Emmys: Music strikes a chord at Creative Arts Awards

(l-r: Adele, Dr. Dre, Lizzo, CREDIT: Shutterstock)

The Television Academy presented the first of its two 2022 Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremonies honoring outstanding artistic and technical achievements in television at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

The Saturday Creative Arts, which kicked off the 74th Emmy celebration, show focused primarily on reality, unscripted and documentary programming. The Sunday show will bestow awards for scripted programming and includes several performance categories.

The ceremony, which was held Saturday night, awarded many talented artists and craftspeople in genres including animation, reality, documentary/nonfiction and variety programming.

The big takeaway at the Saturday-night edition of the 74th Creative Arts Emmy Awards, where the two top winners, with five awards each, were CBS’s Adele: One Night Only and The Beatles: Get Back, from Disney+.

Adele: One Night Only, a concert performance special in which the superstar vocalist performed her first new material in six years, scored victories for Variety Special (Pre-Recorded), Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Special, Sound Mixing for a Variety Series or Special, Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Special and Directing for a Variety Special.

The Beatles: Get Back, a three-part, seven-plus-hour docuseries assembled by director Peter Jackson and his New Zealand-based production team from archival footage shot for the Fab Four’s 1970 film Let It Be, won for Documentary or Nonfiction Series, Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program (Jackson), Sound Editing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program (Single or Multi-Camera), Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program (Single or Multi-Camera) and Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program.

Not far behind these iconic British artists, with three Emmys, was a production powered by a cadre of elite American musical stars: The Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show Starring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent. The hip-hop opus won for Music Direction, Production Design for a Variety Special and Variety Special (Live). This was the first time a Super Bowl halftime show had won in the latter category.


Another musical artist with a program that garnered key awards was Lizzo, whose Prime Video series Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls won Emmys for Directing for a Reality Program and Picture Editing for a Structured Reality or Competition Program.

Among other significant victories, RuPaul Charles won for the seventh time in a row as Host for a Reality or Competition Series, for RuPaul’s Drag Race. The winning streak resulted in the twelfth Emmy of Charles’s career.

Also keeping winning streaks alive were Netflix’s Queer Eye, which took the award for Structured reality Program for the fifth year running, and National Geographic’s Life Below Zero, which won its fifth straight Emmy for Cinematography for a Reality Program.

A notable first-ever Emmy went to former President Barack Obama for his narration of Netflix’s Our Great National Parks, and a poignant posthumous Emmys went to Chadwick Boseman, who died of cancer in 2020.

Boseman’s widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, accepted his award for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance for an episode of the Disney+ animated series What If?, in which he played Star Lord T’Challa, the role he originated in the 2018 film Black Panther.

Early in the show, as a presenter, Judd Apatow, an executive producer of HBO’s George Carlin’s American Dream, which won for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special, noted with comedic bitterness that he won his first Emmy in 1993, for The Ben Stiller Show — which had been canceled shortly before that year’s Emmys.

A similarly bittersweet situation arose at the Saturday-night Creative Arts show when Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Presents: Once Upon a Time in Late Night won the Emmy for Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series shortly after TBS canceled Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, the program of which it was an offshoot.

In addition to Adele: One Night OnlyThe Beatles: Get Back, the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show and Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrls, other shows with multiple awards included Arcane, the Netflix animated series from videogame producer Riot Games, which took four (including Outstanding Animated Program) and Netflix’s Love on the Spectrum U.S. with three.

Several programs won two Emmys: Netflix’s Love, Death + Robots; HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch ShowLast Week Tonight with John Oliver and We’re Here; Prime Video’s Lucy and Desi; and VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Bob Bain is executive producer of the Creative Arts Emmys for the eighth time. The Television Academy’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards Committee is led by chair Rich Carter.

FXX will broadcast edited highlights from the Saturday and Sunday Creative Arts Emys on Saturday, September 10, at 8:00 PM ET/PT.

The 74th Emmys telecast will air live Monday, September 12, on NBC and Peacock.

A complete list of the Saturday-night winners is available here.


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