Emmy Tracker: The Two Day Creative Arts Emmy Event

The Creative Arts Emmy Ceremony will take place this weekend and nearly 100 awards will be handed out over a 2-day ceremony. Last year, most headlines coming out of the creative arts ceremony focused on the Game of Thrones haul and the bizarre guest acting winners, but this year there are seven key awards to keep an eye on on top of the increasingly difficult to predict guest races.

Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series

Game of Thrones won 26 Emmys over its run in large part due to the craft guilds. The one notable exception is the cinematography branch that has never honored the fantasy epic and only started nominating the show in its third season. This is even more surprising with the realization that the cinematographers have awarded just about every big HBO show including shows like Carnivale, Rome, True Detective, and Boardwalk Empire multiple times. If Game of Thrones finally wins its first cinematography Emmy, it will beat out many of its drama series contenders (Downton Abbey, House of Cards, Homeland) as well as multiple underrepresented genre shows (Bates Motel, Gotham, Man in High Castle).

Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program

Last year, voting was opened up to much larger voting pools, and for the first time HBO swept up wins in most of the major program races. This year, the premium network is bound to win even more program awards (including Variety Talk), and it will be interesting to see if they also win their first reality program Emmy. Last year, they didn’t have a bone in the race, but their once great Project Greenlight finally returned this year even though the season came with underwhelming story lines and a controversy thanks to Matt Damon. If HBO continues their program domination and Project Greenlight goes along for the ride, the film-making reality show will beat out fellow nominees like Born This Way, Gaycation, Intervention, United Shades of America, and the only show to ever win this category Deadliest Catch.

Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing  

The biggest question about the Television Academy’s new voting system is whether or not the new rules will negatively affect shows with multiple nominees in a single category. By switching the system from a ranked ballot (a ballot that helped the Modern Family cast for so long) to a simple check-and-go ballot system, a lot of old favorites could be at risk. The two Creative Arts races that will best hint at the new system will be the two picture editing races with two episodes of Better Call Saul and two episodes of Game of Throne squaring off against a single episode of Narcos on the drama side while two episodes of Silicon Valley and two episodes of Veep square off against Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on the comedy side. If Narcos and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend end up winning this weekend, it might be the most telling hint for everyone to rethink some of their predictions for the main telecast.

(Photo: CW)

Outstanding Original Music & Lyrics   

In the past, the Original Music and Lyrics Emmy tended to go to either awards show pieces or songs from sketch variety shows (SNL and Inside Amy Schumer). Without any obvious nominees, this year’s Emmy is up for grabs. The critic and ADTV favorite is without a doubt Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s “Settle For Me,” and, even though this might be the Bloom’s best shot at an Emmy this year, she faces a lot of competition from Galavant’s “A New Season” which might earn a lot of support for being written by Alan Menken. The other nominees from programs like Empire, The Hunting Ground, and Garfunkel and Oates: Trying to be Special all have their pros and cons but none of them seem quite as friendly as the other two nominees.

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series

Last year, the Variety Series race split into two categories, one for sketch shows and one for talk shows, although the writing and directing races continue to be mixed. Last Week With John Oliver Tonight appears to be the front-runner not only here but also in the Variety Talk Series race. If he and his writing team win, it will only lock him in as the front-runner for the main award. If one of the four Variety Sketch Series nominees wins, it could be an incredibly helpful hint on which show to predict next week. The Variety Sketch Series race is the more unpredictable of the two races and if Inside Amy Schumer, Key and Peele, Portlandia, or Saturday Night Live wins the writing race it might be a huge indicator of what show has the edge.

Outstanding  Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program

Once a category that felt like a wasted opportunity, the award for best reality host has become the award to watch this year. In recent years, the voters have gravitated towards new and exciting nominees whether they be Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn as a pair or Jane Lynch, so it makes sense that this year’s race is likely between the two newcomers: RuPaul Charles and Steve Harvey. RuPaul may have a more dedicated fan base, but some conservative voters probably won’t pay enough attention to appreciate how much work he does in and out of drag. Steve Harvey, on the other hand, has more mainstream appeal, can be seen on television at least five nights a week, and is even impersonated by Kenan Thompson on SNL. His only problem is that he isn’t even nominated for Family Feud. Instead voters nominated his other submission, Little Big Shots, a show that seemed to make very little impact last spring. In the end my heart tells me to stick with Ru but my head knows it will be Steve Harvey.

(Photo: CBS)

The Guest Acting Races 

Last month, I covered the four guest acting races that will be announced this weekend and none of my predictions have really changed. I’m still counting on Amy Poehler and Tina Fey making history as the first duo to win an acting Emmy, for Ellen Burstyn to win the most obvious Emmy of her career, for Tracy Morgan to win a well-deserved welcome back award, and for Hank Azaria and Ray Donovan to benefit from the House of Cards men splitting the vote. The only major change in my predictions is my newfound faith in Melora Hardin as the dark horse contender for her work in Transparent. Transparent is clearly popular within the acting branch and her drunken poolside meltdown is the type of over-the-top performance that usually stands out to voters. Also worth pointing out is the close race likely between the two SNL hosts Tracy Morgan and Larry David, which could very well make room for someone like Veep‘s Martin Mull.

Guest Actor in a Drama SeriesGuest Actress in a Drama SeriesGuest Actor in a Comedy SeriesGuest Actress in a Comedy Series
Hank AzariaTracy Morgan Tina Fey & Amy PoehlerEllen Burstyn
Michael J FoxLarry DavidMelora HardinLaurie Metcalf
Max von SydowMartin MullLaurie MetcalfMargo Martindale
Reg E. CatheyBob NewhartAmy SchumerAllison Janney
Mahershala AliPeter ScolariChristine BaranskiMolly Parker
Paul SparksBradley WhitfordMelissa McCarthyCarrie Preston

Readers, what categories are you looking forward to the most this weekend at the Creative Arts Emmys? Sound off in the comments!

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