HBO topped the night at the 2012 Creative Arts Emmy Awards with 17 golden statuettes. The premium cable network was followed by CBS, with 13 Emmys, and PBS with 11.
Leading the recipients of multiple awards was the HBO drama Game of Thrones, with six Emmys. Based on A Song of Fire and Ice, a series of medieval-era fantasy novels by author George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones earned a total of 11 Emmy nominations in this, its second season.
Following Game of Thrones, with four Emmys each, were Discovery’s Frozen Planet, PBS’s Great Expectations (Masterpiece) and NBC’s Saturday Night Live.
The ceremony was held at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles. An edited version of the event will air as a special on Saturday, September 22, at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT), on ReelzChannel.
The awards were presented by performers from more than a dozen series and specials, joined by their show-runners or executive producers.
In order of appearance, they were:
Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky (Web Therapy), Mark Margolis and Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), Jennifer Morrison, Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (Once Upon a Time), Emily Deschanel and Hart Hanson (Bones), Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe (So You Think You Can Dance), Billy Gardell and Mark Roberts (Mike and Molly), Morena Baccarin and Howard Gordon (Homeland), Tom Kenny and Dane Boedigheimer (Annoying Orange), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Silas Weir Mitchell and Jim Kouf (Grimm), Mark Gardner, David Carbonara and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men).
Next came Chris O’Donnell and Shane Brennan (NCIS: Los Angeles), Sig Hansen and Thom Beers (Deadliest Catch), Frances Conroy and Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story), Johnny Galecki and Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory), Padma Lakshmi, Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz (Top Chef), LL Cool J and Ken Ehrlich (The Grammy Awards), 2012 Summer Olympics gold medalist Allyson Felix and David Neal (2010 Winter Olympics), Martha Plimpton and Greg Garcia (Raising Hope) and Kathy Griffin (Kathy).
The show also featured the first In Memoriam segment at a Creative Arts Emmys ceremony, a montage that included dozens of camera operators, picture editors, art directors and many other crafts, as well as performers with Creative Arts provenance.
The latter included the late Kathryn Joosten, who won two Emmys as a guest actress on Desperate Housewives at previous Creative Arts shows. She is nominated posthumously this year for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, also for Desperate Housewives. That award will be given at next Sunday's Primetime Emmys ceremony.
The collaborative nature of television, which was stressed throughout the night, is the essence of the Creative Arts Emmys, which this year honored excellence in more than 70 categories. Much of the ceremony is devoted to recognizing members of the production team whose expertise is vital to television production, including such disciplines as casting, cinematography, picture editing, sound editing and mixing, technical direction, special visual effects,hairstyling, makeup, music, art direction, stunts and more.
In addition, awards are given for animation, commercials, nonfiction series, reality series and other programming, as well as four acting categories.
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series went to Martha Plimpton for CBS’s The Good Wife; Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series went to Kathy Bates for CBS’s Two and a Half Men; Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series went to Jeremy Davies for FX’s Justified; and Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series went to Jimmy Fallon for NBC’s Saturday Night Live.
Two special honors were also given: the Governors Award and the Syd Cassyd Founders Award.
The Governors Award, which is bestowed annually to individuals or organizations committed to important social causes, went to the “It Gets Better Project,” an organization devoted to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people via its website, initiatives and the posting of original videos with messages of empathy, encouragement and hope for a positive future. The award was accepted by its co-founders, Dan Savage and Terry Miller.
Since its inception in September 2010, the “It Gets Better Project” has become a worldwide movement, inspiring more than 50,000 user-created videos viewed more than 50 million times. To date, the project has received submissions from celebrities, organizations, activists, politicians and media personalities, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Adam Lambert, Anne Hathaway, Colin Farrell, Matthew Morrison, Joe Jonas, Sarah Silverman, Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres, Suze Orman, the staffs of The Gap, Google, Facebook, Pixar, the Broadway community, and many more.
When presenter Neil Patrick Harris introduced Savage and Miller, the audience gave them a standing ovation. Later, speaking to the press, Savage said that when the audience rose in applause, “I teared up and couldn’t see the teleprompter, so I had to kind of wing it.”
The Syd Cassyd Founders Award, named in honor of the Television Academy’s founder, was created to recognize members who have made a significant, positive impact on the Academy through their efforts and service over many years of involvement. It is not annual award; instead, it is given selectively to individuals deemed worthy — such as this year’s recipient, Dick Askin.
