Is ‘Breaking Bad’ cooked at Emmys after ‘True Detective’ Creative Arts smackdown?

Uh-oh, “Breaking Bad“: Is TV’s reigning Best Drama Series champion in trouble at the Emmys after getting clobbered by HBO rival “True Detective” at Saturday’s 66th Creative Arts awards?

For those keeping track at home, “Breaking Bad” only scored a single victory at last week’s tech kudos: Best Drama Editing for the series finale “Felina.”  Compare that to “True Detective,” which scooped up four craft Emmys — Best Drama Casting, Best Single-Camera Cinematography, Best Non-Prosthetic Make-up and Best Main Title Design — and tied “Game of Thrones” as the night’s biggest champ amongst dramas.

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But, not so fast. Before you go and change your Drama Series vote from “Breaking Bad” to “True Detective,” remember that “Breaking Bad” won this same editing precursor last year. Indeed, that category is the only they have won at the Creative Arts with Lynne Willingham prevailing in 2008 and 2009, Kelley Dixon in 2013 and Skip MacDonald this year

If “Breaking Bad” won the top prize last year without a strong show of support from the Creative Arts, why should this year make any difference? After all, “Breaking Bad” has always performed better at the Primetime telecast, where in addition to Best Drama Series they’ve also scored three Lead Actor trophies for Bryan Cranston, two Supporting Actor wins for Aaron Paul and a Supporting Actress statuette for Anna Gunn.

While four craft trophies is great showing for a first-season show like “True Detective,” many series have actually earned more than that at the Creative Arts and still wound up losing Best Drama Series on Emmy night. Here’s a list of all of this decade’s drama leaders at the Creative Arts and how they eventually fared at the Primetime Emmys:

Creative Arts Emmy winners: By network and by show

In 2013, “Boardwalk Empire” claimed the most tech awards — four — for a drama series, but “Breaking Bad” won Best Drama Series.

In 2012, “Game of Thrones” was the big crafts winner amongst dramas with six trophies, but “Homeland” won Best Drama Series.

In 2011, “Boardwalk Empire’s” first season won a whopping seven Creative Arts, but “Mad Men” won Best Drama Series.

In 2010, there was no technical leader as four dramas tied for the most wins at two apiece: “24,” “CSI,” “The Tudors” and eventual Best Drama Series winner “Mad Men.”

In 2009, no drama series won more than a single award at the craft kudos, while “Mad Men” won Best Drama Series.

In 2008, lightning seemed to strike as “Mad Men” earned a leading four Creative Arts amongst dramas and then also won Best Drama Series.

In 2007, “Rome” was the drama with the most tech wins at three, but “The Sopranos” won Best Drama Series.

In 2006, “Rome” once again led dramas with four craft statuettes, but “24” won Best Drama Series.

In 2005, “Deadwood” reaped a leading five precursor wins, but “Lost” won Best Drama Series.

In 2004, “Carnivale” scored bragging rights by winning five Creative Arts Emmys, but “The Sopranos” won Best Drama Series.

Ultimate Emmy heavyweight bout:
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Is there a Creative Arts curse? Not counting ties, of the past 10 years only once did the Creative Arts drama leader go on to win the top series prize: “Mad Men” for its debut season in 2008. That doesn’t bode well for this year’s Creative Arts dramatic champs “True Detective” or “Game of Thrones.”

Gold Derby’s racetrack odds that combine the predictions of our Experts, Editors and Users currently find “Breaking Bad” in first place to win with 1/5 odds, followed by “True Detective” in second place with 10/1 odds, “Game of Thrones” in third place with 33/1 odds, “House of Cards” in fourth place with 50/1 odds, and “Downton Abbey” and “Mad Men” tied for last place with 100/1 odds.

Below, watch Gold Derby Editors’ predictions slugfest for Best Drama Series. We analyze the pros and cons of each nominated program and declare the winner to be “Breaking Bad.” Do you agree or disagree? Be sure to cast your own votes in this race using our easy drag-and-drop menu.

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