The Emmys & 'Game of Thrones' Women Aren't a Match Made In The Seven Kingdoms... Yet
It's hard to forget Game of Thrones' first Emmy victory, when Peter Dinklage won outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for his turn as Tyrion Lannister in 2011. This year, Dinklage is nominated again, and his onscreen sister Lena Headey also has an Emmy nomination for supporting actress in a drama series. But with Headey being just one of a legion of talented Game of Thrones actresses, it made me wonder: have any women from Game of Thrones ever won an Emmy? I figured there would be at least one woman who has taken home the coveted TV award. And that's exactly what I found — one woman from the show who has won an Emmy. And in a complete non-surprise (how very unlike GoT), Dame Diana Rigg, who plays the incredibly kickass Olenna Tyrell, is that singular woman. And no, she didn't earn that Emmy for her work as the best grandmother ever on Game of Thrones.
But the lack of reward for the cast — both male and female — makes sense since Game of Thrones has so many characters; an actor must be truly excellent to standout to the Emmy voters. Last year, Emilia Clarke was nominated for supporting actress for Daenerys Targaryen, but lost out to Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn. This time around, Cersei Lannister's Headey is up for the award, but she'll also be facing off against Gunn, who's automatically Emmy bait for her final turn in Breaking Bad. So Headey might be facing the same defeat Clarke did. (But at least no one will die at this ceremony, right?)
As for Rigg, — who plays the grandmother of Lady Cleavage ... uh, I mean Lady Marjorie on GoT — she has been nominated in both 2013 and 2014 for outstanding guest actress in a drama series. Rigg is fantastic as Lady Olenna Tyrell. She's been truly a refreshing character to see as the Tyrell's matriarch, as well as a great foil to the Lannister's patriarch, the now-deceased Tywin Lannister. And she became even more badass when it was revealed that Olenna was the mastermind behind the death of King Joffrey. She wasn't going to let her doppelgänger of a granddaughter go through the abuse and mistreatment of a wedding night (let alone an entire life!) with Joffrey — and I absolutely love her for that. But the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences apparently didn't love her enough this year.
The guest actress award isn't presented at the primetime Emmys, but at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on August 16, Rigg lost to Allison Janney, who was nominated for her role as Margaret Scully in Masters of Sex. And last year, fellow-HBOer Carrie Preston won the guest actress Emmy award for Elsbeth Tascioni in The Good Wife, resulting in another loss for Rigg. But it shouldn't sting too hard, Rigg's got her own Emmy legacy outside of the difficult world of Game of Thrones.
With her Emmy nominations spanning almost 50 years, Rigg has been nominated a total of seven times. Her one win was for outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or special for PBS' Masterpiece Theater's Rebecca in 1997. The 76-year-old actress was also nominated twice for the character Emma Peel in The Avengers in 1967 and 1968. And she was full of sass even then.
When the primetime Emmy Awards air on Monday, August 25, we'll find out if the Game of Thrones women can get their own slice of that Best Actress pie. Perhaps I'm wrong and Headey will have better luck than Rigg did this year. But if not, they can always commiserate as the women of King's Landing do: over giant goblets of wine and well-practiced death stares.