Australia went into this year’s Emmy season with its strongest line-up in memory.
Glory came early for cinematographer Greig Fraser, who shared the Emmy for cinematography for a single-camera half-hour series with his long-time collaborator, New Zealand-born director of photography Baz Idoine. The pair won last week for their work on the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian.
Others were not so lucky, including Australian composer Antonio Gambale, nominated in the music composition for a limited series and main title theme music categories, who lost to HBO’s Watchmen and Netflix’s Hollywood. Costume designer Justine Seymour, nominated for outstanding contemporary costumes for Unorthodox, lost to Schitt’s Creek.
Three Australians were also nominated in the main title design category, Patrick Clair and Raoul Marks for Westworld and Paul Mitchell for Watchmen, but both programs lost to Epix’s Godfather of Harlem.
Despite careful planning, the “virtual” Creative Arts Emmys was not glitch-free. Actor Jason Bateman was incorrectly announced as the winner in the guest actor in a drama category; the correct winner was Ron Cephas Jones from This Is Us.
The Creative Arts Emmys hand out awards in 162 categories. They are usually staged over two days on the weekend preceding the Emmys, however this year they were held in hour-long “virtual” telecasts across five nights as the show’s producers bedded down their plans for the main event.
A final 24 categories will be announced in Monday’s telecast.
Australia still has a stake in five of the final awards: Hugh Jackman and Cate Blanchett in the lead actor and actress in a limited series category, Sarah Snook and Toni Collette in the supporting actress categories, and screenwriter Tony McNamara in the writing for a comedy series category.
Monday’s telecast is promising 138 stars from 114 locations across 10 countries, using a variety of technologies including crews that have been dispatched to some locations and home camera kits, which will lean on home Wi-Fi, sent to others.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no red carpet or packed auditorium; the show’s host Jimmy Kimmel will host the event from Los Angeles’ Staples Centre without an audience present.
Speaking to media last week, Kimmel said he hoped the presenters and winners would put on their best show. “I hope that we get to see some excitement from inside the house, people’s families,” Kimmel said.
“I hope it’s not the typical ‘sit in front of your monitor, with a carefully selected assortment of books behind you’ situation. I hope that people’s families go crazy when they win.”
The 72nd annual primetime Emmy awards will air on Monday, September 21 from 10am on Fox Arena and will stream via Foxtel.
Selection of winners at the 72nd Creative Arts Emmys
Structured reality program: Queer Eye (Netflix)
Narrator: David Attenborough on Seven Worlds, One Planet (BBC America)
Variety sketch series: Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Variety special (live): Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times (ABC)
Cinematography for a single-camera series (half-hour): Greig Fraser and Baz Idoine for The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Cinematography for a multi-camera series: Donald A. Morgan for The Ranch (Netflix)
Fantasy/sci-fi costumes: Sharen Davis and Valerie Zielonka for Watchmen (HBO)
Period costumes: Amy Roberts, Sidonie Roberts and Sarah Moore for The Crown (Netflix)
Special visual effects: The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Original interactive program: The Messy Truth VR Experience (Oculus)
Casting for a comedy series: Lisa Parasyn and Jon Comerford for Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV)
Casting for a drama series: Avy Kaufman for Succession (HBO)
Character voice-over performance: Maya Rudolph for Big Mouth (Netflix)
Original main title theme music: Nathan Barr for Hollywood (Netflix)
Original music and lyrics: Labrinth for Euphoria (HBO)
Animated program: Rick and Morty (Adult Swim)
Children’s program: The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix) and We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest (HBO)*
Television movie: Bad Education (HBO)
Unstructured reality program: Cheer (Netflix)
Variety special (pre-recorded): Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones (Netflix)
Contemporary costumes: Debra Hanson and Darci Cheyne, Schitt’s Creek (Pop TV)
Guest actor in a comedy series: Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Guest actress in a comedy series: Maya Rudolph on Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Guest actor in a drama series: Ron Cephas Jones on This Is Us (NBC)
Guest actress in a drama series: Cherry Jones on Succession (HBO)
Host for a reality or competition series: RuPaul for RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1)
Main title design: Godfather of Harlem (Epix)
Stunt co-ordination for a drama series, limited series or movie: Ryan Watson for The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Directing for a variety special: Stan Lathan for Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones (Netflix)
Writing for a variety special: Dave Chappelle for Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones (Netflix)
* this category had two winners.
Michael Idato is the culture editor-at-large of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.