Emmys 2017: Where the Ladies At? The Brand New Music Supervision Category

Among the more diverse Emmy groupings that were revealed on Thursday’s nominations announcement: the brand new Outstanding Music Supervision award, which featured three women among the five episodes in contention. Netflix and HBO rule the category, with each up for two — Netflix’s “Master Of None” and “Stranger Things,” and HBO’s “Girls” and “Big Little Lies” — while AMC’s “Better Call Saul” rounds out the group.

Some 75 shows were submitted for the category, which music professionals and fans alike have long complained was overlooked in the Emmy race. In May, Michael A. Levine, one of the Academy’s two music governors, explained that, “The job of music supervision has evolved, from what was once primarily an administrative task to becoming a creative and artistic one.”

Indeed, beyond the complexities of licensing and clearances for recorded tracks, which can easily push a music budget to over $1 million if songs by top-tier artists are used, the soundtrack to a series — its pacing, story arcs, sonic embellishments — and even just to an individual episode, really comes down to the ear of the music supervisor.

To that end, “Girls,” was a natural shoo-in for a nomination, having helped break new artists, sometimes ahead of or timed with a commercial release (to wit: St. Vincent, Family of the Year). For the episode “Goodbye Tour,” music supervisors Manish Raval, Jonathan Leahy, and Tom Wolfe are recognized.

More of an outlier is “Master of None,” for which Zach Cowie and Kerri Drootin are nominated. The Aziz Ansari series showcases an incredibly eclectic mix of music, ranging from 1960s B-Sides, to disco phenom Sylvester, to rare cuts from deep in the vinyl bins. The Netflix favorite is nominated for the episode “Amarsi un Po,” which featured music by Italian soft rocker Lucio Battisti — in fact, the series was first to ever license the singer’s music outside of Italy.

Speaking to Variety on Thursday night, Cowie commented: “The whole thing is very surreal. To finish something you’re so proud of; then find out they invented an award category for it; then get nominated? I’m just grateful — to the brilliant cast and crew who we made this thing with; to the countless friends and mentors who’ve taught me about all this music; to the musicians; and to all the other supervisors — nominated or not — who have done so much to establish this as a valid art form.”

And a gender agnostic one to boot. The Emmys’ other five music categories, particularly the composition and original main title theme awards, are dominated by men, among them seasoned mainstays like Hans Zimmer and Jeff Beal (for “House of Cards”). Women fare slightly better in the Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics race, where Tina Fey (for Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) and Rachel Bloom (for CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) are nominated as writers. One other noteworthy female contender: Lady Gaga, whose Super Bowl LI Halftime Show is up for Outstanding Music Direction by Michael Bearden.

Looking at music nominations overall, “Stranger Things” seems to have hit the right note with Television Academy voters, landing in both the music supervision and main title categories; “FX’s “Feud” is also up for two; Rickey Minor competes against himself as a music director, scoring noms for CBS’ “Stayin’ Alive: A Grammy Salute To The Music Of The Bee Gees” and ABC’s “Taking The Stage: African American Music And Stories That Changed America;” And rocker Jack White makes his Emmy debut for PBS’ “American Epic.” See the full list of music nominations below:


“Better Call Saul,” “Sunk Costs” (AMC)
Music Supervisor: Thomas Golubić

“Big Little Lies,” “You Get What You Need” (HBO)
Music Supervisor: Susan Jacobs

“Girls,” “Goodbye Tour” (HBO)
Music Supervisors: Manish Raval, Jonathan Leahy, Tom Wolfe

Master Of None,” “Amarsi Un Po” (Netflix)
Music Supervisors: Zach Cowie, Kerri Drootin

“Stranger Things,” “Chapter Two: The Weirdo On Maple Street” (Netflix)
Music Supervisor: Nora Felder


“Fargo,” “Aporia” (FX Networks)
Music by Jeff Russo

FEUD: Bette And Joan,” “Pilot” (FX Networks)
Music by Mac Quayle

“Five Came Back,” “The Price Of Victory” (Netflix)
Music by Jeremy Turner,

“O.J.: Made In America,” “Part 3” (ESPN)
Music by Gary Lionelli

“Suite Française” (Lifetime)
Music by Rael Jones,

“The White Helmets” (Netflix)
Music by Patrick Jonsson


“A Series Of Unfortunate Events,” “A Bad Beginning” (Netflix)
Music by James Newton Howard

“House of Cards,” “Chapter 63” (Netflix)
Music by Jeff Beal

“Planet Earth II,” “Islands” (BBC America)
Music by Jacob Shea, Jasha Klebe

“Taboo,” “Episode 1” (FX Networks)
Music by Max Richter,

“The Crown,” “Hyde Park Corner” (Netflix)
Music By Rupert Gregson-Williams,

“Victoria” (Masterpiece), “Doll 123” (PBS)
Music by Martin Phipps, Ruth Barrett, Natalie Holt


“American Epic,” “The American Epic Sessions” (PBS)
Music Direction by Bernard MacMahon, Duke Erikson, Jack White, T Bone Burnett

“Joshua Bell: Seasons Of Cuba” (Live From Lincoln Center) (PBS)
Music Direction by David Lai

“Stayin’ Alive: A Grammy Salute To The Music Of The Bee Gees” (CBS)
Music Direction by Rickey Minor

Super Bowl LI Halftime Show Starring Lady Gaga (FOX)
Music Direction by Michael Bearden

“Taking The Stage: African American Music And Stories That Changed America” (ABC)
Music Direction by Rickey Minor

“Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet To Come” (NBC)
Music Direction by Tom Scott


“FEUD: Bette And Joan” (FX Networks)
Theme by Mac Quayle

“Genius” (National Geographic)
Theme by Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe

“Stranger Things” (Netflix)
Theme by Michael Stein, Kyle Dixon

“The Good Fight” (CBS All Access)
Theme by John David Buckley

“Victoria” (Masterpiece) (PBS)
Theme by Martin Phipps

“Westworld” (HBO)
Theme by Ramin Djawadi


“13th” (Netflix)
“Song Title: Letter To The Free”
Music & Lyrics by Common
Music by Robert Glasper, Karriem Riggins

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (CW)
“When Will Josh And His Friend Leave Me Alone? / Song Title: We Tapped That Ass”
Music & Lyrics by Adam Schlesinger
Lyrics by Rachel Bloom,  Jack Dolgen

“Duck The Halls: A Mickey Mouse Christmas Special” (Disney Channel)
“Song Title: Jing-A-Ling-A-Ling”
Music & Lyrics by Christopher Willis
Lyrics by Darrick Bachman, Paul Rudish

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC)
“Jessica Chastain/Willie Nelson/Hunter Hayes / Song Title: The Ballad of Claus Jorstad (Devil Stool)”
Music & Lyrics by Jonathan Kimmel, Gary Greenberg

“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“Host: Casey Affleck / Song Title: Last Christmas”
Music by Eli Brueggemann
Lyrics by Chancelor Johnathan Bennett, Kenan Thompson, Will Stephen

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix)
“Kimmy’s Roommate Lemonades! / Song Title: Hell No”
Music by Jeff Richmond
Lyrics by Tina Fey, Sam Means


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