The Creative Arts Emmys are ridiculously big. With more than 80 categories, its impossible to keep track of them all, let alone gauge influence on the Primetime Emmys — a notoriously hard to predict awards race. That being said, Saturday night’s ceremony did have some notable wins (and losses), which could foreshadow how Sunday’s 67th Annual Emmy Awards might play out. Let’s dig in:
“The Americans” Won an Emmy!
The third time proved to be the charm for character actress Margo Martindale, who took home her second Emmy as well as the first Emmy for “The Americans” on her third nomination for the acclaimed FX series. Never mind the fact Martindale’s previous two nominations were for seasons in which she appeared for more than five minutes and delivered far more impressive, layered work. “The Americans” has finally been recognized, and that’s all that matters. (Okay, it still matters very much that the show hasn’t been nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, but we’ll leave that fight for another day.)
“Bessie” Took Home TV Movie
In another weak year for the category, HBO’s Bessie Smith biopic easily rose to the top of an ugly pack. How ugly, you ask? Well, just consider that the much-despised Cannes entry-turned-Lifetime movie “Grace of Monaco” was one of this year’s nominees, and you get the picture. Still, Queen Latifah has to be feeling a bit better about her odds in the Lead Actress race (even if we’re still betting on Frances McDormand).
“Game of Thrones” Won a Ton, But It Doesn’t Really Matter
HBO cruised to the top of the pack with 29 wins for the premium cable network, easily topping the second biggest winner of the night in NBC with 11. “Game of Thrones” gave HBO the biggest boost, racking in eight wins for its fifth season, including trophies for visual effects and stunt work. While that’s a marked improvement over last year, when the fantasy drama won four trophies (and 2013, when it won two), don’t go thinking this means David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ ratings juggernaut is on its way to an Outstanding Drama Series win. Much like the Oscars with blockbuster films, Emmys voters may bequeath many trophies on technically proficient series before bestowing the top prize on a more heartfelt entry. Plus, “Game of Thrones” won six Creative Arts Emmys in 2012, and came up with nada at the Primetime festivities. It’s still got a shot at a series win, but its big showing Saturday night does little to increase its chances come Sunday.
Jon Hamm Lost…Again
No, Hamm didn’t lose “the big one” (yet), but the “Mad Men” star came up short again Saturday night despite being considered the frontrunner in the Outstanding Guest Actor category. Nominated for his surprise role on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Hamm is now an astounding 0-14 at the Emmys. He’s got two more shots as a producer and actor for “Mad Men” at the Primetime Emmys — and make no doubt, those are much more important both personally for the actor (we assume) and culturally for the artistic community (we know for a fact) — but this defeat marks a special, largely-unnoticed blemish on the TV Academy’s record.
Despite being a perennial presence in the Outstanding Drama Actor race, Hamm is no stranger to the comedy side of the aisle. He was nominated in the Guest Actor category in 2009, 2010 and 2012 for “30 Rock” — a series with a boatload of Emmys — but never won. Considering his final nod came for his work on the last live episode of Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s acclaimed series, his fourth loss in the comedy category is just one more injustice dealt to one of TV’s brightest stars.
“Transparent” Gained Momentum
Many prognosticators expect Jeffrey Tambor to walk away with the Emmy for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Sunday night, and those predictions were given even more credence when the Academy handed out four trophies to “Transparent” at the Creative Arts ceremony, including a win for Bradley Whitford over Hamm for Outstanding Guest Actor. Amazon claimed its first Emmys ever, but probably not its last. “Transparent” could make a real run for Outstanding Comedy Series, especially if this is the year “Modern Family” finally goes down.
“Orange is the New Black” Starts 0-2 as a Drama
It’s not that “Orange is the New Black” lost its two nominations at the Creative Arts Emmys but how it lost them. Up for Casting and Guest Actor, Netflix’s comedy-turned-drama suffered two losses in categories it won last year. What changed? Just the genre. Many have remarked how difficult it would be for the series to compete as a drama — hence Netflix’s appeal to be considered as a comedy, despite this year’s new rules — but we really saw the effects Saturday night.
Competing against “Mad Men,” “House of Cards” and “Game of Thrones” (which won), “Orange is the New Black” was at the back of the pack in casting, but saw an even uglier switch-a-roo in the guest acting categories. Despite landing three nominations and a win as a comedy last year, Netflix changed their strategy in 2015. Only Pablo Schreiber made the cut after last year’s nominees Natasha Lyonne and Laverne Cox were pushed as supporting actors, and Schreiber lost to fellow Netflix nominee Reg E. Cathey from “House of Cards.” Last year’s winner — Uzo Aduba — is up for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, but after three wins in 2014, the best “OITNB” can hope for is two in 2015.
“Over the Garden Wall” Beat “Bob’s Burgers” and “Archer”?
Outstanding Animated Program is never an easy category to predict, but I doubt even Cartoon Network executives expected hear their show named on Saturday night. While that’s the end of the road for the Elijah Wood and Melanie Lynskey-voiced animated show, its win points to the overall unpredictability of the Emmys. Get ready for a wild ride come Sunday.