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2020 Emmy Nominations: It’s a Craft Showdown Between ‘Watchmen’ and ‘The Mandalorian’

"Watchmen" was the big winner with 15 noms in craft categories; "The Mandalorian" grabbed 12, and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" snagged 10.

Watchmen HBO

“Watchmen” Doctor Manhattan (Yaha Abdul-Mateen II).


 IndieWire The Craft Top of the Line

Damon Lindelof’s zeitgeist-grabbing “Watchmen” was the big Emmy crafts winner on Tuesday with 15 nominations for HBO. However, “The Mandalorian,” Jon Favreau’s breakout “Star Wars” series for Disney+, scored 12 craft nods, while Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” grabbed 10, and Netflix’s “Ozark” and HBO’s “Westworld” each grabbed nine.

Netflix also fared well with Ryan Murphy’s “Hollywood,” which earned eight noms, while “The Crown” and “Stranger Things” both secured seven. Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” nabbed six noms, and HBO’s “Succession” and “Euphoria” took five along with CBS Access’ “Star Trek: Picard.” And FX’s “Mrs. America” and “Devs” managed four noms, as did Netflix’s “Space Force,” Murphy’s “Pose” and “American Horror Story: 1984” (both from FX), and Neon’s “Apollo 11” documentary. Snubbed in the crafts domain, though, were the lavish period pieces “Belgravia” (Epix), “Dickinson” (Apple TV+), and “The Great” (Hulu). On the other hand, it was a pleasant surprise to see cinematographers Jeff Cronenweth (Amazon’s “Tales from the Loop”), Rob Hardy (“Devs”), and Erik Messerschmidt (“Mindhunter”) all get nominated for their exquisite work.

Nominated for animated program were Fox’s “Bob’s Burgers” and “The Simpsons,” Netflix’s “Big Mouth” and “BoJack Horseman,” and Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty” (last season’s winner). Obviously, “Bojack Horseman” is the sentimental favorite. Raphael Matthew Bob-Waksberg’s acclaimed, self-reflective sitcom has one last chance to win for its sixth and final season.

Baby Yoda The Mandalorian Disney+

The wee creature known as “The Child” in “The Mandalorian.”


“Watchmen” garnered noms for casting (limited series/movie), twice for cinematography (limited series/movie), costumes (fantasy/sci-fi), main title design, music composition (limited series/movie, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross), original music and lyrics (“The Way It Used To Be”), music supervision, production design (period/fantasy), three times for editing (limited series/movie), sound editing (limited series/movie), sound mixing (limited series/movie), special visual effects.

“The Mandalorian” was nominated for cinematography (half-hour), costumes (fantasy/sci-fi), makeup (prosthetic), music composition (series, Ludwig Göransson), production design (half-hour), three times for editing (drama series), sound editing (half-hour series/animation), sound mixing (half-hour series/animation), special visual effects, and stunt coordination.

But, by virtue of their different formats “Watchmen” and “The Mandalorian” are only competing head to head for costumes, main title design, and special visual effects.

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel Season 3 Alex Borstein Rachel Brosnahan

Alex Borstein and Rachel Brosnahan in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Amazon Prime

Season 3 of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” distinguished itself in casting (comedy series), cinematography (one-hour series) production design (period/fantasy), costumes (period), editing (comedy series), hairstyling (series), makeup (non-prosthetic), music supervision, outstanding original music and lyrics (“One Less Angel”), and sound mixing (comedy/drama series).

Season 3 of “Ozark” took home noms for casting (drama series), twice for cinematography (one-hour series), twice for editing (drama series), contemporary makeup (non-prosthetic), music composition (series), production design (contemporary one-hour), sound mixing for comedy or drama series (one-hour).

Westworld Season 3 Episode 8 finale Aaron Paul Thandie Newton

Aaron Paul and Thandie Newton in “Westworld”

John P. Johnson / HBO

And Season 3 of “Westworld” was singled out for cinematography (one-hour series), costumes (fantasy/sci-fi), interactive extension of a linear program, main title design, makeup (prosthetic), production design (period/fantasy), sound editing (comedy/drama series), sound mixing (comedy/drama series), and special visual effects.

Arguably, the most interesting race to watch is VFX, which was totally dominated in prior years by “Game of Thrones.” There’s feature-quality work throughout: “The Mandalorian’s” innovative launch of the LED-stage StageCraft virtual production platform from Industrial Light & Magic, and the hybrid brilliance of fan favorite, The Child (aka Baby Yoda); “Watchmen’s” eye-popping work on Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Doctor Manhattan and Tim Blake Nelson’s Looking Glass Mask, as well as The Millennium Clock; “Stranger Things'” multi-faceted Mindflayer baddie; “Westworld’s robot drones and targeted LED-screen virtual production work; and “Lost in Space’s” expanded CG robot animation for Netflix.

The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will take place in September — exact date still to be announced by the Television Academy — and will be celebrated via a virtual ceremony.

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