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‘Squid Game,’ ‘Yellowstone,’ and Superheroes Score with Guilds

And what would a "Succession" vs. "Squid Game" vs. "Yellowstone" showdown look like at the Emmy Awards?

"Squid Game"

“Squid Game”

Netflix

Between award nominations from the Art Directors Guild (ADG) and the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) on Monday and from the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and Cinema Audio Society (CAS) on Tuesday, this week has already released a glut of TV awards information and very little time to process it all.

That said, there are few trends obvious enough to discuss with only a cursory glance at the assembled nominations honoring some of the finest TV from 2021. Now, let’s dispense with the pleasantries and get down to the business of big winners.

Winner: Superheroes and Wars in Stars

Taking in the nomination information as a whole, it’s near impossible to miss the proliferation of Marvel, DCU, and Star Wars properties. In that sense, it’s Disney+ who really came out on top, with “WandaVision” receiving five nominations (two for sound mixing, two for sound editing, and one more for production design), “The Book of Boba Fett” receiving two nominations (sound mixing and sound editing), “Loki” receiving two nominations (sound editing and production design) as well as an additional nomination — in sound mixing — for “Hawkeye.”

But recognition for franchise expansions weren’t a Disney+ exclusive, as several other shows struck nomination gold from the guilds. HBO Max’s “Titans,” a product of the larger DC Comics franchise, nabbed two nominations from the ASC, while The CW’s “Superman & Lois,” also based on DC Comics characters, earned a cinematography nomination as well.

We’ve seen lots of below-the-line love for genre series at the Emmy Awards, so these are definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Winner: “Squid Game”

Netflix’s “Squid Game” has gotten a lot of attention since its gangbusters first season, garnering award nominations from organizations including the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the Critics Choice Association (CCA), and the series seems to be hitting its stride as more guild nominations roll in.

In just the past two days, “Squid Game” has notched five more nominations from three separate guilds. The series’ sound, in particular, was roundly embraced with three nominations from MPSE (ADR/dialogue, effects/Foley, and music) and one nomination from CAS (sound mixing), and one from ADG (production design).

Momentum for the series seems to still be growing, a development that Netflix must be over the moon for. While the series isn’t eligible for nomination at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be in play when the Producers Guild of America (PGA), Costume Designers Guild (CDG), and American Cinema Editors (ACE) announce their respective nominees later this week.

Yellowstone Season 4 Kevin Costner phone

Kevin Costner in “Yellowstone”

Courtesy of Paramount Network / ViacomCBS

Winner: “Yellowstone”

Point of fact: Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone” was in no way the biggest winner when the first four guilds of the week announced their collective nominees. “Squid Game,” HBO’s “Succession,” “WandaVision,” Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building,” and Netflix’s “The Witcher,” among others, all metaphorically heard their names called more than the Kevin Costner-starring ranch drama.

But what makes “Yellowstone” a big winner is the fact that it was nominated at all.

Despite the show’s incredible ratings, “Yellowstone” has never made much of a splash with any awards-giving body, with its most prestigious mentions to date being an ASC nomination for its first season and an Emmy nomination for production design last year. But things have been shifting as of late.

The rumbles began with the announcement of the SAG nominations, which saw “Yellowstone” earn a nomination in the drama ensemble category, the SAG award equivalent of an outstanding drama series prize. By many media outlets standards, this was the first significant awards accomplishment for the series and little by little we’re seeing more accolades pop up.

Specifically, “Yellowstone” has recently earned a nomination from CAS for sound mixing and from ADG for production design. It’s too early to tell if this uptick in recognition is something or nothing, but as it stands, the series might just make the 2022 Emmy season extremely interesting.

Stay tuned for nomination announcements from DGA, PGA, CDG, and ACE in the days to come.

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