Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” and FOX’s “Grease: Live” were the big winners at this weekend’s second Creative Arts Emmy ceremony, held on Sunday, September 11. They claimed four awards apiece. The Saturday ceremony honored mostly scripted dramas, comedies and longform programs, while Sunday turned its attention to achievements in nonfiction, animation, reality, and variety. Click here for the complete list of Creative Arts winners.
“Making a Murderer” claimed Best Documentary/Nonfiction Series, as well as awards for its writing, directing and picture editing. Its only losses were for its sound mixing and sound editing.
“Grease: Live” also won a top program award: Best Special Class Program, defeating the Tony Awards, which have won that prize seven times. But “Grease” came in with a remarkable 10 nominations overall, indicating widespread support from the TV academy. It was also honored for its lighting design, production design and technical direction. And it has one more chance to win at the main Emmy telecast next week on September 18: it’s up for Best Variety Special Directing for Thomas Kail, who also happens to be the reigning Tony champ for Best Direction of a Musical for “Hamilton.”
The documentary “Cartel Land” won three Emmys, including Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking (where it tied with “Jim: The James Foley Story”). Telling the parallel stories of American and Mexican vigilante groups fighting drug cartels, “Cartel Land” was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature earlier this year, but lost to “Amy.” Speaking of Oscars, one of the executive producers of “Cartel Land” is Kathryn Bigelow, whom the academy honored as Best Director for “The Hurt Locker” in 2009, so now she has locked up another top industry prize.
Best Documentary/Nonfiction Special went to “What Happened, Miss Simone?” which chronicled the life of famed singer and activist Nina Simone. Like “Cartel Land” it also contended for an Oscar back in February.
Other winners of top program awards included “Born This Way” as Best Unstructured Reality Series. The A&E series follows the lives and experiences of people living with Down syndrome. Earlier this year it was also feted at the TV Academy Honors, which specifically recognize TV programs that shine a light on social issues.
“Shark Tank” won Best Structured Reality Series for the third year in a row. Since the reality categories were split between structured and unstructured programs in 2014, “Shark Tank” has never lost.
The travel series “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” won Best Informational Program for the fourth year in a row, but this was only the second time it has had the award all to itself: it tied with “Inside the Actors Studio” in 2013 and with “Vice” in 2014.
Triumphing for the first time in the race for Best Animated Program was FX’s ribald spy comedy “Archer.” It has been on the air since 2010 but didn’t pick up its first nomination in this category until 2014. It lost to “Bob’s Burgers” that year and then to “Over the Garden Wall” in 2015, but now it’s finally victorious.
Best Reality Host was a surprise. First-time nominee RuPaul Charles, finally recognized after eight seasons of hosting “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” defeated the defending champ Jane Lynch (“Hollywood Game Night”) as well as other past winners Tom Bergeron (“Dancing with the Stars”) and Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (“Project Runway”).
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