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HomeAwardsEmmy Coverage Part 1: Creative Art Awards

Emmy Coverage Part 1: Creative Art Awards

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A battle is brewing for the hearts and minds of below-the-line talent who will judge the 57th Annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards, with several voters hoping the polls close with quality winning out over popularity.The expanding CSI franchise seems to pose a dilemma on the sound side. Although setting a gold standard, it may eclipse the fine work of lesser-known productions, observes sound editor and mixer Mark L. Lanza, an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences member. He’s worried about some shows missing out “because the general membership isn’t going to nominate something they didn’t see,” adding that CSI sound teams have done “a consistently amazing job.”Although generally pleased with the crop of nominees for outstanding art direction, production designer Phil Dagort was disappointed “that some of the great-looking new shows such as House weren’t recognized” and considers the snub “a missed opportunity.”Another notable newcomer is Huff, which Dagort worked on last year as art director but didn’t feel comfortable touting given his leadership role as a Television Academy governor in the art directors/set decorators peer group.But there’s also cause for celebration.Michael Ornstein, ACE, a Television Academy governor in the television motion picture editors peer group, is heartened to see new shows starting to muscle their way into the competition as old stalwarts fall off the Emmy radar.His comments were echoed by hair stylist Judy Crown, a Television Academy governor in the makeup artists and hair stylists peer group who says the slate of this year’s beauty nominees suggest a break from the tendency to judge entries as though they were part of a popularity contest.Crown, a member of the Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Local 706 who’s working on CSI: NY after a stint on Jack & Bobby last year, credits a growing and more varied membership among hair and makeup professionals for helping elevate the category to a point where it’s “really coming into its own in television” following years of almost exclusive attention to how people look on the big screen.Lanza, who’s secretary of the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) board of directors, is also encouraged by some of the sound choices, believing nominations for Hercules and The Life and Death of Peter Sellers made for TV movie are an indication that voters are “judging on the merits of the sound and not the hype.” Now working as sound editor on the Zula Patrol PBS cartoon following stints on Kevin Hill and Grey’s Anatomy, he notes that MPSE board members have greater leeway to recognize shows from under the radar as part of the group’s annual Golden Reel Awards.Dagort, who recently worked as production designer on the Stephen King television miniseries Desperation set to air next year on ABC, praised the single-camera series selection of Desperate Housewives, Carnivale, Deadwood and Six Feet Under (on which he served as third season art director), noting their rich film-quality look aided by the digital-enhancement trend. But he also notes that a decline in the number of multi-camera shows produced only four instead of five art-direction nominees and has sparked discussion about the need to re-evaluate all categories.Ornstein, a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild Local 700 who’s finishing up a dramatic movie of the week for ESPN called Four Minutes, noticed a critical turning point for editors about five or six years ago when nonfiction programming gave rise to the reality genre. “They work on such a different model than traditional editing because of the amount of footage that’s being shot, which can be 400 or 450 hours per episode, with large teams of more than a dozen editors facing a short turnaround time,” he says.As a result, his peer group must re-examine nomination and membership requirements, considering that eight hours of national programming during the course of four seasons now can easily reach 22 hours in a single season. “We try and adapt to new programming trends,” says Ornstein.

Written by Bruce Shutan

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