The Creative Arts Emmy Awards are over and done. What do they tell us about Sunday’s Primetime Emmys?
Over a two-day Creative Arts Emmy event, Game of Thrones and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story have essentially been solidified as the frontrunners going into the final week of Emmy prognosticating as well as good signs for The Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and Inside Amy Schumer. Other than that no other major questions were answered, and the most exciting news to come out of the ceremony was the long overdue win for the one and only RuPaul Charles who, in full Aretha Franklin fashion, marched onto that stage with a ferociously giant designer bag.
I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.
Splitting The Vote?
After a weekend of Creative Arts winners, the jury is still out on whether or not voting without a ranked ballot will have any sort of effect on this year’s winners. In the past, nominees weren’t affected when they competed against their co-stars because the small voting juries were able to rank their ballots, but now the entire voting membership is deciding and simply asked to vote for a single nominee. There was some evidence of co-stars being at a disadvantage last weekend with actors from House of Cards cancelling each other out, most surprisingly Ellen Burstyn losing what should have been a sure win to Margo Martindale. The Guest Actor in a Comedy race was also thought to be between the two SNL hosts, but the award ended up going to Peter Scolari who wasn’t even originally nominated. In fact, the one guest race where a nominee was able to beat out a co-star was Tina Fey & Amy Poehler in the comedy actress race, but that win could be accredited to the duo standing out as a pair, something that has never happened in an acting race before.
A couple of the below-the-line races had lineups with two shows having double nominees and then a single show represented once. In the Comedy Editing race, Silicon Valley had two nominations, Veep had two nominations, and the fifth nominee was Crazy Ex-Girlfriend which ended up winning. In the voice-over performance category, South Park had two nominations as did SuperMansion, but the winner ended up being Seth McFarlane, the sole nominee representing Family Guy. The only category that goes against this new theory is the drama editing race where two episodes of Better Call Saul and Game of Thrones were nominated against Narcos. Game of Thrones won anyway for one of the biggest episodes of television this year “Battle of the Bastards.”
If The Pattern Continues, What Races Will Be Affected?
If the pattern continues, a couple of this weekend’s big races might have some surprises coming. Most of the races that have the biggest risk of vote splitting include nominees from the three biggest contenders of the year: Game of Thrones, Veep, and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. These shows were so popular in the nomination process that they outperformed the predictions of just about everyone following the Emmys. Now that they might be at a disadvantage, it makes predicting this year’s winners even more complicated. The six categories to keep an eye on are:
- Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Tony Hale and Matt Walsh from Veep
- Supporting Actor in a Drama: Peter Dinklage and Kit Harington from Game of Thrones
- Supporting Actress in a Drama: Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, and Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones
- Lead Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie: Courtney B. Vance and Cuba Gooding Jr. from American Crime Story
- Supporting Actor in a Limited Series/TV Movie: 3 actors from ACS and 2 actors from Fargo
- Directing & Writing of a Limited Series/TV Movie: ACS with three nominees in each category
Other Observations from the Creative Arts Ceremony
- Inside Amy Schumer and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver seem to be the clear frontrunners for the Variety Sketch and Variety Talk races after pulling off wins in the directing and writing races respectively.
- Five different awards went to documentaries that contended for Oscars earlier this year (Cartel Land, The Hunting Ground, What Happened, Miss Simone?), complicating the streaming lines between film and television even further. Could this usher in new rules from the Television Academy to prevent streaming sites in the future submitting failed theatrical releases into the television movie races?
- Game of Thrones won nine Emmys at the Creative Arts ceremonies, one more than the eight Creative Arts awards last year. With those nine Emmys, Game of Thrones became the most decorated drama in the history of the Television Academy and cemented itself even further as the show to beat this year during the Primetime ceremony.
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend won the Emmy for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series, an award that has always gone to major Emmy contender in the past. Every winner (except for My Name is Earl) became an Outstanding Comedy nominee so is this potentially good news for the CW musical? Probably not, but maybe the attention for the underrated show could potentially benefit Rachel Bloom for an acting nomination in future years.