Peter Scolari, holding his Emmy for HBO's Girls, with his wife, actress Tracy Shayne, at the 2016 Creative Arts Ball
HBO topped the winners at the Saturday-night installment of the 2016 Creative Arts Emmy Awards with 11 honors, driven by nine for the fantasy drama Game of Thrones. FX followed closely with 10 Emmys, four of them for the limited series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
This year, for the first time, the Television Academy’s Board of Governors voted to expand the Creative Arts Emmys, which heretofore had been a single ceremony, to two consecutive nights at at the Microsoft Theater at L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles. FXX will air an edited version, with highlights from both shows, on Saturday, September 17, from 8:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m. (ET/PT) with an encore from 10:30 p.m.–1:00 a.m. (ET/PT).
As always, the Creative Arts focused primarily on key technical disciplines and behind-the-scenes crafts of television production, such as production design, casting, cinematography, costumes, hairstyling, makeup, lighting design, music, picture editing, sound editing and mixing, special visual effects, stunts, title design and more.
At the Saturday show, the focus was on scripted programming, with Sunday to honor unscripted and documentary programming.
In addition to the crafts categories, the Saturday show included achievement in commercials, children’s series and interactive series, as well as four acting categories.
Outstanding guest actress in a comedy series went to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, for hosting the December 19, 2015, episode of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, with musical guest Bruce Springsteen; outstanding guest actress in a drama series was won by Margo Martindale, for FX’s The Americans; Hank Azaria, of Showtime’s Ray Donovan, was named outstanding guest actor in a drama series; and Peter Scolari was named outstanding guest actor in a comedy series, for his performance in HBO’s Girls.
Fey and Poehler's combined nomination was the first time a duo had been nominated as one in the guest performer category.
Awards were given in more than 40 categories, and presented by stars from an array of programs from broadcast networks, premium cable networks, basic cable networks and streaming services. They included: Tichina Arnold (Survivor’s Remorse), Mel B (America’s Got Talent), Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Reg E. Cathey (House of Cards) Linda Ellerbee (Nick News with Linda Ellerbee), Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), Chris Hardwick (Talking Dead), Allison Janney (Mom, Masters of Sex), Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken), Michael Kelly (House of Cards), Margo Martindale (The Americans), Laurie Metcalf (The Big Bang Theory, Getting On), Martin Mull (Veep), Bob Newhart (The Big Bang Theory), Carrie Preston (The Good Wife), Peter Scolari (Girls), Rhea Seehorn (Better Call Saul) and Bradley Whitford (Transparent).
The show, which also included musical performances by Katherine McPhee and the quartet Sons of Serendip, was interspersed with several “Me in 30 Seconds” video clips, in which nominees provided brief, humorous windows into their careers.
McPhee sang the Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg standard “Over the Rainbow,” accompanied by a video montage of clips from American Idol — the show that made her famous, and which will be honored on Sunday night with the Television Academy’s Governors Award.
Sons of Serendip accompanied the In Memoriam video segment with a performance of the song “Somewhere Only We Know,” by the British band Keane.
This year’s Creative Arts In Memoriam included individuals who achieved distinction as casting directors, costume designers, cinematographers, composers, art directors, editors, sound mixers, lighting directors and many other crafts, as well as performers, writers, producers, directors and executives.
Game of Thrones won its nine Emmys for casting for a drama series, prosthetic makeup, non-prosthetic makeup, costumes, production design, stunt coordination, special visual effects, picture editing and sound mixing.
HBO also took the Emmys for casting for a comedy series, which went to the team from Veep, and for Scolari’s work in Girls.
In addition to the four Emmys for The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (which won for casting, hairstyling, picture editing and sound mixing), the 10 for FX included two for the limited series Fargo (cinematography, sound editing), two for the limited series American Horror Story: Hotel (non-prosthetic makeup, costumes) and single-show wins for the animated comedy Archer (creative achievement in interactive media) and The Americans (Martindale’s guest actor win).
PBS took five Emmys, including two for Downton Abbey (hairstyling, production design) and singles for the “Danny Elfman's Music From the Films of Tim Burton” installment of Live from Lincoln Center (music direction), Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (special visual effects in a supporting role) and the Ken Burns documentary series Jackie Robinson (Keith David’s narration).
In addition, Amazon prevailed in four categories. The streaming platform captured two for The Man in the High Castle (main title design, cinematography) and had individual wins for Transparent (production design) and Mozart in the Jungle (sound mixing).
Two other networks won multiple Emmys: CBS (The Big Bang Theory for picture editing and The Late Late Show with James Corden for outstanding interactive program) and Showtime (Shameless for stunt coordnation and Azaria's Ray Donovan win).
Other Emmys included:
Outstanding Children’s Program — It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown! (ABC)
Outstanding Commercial — “Love Has No Labels” (Ad Council)
Outstanding Main Title Theme Music — Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Netflix)
Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics — Diane Warren’s “’Til It Happens to You,” from the documentary The Hunting Ground ( CNN)
Among the performer winners, Poehler’s and Scolari’s Emmys were their first — she has earned 17 nominations over the years; he has earned four.
Azaria’s Emmy was his sixth — he previously won four for his character voices on The Simpsons, and another in 2002, for his performance in the telefilm Tuesdays with Morrie.
Fey's Emmy was her ninth — she previously won for her work on SNL and 30 Rock.
Martindale’s was her third, and her second consecutive for her performance as Russian spy Claudia in The Americans. The actress, who won her first Emmy in 2011 for the FX drama Justified, set an Emmy record when she won in the guest performer category two years in a row for the same character in the same show.
Scolari had the most unusual path to victory. His nomination came only after Peter MacNicol of Veep was deemed ineligible as a guest actor due to appearing in too many episodes of the HBO comedy. Speaking with the press after winning the award, the veteran actor acknowledged the unique circumstances that resulted in his first Emmy gold.
"When [the nomination] came through the way it did," Scolari said, "I was really quite taken aback, and flush with gratitude, and really humbled by it, thinking this was a gigantic privilege. There were 50 to a hundred actors on the ballot — a lot of staggeringly talented actors. I’m not sure what I did to get here, but I know I’m lucky."
Bob Bain, who produced the 2015 Creative Arts show, returned to produce both 2016 Creative Arts weekend shows.
This year’s executive producers are Kevin Hamburger, chair of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards Committee, along with vice-chairs Bob Bergen and Jonathan Murray.
After Sunday night's show, the remaining Emmys will be announced at the 68th Emmy Awards telecast on Sunday, September 18. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the show will air live coast-to-coast on ABC from the Microsoft Theater L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles. The executive producer is Don Mischer.