Monday, August 18, 2014

Creative Arts Emmys 2014: Guest Acting Winners and Other Highlights

*With the Emmys coming up on August 25th, The Entertainment Junkie will be providing content related to major nominees, culminating in not one, but two top-ten lists. Welcome to Emmy Week.*

Saturday night, the Creative Arts Emmys were held in Los Angeles. What makes these different from the Primetime Emmy Awards? The answer is relatively simple: the Emmy Awards have so many categories that they hold two separate ceremonies. The Primetime Emmy Awards are the ones that people are most familiar with, honoring the big, above-the-line categories such as acting, writing, directing, and the major series categories as well. In other words, the categories with nominees that mass audiences would be most familiar with. The Creative Arts Emmys, then, are for everything else: the technical aspects of making a television show, and the program awards that may be less familiar to audiences.

The Guest Acting Emmys are also, for some reason, handed out during this ceremony as well. This year's winners were…(see the nominees here; a complete list of winners and nominees can be found here).

More after the jump.

Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black

In the hands of any other actress, the role of Suzanne, aka "Crazy Eyes," could have been at best a stale caricature, and at worst flat-out minstrelsy. However, Aduba makes her both hilarious and empathetic, teasing the deeply-damaged interior of the character that wouldn't be revealed until season two (only the first season was eligible this year). Though I would have loved to see Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) win and make history as the first trans performer to win an Emmy, I'm really happy for Aduba. It was a deserving win.

Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live

I didn't actually see Fallon's hosting gig this year, so I can't comment on it specifically. But SNL alums tend to always shine brightly when they return to the show, and Fallon is such an affable performer that I imagine he was terrific.

Allison Janney, Masters of Sex

Janney was never really in danger of losing, let's be honest. Her portrayal of a lonesome housewife searching for some modicum of love was heartbreaking and human, a beautiful performance on a show that had no shortage of painfully human characters. More than anything, though, I'm glad Masters of Sex will have at least one Emmy to its name.

Joe Morton, Scandal

I have to be honest: I still need to catch up on Scandal. I was personally rooting for Reg E. Cathey (House of Cards), but I'm sure Morton is a fine choice as well.

Other highlights:

- Bob's Burgers won Best Animated Program. I want to reiterate: BOB'S BURGERS WON BEST ANIMATED PROGRAM. I'm really excited about this because, quite simply, it's one of the greatest shows on television, and you should really be watching it. To be fair, this category was particularly good this year: Archer (another show you should really be watching) earned its first nomination here for a convention-defying season, and old stalwarts Futurama and South Park were nominated for great episodes (the latter for the incredible "Black Friday" episodes, which my girlfriend and I quote all the time). No Family Guy and, for the first time ever in this category, no The Simpsons, either.

- The Square, which was nominated for a Best Documentary Feature Oscar last year, fared well, winning Emmys for its direction, cinematography, and editing, but Best Documentary or Nonfiction Special to PBS' JFK (American Experience). How was The Square eligible? At both the Oscars and the Emmys, documentary eligibility rules are sketchy to me, but The Square was considered a "Netflix Original" when it premiered in February on the streaming service, which made it eligible. It's worth noting that Life According to Sam, which was shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature last year and aired on HBO, won the Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking Emmy this year.

- This year marked the introduction of the divided reality series categories, with separate categories for "structured" and "unstructured" reality programs (read more about the distinctions here). The Structured Emmy went to Shark Tank, a thoroughly enjoyable show where entrepreneurs present their ideas to the "sharks" (well-known CEOs or business owners), who then bid for an agreement to make the idea possible and profitable. The Unstructured Emmy went to Deadliest Catch, the crab-fisherman program on Discovery Channel that's become an Emmy favorite (counting the old Reality Series category, this is the show's second victory).

- The Emmy for Outstanding Main Titles Design naturally went to True Detective, which made great use of evocative imagery to really set the tone for the show. In that case, it made for a very deserving win, but I love the cheekiness (sorry) of the Masters of Sex titles, which were also nominated. In this category, I was most surprised that Orange is the New Black wasn't nominated.

- Outside of the juried awards (which don't have nominees), there were two competitions that ended in ties. Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and Vice both took home Emmys for Best Informational Series or Special, while both American Masters and Years of Living Dangerously won Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series.

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