Askin served as chairman and CEO of the Television Academy from 2003-2005 and 2005-2007. During his term of leadership, Askin created the Academy’s Runaway Production Committee to address the relocation of television production from the U.S. to other countries. He focused on strengthening the Academy brand by developing a more collaborative relationship with the National Television Academy, and brought the International Television Academy under the aegis of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
He also supported, and the board voted, to amend the organization’s bylaws to include broadband eligibility in the Primetime Emmy Awards competition. He left a legacy of increased membership value by expanding the Academy’s slate of professional development events, networking programs and membership benefits.
Simultaneously, Askin served as chief executive officer and president at Tribune Entertainment Company, Inc., the Los Angeles-based entertainment unit of Tribune Company and leading provider of programming to the television marketplace.
Speaking to the media afterward, he said, "I'm very honored. This is only the ninth or tenth time this award has been given in the Television Academy's history. I was surprised and humbled when I found out."
Programming honors at this year's Creative Arts Emmys included Outstanding Animated Program, won by Nickelodeon for The Penguins of Madagascar: The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole.
Outstanding Short Form Animated Program went to Cartoon Network for the episode of Regular Show titled “Eggscellent.”
Outstanding Reality Program was presented to the CBS series Undercover Boss, a first for the show.
Outstanding Children’s Program went to Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place, in its final season. The award marked the show's second Emmy in the category — it previously won in 2009.
Outstanding Children’s Nonfiction, Reality or Reality-Competition Program was PBS’s Sesame Street: Growing Hope Against Hunger.
For the second year in a row, actor Maurice LaMarche was honored for Outstanding Voiceover Performance for his work on Comedy Central’s Futurama.
The winner for Outstanding Commercial was “Best Job,” a spot for Procter & Gamble. The production company was Anonymous Content, and for the fourth consecutive year the advertising agency was Wieden + Kennedy.
Outstanding Nonfiction Series went to Discovery’s Frozen Planet, about life and the environment in the Arctic and Antarctic.
Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking went to the PBS production Have You Heard from Johannesburg?, about the struggle against South African apartheid.
Among writing awards, Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series went to Comedy Central for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The win was the show's second consecutive in this category, and the eighth writing Emmy in its history.
The award for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming, which went to Geoffrey C. Ward for the “A Nation of Hypocrites” episode of the PBS production Prohibition.
Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming went to Martin Scorsese for HBO’s George Harrison: Living in the Material World, which was also named Outstanding Nonfiction Special
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Series went to Don Roy King NBC’s Saturday Night Live — his second consecutive triumph in the category.
Outstanding Variety Special was given to The Kennedy Center Honors, which aired on CBS.
The 65th Annual Tony Awards telecast was named Outstanding Special Class Program — marking three years in a row for the awards ceremony devoted to the Broadway stage.
The Tonys won another Emmy when Adam Schlesinger and David Javerbaum took the original music and lyrics category for the song “It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore.” Outstanding Music Direction went to The Kennedy Center Honors, which also aired on CBS.
Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music went to Paul Englishby for PBS’s Page Eight (Masterpiece). PBS also took the statuette for Outstanding Main Title Design, which went to Great Expectations (Masterpiece).
Among the winers in the acting categories, Davies and Plimpton were present to accept their awards, Bates and Fallon were not.
Genuinely surprised to have won, Davies engaged reporters in the media room afterward with remarks that combined humor and humility.
"I’ve redefined the meaning of flabbergasted," he said, adding, "I mean this with galloping sincerity: I’m here because [on Justified] I’m surrounded by some dangerously talented people."
Like Davies, Plimpton was clearly thrilled with her award, and equally stunned at having won it.
"I’m very surprised," she said. "It’s a fantastic role on an awesome show, but there are so many fantastic actresses in the category. But I am nonetheless very happy and extremely grateful."
Rounding out the night’s winners after HBO’s 17 Emmys and CBS’s 13 were PBS with 11; Discovery with six; NBC with five; ABC and Cartoon Network with four; History with three; Comedy Central, Disney Channel, Fox, FX and Showtime with two each; and A&E, AMC, dga.org, ESPN, Nickelodeon, rides.tv, TBS and TNT with one each.
This year’s executive producers were Eileen Horta, chair of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards Committee, vice chair Mark Watters and Frank Scherma. The producer — for the 18th time — was Spike Jones, Jr. Chris Donovan directed the show.
The balance of this year's Emmys, 26 categories, will be handed out at the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the show will air live coast-to-coast on ABC on Sunday, September 23 (4 p.m. PT, 7 p.m. ET), from NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles. The executive producer is Don Mischer.
Get the full list of 2012 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Winners here.