Los Angeles, September 12, 2008 — HBO topped the list of winners at the 2009 Creative Arts Emmy Awards with 16 golden statuettes, followed by NBC with 11.
Leading the recipients of multiple awards was the PBS miniseries Little Dorrit, adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens, with four Emmys.
Big acting winners included two stars from episodes of Saturday Night Live: Tina Fey and Justin Timberlake.
The ceremony was held at NOKIA theatre L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles. Host for the evening was two-time Primetime Emmy winner Kathy Griffin, star of the Bravo series Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. The event will air as a two-hour special on Friday, September 18, at 1:00 p.m. (ET/PT), on E! Entertainment Television.
Presenters included more than 20 renowned television performers and producers:
Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live), Carol Burnett, Louis C.K. (Saturday Night Live), Christian Clemenson (Boston Legal),Ted Danson (Damages), Lisa Edelstein (House), Donald Faison (Scrubs), Jerry Ferrara (Entourage), Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory), Penn Jillette (Penn & Teller Bulls--t), John Michael Higgins (Kath & Kim), Nigel Lythgoe (So You Think You Can Dance), Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy), Kathryn Morris (Cold Case), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Sharon Osbourne (America’s Got Talent), Andrea Roth (Rescue Me), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos), Elaine Stritch (30 Rock), Mary Lynn Rajskub (24), Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy), Jimmy Smits (Dexter), Ashley Tisdale (Phineas and Ferb) and Callie Thorne (Rescue Me).
The majority of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, which honor excellence in more than 70 categories, are dedicated to key technical disciplines and behind-the-scenes crafts essential to television production — including art direction, cinematography, hairstyling, makeup, music, picture editing, sound editing and mixing, special visual effects, stunts and more.
Awards are also handed out for animation, commercials, reality series and other programming, as well as four acting categories.
The two SNL winners, Fey and Timberlake, were named Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, respectively. In addition, Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series went to Ellen Burstyn for NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series went to Michael J. Fox for FX’s Rescue Me.
The prestigious Governors Award, which is given annually to individuals or organizations committed to important social causes, was presented to Sheila Nevins, president of HBO Documentary Films.
Another special Emmy, the Syd Cassyd Founders Award, was bestowed for only the time ninth ever, this time to longtime Academy attorney and advisor Dixon Q. Dern.
Outstanding Children’s Program went to Disney Channel’s popular Wizards of Waverly Place, which blends family comedy and the supernatural. Outstanding Children’s Nonfiction Program was shared by two productions: HBO’s Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am? With Maria Shriver, and “Coming Home: When Parents Return from War,” an installment of Nickelodeon’s Nick News with Linda Ellerbee.
This marked the fifth ever Emmy for Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, which also won last year for the episode titled “The Untouchable Kids of India.”
Destination Imagination, a special movie-length version of the Cartoon Network series Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, was named Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or More).
The less-than-one-hour category went to “Margaritaville,” an episode of Comedy Central’s long-running comedy South Park. This marked three consecutive Emmy victories for South Park. Two years ago the show won in this same category, and last year it won for animated programming of more than one hour.
Outstanding Reality Program was presented to Intervention, the intense A&E production in which people with dependencies on drugs and alcohol confront their addictions through the efforts of concerned friends and family.
The eight nominees for Outstanding Commercial were screened in their entirety throughout the evening. The winner was “Heist,” an amusing Coca-Cola spot in which bees, ladybugs, grasshoppers and other insects join forces to rob a slumbering picnicker of a bottle of Coke. The production company was Psyop, and Wieden + Kennedy was the advertising agency.
Outstanding Nonfiction Special was won by the History production 102 Minutes That Changed America, a gripping look at the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks through eyewitness videos.
Outstanding Nonfiction Series went to PBS’s American Masters. This was the sixteenth Primetime Emmy given to American Masters since its inception. Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking went to the HBO production The Memory Loss Tapes, which examined the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease as part of the cable channel’s heralded Alzheimer’s Project. HBO also won in this category last year for White Light/Black Rain, about survivors of the 1945 nuclear attacks at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming went to Marina Zenovich for the HBO documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. The film also won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming, which went to Zenovich, along with Joe Bini and P.G. Morgan.
CBS’s Kennedy Center Honors took the prize for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special. Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special was won by Chris Rock for HBO’s Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger, and Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special went to Bucky Gunts for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
Two awards for Interactive Media were presented. The award for fiction went to DharmaWantsYou.com’s “Dharma Initiative,” and the nonfiction award went to “The Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Digital Experience” from the NBC.com.
Another online winner was Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog, a comedic musical created by Joss Whedon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse fame, and starring this year’s Primetime Emmys host Neil Patrick Harris. The popular web series took the Emmy in the lengthily titled category of outstanding Special Class — Short Format Live-Action Entertainment Program.
In the acting categories, Michael J. Fox was honored for his performance as a bitter, substance-abusing paraplegic who is romantically involved with the estranged wife of Tommy Gavin, played by Rescue Me star Denis Leary. The award was the fifth career Emmy for Fox, who was not present to accept his statuette. He previously won three Emmys for Family Ties and one for Spin City.
