As everyone looks to the major nominees for star-studded battles, let’s not forget that many familiar faces are popping up left and right in some less-publicized Emmy categories. The majority of these winners will be announced at the Creative Arts Emmys in two separate ceremonies on September 8 and 9, eight days before the primetime telecast on September 17.
The Best Narrator category is chock full of celebrities. Sir David Attenborough (“Blue Planet II”) competes against Charles Dance (“Savage Kingdom”), Morgan Freeman (“March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step”), Carl Reiner (“If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast”), and Liev Schreiber (“24/7”).
Reiner is the only previous winner in the bunch, with 9 total victories including two for “Caesar’s Hour,” five for “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” one for “The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coco, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special,” and one for “Mad About You.” Schreiber scored two bids in this category last year for “Muhammad Ali: Only One” and “UConn: The March to Madness” and has contended three more times for “Ray Donovan” and once more for “RKO 281.” Dance previously competed for starring in “Bleak House,” while Freeman, an Oscar winner for “Million Dollar Baby” (2004), reaped a bid for producing “The Story of God.”
Previous acting Emmy winners Lisa Kudrow (“Friends”) and Dan Bucatinsky (“Scandal”) are competing as producers of the structured reality program “Who Do You Think You Are?” It’s their fourth nomination for the series after contending in 2012, 2014, and 2017. They’re joined in the category by John Krasinski, L.L. Cool J, and Stephen Merchant for “Lip Sync Battle,” who have reaped their third consecutive bid for the series.
Michael B. Jordan may have missed out in the Best Movie/Mini Actor category for starring in “Fahrenheit 451,” but he’s on the Emmy ballot as a producer of the TV movie. He’s competing against Oscar-winner Cher (“Moonstruck”), who’s hoping to add a second Emmy to her mantle for “Flint” (she previously won for the music special “Cher: The Farewell Tour”).
Previous Emmy winners Steve Martin (“The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”) and Martin Short (“SCTV Network 90” and “AFI Lifetime Achievement Award: A Tribute to Mel Brooks”) are contending together for writing the variety special “Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Never Forget.” They’re competing against Patton Oswalt (“Annihilation”), Michelle Wolf (“Nice Lady”), John Mulaney (“Kid Gorgeous at Radio City”), and Samantha Bee (“Full Frontal: The Great American* Puerto Rico (It’s Complicated)”).
Martin is also on the Emmy ballot in the Music & Lyrics category for “An Evening You Will Never Forget.” He’s contending against Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for “A Christmas Story Live!” Pasek and Paul, in fact, could become EGOTs after Oscar wins for “La La Land” (2016) and Grammy and Tony victories for “Dear Evan Hansen.”
Speaking of EGOTs, John Legend has two chances to complete that awards slum dunk for “Jesus Christ Superstar” with bids in Movie/Mini Actor and Variety Special (Live). Producers Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice could join the EGOT circle as well should “Superstar” win the top prize.
Mark and Jay Duplass are on the Emmy ballot for producing the documentary series “Wild Wild Country,” and are contending against “American Masters,” “Blue Planet II,” “The Defiant Ones,” and “The Fourth Estate.”
In the Informational Series or Special category, two-time Movie/Mini Supporting Actor nominee Michael Kenneth Williams (“Bessie” and “The Night Of”) scored a bid for producing “Vice” alongside Bill Maher, who won this award in 2013. They’re up against Leah Remini, who prevailed last year for “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath,” five-time contender Neil deGrasse Tyson for “Startalk,” and the late Anthony Bourdain, who could win his fifth Emmy for “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” after victories in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. He’s also on the ballot for writing the series.
Though he couldn’t break into Best Variety Talk Series, Conan O’Brien is nonetheless competing in the Best Creative Achievement in Interactive Media for “CONAN Without Borders.” He previously won this category in 2012 for “The Team Coco Sync App” and has Emmys for writing “Saturday Night Live” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”
And as if he didn’t need another Emmy category to compete in, James Corden is on the ballot as Short Form Actor and Best Short Form Comedy for “James Corden’s Next James Corden.” Corden already has four Emmys on his shelf: three for “The Late Late Show,” one for “The 70th Annual Tonys.”