Apollo 11 took center stage at the first night of the all-virtual Creative Arts Emmy Awards, winning three technical awards – sound editing, sound mixing and picture editing for a non-fiction program. The documentary, which was Oscar-eligible this year, is the last to fall under the new rules set by the Television Academy and the Film Academy that avoids double dipping into both the Emmys and the Oscars. Oscar-winning documentary feature American Factory, which won Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program.
Emmy nominee Nicole Byer (Nailed It!) hosted the virtual event from the outside of the Television Academy in Los Angeles, with introductions and announcement of categories by RuPaul Charles, The Mandalorian’s Gina Carano and Property Brothers’ star Jonathan Scott.
Other winners tonight included Leah Remini: Scientology And The Aftermath for Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special, the second win for the program, which ended its run this season. RuPaul’s Drag Race won Outstanding Casting for a Reality Program (its first win there) and Sir David Attenborough won his third Emmy in a row for Outstanding Narrator, this time for Seven Worlds, One Planet. Netflix’s Queer Eye won its third Outstanding Structured Reality Program Emmy. Roger Ross Williams notched #2 in his EGOT belt with an Emmy win for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special (The Apollo, not 11) after his 2010 Oscar win for Best Documentary, Short Subject for Music with Prudence (you might best remember that for the co-producer who stormed the stage and took over his speech).
The big losers tonight were Netflix’s Michelle Obama doc Becoming, the Beastie Boys Story from Apple TV+, The Last Dance from ESPN and Tiger King from Netflix. All were big critical and audience hits that went home empty handed.
How did the show do in this new realm of remote and all virtual awards? Pretty good. Byer was a natural host (“There’s nothing normal about 2020, it’s wild,” she said. “If you don’t like me now, you’re not going to like me for the next four days, I’m sorry!”) and the show moved from announcer to announcer without a hitch. The canned, pre-recorded acceptance speeches however definitely felt like it, with the element of surprise removed from the equation and in one case, an acceptance speech was re-used (Eric Milano, the sound mixer and sound editor for Apollo 11). Byer joked about two created categories for this year, including Outstanding COVID-19 Compliance (with fake nominees like The Masked Singer and At Home with Amy Sedaris) and part one of the In Memoriam montage that featured who was lost in the realm of television this year.
Emmy nominee Kareem Abdul Jabbar was featured in a segment about representation and inclusion Hollywood and Survivor host Jeff Probst paid tribute to the show’s crew, in honor of the show’s 20th anniversary, from location of the upcoming season.
The rest of the week will encompass the rest of the over 100 categories for the Creative Arts Emmys with Variety on Tuesday and Scripted on Wednesday and Thursday, all beginning at 5pm PT live on Emmys.com. The rest of the winners (including Reality or Competition Host and the Guest Acting categories) will be revealed Saturday on FXX in a show that begins at 8pm ET/5pm PT. All five nights will be produced by Bob Bain Productions.
Presenters for the five nights include Monica Aldama (Cheer), Jeff Bridges (The Old Man), Rose Byrne (Mrs. America), Bobby Cannavale (Homecoming), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), Desus Nice & The Kid Mero (Desus & Mero), Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian; Better Call Saul), Brandee Evans (P-Valley), Chris Hardwick (The Wall; The Talking Dead), Jerry Harris (Cheer), Thomas Lennon (Reno 911), Daryl Mitchell (NCIS: New Orleans), Hilarie Burton Morgan (Friday Night In With The Morgans), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Friday Night In With The Morgans; The Walking Dead), Erin Moriarty (The Boys), Lamorne Morris (Woke), Leslie Odom Jr. (Central Park), Jeremy Pope (Hollywood), Issa Rae (A Black Lady Sketch Show; Insecure), Monica Raymund (Hightown), Drew Scott (Property Brothers) and Wanda Sykes (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel).
Here is the full list of winners:
Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special: The Apollo
Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special: Leah Remini: Scientology And The Aftermath
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series: National Geographic Presents – Cosmos: Creating Possible Worlds
Outstanding Structured Reality Program: Queer Eye
Outstanding Casting for a Reality Program: RuPaul’s Drag Race
Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program: The Cave
Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program: Life Below Zero
Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program: American Factory (Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert)
Outstanding Directing for a Reality Program: Cheer (“Daytona”)
Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Score): Why We Hate – “Tools and Tactics”
Outstanding Narrator: David Attenborough (Seven Worlds, One Planet)
Outstanding Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program: Apollo 11
Outstanding Picture Editing for a Structured Reality or Competition Program: RuPaul’s Drag Race – “I’m That Bitch”
Outstanding Picture Editing for An Unstructured Reality Program: Cheer – “God Blessed Texas”
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program (Single or Multi-Camera): Apollo 11
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program (Single or Multi-Camera): Apollo 11
Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program: Don’t F*** With Cats