Fantasy epic “Game of Thrones” made television history at the 68th Emmy Awards on Sunday, becoming the most decorated fictional show since the awards began nearly seven decades ago.
The HBO series picked up 12 total Emmys this season — nine awards in technical categories and three top prizes at the glitzy ceremony in downtown Los Angeles — television’s equivalent of the Oscars.
The blood-spattered, sex-filled saga about noble families vying for control of the Iron Throne took home the most coveted prize of the night, the best drama Emmy — along with statuettes for writing and directing.
That gives it a total haul over the years of 38 — more than any other narrative series since the first Television Academy prize-giving in 1949, overtaking the haul of 37 won by long-running comedy “Frasier.”
But it went down to the wire, as “Thrones” drew a blank in the acting categories, despite being a hot favorite and having multiple nominees, and only set the record with the last prize of the night.
Three of its stars — Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke and Maisie Williams — dominated the betting in the supporting actress category, but the statuette went to Maggie Smith of “Downton Abbey.”
Peter Dinklage missed out on a supporting actor trophy, as did co-star Kit Harington, the category’s favorite, with Ben Mendelsohn picking up the prize for “Bloodline.”
“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” also glittered, picking up a total of nine awards this season, including the prize for best limited series.
“If your show doesn’t have a dragon or a white Bronco in it, go home right now,” host Jimmy Kimmel joked at the start of the three-hour broadcast, a reference to “Thrones” and the infamous car Simpson was in when he went on a wild ride through Los Angeles before his arrest.
The all-time Emmy list of winners — which includes nonfiction — is topped by NBC comedy sketch show “Saturday Night Live,” with 45 awards, one of them handed out Sunday to Kate McKinnon for best supporting actress.
– Emmy milestone for Louis-Dreyfus –
It was a night of recognition for old hands in the comedy categories, while the drama awards went to relative newcomers.
In the best actress in a comedy category, Julia Louis-Dreyfus won a fifth consecutive Emmy for her role as the hapless acting president on HBO’s “Veep.”
“I would like to dedicate this to my father who passed away on Friday, and I’m so glad that he liked ‘Veep’ because his opinion was the one that really mattered,” she said in an emotional tribute, her voice breaking.
“Veep” later picked up the Emmy for outstanding comedy series.
The award for best actor in a comedy went for the second year in a row to Jeffrey Tambor for “Transparent,” who pleaded with producers and directors to give transgender talent a chance in television.
In the tightest race of the night, lead actress in a drama, Tatiana Maslany won for “Orphan Black,” pipping favorite Robin Wright (“House of Cards”) and last year’s victor Viola Davis (“How to Get Away with Murder”).
Kevin Spacey, who has never won an Emmy, missed out again in for outstanding actor in a drama, which went to Rami Malek, the start of cyberspace security thriller “Mr. Robot.”