Thursday morning, Orange Is The New Black star Uzo Aduba and So You Think You Can Dance host Cat Deeley (both past Emmy nominees themselves), will convene to announce the 2015 Emmy nominations. The lead-up to the grand reveal is, as always, rife with predictions, wish lists, and anticipatory inhales of breath as critics and audiences alike prepare to cry "Snub!" as soon as the announcement is over. While prognosticators debate whether anyone will be able to stop Modern Family's streak of Outstanding Comedy wins, Game Of Thrones fans are likely wondering one thing: Will Kit Harington be nominated for a 2015 Emmy?
The dreamy 28-year-old British actor has played Jon Snow on the popular HBO fantasy series for five years now, garnering increasing amounts of critical acclaim as he has charted the character's growth from sullen bastard to powerful leader. (Season 5 spoiler in 3, 2, 1...) Viewers were shocked and grief-stricken when the 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch was seemingly struck down in his prime by traitorous members of his own brotherhood during this year's series finale, "Mother's Mercy." With Harington insistent that he's done with Game of Thrones for good, is there any chance the Emmy voters will finally recognize the actor while they still can?
It's true that the Emmys traditionally love a farewell tour. After five years of maddeningly infrequent trophies, AMC's Breaking Bad finally got its due last year for its final season, winning Outstanding Drama, Writing, and acting awards for Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Anna Gunn. Similarly, Jon Hamm is at long last the frontrunner for the Lead Actor in a Drama Series prize for his terrific work on AMC's Mad Men after seven snubs in a row. And Edie Falco is a shoo-in for a nomination in the Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category for her work in the final season of Showtime's Nurse Jackie.
But sadly, there's a lot working against Harington this year, not the least of which is a severely overcrowded category. The Lead Actor roster is likely to be filled with such repeat offenders as Hamm, Kevin Spacey (House Of Cards), and Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom), along with newcomers like Kyle Chandler (Bloodline), Terrence Howard (Empire), and Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul). That's already leaving out such heavyweights as Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Michael Sheen (Masters Of Sex), James Spader (The Blacklist), and Dominic West (The Affair).
Harington has a better chance if he submitted himself in the Supporting Actor category, as most Game Of Thrones actors do — but even there, a nomination is far from a sure thing. That category will likely also be chock-full of incumbents like Mandy Patinkin (Homeland), John Slattery (Mad Men), Jon Voight (Ray Donovan), and Harington's co-star Peter Dinklage. Most prognosticators agree that the final two slots in the category are likely to go to Better Call Saul's Jonathan Banks and Bloodline's Ben Mendelsohn.
But a dark horse nomination for Harington isn't out of the question. Awards prediction website Gold Derby currently has the Thrones star ranked as the ninth-likeliest actor to receive one of the six nods in the category. He would only have to surpass Downton Abbey's Jim Carter, The Good Wife's Alan Cumming, and one of the predicted nominees in order to break into the race. Far crazier things have happened in the world of entertainment awards shows.
But Harington already has an uphill battle, thanks to mere fact that Thrones is a fantasy series. Emmy voters are notoriously averse to "genre" shows that fall into fantasy, sci-fi, or horror categories, cruelly ignoring critically-acclaimed and well-loved shows like Orphan Black, Hannibal, and Fringe merely because of their genre trappings. Although Thrones was nominated for 55 Emmys over the course of its first four seasons, it only won 14 of those — and mostly in technical categories like Costumes, Visual Effects, and Main Title Sequence. Only one actor from the show has actually won an Emmy: Peter Dinklage, honored as Supporting Actor for the show's first season.
If well-respected Thrones actors Sean Bean (aka Ned Stark), Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark), and Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell) couldn't garner nominations for their final seasons on the show, the chances of young Harington breaking into such a competitive field are sadly low. But that won't stop me from praying to the red god R'hllor for a Harington nomination... and a Jon Snow resurrection, of course.
Images: HBO; Robyn Beck, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images