WCBE

Most Of This Year's Emmys Have Already Been Handed Out: Some Highlights

Sep 12, 2016

The 2016 Emmy Awards are 83 percent over.

Think about that next Sunday night, as some sudsy production number lumbers on or yet another powerfully unnecessary montage/tribute — "A Salute To: The Laugh Track!" — brings the proceedings to a lurching halt.

It will take host Jimmy Kimmel and company three hours and change to hand out 19 Emmy statues. If that sounds inefficient to you, consider this chilling fact: There are in fact 110 Emmy categories this year.

And in two ceremonies that took place last Saturday and Sunday night, awards in 91 categories were given out. These are the Creative Arts Emmys, which many people think of the "technical" awards. That's mostly fair, as they do include categories rife with specifications ("outstanding lighting design/lighting direction for a variety series") and dutifully punctuated caveats ("outstanding makeup for a multi-camera series or special [non-prosthetic])."

But the Creative Arts Emmys are also where things like reality shows, animated series and guest appearances get shunted. As such, they're worth a closer look.

The complete list of Creative Arts Emmy winners is over on the Emmys site.

These awards will be broadcast (in greatly truncated form) on FXX this Saturday, Sept. 17, at 8 p.m. ET.

Herewith, some interesting winners — and losers.


Category: Outstanding animated program

Nominees: Archer, Bob's Burgers, Phineas & Ferb Last Day of Summer, The Simpsons, South Park

Winner: Archer

Takeaway: This is Archer's first animated series win (it won the "multiplatform storytelling" Emmy last year). Bob's Burgers had a particularly strong year, but this season saw Archer switching up its premise a second time (originally, spy show; then, Miami Vice spoof; now, LA-based private detective agency) and the Emmy voters rewarded that eagerness to innovate.

This award, like many, is given based upon the specific episodes submitted by the show's producers. In this case, "The Figgis Agency" — the seventh season opener, which introduced the latest format change — took the gold.


Category: Outstanding short-form animated program

Nominees: Adventure Time, Powerpuff Girls, Robot Chicken, SpongeBob Squarepants, Steven Universe

Winner: Robot Chicken

Takeaway: This marks Robot Chicken's fifth win. Steven Universe has been nominated twice, and lost both times. It may take Emmy voters another year or two to wake up to Steven Universe's bright, breezy and ferociously smart sensibility, but Steven's day is coming, mark my words.


Category: Outstanding production design for a variety, nonfiction, event or award special

Nominees: Grease: Live, He Named Me Malala, Lemonade, The Oscars, The Wiz Live

Winner: Grease: Live

Takeaway: Two things --

A. Grease: Live — an arch, stagey, faux-naughty love letter to the '50s written in the '70s — beat Beyonce's Lemonade, a visually stunning work that's about as fiercely of-the-moment as it gets. That sound you hear is 100 "What's Wrong With the Emmys?" thinkpieces being written.

B. What in heaven's name is last year's lugubrious Oscars ceremony doing on this list?


Category: Casting for a limited series, movie or special

Nominees: Fargo, Grease: Live, The Night Manager, The People vs. OJ Simpson, Roots

Winner: The People vs. OJ Simpson

Takeaway: In the end, the astonishing work of Sarah Paulsen, Courtney B. Vance, Sterling K. Brown and, yes, John Travolta served to distract Emmy voters from the fact that Cuba Gooding Jr. was woefully miscast as OJ.

Which is to say: Fargo was robbed, yo.


Category: Outstanding choreography (note the lack of specifics — dance transcends format!)

Nominees: America's Best Dance Crew, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance

Winner: A tie! Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and America's Best Dance Crew

Takeaway: It's notable that each show submits specific routines for Emmy consideration. (It's also notable that two different choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance were nominated, and neither won.)

America's Best Dance Crew's Quest Crew won with the routines "Runaway Baby," "Take U There" and "Summer Thing."

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Kathryn Burns won her first Emmy for the Bollywood pastiche "I'm So Good At Yoga," the hilarious and uncannily precise "A Boy Band Made Up of Four Joshes," and the Astaire/Rogers sendup "Settle for Me."


