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A Birthday to Remember

September 26, 2015

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I turned 67 on September 20. So did the Emmy Awards.

Our party was on TV. Andy Samberg gave me a shout-out. HBO gave me a cake. And the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences gave me an Emmy. Well, actually they gave one to GAME OF THRONES as tv’s Best Drama, but since I’m a producer on the show, I get one of the trophies.

In case you missed the moment:
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Truth be told, I almost missed the moment myself. While I was pleased that we had been nominated once again, I did not expect us to win… and with so much to do at home, so much pressure on so many fronts, I wasn’t sure I wanted to fly out to LA again, put on a monkey suit, and sit through another loss. The first few times you are up for an Emmy it is very exciting, yes, it’s cool and glamorous and all that… but this would be my seventh time. I had been nominated, and lost, six times before; four times with GAME OF THRONES, and twice more back in the 80s with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. No fantasy show had EVER won ‘the big one,’ the award for Best Drama, and with MAD MEN, a four-time winner, up for its final season, it did not seem likely that this would be the year. Great shows often get a valedictory award or three to celebrate their excellence after they have left the airwaves.

So I was seriously thinking of staying home this year. It was Paul Haas, my agent at WME, who changed my mind. He said he thought that GOT might have a shot this year. Yeah, yeah, I said, I’d heard that before. (I’d thought our third season, with the buzz of the Red Wedding behind it, might be the one to break through, but I’d been way wrong). Then Paul pointed out that if we did win, and I wasn’t there to be part of it, I would regret it for the rest of my life. He was right. So I came, and we won, and it was a birthday I will never forget.

Thanks, Paul.

The Emmy is sitting in my TV room right now, golden and shiny. Big thing. Very heavy. Very pretty. I smile every time I see it. (We ate the cake).

It was a great night for GAME OF THRONES, and for HBO as whole. VEEP dominated in the comedy categories, and OLIVE KITTERIDGE in miniseries… which just goes to show all of you who don’t get HBO, you are missing a lot… and as for us, we were up in five categories, and won four. David Benioff and Dan Weiss won for Writing, David Nutter for Directing, and Peter Dinklage took his second for Best Supporting Actor. All of us were pulling for Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke in Best Supporting Actress, but they lost out to Uzo Aduba from ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, whose Crazy Eyes is the most unforgettable character on an amazing and addictive show. And the came Best Drama… It IS an honor just to be nominated, yes it is. But let me tell you, winning is more fun than losing, and 1-6 beats the hell out of 1-7.

Unlike the Hugo Awards (where, if seven people jointly win some award, all of them get to yammer for as long as they like), the Emmy Awards have a strict time limit, and only one or two designated acceptors speak for the group. For us, that was David and Dan, just as it should be. They thanked a lot of people… and then ran out of time.

But there’s never enough time to thank everyone, of course. So I want to add my own thanks for some of those that D&D did not get to.

Starting with David Benioff and Dan Weiss themselves. Without them, there would be no show. Without their talent and dedication, there would certainly be no Emmy.

Also, I want to thank Bryan Cogman. He’s been there since the beginning too, the right hand man to D&D, and he’s written some of our best episodes. I am thrilled that when we finally won, it was for a year in which he’d finally snagged a “producer” credit, which meant that he got to take home a trophy as well.

And of course I want to thank Parris (so glad you were there with me, Phipps), and Paul Haas and the rest of my team at WME, and Vince Gerardis, and Kay McCauley, and Anne Groell and my team at Bantam, and Jane Johnson as my team at Voyager, and my leal minions Raya and Lenore and Jenni and Elias and Jo, and Pat (who left), and even Ty (who left even earlier).

Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank the dead. We have the best cast in television, as I have said a hundred times, and many of them were on the stage with us last Sunday. Thanks to all of them, of course, and thanks as well to Emilia and Kit and Dame Diana and Kristian and Natalie and Finn, who were off working and could not be there with us.

But there were ghosts standing behind us. Maybe you couldn’t see them, but I could feel their presence, and I know that without them none of us would have been holding Emmys. Yes, I know, I know, the award was for Season Five… but if you truly believe that the Academy voters did not take our first four seasons into account as well, then let me tell you about this lovely bridge over the Green Fork that Walder Frey would like to sell you.

No. It was the show to date that won, I believe, and our ghosts were a huge part of that. So my thanks go out to Sean Bean, to Mark Addy, to Rose Leslie, to Pedro Pascal, to Michelle Fairley, to Richard Madden, Gethin Anthony, Harry Lloyd, Ron Donachie, Mark Stanley, Esme Bianco, Kate Dickie, Jack Gleeson, Amrita Acharia, Charles Dance, Donald Sumpter, Josef Altin, Peter Vaughn, Margaret John, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Oona Chaplin, Stephen Dillane, Francis Magee, Roxanna McKee, Kerry Ingram, Ian McElhinney, Jason Momoa, and of course Sibel Kekilli… along with all the other noble and ignoble dead that I’ve certainly forgotten, and I’m sure that there’s a lot of them.

Some of you are dead in the books, others only on the show. But if it was up to me, all of you would have been up on the stage beside us. Every one of you played your part, large or show, in making GAME OF THRONES the record-smashing hit it is.

Thank you all.

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