In her guest role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Ellen Burstyn played a troubled woman with bipolar disorder who is the mother of Det. Elliot Stabler, played by series star Christopher Meloni. Burstyn beamed when handed her statuette and said, “I’ve always wanted one of these.”
Later, speaking to reporters in the pressroom, Burstyn, who had received four previous Emmy nominations over the course of her career, explained, “I have an Oscar, a Tony and a New York Film Critics Award, but I’d never won an Emmy…and I wanted to balance them out.”
This marked three consecutive years that Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was honored in this category. Burstyn followed Cynthia Nixon, who took the Emmy last year, and Leslie Caron, who prevailed the year before.
Fey’s victory marked her sixth career Emmy. She won this evening’s award for her performance as former Alaska governor — and Republican vice-presidential candidate — Sarah Palin on SNL. This year, Fey also earned two other nominations, both for her work on NBC’s 30 Rock — for Outstanding lead Actress in a Comedy Series and for Outstanding Comedy Series as the show’s creator and executive producer.
Accepting her statuette, Tina Fey thanked her former SNL colleagues and her Republican parents. “They thought the first four sketches were very funny,” Fey said. “The last two were, in their words, ‘Enough already.’”
In closing, Fey acknowledged Sarah Palin herself. “Mrs. Palin is an inspiration to working mothers everywhere,” Fey joked, “because she bailed on her job right before Fourth of July weekend.”
The evening’s other Saturday Night Live acting winner, Justin Timberlake, was not present to accept his award, which represented his second career Emmy — and second for SNL. Timberlake's honor was a milestone: the first time an SNL host was recognized as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.
Timberlake's first Emmy came two years ago, when he shared the honor for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for the SNL composition “D--k in a Box.” This year, he has two nominations in the same category, which will be presented during the 61st Primetime Emmys telecast on Sunday, September 20. One is for his contribution as co-lyricist of the SNL song “Motherlover,” and the other as co-lyricist of the 2008 ESPYs song “I Love Sports.”
The winner for Outstanding Voice Over Performance, the fourth Emmy of his career, was Dan Castellanata, the voice behind Homer Simpson, Krusty the Clown, Mayor Quimby and several other characters on the long-running Fox series The Simpsons.
To present the Governors Awards, the Television Academy’s chairman and chief executive officer, John Shaffner, took the stage to introduce the award’s presenter, three-time Primetime Emmy winner Elaine Stritch — whose one-woman show, Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, aired on HBO in 2004 and garnered two Emmys.
The notoriously irreverent Stritch told the audience that she was wearing white gloves as preemptive compensation in the event she used “any four-letter words” in her introduction. She went on to extol Nevins as a sensitive but strong woman whose greatest strength is that, “She tells the truth — and nowadays, that ain’t easy.”
Stritch then performed a special rendition of the George and Ira Gershwin song “Of Thee I Sing,” from the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical of the same name, with lyrics tailored to salute Nevins and her fearless work on more than 500 documentaries. Topics her productions have dealt include the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, children coping with Tourette’s Syndrome and the challenges faced by emergency room personnel in war-torn Baghdad.
It was a big night for Nevins, who later in the evening won two other Emmys — both for productions created for HBO’s heralded Alzheimer’s Project. The first came for her participation as executive producer of The Memory Loss Tapes, and the second as executive producer of Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am? With Maria Shriver.
The Syd Cassyd Founders Award, named for the man who established the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, is a rarely bestowed honor presented to individuals who have made a lasting and significant contribution to the Television Academy. Academy vice-chair Nancy Bradley Wiard presented the statuette to Dixon Q. Dern, an attorney who has been the Academy’s general counsel and chief negotiator for 33 years.
Following Little Dorrit among recipients of multiple awards were seven productions with three Emmys: History’s 102 Minutes That Changed America, ABC’s 81st Annual Academy Awards, Fox’s American Idol, NBC’s Beijing 2008 Olympics Opening Ceremony, HBO’s Generation Kill and Grey Gardens and ABC’s Pushing Daisies. NBC’s 30 Rock, HBO’s Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger and Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, NBC’s Saturday Night Live and Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance all won two.
Rounding out the night’s winners after HBO’s 16 Emmys and NBC’s 11 were ABC and Fox with eight, Cartoon Network, CBS and PBS with six; Showtime with five; History with three; AMC with two and A&E, Bravo, Comedy Central, DharmaWantsYou.com, Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, drhorrible.com, Fox Movie Channel, FX, MTV, NBC.com, Nickelodeon, Spike TV, Syfy and Travel Channel with one each.
This year’s executive producers were Lee Miller and Steve Venezia, and the producer — for the 15th time — was Spike Jones, Jr. Chris Donovan directed the show.
The 61st Primetime Emmys telecast, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air at 8:00 p.m./7:00 p.m. CST on Sunday, September 20, on CBS.