Sunday, September 13, 2020

Star Trek vs. Star Wars — futuristic politics and government at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards

I asked my readers for advice at the end of 'El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie' vs. 'Bad Education' and 'American Son' — Outstanding Television Movie nominees about crime and punishment at the Emmy Awards.
I plan on continuing the series tomorrow for the Sunday entertainment feature, although I'm torn between children's programming and animation on the one hand and music and dance nominees on the other. It's been a long time since I've asked for my readers to help me decide, but I'm feeling like asking now. Comments, anyone?
Last I checked, no one responded. It's just as well, because I decided overnight to combine the two ideas and convert the result into an examination of my two favorite science fiction franchises, Star Trek and Star Wars, both of which have two shows with nominations at the Emmy Awards and both of which explore politics and government in a futuristic setting.

I begin with sole nomination for "Star Wars Resistance," which I voted for at the Saturn Awards and which won Best Animated Series on Television.

Outstanding Children's Program
Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix)
Star Wars Resistance (Disney Channel)
We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest (HBO)
All three nominees examine politics as both of the speculative fiction series have resistance in their titles and "We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest" has a social theme with a political dimension. With "Sesame Street" not being renominated in this category, the field is wide open. It should be no surprise that I am rooting for "Star Wars Resistance." It helps that it's the only returning nominee in this category. "Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" had more and better buzz, so I expect it will win.

I already wrote about the Star Trek series nominated for a program award at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards in 'Short Treks,' '#FreeRayshawn,' and 'Reno 911!' — government in short form at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, so I'll be a good environmentalist and recycle.

Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series

Better Call Saul Employee Training: Legal Ethics with Kim Wexler (
The Good Place Presents: The Selection (NBC)
Most Dangerous Game (Quibi)
Reno 911! (Quibi)
Star Trek: Short Treks (CBS All Access)
Based on just the nominees for this category, I would have included "funny and futuristic government" in the title of this entry. The funny nominees about government are "Reno 911!," a Comedy Central series that has been revived on Quibi and "Better Call Saul Employee Training: Legal Ethics with Kim Wexler." The futuristic one is "Star Trek: Short Treks." As a Star Trek fan, I'm rooting for "Short Treks." However, I doubt either it or "Reno 911!" will win, even though "Reno 911!" has two nominations in this category and Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series. Instead, I think the other nominee for this category with a second nomination, "Most Dangerous Game," has the inside track to win the Emmy.
Now for the acting nominations for "The Mandalorian" at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman as Terry Maitland on The Outsider (Episode: "Fish in a Barrel") (HBO)
James Cromwell as Ewan Roy on Succession (Episode: "Dundee") (HBO)
Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon on The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 8: Redemption") (Disney+)
Ron Cephas Jones as William Hill on This Is Us (Episode: "After the Fire") (NBC)
Andrew Scott as Chris Gillhaney on Black Mirror (Episode: "Smithereens") (Netflix)
Martin Short as Dick Lundy on The Morning Show (Episode: "Chaos Is the New Cocaine") (Apple TV+)
I've been impressed with Giancarlo Esposito ever since I watched him play the antagonist in Revolution eight years ago. He was even more scary now and promises to be a great villain for season 2. That written, I was even more impressed by Jason Bateman as Terry Maitland in "The Outsider," so I think he will win instead.

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance

Hank Azaria as Professor Frink, Moe, Chief Wiggum, Carl, Cletus, Kirk and Sea Captain on The Simpsons (Episode: "Frinkcoin") (Fox) Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson, Nelson, Ralph and Todd on The Simpsons (Episode: "Better Off Ned") (Fox) Leslie Odom Jr. as Owen on Central Park (Episode: "Episode One") (Apple TV+) Maya Rudolph as Connie the Hormone Monstress on Big Mouth (Episode: "How to Have an Orgasm") (Netflix) Wanda Sykes as Gladys on Crank Yankers (Episode: "Bobby Brown, Wanda Sykes & Kathy Griffin") (Comedy Central) Taika Waititi as IG-11 on The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 8: Redemption") (Disney+)
Taika Waititi's droid voice expressed a lot for a robot supposedly devoid of emotion. Even so, he's up against a lot of veteran voice actors and bigger name actors and comedians, so he's facing an uphill battle. Out of that field, I am rooting for Maya Rudolph in her third nomination, but I expect it will be Hank Azaria or Nancy Cartwright, who have been voicing their characters on "The Simpsons" for 30 years.

Follow over the jump for the technical awards nominations for both "The Mandalorian" and "Star Trek: Picard."

Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour)

The End of the F***ing World – Benedict Spence (Episode: "Episode 2") (Netflix)
Homecoming – Jas Shelton (Episode: "Giant") (Prime Video)
Insecure – Kira Kelly (Episode: "Lowkey Happy") (HBO)
Insecure – Ava Berkofsky (Episode: "Lowkey Lost") (HBO)
The Mandalorian – Greig Fraser and Baz Idoine (Episode: "Chapter 7: The Reckoning") (Disney+)
"The Mandalorian" is beautifully shot for a show where all the outdoor scenes are on a green screen. That doesn't make it any less impressive. I hope it's enough to win. As for its competition, "Homecoming" is also about government and it's science-fiction adjacent, if not science fiction set 20 minutes into the future.
Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes

Carnival Row (Episode: "Aisling") (Prime Video)
The Handmaid's Tale (Episode: "Household") (Hulu)
The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 3: The Sin") (Disney+)
Watchmen (Episode: "It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice") (HBO)
Westworld (Episode: "Parce Domine") (HBO)
I think "The Mandalorian" should be happy just to be nominated, even though it's competing in a open field with "Game of Thrones" over. It's competing against three-time nominee "The Handmaid's Tale" and former nominee "Westworld." The track record favors "The Handmaid's Tale" but I thought the costumes in "Westworld" this season were spectacular. The costumes in "Carnival Row" were no slouch, either, as they were both fantastical and historical, taking place in an alternative timeline during the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, making them the kind of clothes Emmy voters might drool over. That written, I think all of them will lose to "Watchmen." I wouldn't be the least bit upset if that happens.

Now for the first of five nominations for "Star Trek: Picard."

Outstanding Period and/or Character Hairstyling

The Crown (Episode: "Cri de Coeur") (Netflix)
Hollywood (Episode: "A Hollywood Ending") (Netflix)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Episode: "A Jewish Girl Walks Into the Apollo...") (Prime Video)
Pose (Episode: "Worth It") (FX)
Star Trek: Picard (Episode: "Stardust City Rag") (CBS All Access)
I like to play one of these things is not like the others when I can, and the opportunity to do so presents itself in this category. In this case, the odd nominee out is "Star Trek: Picard," where the nomination is for character hairstyling, not period. As much as I'm rooting for it, I'm pretty sure it's between "The Crown" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," the former because of Hollywood's Anglophilia and the latter because its the returning winner and Hollywood's bias in favor of shows about entertainment. That should work for "Hollywood," as Hollywood loves a good story about itself, even if it's not particularly flattering, but that works if all other things are equal and I'm not sure about that.

The same episode of "Star Trek: Picard" is nominated in the next category.
Outstanding Period and/or Character Makeup (Non-Prosthetic)

American Horror Story: 1984 (Episode: "The Lady in White") (FX)
Hollywood (Episode: "Outlaws") (Netflix)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Episode: "It's Comedy or Cabbage") (Prime Video)
Pose (Episode: "Acting Up") (FX)
Star Trek: Picard (Episode: "Stardust City Rag") (CBS All Access)
Once again, last year's winner "Game of Thrones" is not competing, so the field is open. I don't know if it's open enough for "Star Trek: Picard" to win, but I think it has a better chance to win than in the previous category. Still, the returning nominees are "American Horror Story" and "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." I suspect the latter has the advantage.

Now for the one category in which "Star Trek: Picard" and "The Mandalorian" are directly competing.
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special

American Horror Story: 1984 (Episode: "True Killers") (FX)
Hollywood (Episode: "Jump") (Netflix)
The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 6: The Prisoner") (Disney+)
Pose (Episode: "Love's in Need of Love Today") (FX)
Star Trek: Picard (Episode: "Absolute Candor") (CBS All Access)
Westworld (Episode: "Crisis Theory") (HBO)
On the one hand, last year's winner "Star Trek: Discovery" is not nominated (I expect it will return next year). On the other, it's still Star Trek, so I think the advantage still applies to "Star Trek: Picard." Here's to Seven of Nine's implants helping the show win over "The Mandalorian," "American Horror Story: 1984," and "Westworld."

Now for a category where I have a favorite even though I haven't done enough research.
Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)

Martin Phipps for The Crown (Episode: "Aberfan") (Netflix)
Labrinth for Euphoria (Episode: "Bonnie and Clyde") (HBO)
Ludwig Göransson for The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 8: Redemption") (Disney+)
Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans for Ozark (Episode: "All In") (Netflix)
Nicholas Britell for Succession (Episode: "This Is Not for Tears") (HBO)
On the one hand, Nicholas Britell won Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music last year for "Succession." On the other, Ludwig Göransson won the Oscar for Music (Original Score) for "Black Panther." In a field where none of last year's nominees repeated, I'd say those were safe ways to handicap this category. Between the two, I'm rooting for Göransson's work in "The Mandalorian. I'll embed a video at the end of the post.
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series

The Mandalorian – Andrew S. Eisen (Episode: "Chapter 2: The Child") (Disney+)
The Mandalorian – Dana E. Glauberman and Dylan Firshein (Episode: "Chapter 4: Sanctuary") (Disney+)
The Mandalorian – Jeff Seibenick (Episode: "Chapter 8: Redemption") (Disney+)
Ozark – Vikash Patel (Episode: "Fire Pink") (Netflix)
Ozark – Cindy Mollo (Episode: "Wartime") (Netflix)
Stranger Things – Dean Zimmerman and Katheryn Naranjo (Episode: "Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt") (Netflix)
Succession – Ken Eluto (Episode: "DC") (HBO)
Succession – Bill Henry and Venya Bruk (Episode: "This Is Not for Tears") (HBO)
As I usually write in situations like this, vote splitting can work against series with multiple nominations in the same category unless the electorate settles on a best choice out of those available. If that becomes an issue, it helps "Stranger Things" over "The Mandalorian," "Ozark," and "Succession." If not, then I'm torn between "The Mandalorian" and "Ozark." Three nominations for "The Mandalorian" makes the case for its consistent superiority, but that may not be enough.

