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TV Award Season: Emmy Creative Arts Wrapup


By Thomas J. McLean
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, the acclaimed HBO miniseries about settlement�s impact on Native Americans, topped the honorees at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
Discovery�s Planet Earth came in second with four Emmys in nonfiction categories at the ceremony, held Sept. 8 at the Shrine Auditorium.
Shortly behind were three wins each for the Masterpiece Theater production of Jane Eyre, the BBC/HBO series Rome, NBC special Tony Bennett: An American Classic, and Spike Lee�s documentary project When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.
In network terms, HBO came out on top with 15 wins, followed by NBC with 12 and CBS with nine.
Period pieces dominated in art direction, costumes and hairstyling. Jane Eyre, from PBS� Masterpiece Theater, won all three categories on the miniseries-movie side, while HBO�s Rome nabbed two on the series side, with Showtime�s The Tudors walking away with the costume honor.
Bolstering the western�s dominance of the miniseries categories was Broken Trail, which won for casting.
A number of top film craftspeople flexing their muscles on the small screen were rewarded with Emmys.
Among them were Lee, who won for nonfiction directing; production designer John Myhre, who added an art direction Emmy for Tony Bennett to his Oscars for Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha; and Chicago director Rob Marshall, who took home a choreography Emmy, also for Tony Bennett. Two-time Oscar-winner Colleen Atwood also won for Bennett, taking home a juried award for costumes in a variety or music special.
There were enough ties to make viewers think they were watching a soccer league, with splits in the art direction for a variety, music or nonfiction category, single-camera picture editing for a miniseries or movie, and sound mixing for a half-hour comedy, drama or animated show.
Even stranger was the three-way tie in the choreography race, which only had four nominees. NBC�s popular Tony Bennett: An American Classic took one of them, and Fox�s So You Think You Can Dance ended up with two honors. Only ABC�s Dancing With the Stars was out of step.
Many of the top-rated new shows from last season were shut-out in the creative categories, with Heroes going 0-for-5, Ugly Betty taking only the comedy series casting honor despite seven nominations, and 30 Rock earning only a guest acting win on four nominations. Friday Night Lights took the drama series casting award, the only one it was up for all night.
Most of the powerhouses came from the nonfiction, reality and movie-miniseries side of things.
Nightmares & Dreamscapes, a TNT miniseries based on stories by Stephen King, won two honors, including the miniseries VFX race for Sam Nicholson and Stargate Digital. Also taking a pair of trophies home were two freshman Showtime series, Dexter and The Tudors.
Of the few categories left for multicamera sitcoms, Two and a Half Men picked up a pair for cinematography and editing; art direction went to How I Met Your Mother.
A number of critically acclaimed series came up short even when they had creative arts nominations. Deadwood won once on six nominations, while The Sopranos was shut out in five categories. Sci Fi�s critically acclaimed Battlestar Galactica scored a series VFX win after nominations the past two years, but lost out in series sound editing to 24 � its sole creative arts nomination this year.
American Idol picked up its first two Emmys for the �Idol Gives Back� special, including one of two Governors Awards. The other was presented to When the Levees Break.
Other popular series that scored single trophies included House, for prosthetic makeup; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation for sound mixing; CSI: Miami for stunt coordination; and The Office for single-camera picture editing for a comedy.
Odd and occasionally awkward moments marked the presentation itself, hosted by comedian Carlos Mencia.
�We�re so surprised, because we got fired,� said Libby Goldstein in accepting the comedy series casting award along with Junie Lowry Johnston for Ugly Betty. �They said it was something about the casting.�
Another early surprise came from Elaine Stritch, who set a precedent for profanity when she won the guest actress on a comedy Emmy for her role on 30 Rock by saying: �I still can�t get over the way I feel. It was un-fucking-believable.� She was further topped by comedian Kathy Griffin, who accepted the best reality series award for her Bravo show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.
�Sorry to our mothers� was perhaps the only thing that Andy Samberg could say after an award was given to Saturday Night Live for the digital short film Dick in a Box.
In the awkward section was a strange moment when there was some confusion over the acceptance of the nonfiction sound editing award for Planet Earth from actress Emily Proctor on behalf of the absent Kate Hopkins.
Above the line honors were presented in the guest actor categories, with John Goodman winning for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Stanley Tucci for Monk, and Leslie Caron for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
The sprawling ceremony, which presented about 75 awards in nearly four hours, was to be edited and aired as a two-hour special Sept. 15 on E!
The primetime Emmys will be presented live, also from the Shrine, on Sept. 16.

Written by Tom McLean

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