HBO’s “Game of Thrones” made television history at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, winning for best drama series and tying the record for the most wins in that prestigious category with predecessors like “The West Wing,” “L.A. Law,” “Mad Men” and “Hill Street Blues.”
The sprawling fantasy series, which had its finale in May after eight seasons of blood and intrigue, won 12 Emmys for its swan-song season, adding to its record total for the most wins of any television drama ever.
The night was also huge for Amazon, which won the best comedy award thanks to “Fleabag,” a series that grew out of a 2014 one-woman show by its creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Waller-Bridge won three Emmys on the night, including for best actress in a comedy, a win that came as an upset. The much-decorated Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the star of “Veep,” failed to win that award for the first time in the show’s seven seasons. Waller-Bridge also won in the category of best writing for a comedy series.
“Well, this is just getting ridiculous,” Waller-Bridge said, laughing, after taking center stage at the Microsoft Theater to accept her third Emmy on the night, the award for best comedy series.
She has said that the show’s second season would be its last — and seemed to be sticking with her decision to end it. “To be honest, this feels like the most beautiful way to say goodbye,” she said after the ceremony, when asked if her Emmy success would make her reconsider.
As if to emphasize Amazon’s strong performance, even Alexa made an appearance, announcing the name of the nominees for best actress in a comedy as part of a bit put on by Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel, who were presenters.
Last year’s winner for best comedy was also from Amazon, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” a show that won two awards on Sunday, with Alex Borstein winning for best supporting actress and Tony Shalhoub taking the prize for best supporting actor.
In keeping with Emmy tradition, HBO had a strong night over all, taking three of the top series awards, including a victory for a frequent winner, “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” as the year’s best talk show. The network also won in the category of best limited series for “Chernobyl,” which won 10 awards altogether.
For his work on “Game of Thrones,” Peter Dinklage won — for the fourth time — the award for best supporting actor in a drama. In his acceptance speech, he paid tribute to the show’s top producers, David Benioff and Dan Weiss.
“Dave and Dan, we literally walked through fire and ice for you,” Dinklage said. “And I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
HBO has undergone executive-suite changes since last year’s Emmys: Richard Plepler, the network’s former chief executive, stepped down in February. He was thanked by Weiss and Benioff, as well as by Oliver and by Jesse Armstrong, the creator of the corporate drama “Succession,” who won in a writing category.
The night also represented something of a defeat for Netflix, which went away empty-handed in the biggest categories.
It was the seventh consecutive year that Netflix was nominated for best drama — this time for “Bodyguard” and “Ozark” — and failed to win. Likewise, Netflix has never won in the best comedy category in six tries.