This year, the TV academy split the Voice-Over category, which it introduced back in 1992, into two separate awards: Best Narrator and Best Character Voice-Over Performance. Narration has tended to take a back seat to the showier work done by performers giving voice to characters on some of TV’s most popular animated series. Indeed, of the 28 Emmys handed out for voicework, only seven have gone to those working on live-action programs.
Among the nominees for the inaugural Best Narrator award is British heartthrob Daniel Craig, best known for playing Bond. To prevail in his first Emmy race, he must best an EGOT champ, an Oscar winner who also has an Emmy for his voicework, another Emmy winner who contends for two awards this year, and a veteran narrator.
Read more about all of them and their entries below.
Daniel Craig for “One Life” (National Geographic Channel)
Craig lends his voice to this majestic documentary, which tells the story of several species of animal surviving in their natural habitat.
This was a very touching story. And Craig, whose voice is a strong contributing factor to the magnificent scale of the film, is definitely well-positioned to take home his first Emmy.
Goldberg got the “E” in EGOT with a win at the Daytime Emmys for producing a documentary on another African American woman who made showbiz history — Oscar champ Hattie McDaniel (“Gone with the Wind”) If she wins either this bid or for producing this fascinating film, she will have a Primetime Emmy bookend.
She doesn’t strictly fill the criteria of a traditional narrator, appearing throughout the film as a talking head, contributing as much to the film as the other interviewees. I think she will be sitting this category out.
Jeremy Irons for “Game of Lions” (National Geographic Channel)
Irons won one of his two Emmys back in 1997 in the combined category when he gave voice to the letters of soldier poet Siegfried Sassoon in “The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century: War Without End.”
This year, the Oscar champ uses his distinctive voice to convey the saga of a pride of lions. It fits with the theme of documentary and could get him a third Emmy (his other was for his supporting role in the 2005 miniseries “Elizabeth I.”
Jane Lynch for “Penguins: Waddle All the Way” (Discovery Channel)
Lynch, who won the Comedy Supporting Actress Emmy back in 2010 for “Glee,” is a two-time nominee at the Creative Arts Emmys as she also contends for hosting “Hollywood Game Night.”
This documentary is visually stunning, and Lynch adds much with her lovable and quirky personality to the show as the narrator. Her work is akin to that of last year’s champ, Lily Tomlin, who narrated “an Apology to Elephants.”
Henry Strozier for “Too Cute!” (Animal Planet)
This veteran narrator finally received recognition for his voice-over work on this lighthearted and adorable show.
He is the least known of the nominees and this could hurt him if voters go by name-recognition. Coversely, he is the apple in a bag of oranges and could pull of an upset if voters aren’t sure as to which star they want to award.
Prediction: This is an difficult category to predict as any of the nominees could win. I am going to call this for Irons, only because he is a previous Emmy winner for his voice work.
Below, watch Gold Derby’s Editors duke it out over many of this year’s Creative Arts Emmy races in our extended pre-show slugfest.