With upsets in all four guest acting categories at this weekend's Creative Arts Emmy Awards, voters have once again proven that they like to surprise when least expected.
The biggest shocker came when nine-time loser Kathy Bates ("Two and a Half Men") won as the ghost of Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) as Best Comedy Guest Actress. She was a 10/1 longshot behind "Saturday Night Live" guest hosts Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph. Another "SNL" guest host, Jimmy Fallon, was predicted in second place at 23/10 but did prevail in a tight race with Michael J. Fox ("Curb Your Enthusiasm") as Best Comedy Guest Actor. Neither Bates or Fallon attended the ceremony Saturday night. She had never won before, but it was the second Emmy for Fallon.
Both Martha Plimpton ("The Good Wife") and Jeremy Davies ("Justified") did attend but were predicted to finish in third place. Plimpton had odds of 9/1 for Best Drama Guest Actress and defeated last year's champ Loretta Devine ("Grey's Anatomy") and Jean Smart ("Harry's Law"). At 6/1, Davies beat the favored Mark Margolis ("Breaking Bad") and five-time winner Michael J. Fox ("The Good Wife") as Best Drama Guest Actor. It was the first Emmy win for each.
Of the dramatic series, "Game of Thrones" had the largest haul of trophies with a total of six (art direction, editing, costumes, makeup, sound mixing, visual effects). The show is nominated as Best Drama Series for the Primetime Emmy ceremony next Sunday, but do not read too much into its chances because of these results. Contender "Boardwalk Empire" prevailed seven times last year but still lost to "Mad Men" for the top prize. Of the six nominees last night, "Empire" (art direction, cinematography, visual effects) won three, and "Downton Abbey" (hairstyling, music) and "Homeland" (casting, editing) won two each. Neither "Breaking Bad" or "Mad Men" earned any Creative Arts Emmys.
Only three of the nominees as Best Comedy Series won any awards last night. Two-time champ "Modern Family" received the prize for sound mixing, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" won for editing, and "Girls" prevailed in casting. Contenders "The Big Bang Theory," "30 Rock," and "Veep" received no Emmy wins leading into the big ceremony. In eight seasons, this is only the second Emmy ever earned by "Curb" (along with directing in 2003).
"American Horror Story" had 12 nods at the early ceremony but could only manage a win for hairstyling. It still has five more chances next week and competes against multiple winners "Hatfields and McCoys" (editing, makeup, sound mixing) and "Hemingway and Gellhorn" (editing, music) as Best TV Movie/Miniseries. The frontrunner to win that category, "Game Change," only earned an Emmy for casting last night. The other contenders are "Luther" and "Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia," neither of which won awards. Strangely, "Great Expectations" won four Creative Arts Emmys (art direction, cinematography, costumes, main title design) but could not even earn a bid for the top race.
Also of note, "Kennedy Center Honors" prevailed for the fourth consecutive year as Best Variety Special. The writing team from "Daily Show with Jon Stewart" won for the eighth time in the past dozen years. Neil Patrick Harris won a third Emmy, this time for hosting/producing Best Special Class Program champ "The 65th Annual Tony Awards." Conan O'Brien received a third Emmy, for his online website TeamCoco. Martin Scorsese earned his second and third trophies for producing and directing "George Harrison: Living in the Material World." Including Fallon, "SNL" added four Emmys (directing, guest actor, hairstyling, technical direction) for an overall show total of 36 over its 37-year history. HBO was the biggest champ with 17, followed by CBS with 13, and PBS with 11.