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‘Game of Thrones’, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ head-to-head at Emmys

Hollywood’s A-listers will gather on Monday to honour the best in television at the Emmy Awards, with record-breaking fantasy epic Game of Thrones (GoT) back in the competition and once again, looking to slay its rivals.

But winter could come early for HBO’s blood-spattered smash hit if it fails to snare the coveted Best Drama Series prize, with last year’s winner The Handmaid’s Tale hotly tipped to defend its crown.

Both shows have already picked up some Emmys hardware: GoT won seven statuettes in technical categories at last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys, while Handmaid scooped three. And both are likely to add to that haul at Monday’s glittering gala in LA. But the race for the top prize still seems to be a crapshoot, with dark horse pick The Americans also in the hunt.

Can Handmaid – a take on a totalitarian America where women are oppressed, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel – again win over voters, especially in the #MeToo era? Will The Americans – a gripping thriller about Soviet sleeper agents in the US during the Cold War – finally earn some Emmys after a critically acclaimed six-season run? Or will GoT reign supreme once again with its whopping 22 nominations? Others in the best drama category include Westworld, The Crown, Stranger Things and This is Us.

The Television Academy’s 22,000-plus members have already cast their ballots for the 70th Emmys so it’s time for red carpet glamour and heartfelt speeches. With perennial heavy hitter Veep out of contention this year, Atlanta – a quirky look at the city’s rap scene – is squaring off with The Marvelous Mrs Maisel for top honours for comedies.

In 2016, GoT made history, picking up 12 awards and becoming the most decorated fictional show ever. With the seven statuettes it won last weekend, the show now has 45 Emmys overall.

Beyond the Best Drama trophy, cast members Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage are nominated, along with the show’s directors and writers.

Other major contenders include The Assassination of Gianni Versace, which racked up 18 nominations. Darren Criss is the favourite to win the star-studded race for Best Actor in a limited series or movie for his searing portrayal of Versace’s killer Andrew Cunanan. But he faces stiff competition from Antonio Banderas, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeff Daniels and John Legend.

Another major contender is veteran comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live (SNL), just behind GoT with 21 nods.

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