Creative Arts Emmy Analysis: The Mandalorian Leads, The Underground Railroad Disappoints

Disney+ flexed its sci-fi and superhero muscles at the Creative Arts Emmys on Tuesday. “The Mandalorian” came roaring back for Season 2 to lead all craft nominations with 17, followed by Marvel’s trippy “WandaVision,” which scored 15. However, Netflix did better overall, with “The Queen’s Gambit” seizing 12 noms, “The Crown” (Season 4) capturing 11, and “Bridgerton” collecting eight.

Meanwhile, HBO countered with “Lovecraft Country” garnering 11 noms and the buzzy “Mare of Easttown,” starring Kate Winslet, gathering nine award nominations. Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Season 4) returned with eight noms, and Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” comedy tallied seven.

A few noteworthy craft standouts included Dana Gonzales’ brilliant black-and-white cinematography for “Fargo’s” “East/West” episode (FX), David Franco’s moody cinematography for HBO’s “Perry Mason” (“Chapter Two”), “Bridgerton’s” period costumes (costume designers Ellen Mirojnick and John W. Glaser III) and score by Kris Bowers, and special visual effects for “The Boys” (Amazon Prime Video), which is up against “The Mandalorian” —  the favorite to repeat — Marvel’s “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” as well as “Lovecraft Country.”

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in "WandaVision"

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in “WandaVision”


Yet the biggest snubs were two powerful and prestigious Black dramas from Amazon Prime Video: “The Underground Railroad,” Barry Jenkins’ Impressionistic historical fantasy about slavery and emancipation, and “Small Axe,” Steve McQueen’s period anthology about West Indian immigrants living in London. “The Underground Railroad” managed only five nominations from the craft side of things: James Laxton’s cinematography (one-hour series), composer Nicholas Britell’s music composition for limited series (original dramatic score), Francine Maisler’s casting, and sound editing and sound mixing. (It also received nominations for Directing and Limited Series.) “Small Axe,” though, only earned a single nomination, in crafts or anywhere else, for Shabier Kirchner’s gritty cinematography.

Nominated for animated program were: “Big Mouth” (“The New Me,” Netflix), “Bob’s Burgers” (” Worms Of In-Rear-Ment,” Fox), “Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal” (“Plague Of Madness,” Adult Swim”), “The Simpsons” (“The Dad-Feelings Limited,” Fox), and “South Park: The Pandemic Special” (Comedy Central).

“The Mandalorian” returned with greater force, powered by StageCraft 2.0, the virtual production game changer from Industrial Light & Magic with an expanded LED-wall digital backlot and the in-house renderer, Helios, providing higher resolution and more image fidelity. The series was nominated for Casting (Drama Series), twice for Cinematography, Costumes (fantasy/sci-fi), four times for Editing, Makeup (prosthetic), Music Composition (Ludwig Göransson), Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Special Visual Effects (in a season or movie), Stunt Coordination, and Stunt Performance.

“The Queen’s Gambit”


“WandaVision” was rewarded for its imaginative sitcom-centric world with nominations for Casting (limited series), Costumes (fantasy/sci-fi), twice for Editing (limited series), Hairstyling (period), Main Title Design, Period Makeup (non-prosthetic), Music Composition (limited series, Christophe Beck), Original Music and Lyrics (“Agatha All Along,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez), Main Title Theme (Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez), Sound Editing (limited series), Sound Mixing (limited series), and Special Visual Effects (in a season or movie).

Scott Frank’s “The Queen’s Gambit” period chess drama, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, came away with nominations for Casting (limited series), Cinematography (limited series), Costumes (period), Editing (limited series), Main Title Design, period makeup (non-prosthetic), music composition (limited series, Carlos Rafael Rivera), original music and lyrics (“I Can’t Remember Love,” Anna Hauss, Robert Weinröder, William Horberg), music supervision, sound editing (limited series), and sound mixing (limited series).

“The Crown,” which introduced Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) and Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin) into the royalty saga, was nominated for casting (drama series), cinematography (drama series), costumes (period), twice for editing (drama series), hairstyling (period), music composition (drama series, Martin Phipps), music supervision, sound mixing (one hour), special visual effects (single episode).

Kate Winslet in "Mare of Easttown"

Kate Winslet in “Mare of Easttown”

Michele K. Short / HBO

“Lovecraft Country” earned nominations for casting (drama series), cinematography (one hour), costumes (fantasy/sci-fi), main title design, makeup (prosthetic), music composition (drama series, Laura Karpman, Raphael Saadiq), music supervision, sound editing (comedy or drama series, one hour), sound mixing (comedy or drama series, one hour), special visual effects (in a season or movie), stunt performance.

In a pleasant surprise, “Mare of Easttown” was nominated for casting (limited series), cinematography (limited series), costumes (contemporary), twice for editing (limited series), hairstyling (contemporary), contemporary makeup (non-prosthetic), and sound mixing (limited series).

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