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The 2017 Creative Arts Emmys – A Postmortem

Awards Tracker’s Jalal Haddad reviews this weekend’s 2017 Creative Arts Emmys ® winners and looks forward to next week’s Primetime Emmys ceremony.

With over 90 awards to hand out throughout the course of one weekend, sorting through the 2017 Creative Arts Emmys winners can be a complicated task. Some of the winners are simply something to be excited over like the love for Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th, the overwhelming support for RuPaul and Drag Race, and yet another Emmy for Meryl Streep. Other categories hold more interest because they offer at least some insight on whats to come at the main ceremony a week later.

This year the 2017 Creative Arts Emmys offered plenty of answers (Comedy Series, Variety Sketch) but overall seemed to further complicate some races (Outstanding Limited Series).

Limited Series

If the Creative Arts Ceremony proved anything (just like we at Awards Daily TV had been hinting at throughout the entire Emmy season), it showed that the Outstanding Limited Series race is much more complicated than a two-hander between Feud and Big Little Lies. With four key wins, The Night Of became the big winner of the night picking up Emmys for cinematography, sound editing, sound mixing, and picture editing. With the wins in those key races as well as multiple nominations for acting and directing, Emmy voters show there is broad support for HBO’s crime series.

As unfortunate as it is, the below-the-line peer groups that are overwhelmingly male proved that, in a year with so many outstanding female-driven projects, they are more drawn to a series with no strong female presence. While Big Little Lies and Feud go head-to-head in many of the main races next week, there is a chance they split the vote and The Night Of becomes the big winner.

The creative team of Feud did win two Emmys this weekend for hairstyling and non-prosthetic makeup. In the end, that probably isn’t enough to overcome key omissions for editing, sound mixing, sound editing, and cinematography. Big Little Lies took home three Emmys for music supervision, contemporary costumes, and most notably casting. With fans, it is still the overwhelming favorite, and with the new popular vote that might be the key to winning.

(Photo: NBC)
Comedy Series

After nearly doubling its number of nominations this year to 17, there was no doubt that the Television Academy loves Veep. The two-time winner for Outstanding Comedy Series previously struggled to be nominated in many of the below-the-line categories. This year, the political comedy picked up statues for production design, cinematography, and a third consecutive award for casting. Any hope for an upset in the top award next week was essentially crushed.

The only other comedy to win multiple Emmys so far is Saturday Night Live which picked up five awards including both guest acting statues. In fact, the support for SNL is so strong that it was easily able to overcome any form of vote splitting, which is great news for Kate McKinnon heading into next week’s main ceremony. As popular as the show is this year, it’s on track to have its most successful run at the Emmys in its 42 season run.

SNL and Veep are clearly the two favorite comedies among Emmy voters this year. Even though they will compete for supporting performance Emmys next week, they are both competing in separate program awards without much competition. We’ll never know, but it’s difficult to gauge which show would win if they were both eligible for Outstanding Comedy Series.

(Photo: TBS)
Variety Talk Show 

In our pre-ceremony piece, we hinted that a frontrunner in the Outstanding Talk Series category might be determined in some of the special categories at this year’s Creative Arts Ceremony. Instead James Corden, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee all won awards for various specials and online content. Television Academy members are easily swayed in this category. They tend to stick with the same winner year after year, so without a clear alternative, this might be another win for John Oliver.

Even though Stephen Colbert has yet to win an Emmy this year, he can’t be completely dismissed. Discounting him would still be foolish though. He still has more overall Emmys than the rest of the nominees. He’s incredibly well-liked, and he’s the host of this year’s ceremony.

(Photo: Netflix)
Drama Series

After multiple wins across various branches, the wide-open drama category is in all likelihood between Stranger Things, Westworld, and The Handmaid’s Tale. Any one of those three shows could be considered the frontrunner depending on how you prioritize certain categories. Stranger Things won Emmys for sound editing, casting, editing, main title theme music, and main title design. That editing win is especially notable because it was able to overcome a vote split between its own episodes to win.

Westworld also won five awards (sound mixing, visual effects, hair-styling, interactive media, and make-up), but none of its wins necessarily correlate to a win for the top award. The Handmaid’s Tale may have only won three Emmys so far but at least some of them were in higher-profile categories (cinematography, production design, and guest acting).

Overall, all seven Outstanding Drama Series nominees won at least won award making this an interesting race. Even the easily dismissed season of House of Cards won an award for its musical score. Still, with the wealth being spread, it appears that the momentum is building behind Stranger Things just in time for the premiere of its second season next month.