Now the first of three categories in which "The Mandalorian" is competing against "Space Force."
Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Program (Half-Hour or Less)

GLOW (Episode: "Up, Up, Up") (Netflix)
The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 1: The Mandalorian") (Disney+)
Space Force (Episode: "The Launch") (Netflix)
What We Do in the Shadows (Episodes: "Resurrection", "Collaboration", "Witches") (FX)
Will & Grace (Episode: "We Love Lucy") (NBC)
As much as I'm rooting for "The Mandalorian," "Space Force," and comedy horror nomine "What We Do in the Shadows," they're up against former winner "GLOW" and consistent nominee "Will & Grace." Of all the speculative fiction nominees, I think "The Mandalorian" has the best chance, but that's not enough for me to say it's the favorite.

The next four categories show why "Star Trek: Picard" and "The Mandalorian" compete against each other in only one category — program length.
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One-Hour)

Better Call Saul (Episode: "Bagman") (AMC)
The Boys (Episode: "The Name of the Game") (Prime Video)
The Crown (Episode: "Aberfan") (Netflix)
Star Trek: Picard (Episode: "Et in Arcadia Ego: Part 2") (CBS All Access)
Stranger Things (Episode: "Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt") (Netflix)
Westworld (Episode: "Parce Domine") (HBO)
I'm glad to see "The Boys" earn a nomination and it deserved it in this category. Still, even though I'd be happy for it, "Star Trek: Picard," and especially "Westworld" to win, "Stranger Things" has won this award both of the previous times it was nominated and I expect it will win again.
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour)
Better Call Saul (Episode: "Bagman") (AMC)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Episode: "A Jewish Girl Walks Into the Apollo...") (Prime Video)
Ozark (Episode: "All In") (Netflix)
Star Trek: Picard (Episode: "Et in Arcadia Ego: Part 2") (CBS All Access)
Stranger Things (Episode: "Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt") (Netflix)
Westworld (Episode: "Parce Domine") (HBO)
On the other hand, "Westworld" is the only previous winner in this field, so I think it's favored here.

Now the sound nominations for the shorter shows.
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation
GLOW (Episode: "The Libertines") (Netflix)
The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 1: The Mandalorian") (Disney+)
Silicon Valley (Episode: "Exit Event") (HBO)
Space Force (Episode: "The Launch") (Netflix)
What We Do in the Shadows (Episode: "The Return") (FX)
The only returning nominee is "What We Do in the Shadows," but I don't think that's enough to make it the favorite. Instead, I think "The Mandalorian" has an advantage because of its win at the Golden Reel Awards.
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation

The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 2: The Child") (Disney+)
Modern Family (Episode: "Finale Part 1") (ABC)
The Ranch (Episode: "Fadeaway") (Netflix)
Schitt's Creek (Episode: "Happy Ending") (Pop TV)
Space Force (Episode: "Save Epsilon 6!") (Netflix)
The same rationale leads to my saying "The Mandalorian" is the favorite, here, too.
Outstanding Special Visual Effects

Lost in Space (Episode: "Ninety-Seven") (Netflix)
The Mandalorian (Episode: "Chapter 2: The Child") (Disney+)
Stranger Things (Episode: "Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt") (Netflix)
Watchmen (Episode: "See How They Fly") (HBO)
Westworld (Episode: "Crisis Theory") (HBO)
"Westworld" is the only previous winner, while "Lost in Space" and "Stranger Things" are previous nominees. Having written that and seen all the nominees, I'm tempted to say "Watchmen" is favored. It's its year. Sorry, Mando, "this is the way" of Hollywood.
Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Limited Series, or Movie
The Blacklist (NBC)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)
The Rookie (ABC)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
S.W.A.T. (CBS)
"The Blacklist" and "S.W.A.T." are returning nominees and "The Blacklist" is a previous winner, so that might be enough to propel one of them, most likely "The Blacklist," over the speculative fiction nominees "The Mandalorian" and "Stranger Things." I hope not, but I'm not optimistic.

I'll have more to say about "The Mandalorian" when I cover the Primetime Emmy Awards nominations for drama series. Stay tuned for that.

I conclude by being a good environmentalist and recycling my conclusion from Star Wars drinks and music for the Revenge of the Sixth. Here's The Mandalorian by Ludwig Göransson.

The Mandalorian · Ludwig Göransson
I have spoken.

Previous posts about the 2020 Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy Awards

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