Creative Arts showdown: ‘Mad Men’ vs. ‘Boardwalk Empire’ vs. ‘Game of Thrones’

If any series wants a record Emmy haul they have to start off strong at the Creative Arts ceremony. “Mad Men” has the most nominations of any drama series this year with 19. A dozen of those, spread out over nine categories, will be decided Saturday. While “Boardwalk Empire” may have reaped one less nomination than “Mad Men,” it competes in 11 categories at the creative fest, giving it the chance to rack up the biggest total wins. Nine of the 12 bids by “Game of Thrones” are in the creative categories. 

Of course, it’s not just about the number of nominations but how competitive each of the submitted episodes is in its categories. “Game of Thrones” may be best positioned to ratchet up the most wins of any drama series. However, “The Borgias” and “The Walking Dead,” with five and three nominations respectively, could pull off sweeps.

ART DIRECTION (SINGLE-CAM): “Mad Men” vs. “Boardwalk Empire” vs. “The Borgais”
“Mad Men” won for its first season so we know art directors like the show, but it hasn’t been able to repeat since. “Boardwalk Empire’s” pilot is the kind of grand period piece voters may want to give it to here. Also, with “The Tudors” being able to win last year, perhaps things are looking up for “The Borgias” to win. “True Blood” and “Modern Family” are also nominated.

CASTING: “Mad Men” vs. “Boardwalk Empire” vs. “Game of Thrones”
“Mad Men” finally took out this award last year and is hot on the Emmys radar. However no series has won this category twice since “Six Feet Under” won their second in 2003. After that the category has been won by many different drama series, “24,” “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Damages” and “True Blood.” This mix makes this category a tough one to predict. Any series could win, including “The Killing” or “The Good Wife.”

CINEMATOGRAPHY: “Boardwalk Empire” vs. “The Good Wife” vs. “The Borgais”
Having three nominations in this category either means “Boardwalk Empire” has a 3/5 chance of winning of they will split the vote allowing “The Borgias” or “The Good Wife” to take this home.

COSTUMES: “Mad Men” vs. “Boardwalk Empire” vs. “Game of Thrones” vs. “The Borgias”
With “The Tudors” winning three of the last four years things look pretty good here for “The Borgias.” However, “Boardwalk Empire,” “Game of Thrones” and “Mad Men” also are big threats here. “Glee” is also nominated.

PICTURE EDITING: “Mad Men” vs. “Boardwalk Empire”
The last three years this award has gone to “Lost” or “Breaking Bad,” neither return. “Dexter” was able to win in 2007, and it’s back again. This is the second year in a row that “Mad Men” has had two nominees here and one of them is for ‘The Suitcas’ episode. “Boardwalk Empire could score for its pilot and I wouldn’t rule out “The Killing’s” pilot which will play well to editors. Any series could win here.

HAIRSTYLING (SINGLE CAM): “Mad Men” vs. “Boardwalk Empire” vs. “Game of Thrones”
“Mad Men” has won this award the last three years and has two episodes nominated so it is the frontrunner. Perhaps one of the HBO period pieces could win or the comedy series“Glee.”

MAIN TITLE DESIGN: “Boardwalk Empire” vs. “Game of Thrones”
“Game of Thrones” has a technically stunning and impressive main titles sequence that puts it in a good position to win. “Boardwalk Empire” has a nice one but not quite as strong. “Rubicon” proves a huge threat to win here with a very different opening.

MAKEUP (SINGLE-CAM NON PROSTHETIC): “Mad Men” vs. “Boardwalk Empire” vs. “Game of Thrones”
This will probably end up coming down to the violent fantasy “Game of Thrones” or the violent vampire show “True Blood” with “Glee” as a spoiler. But “Mad Men” and “Boardwalk Empire” may have a chance.

MAKEUP (PROSTHETIC): “Game of Thrones” vs. “The Walking Dead”
“Game of Thrones” has great makeup but it’s going to be hard for any series to beat the zombies of “The Walking Dead.” “The Cape,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and comedy “Glee” are also nominated.

MAIN TITLE THEME MUSIC: “The Borgias” vs. Other Series
Here “The Borgias” comes up against the little watched drama “Camelot,” PBS’ “Any Human Heart,” comedy “Episodes,” as well as two miniseries in “The Kennedys” and “Mildred Pierce.”

SOUND EDITING: “Boardwalk Empire” vs. “Game of Thrones”
Both HBO dramas have a strong chance of taking this out. “True Blood” and “The Walking Dead” also have good chances. “Nikita” and “CSI:NY” are also nominated.

SOUND MIXING (ONE HOUR): “Mad Men” vs. “Boardwalk Empire”
I’d actually say “House” is in a great position to win here as its episode “Bombshells” includes explosions and musical numbers. “Glee” won last year so that’s a threat again. The “Boardwalk Empire” pilot is still in the hunt as “Mad Men’s” Suitcase episode probably is as well. “Burn Notice” and “Dexter” are also nominated.

VISUAL EFFECTS: “Boardwalk Empire” vs. “Game of Thrones” vs. “The Walking Dead”
For mind this race is the zombie “Walking Dead” vs. The fantasy “Game of Thrones” slugging it out here. The sci-fi “Stargate Universe” could cause an upset. “Boardwalk Empire” and “The Borgias” are also nominated.

STUNT COORDINATION: “Game of Thrones” vs. Other Dramas
“Game of Thrones” is not assured a victory here against little nominated shows “Hawaii Five-0,” “Southland” and “Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena.”

GUEST ACTOR: “Mad Men” vs. “The Good Wife”
“Mad Men’s” Robert Morse has no chance here. Michael J. Fox from “The Good Wife” has a real chance along with Paul McCrane from “Harry’s Law” and Jeremy Davies from “Justified.” Beau Bridges from “Brothers & Sisters” and Bruce Dern from “Big Love” are also nominated.

GUEST ACTRESS: “Mad Men” vs. “Dexter” vs. “Shameless”
Neither Cara Buono or Randee Heller from “Mad Men” have  much of a chance of winning here. It seems to be a two horse race between Julia Stiles from “Dexter” and Joan Cusack from “Shameless.” Also nominated are Alfre Woodard from “True Blood,” Loretta Devine from “Grey’s Anatomy” and Mary McDonnell from “The Closer.”

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