HBO’s John Adams, it should come as no surprise, won the most Creative Arts Emmys last week, solidifying its place as one of the best films to ever debut on television. Its exceptional run landed it 23 Emmy nominations and eventually eight Creative Arts wins. The other big winners were AMC’s Mad Men and NBC’s 30 Rock.
The Creative Arts Emmys are large and sprawling, much like the Prime Time Emmys but even more so. The craftspeople behind the TV shows we know and love rarely get an opportunity to step out into the spotlight, but they will have an opportunity when the show airs this Saturday, September 20, on E!
John Adams won for casting, cinematography, costumes, prosthetic makeup, sound editing, and sound mixing. It is up for eight more Emmys when the Primetime awards are handed out this Sunday, September 21. It is nominated for Paul Giamatti for actor, Laura Linney for actress (she should win handily), makeup, and three supporting actor nods for Stephen Dillane, David Morse, and Tom Wilkinson.
The second highest winner, again no surprise, was Mad Men, which took four Creative Arts Emmys, winning art direction for a single-camera series, cinematography, hairstyling, and main title design. It should also do well when the Primetime Emmys have their say. Mad Men is up for Best Actor (Jon Hamm), Supporting Actor for John Slattery, and Guest Actor for Robert Morse. It is also up for another makeup award. Or is it the same makeup award? It’s a confusing pile of worms, the Primetime Emmy versus Creative Arts Emmy situation.
Either way, the bottom line is that both John Adams and Mad Men did well at the Creative Arts Emmys and are expected to also do well on Sunday. Both will have tough competition by other exceptional programming. Both are very strong on crafts, which explains why they did so well last Saturday.
John Adams will likely sweep the Primetime Emmys, as it really has no viable competition. It will probably take Best Miniseries, Best Actor, and Best Actress. It simply towers over everything else. The only category where it might run into problems is Supporting Actor where three names will cause voter confusion and probably hand the award to someone like Denis Leary or Bob Balaban for Recount.
Speaking of Recount, Laura Dern will probably win for Supporting Actress, giving her an opportunity to get a little political at the podium. She has some tough competition, including Audra McDonald for A Raisin in the Sun and Alfre Woodard in Pictures of Hollis Woods. But Dern’s Katherine Harris was one of the most talked about TV performances of the year, and it is rather timely, it being an election year.
Mad Men is still a niche show, even though word is spreading fast as more and more people discover how great it is. The Emmy voters may not be ready to crown Mad Men (they aren’t that bold), but it still has a chance in Best Drama. It has to beat their favorite show, Boston Legal, as well as Damages, and House. The most popular of the bunch will win there, not necessarily the most deserving.
Now that Katherine Heigl kindly and notably took herself out of the running, it leaves room for the two more deserving actresses on Grey’s Anatomy to get some recognition, Sandra Oh and Chandra Wilson. My money is on Wilson, who, week after week, steals every episode of the show. But the Emmys aren’t always fair. In fact, they’re worse than the Oscars in terms of going against the grain and picking the best work. Can they break that pattern this year? We’ll find out on Sunday night.