September 16, 2019
Game of Thrones” traditionally wins the bulk of its Emmy awards at the Creative Arts ceremonies — held the weekend before the live telecast — and 2019 is no different.
‘Game of Thrones’ nabs 10 early Emmys, Beyoncé gets snubbed
Hollywood’s love affair with even the show’s weakest season will drive fans insane. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences gave the fantasy epic 10 awards Sunday night, about a third of its record 32 nominations. The academy obviously intends to send “GoT” out with a bang and will give the show prizes it doesn’t deserve, like the one it picked up for main title design.
Yo, people: The opening credits haven’t changed since the beginning, so how is that award-worthy?
It even bestowed a few prizes on the controversial and least-liked “The Long Night” episode. It’s understandable if you don’t remember it. That was the one that nobody could see because the lighting was so poor. It won for single-camera editing, sound editing and makeup.
Makeup? How could you tell anyone was wearing it? You couldn’t see them.
While the academy went overboard with its pet show, one high-profile hopeful was snubbed: Beyoncé was nominated for four Emmys for her Netflix concert special, “Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé,” but she went home empty-handed. She also went home award-free for her “Lemonade” film in 2016.
Awards for costumes (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), hairstyling (“Fosse/Verdon”) and makeup (“Fosse/Verdon”) don’t mean bigger prizes next Sunday night, although “Mrs. Maisel” had an impressive haul of six Emmys last night, thanks to the guest actor and actress wins for Jane Lynch (sigh: she needs five Emmys?) and Luke Kirby, excellent and suave as Lenny Bruce, portrayed here as a true friend to Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan).
The most telling award in the Creative Arts Emmys is for best casting. The winners of these often predict which shows will win Best Series. For drama, it was “Game of Thrones” (fans may require medical treatment); for comedy, it was “Fleabag,” which beat out “Barry,” “Veep” and “Mrs. Maisel.” Think it was the Hot Priest (Andrew Scott) who brought home the gold? Most likely. For limited series, it was the wrenching “When They See Us,” obviously for finding those young actors to play the Central Park Five.
The big surprise winner of the Creative Arts Emmys was National Geographic’s rock-climbing documentary “Free Solo,” which swept its categories, seven for seven. The outstanding British limited series “Chernobyl” also won seven statuettes for its meticulous re-creation of the Russian nuclear disaster, down to the rotting flesh of the firemen sent into the reactor.
In our overloaded contemporary age, where streaming services pop up every day with more former film stars in series that don’t look so great (“The Morning Show”?), the Emmys may seem like a charming antique. Regular viewers don’t really watch the show; a mere 10.2 million tuned in last year, compared to 29.6 million for this year’s Oscars. Yet streamers like Netflix and Amazon pay big bucks in pre-awards promotion to make sure the members of the academy know about their hard work.
In the case of some of the shows mentioned above, it pays off. Amazon’s “Mrs. Maisel” is the most popular show for female audiences since HBO’s “Sex and the City.” Amazon’s “Fleabag,” long an under-the-radar delight adored by actresses who yearned for scripts as smart as those on this show, put the world on notice about its creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is doing everything everywhere these days. Netflix’s “When They See Us” was watched internationally by 23 million people shortly after its release. These are risks that clearly paid off.
As for the networks, they prop up the industry and keep the trains running on time. Time was the Emmys, like viewers, only had three channels to choose from. Now it’s a free-for-all. There are simply too many shows for the Emmys to recognize all the talent that’s out there, so the Creative Arts Emmys function as a way to acknowledge the behind-the-scenes expertise of the technicians involved.
Now onto the big awards. May the best shows win.
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