After Creative Arts losses, are ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Mildred Pierce’ still Emmy frontrunners?

“Mad Men” managed just a single win from its 12 bids spread across nine categories. As in its second season, its only win at the Creative Arts was for hairstyling. Back then “Mad Men” went on to win Best Drama Series. Can it do the same this year against “Boardwalk Empire” which won seven of its 11 races Saturday night? This awards juggernaut even won categories like makeup, sound editing and visual effects where “Game of Thrones” was considered a lock.


“Boardwalk” has clearly struck a chord with Emmy voters, taking the coveted drama casting prize. Triumphs in art direction, cinematography, and editing were expected, but added to an overall tally that was far higher than Emmy prognosticators anticipated. Even when “The West Wing” won a record-setting nine awards in their first season, only four of those were at the Creative Arts.

At next Sunday’s Primetime Emmys, “Empire” should win at least one more Emmy for Oscar champ Martin Scorsese who helmed the pilot. Globe and SAG champ Steve Buscemi is a strong contender for Best Drama Actor while Kelly Macdonald is in the mix for Supporting Drama Actress. And the freshman HBO series could end the three-year winning streak of “Mad Men” for Best Drama Series. 

See a complete list of winners and nominees here.

Mildred Pierce” displayed unnerving weakness at the Creative Arts portion of the Emmys, winning just three of its 12 bids. Categories it should have won in a walk, namely cinematography and hairstyling, went to oddball choices “Downton Abbey” and “The Kennedys.” A loss for costumes was due to a poor submission. Miniseries submit single parts in most technical categories to make judging long-form programs easier. The winner — “Downton Abbey” — submitted their premiere, brimming with sleek, tailored outfits that showcased their best work. While “Mildred Pierce” should have shown off opera costumes and other impressive pieces from part five, they instead opted for the dowdier part two.

While that loss is not shocking, being bested by “The Kennedys” for hairstyling and makeup is an eye-opener. The critically-maligned drama starring Greg Kinnear, which aired on Reelz after the History Channel rejected it, won three awards in total, all at the expense of “Pierce.”

The six acting nominees in “Mildred Pierce” can at least be relieved knowing they played a role in the miniseries winning Best Casting. With its only other wins being for art direction and music, what little hope “Mildred Pierce” had of breaking “John Adams”‘ record of thirteen Emmy wins has been shattered. Though “Mildred Pierce” still stands a fair chance at victories for directing and Best Miniseries, “Downton Abbey” seems like an increasing threat.

Modern Family remains the clear frontrunner to repeat again as Best Comedy Series despite being shut out of the Creative Arts awards. It led among all laffers with five nominations but lost all four of its technical races and a guest actor bid by Nathan Lane. The comedy casting award, which “Modern Family” won last year, went to “Glee.” Last year, “Modern Family” also won picture editing and sound mixing; this year, those went to “How I Met Your Mother” and “Family Guy” respectively. 

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