Emmys 2019: It’s an HBO Crafts Smackdown Between ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Chernobyl’

Given its record-shattering 32 Emmy nominations on Tuesday, “Game of Thrones” naturally dominated the craft categories as well for its Season 8 finish, grabbing 17 craft nods. However, HBO’s highly acclaimed limited series “Chernobyl” came in second with 14 craft nods. Also faring well were Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and FX’s “Fosse/Verdon” with 10 nominations; Netflix’s “Russian Doll” with nine; HBO’s “True Detective” and “Barry” with eight; HBO’s “Deadwood” reunion movie, Nat Geo’s “Our Planet,” and, surprisingly, last season’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” from Hulu with seven; “RuPaul’s Drag Race” with six; and Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora,” Netflix’s “When They See Us,” HBO’s “Sharp Objects,” FX’s “Pose,” Netflix’s “Glow,” and Nat Geo’s “Free Solo” with five.

Meanwhile, the under performers included Hulu’s “Catch 22” remake and Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy,” with just two nominations (sound editing and supporting visual effects for the former and production design and visual effects for the latter), and Amazon’s “Homecoming” (from director Sam Esmail) with only one nod for cinematography. Shut out completely from the craft categories were Netflix’s trippy Maniac” (from director Cary Fukunaga), the experimental “Bandersnatch” from “Black Mirror,” “The Twilight Zone” remake from Jordan Peele, and Paramount’s western, “Yellowstone.”

Among the “Thrones” craft nods: Casting For A Drama Series, Single-Camera Series Cinematography (One Hour), Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes, Hairstyling For A Single-Camera Series, Makeup For A Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic), Music Composition For A Series (Original Dramatic Score), Production Design For A Narrative Period Or Fantasy Program (One Hour Or More), Prosthetic Makeup For A Series, Limited Series, Movie Or Special, Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Drama Series (three times), Sound Editing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (One Hour), Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series (One Hour), Special Visual Effects, and Stunt Coordination For A Drama Series, Limited Series Or Movie.

“Game of Thrones”


While “Thrones” has pretty much ruled costume and production design, it has positively owned the VFX category, winning the last six consecutive seasons after losing out its first season. And it’s a lock to take the category one last time. For Season 8, it was nominated for the VFX in Episode 5 (“The Bells”), in which Dany (Emilia Clarke) unleashes her vengeful destruction of King’s Landing after the ambush of her fleet and the death of her beloved dragon Rhaegal in the previous episode. Weta Digital developed new tech for combining fire and water simulation. Weta was integral to Season 8, contributing more than 600 VFX shots for the epic battles propelled by dragonfire and the large-scale destruction. Interestingly, HBO did not enter Episode 3 (“The Long Night”), with the bravura Battle of Winterfell, a continuous onslaught with 30,000 zombie Wights and thousands of Dothrakis with simulated, flaming swords, the series’ greatest VFX achievement.

The gripping “Chernobyl” miniseries (created by Craig Mazin and directed by Johan Renck), distinguished itself in period/fantasy production design, period costumes, cinematography, editing, hairstyling and makeup, sound editing and mixing, supporting VFX, and original score (Hildur Guðnadóttir). Production designer Luke Hull, in particular, did masterful work in authentically recreating the Soviet nuclear plant in Pripyat, Ukraine. The monstrous-looking plant, with its creepy concrete corridors and piping, served as a major character.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was back in Season 2, distinguishing itself in period/fantasy production design, period costumes, cinematography, editing, hairstyling and makeup (non-prosthetic), music supervision, and sound mixing. It will be competing against “Fosse/Verdon” in many of the same categories. The biopic about the romantic and artistic partnership between visionary choreographer/director Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) and his dancing muse, Gwen Verdon (Michelle Williams) picked up noms in period/fantasy production design, period costumes, editing, hairstyle and makeup (prosthetic and non-prosthetic), music direction, music supervision, and sound mixing.



The quirky “Russian Doll,” the “Groundhog Day”-like time loop, from creator/star Natasha Lyonne, picked up nods for contemporary production design and costume design, cinematography, editing, music supervision, sound editing, sound mixing, stunt coordination, and casting for a comedy.

“True Detective,” the stirring murder mystery, with Emmy-nominated Mahershala Ali playing a troubled Arkansas cop during three different periods, did surprisingly well. In addition to its standout makeup and hair for aging and de-aging Ali, the series picked up nods for cinematography, main title design, original score (T Bone Burnett), and sound editing and sound mixing.

“Deadwood” came away with noms for cinematography, editing, makeup and hairstyling, sound editing, sound mixing, and supporting VFX. And “Escape at Dannemora,” the spot-on historical drama from director Ben Stiller, captured noms for contemporary production design and costumes, original score (Edward Shearmur), supporting VFX, and casting. The standout was the production design by Mark Ricker, who accurately recreated the castle-like Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, with its signature cell block structure.

"When They See Us" Netflix

“When They See Us”

Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

Ava DuVernay’s powerful Central Park 5 limited series, “When They See Us,” made an impressive showing with noms for Bradford Young’s striking cinematography, Kris Bower’s haunting score, sound editing, sound mixing, and casting (which delivered an inspired ensemble).

Meanwhile, in the new category for Documentary score, the nominees were: “Free Solo” (Marco Beltrami and Brandon Roberts), “Game of Thrones: The Last Watch” (Hannah Peel), “Hostile Planet” (“Oceans,” Benjamin Wallfisch), “Love, Gilda” (Miriam Cutler), “Our Planet” (“One Planet,” Steven Price), and “RBG” (Miriam Cutler).

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