Strange bedfellows in Emmy below-the-line races

'Top Chef,' 'Deadliest Catch' vie in two categories

Emmy below-the-line categories often pit such different shows opposite each other that it’s hard to judge who is most “outstanding.”

This year is no exception.

Two reality show categories, cinematography and picture editing, find “Top Chef” and “Deadliest Catch” competing against each other — though it’s hard to imagine two series created under more different conditions and with more different styles.

“Deadliest Catch” gets yet another odd pairing in the sound mixing for nonfiction category, where voters will have to judge it against “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” and “Paul Simon’s Graceland Journey: Under African Skies,” as well as “The Amazing Race” and “Frozen Planet.”

The visual effects race features TNT’s sci-fier “Falling Skies” and fantasies “Game of Thrones” and “Once Upon a Time,” which are at least loosely in the same family, against ABC’s 1960s-set drama “Pan Am” and the Beeb’s science show “Inside the Human Body.”

“Boardwalk Empire,” which won top honors for visual effects in a series in 2011, appears this year in the new visual effects in a supporting role category. That category also pulled in “Breaking Bad,” which would never have had a shot at a vfx nom in the main category.

Among the nominees for “Breaking Bad” in supporting vfx is Greg Nicotero, the special makeup effects designer. Nicotero is also nommed for makeup for “The Walking Dead” this year. It’s his eighth nom, after also being nommed for “The Pacific” and “Dune.”

Other returning nominees include “Two and a Half Men” cinematographer Steven V. Silver, who picked up his seventh mention this year. He has two wins for that show, in 2011 and 2007.

Michael Slovis, cinematographer for “Breaking Bad,” received his third nom for that skein. He won in 2006 for “CSI.”

Below-the-line categories, like acting categories, often end up with two people from the same show in contention. Two picture editors for “Breaking Bad,” Kelley Dixon and Skip MacDonald, are up against each other for single-camera drama, while two editors from “Modern Family” (Ryan Case and Steven A. Rasch) and from “30 Rock” (Ken Eluto and Meg Reticker) are in the single-camera comedy picture editing race.

Three of the five choreography nominees are from the same show: Stacey Tookey, Christopher Scott and Spencer Liff of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

One oddity: none of the outstanding reality program nominees received any below-the-line nominations at all.

(Anneta Konstantinides contributed to this report.)