(Adds Billy Porter, Central Park Five accused)
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES, Sept 22 (Reuters) - "Pose" star Billy Porter, sporting a crystal-studded black suit and an enormous hat, along with "Games of Thrones" stars Peter Dinklage, Maisie Williams and Gwendoline Christie were among early arrivals for television's Emmy awards on Sunday, where HBO's medieval fantasy series aims to crown its final season with a fourth best drama series statuette.
Director Ava DuVernay and the five men known as the Central Park Five, whose wrongful arrests in New York three decades ago are dramatized in the Emmy-nominated "When They See Us," also walked the purple carpet in Los Angeles, along with "The Marvelous Mrs Maisel" lead actress Rachel Brosnahan.
On a night that could see old favorites prevailing over the biggest lineup of first-time nominees in eight years, HBO political satire "Veep" and returning Emmy champ "The Marvelous Mrs Maisel" from Amazon Studios are seen as frontrunners in the contest for best comedy series.
Yet British comedian Phoebe Waller-Bridge could pull off an upset with one or both of her buzzy shows - female-driven BBC America thriller "Killing Eve" and Amazon comedy "Fleabag," which drew 20 Emmy nominations between them.
"I think it's a tight race," said Louis-Dreyfus, who is competing for her seventh lead actress Emmy in her role as a nakedly ambitious politician hell-bent on becoming U.S. president in "Veep."
"It's a very, very, very fine group of actors and shows. There's no getting around it. Really, truthfully, I can't believe how good television is right now," Louis-Dreyfus told Reuters ahead of the ceremony.
The 71st Emmy awards show, chosen by members of the Television Academy, will be broadcast live on Fox, starting at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT (midnight GMT).
Already the most-awarded series in Emmy history with 38 wins, "Game of Thrones" landed a record 32 nominations for its final season, including nine for its actors, despite a fan uproar over the conclusion of the series.
The haul for "Game of Thrones" helped cable channel HBO lead all comers with 137 Emmy nominations this year, ahead of Netflix with 117, reflecting the battle for dominance between traditional outlets and streaming services.
"It's a great year for diversity on all levels. There are hot new shows competing against Emmy incumbents, so there will be a lot at stake in an industry that is undergoing a revolution," said Tom O'Neil, founder of awards website GoldDerby.com.
None of the "Game of Thrones" actresses has ever won an Emmy, and this year they face formidable competition from "Killing Eve" co-stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer as well as Laura Linney for drug-trafficking thriller "Ozark."
One of the closest races is in the limited series category in which "When They See Us" faces off against Soviet nuclear accident tale "Chernobyl" and "Fosse/Verdon," starring Michelle Williams as Broadway singer and dancer Gwen Verdon.
In the actor contest, Billy Porter is considered the favorite for his role in LGBTQ series "Pose" on FX after a breakout year in which he also made waves on the Oscar and Met Gala red carpets for his groundbreaking gender-neutral outfits.
Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Will Dunham