Game of Thrones performers Alfie Allen (who played Theon Greyjoy), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) and Carice van Houten (Melisandre) on Tuesday morning received Emmy nominations that caught many by surprise — including, it appears, the team behind the show’s awards campaign.
HBO confirmed that it did not enter the trio for consideration by the performers peer group of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and so each of the performers, via their reps, went ahead and submitted themselves, picking up the $225 entry fee.
Allen was nominated for best supporting actor in a drama series, Christie was nominated for best supporting actress in a drama series and van Houten was nominated for best guest actress in a drama series.
It is not at all uncommon for long-shot performers to be entered for Emmy consideration by their reps or themselves — but it is uncommon for those entries to result in nominations.
HBO, which on Tuesday scored a single season record 137 total noms, including a drama series record 32 for Thrones‘ final season, did enter Kit Harington in the lead actor race, Emilia Clarke in the lead actress race, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage in the supporting actor race and Lena Headey, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams in the supporting actress race. All of them also wound up with nominations.
Game of Thrones has dozens of series regulars, so it would not be feasible for HBO to enter all of them, and a cutoff had to be made somewhere. It can be reasonably presumed that the pay cabler was also concerned that pushing Allen and Christie, in particular, could potentially undercut the chances of the show’s strongest contenders in their categories. In any event, it is understood that there are no hard feelings between the parties and that all nominated performers will receive the full HBO push moving forward.