For the Emmy Awards this year, the TV Academy added three new short-form categories — a bid to open up the kudos tent to digital players like YouTube and AwesomenessTV.
But by and large, digital newcomers were shut out as most of the the 68th Emmy Awards nominations for short-form scripted comedy or drama series, actor and actress went to traditional TV networks or their online outlets.
Still, Disney’s Maker Studios and Defy Media both garnered their first Emmy nominations. Maker’s “Epic Rap Battles of History” (pictured above), the popular YouTube musical parody series from Peter Shukoff and Lloyd Ahlquist, was nominated for short-form variety series, as was Defy’s “Honest Trailers” spoof franchise that runs on its ScreenJunkies channel. Maker also picked up two nods in the short-form actor category for “The Crossroads of History,” a series it produced for A+E Networks’ History in association with Trium Entertainment.
“Maker Studios is excited to be in the 2016 Emmys race with ‘Epic Rap Battles of History,'” said Gabriel Lewis, Maker’s head of development and studios. “We would also like to congratulate Lou Diamond Phillips and Oscar Nunez for being nominated in the actor category for their work in ‘Crossroads of History.'”
Andy Signore, senior VP and head of creative for Defy’s ScreenJunkies said the recognition was “not only validation of the impact digital programming is having on the industry, but it also shows our program hasn’t jumped the shark yet! In all seriousness, we thank the nominating committee — this is an exciting moment for our team at Defy, and most importantly, all the ScreenJunkies out there.”
The one YouTube web series recognized in the short-form comedy or drama category was “Her Story,” a drama about transgender and LGBTQ relationships written by and starring Jen Richards Laura Zak; the series was executive produced by Eve Ensler and produced by Katherine Fisher of Speed of Joy Productions. In addition, Patrika Darbo picked up a best actress in a short-form series nomination for “Acting Dead,” a satirical comedy about Hollywood zombies from Leonian Pictures that distributed was via Vimeo.
Otherwise, in the three new short-form categories the TV Academy introduced, the nominations went to TV networks including Turner’s Adult Swim, AMC, Comedy Central, Lifetime and BET.
On the other hand, digital-only studios picked up all the nods in the short-form variety series block. Funny Or Die earned a nomination for parody “Gay Of Thrones,” while AOL scored two with sketch-comedy series “Making a Scene With James Franco” and “Park Bench With Steve Buscemi.”
Digital hopefuls that failed to get Emmys nods in the new short-form categories include “Scare PewDiePie,” starring YouTube megastar PewDiePie from Maker and Skybound Entertainment for YouTube Red; AwesomenessTV drama “Guidance” on Verizon Go90; New Form Digital’s “Oscar’s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures,” produced in collaboration with Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop; and Refinery29’s “The Skinny” from writer-director-star Jessie Kahnweiler.
Meanwhile, Vimeo picked up its first Emmy nomination (in the first year it submitted entries for consideration) for original special “Garfunkel and Oates: Trying to be Special” in the music and lyrics category for the song “Frozen Lullaby.”
Here is the full list of Emmys short-form nominees:
Outstanding Short Form Variety Series
- “Honest Trailers,” Defy Media
- “Epic Rap Battles Of History,” Maker Studios
- “Gay Of Thrones,” Funny Or Die
- “Making a Scene With James Franco,” AOL
- “Park Bench With Steve Buscemi,” AOL
Outstanding Short Form Comedy Or Drama Series
- “Childrens Hospital,” Adult Swim
- “Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462,” AMC
- “Hack Into Broad City,” Comedy Central
- “Her Story,” Speed of Joy Productions
- “UnREAL The Auditions,” Lifetime
Outstanding Actor In A Short Form Comedy Or Drama Series
- Rob Corddry, “Childrens Hospital,” Adult Swim
- Rob Huebel, “Childrens Hospital,” Adult Swim
- Lou Diamond Phillips, “The Crossroads Of History,” History
- Oscar Nuñez, “The Crossroads Of History,” History
- Jack McBrayer, “Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell,” Adult Swim
Outstanding Actress In A Short Form Comedy Or Drama Series
- Patrika Darbo, “Acting Dead,” ActingDead.com – Leonian Pictures
- Erinn Hayes, “Childrens Hospital,” Adult Swim
- Janet Varney, “Everyone’s Crazy But Us,” Funny Or Die
- Michelle Ang, “Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462,” AMC
- Tracie Thomas, “Send Me: an original web series,” BET.com
Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction Or Reality Series
- “Inside Look: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” FX Networks
- “Jay Leno’s Garage,” NBC.com
- “National Endowment For The Arts: United States Of Arts,” Arts.gov/Solaris Media Group
- “Roots: A New Vision,” History
- “A Year In Space,” Time.com/Red Border Films in association with Reel Peak Films
Outstanding Short Form Animated Program
- “Adventure Time” – “Hall of Egress,” Cartoon Network
- “The Powerpuff Girls” – “Once Upon A Townsville,” Cartoon Network
- “Robot Chicken” – “Robot Chicken Christmas Special: The X-Mas United,” Adult Swim
- “SpongeBob SquarePants” – “Company Picnic,” Nickelodeon
- “Steven Universe” – “The Answer,” Cartoon Network