emmy dominance this year is welcome news for AT&T, a telecommunications and media conglomerate that is under pressure from activist investor Elliott Management to improve its business. AT&T in 2018 bought Time Warner, owner of HBO, CNN and Warner Bros.

Among traditional networks, the National Geographic cable channel secured eight wins, most of them for documentary Free Solo, and Comcast Corp's NBC won seven.

- Reuters / BBC