While all the focus has been on the Emmy battles between A-listers like Bryan Cranston vs. Matthew McConaughey and Julia Roberts vs. Kathy Bates, a slew of other stars picked up nominations. However, these came in categories that receive less fanfare, most of which will be presented at the Creative Arts Emmys nine days before the primetime telecast on August 25.
Best Documentary/Nonfiction Special, for instance, boasts a stellar line-up of nominated producers, including Oprah Winfrey and Mariel Hemingway (OWN’s “Running from Crazy”), Maria Shriver (HBO’s “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert”), Tom Hanks (CNN’s “The Sixties: The Assassination of President Kennedy”), and Whoopi Goldberg (HBO’s “Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley”). Apart from first-time nominee Hemingway, they’re all previous Emmy champs.
We expected Goldberg to be nominated for Best Movie/Mini Actress for Lifetime’s “A Day Late and a Dollar Short,” but even though she missed out in that category, she has plenty to celebrate. In addition to her Documentary/Nonfiction Special bid, she’s also up for Best Narrator for her work on “Moms Mabley.”
Goldberg faces several other big stars in the Narrator race, including Oscar and Emmy champ Jeremy Irons (Nat Geo WILD’s “Game of Lions”) and James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, who picks up his first-ever Emmy bid for another Nat Geo WILD program, “One Life.”
“Community” fans have cause to celebrate. Even though the NBC comedy was snubbed in all categories save Best Comedy Stunt Coordination, a pair of its stars earned their first-ever Emmy noms. Jim Rash, a recent Oscar-winner for co-writing “The Descendants,” is up for Best Informational Series or Special for producing and hosting Sundance Channel’s “The Writers’ Room.” Joel McHale, meanwhile, is just one of the celebs competing for Best Short-Format Entertainment Program. He contends for “The Soup: True Detective.”
To win, he’ll have to get past Zach Galifianakis, who is nominated for the second time for his comic talk show “Between Two Ferns.” This time he contends for his famous interview with President Barack Obama.
Both funnymen will face Grammy-winner Bruno Mars, who is up for the “Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show.”
Best Short-Format Nonfiction is where you’ll find Jerry Seinfeld, nominated for the second time for his online series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” as well as Stanley Tucci and Steve Buscemi (also a surprise Comedy Guest Actor nominee for “Portlandia“), the producers of AOL’s “Park Bench with Steve Buscemi,” and Jay Leno for “Jay Leno’s Garage” on NBC.com. Leno’s “Tonight Show” fell out of favor with the TV academy long ago, but he has gotten his revenge in this race, earning several nominations and winning in 2011.
For Best Unstructured Reality Program, acting brothers Mark Wahlberg and Donnie Wahlberg contend for their A&E series “Wahlburgers.” It’s the first Emmy nod for Donnie, but Mark has been nominated several times before as a producer of “Entourage” and “Boardwalk Empire.”
Though Dominic Monaghan was never singled out for his roles in wildly successful, award-winning projects “The Lord of the Rings” or “Lost,” he has broken through this year for his own Unstructured Reality Program: BBC America’s travel series “Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan.”
While most know Kate McKinnon received her first ever Comedy Supporting Actress nomination for “Saturday Night Live,” they might not have noticed that she is also in the running for Best Music and Lyrics for co-writing “Home for the Holiday (Twin Bed)” for “SNL.” Also among that song’s writers is McKinnon’s co-star Aidy Bryant.
But it may be tough for them to beat Tony- and Grammy-winning songsmith Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the song “Bigger!” for 2013’s Tony telecast. He was also nominated for Music and Lyrics at this year’s Daytime Emmys for a “Sesame Street” tune, but he lost that race to Wayne Brady for a song from “Let’s Make A Deal.”
Another multiple-award-winning musician could add an Emmy to his mantel: T Bone Burnett, Oscar-winner for his “Crazy Heart” song “The Weary Kind” and Grammy-winner for several projects, composed the score for HBO’s “True Detective” and is nominated for Best Music Composition. If he wins, it wouldn’t quite be an EGOT, but enough for a big EGO.
Last but not least is Brad Pitt. The heartthrob hasn’t had much luck winning awards as an actor, but he’s doing much better as a producer. After several unsuccessful Oscar bids for his work in front of the camera, he finally won for producing last year’s Best Picture champ “12 Years a Slave.” Likewise, he lost his only previous Emmy bid — for a 2002 guest appearance on “Friends” — but now he’s likely to win Best TV Movie as an executive producer of HBO’s “The Normal Heart,” which means he’ll be responsible for the year’s best film on both the big and small screens.