Category: Outstanding original music and lyrics

Nominees: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Empire, Galavant, Garfunkel and Oates: Trying to be Special, The Hunting Ground

Winner: The Hunting Ground

Takeaway: There's a lot of talent, and even more good songs ("Settle for Me" from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; Galavant's "Season Two/Suck It, Cancellation Bear") on this list. But there's also "'Til it Happens to You," a searing cri de coeur inspired by campus rape, written by Diane Warren, performed by Lady Gaga. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's lovely ditty of romantic self-loathing never stood a chance. Next year!


Category: Outstanding original main title theme music

Nominees: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jessica Jones, Narcos, Night Manager, Sense8, The Whispers

Winner: Jessica Jones

Takeaway: Nooooooope. Come ON, Emmy voters. This was Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's to lose. Which, um ... it did. But Jessica Jones' aimless noir-inflected faux-jazz tootlings? Noooope.


Category: Outstanding guest actor in a comedy series

Nominees: Bob Newhart, Big Bang Theory; Peter Scolari, Girls; Tracy Morgan, SNL; Bradley Whitford, Transparent; Martin Mull, Veep.

Winner: A true, and welcome surprise: Peter Scolari, Girls

Takeaway: I wouldn't have bet against sentimental favorites like Newhart and Morgan — or, for that matter, dependable vets like Whitford and Mull. So it's a bit of a shock that Scolari took home the Emmy, despite the fact that he has been doing such great, nuanced work as Hannah's struggling, newly out father. His fourth nomination overall, his first for Girls. If you've been rooting for this guy since Bosom Buddies, this feels like a personal victory.


Category: Outstanding host for a reality or reality-competition series

Nominees: Ryan Seacrest, American Idol; Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars; Jane Lynch, Hollywood Game Night; Steve Harvey, Little Big Shots Starring Steve Harvey; Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, Project Runway; RuPaul Charles, RuPaul's Drag Race

Winner: RuPaul Charles, RuPaul's Drag Race

Takeaway: Wooooooooooooooooooooooooo


Category: Outstanding variety special

Nominees: Adele: Live in New York City; Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo; Lemonade; The Kennedy Center Honors; The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special

Winner: The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special

Takeaway: OK, well, look, I didn't agree with Lemonade losing the production design award, yet I accepted it. I didn't understand it, but I accepted it, as that is what adults do. But this? Celebrities winkingly aping the singular visions of various artists beating out ... one artist's singular vision? I refuse to accept it, and I'm going to get my binky and hold my breath until the Emmy voters come to their damn senses.


Category: Outstanding documentary or nonfiction special

Nominees: Becoming Mike Nichols; Everything is Copy — Nora Ephron: Scripted & Unscripted; Listen to Me Marlon; Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures; What Happened, Miss Simone?

Winner: What Happened, Miss Simone?

Takeaway: HBO's Nora Ephron doc took a satisfyingly nuanced look at its subject's tendency to use her family as fodder for storytelling, and no one would blame you for betting on it to take home the Emmy. But there was no stopping Netflix's deep dive into the life and work — and politics — of the fascinating Nina Simone.


Category: Outstanding documentary or nonfiction series

Nominees: American Masters, Chef's Table, Making a Murderer, The Seventies, Woman with Gloria Steinem

Winner: Making a Murderer

Takeaway: Likely the one you'd be certain to have won in your Emmy pool, if your Emmy pool included all 110 categories, which admittedly would be a very aggressive stance to take.


Category: Outstanding informational series or special

Nominees: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown; Inside the Actors Studio; StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson; The Story of God with Morgan Freeman; Vice

Winner: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Takeaway: Bourdain racked up his fourth win, beating out God. Hope it doesn't go to his head.


Category: Outstanding structured reality program

Nominees: Antiques Roadshow; Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives; Lip Sync Battle; MythBusters; Shark Tank; Undercover Boss

Winner: Shark Tank

Takeaway: Would've been great to have seen the final season of MythBusters take home an Emmy at last, having previously been nominated seven times without a win. But Emmy voters decided instead to reward a show that doubles down on the myth of the marketplace as meritocracy.

(Also, the reality show categories — "structured reality" "unstructured reality" — get weirdly existential.)


Category: Outstanding unstructured reality program

Nominees: Born This Way, Deadliest Catch, Gaycation with Ellen Page, Intervention, Project Greenlight, United Shades of America

Winner: Born This Way

Takeaway: The A&E series, which features individuals with Down syndrome making their way in the world, now adds an Emmy statue to its growing list of accomplishments.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.