On Sunday, the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will honor the best TV series for all genres aired over the last year. Last week however, the Creative Arts Emmys took to the stage to honour the people behind the scenes of the biggest shows on television. The Creative Arts Awards act as the first half of the Emmys and often indicate where the panel is leaning for the headline awards.
HBO have headed into the both ceremonies with a huge advantage with a record-breaking 137 nominations, and at last week’ awards, they proved to be the big winner of the night picking up seventeen awards from just Game of Thrones and Chernobyl and a colossal twenty five in total.
Game of Thrones alone picked up ten Creative Arts Emmys, five of those for the episode “The Long Night”. It does seem like a bizarre choice of episode to have won Outstanding Picture Editing as there was major complaints from fans that the episode was too dark to see. Despite the fan fallout out David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik are all nominated for the directing awards at the Emmys for three different episodes of the final season with it tipped that Sapochnik will win for “The Long Night“. If the Creative Arts Emmys are anything to go by the drama category will be dominated by Game of Thrones with the expectation that they will break their record for most trophies won by a single season at the Primetime Emmys.
In the Limited Series category, both set of awards seem to be culminating into a two horse race between HBO’s Chernobyl (depicting the events surrounding the nuclear power plant explosion) and Netflix’s When They See Us (dramatic retelling of the story of the Central Park Five). Chernobyl conquered the Creative Arts Emmys beating its main competitor four times winning Outstanding Sound Mixing, Outstanding production design, Outstanding Musical Composition Outstanding Visual effects and Outstanding Cinematography, Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing. The juggernaut was only defeated in the Outstanding Casting category which went to the Netflix’s drama. Despite not making waves during the Creative Arts Awards, there is still a strong possibility that When They See Us could take a surprise win at the Primetime Emmys. When They See Us is predominately nominated for acting awards and with the academy’s acting bias there is a high chance that they it could still take the award for Best Limited series under HBO’s nose. Fosse/Verdon was the only other limited series to take home some awards. The elegant period drama secured wins for Outstanding Hairstyling and the other for Outstanding Makeup.
This year’s most competitive category is the for the Comedy awards, which features an incredible range of shows mainly produced or written by women. HBO’s Veep vs Amazon’s The Marvellous Mrs Maisel will be the showdown of the night as they are both defending champions. The Marvellous Mrs Maisel won six Creative Arts Emmys on Sunday night, causing a couple of major upsets in the Guest Actress (Jane Lynch) and Guest Actor (Luke Kirby) beating all Saturday Night Live Guest hosts. The series even stole a cinematography award from Game of Thrones and Outstanding period costumes from Fosse/Verdon. Statistically, the Amazon comedy has won twice as many Creative Arts Emmys as it did last year which makes it a tough act to beat. Veep didn’t win any Creative Arts awards making it seem unlikely to win the main awards, but it is a legacy show with wide acclaim amongst fans and the voters. Plus it is the final season, so it could still make a run for best comedy, especially considering Maisel is always at an advantage for its technical prowess and production design which suits Emmy voters preference in a way Veep never can. If you want to consider an outsider, for the past four years the winner of the Creative Arts Outstanding Casting has gone on to win the best comedy which was won by Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag. The comedy snapped up another Creative Award for Outstanding Editing and with eleven nominations at the Primetime Emmys there is always a chance of a surprise. However, Natasha Lyonne’s Netflix comedy Russian Doll won three times out of nine chances at The Creative Arts Emmys for Outstanding Cinematography, Outstanding Production Design and Outstanding Contemporary Costumes. There is a real opportunity for an upset within this category.
It is clear that despite the glamour of the awards, the Emmys are coming down to the nitty-gritty after the Creative Arts awards.