“Free Solo,” “Queer Eye,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Saturday Night Live” were among the big winners Saturday after the first night of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.
“Free Solo,” the National Geographic feature documentary that already claimed the Oscar earlier this year, lead the field on the night largely devoted to unscripted programming with seven big wins. On Sunday, the remaining Creative Arts Emmys will be handed out for shows largely in the scripted genre.
RuPaul earned his fourth consecutive trophy as reality host for his work out front on VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Netflix’s “Queer Eye” nabbed four wins, including its second consecutive trophy for structured reality program. “The Simpsons” added more hardware to its trophy case with the win for animated program. And the late Anthony Bourdain earned two more Emmys for his CNN series “Parts Unknown,” which won for informational series and also for writing.
TV legend Norman Lear picked up another Emmy, a win that makes him the oldest person to win an Emmy (at 97) in the variety special (live) category for ABC’s “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” special featuring new stagings of episodes from “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons,” produced by Jimmy Kimmel. Lear wasn’t the only nonagenarian to pick up a win on Saturday; Sir David Attenborough, 93, won for narration for Netflix’s “Our Planet.”
When pressed backstage about the live special connected with such a large audience, Lear said that the family and relationship subjects that he probed in the 1970s are still relevant today. “The shows reflect our common humanity. And that hasn’t changed. We are as misguided today as we were then in certain ways,” Lear said.
“Carpool Karaoke” had a good night, winning short form variety series for the Apple incarnation of the franchise that began on CBS’ “The Late Late Show with James Corden.” Last year, Corden delivered a special extra-long edition with Paul McCartney” that became an hourlong CBS primetime special “Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool,” which took home the win for variety special (recorded).
Corden was effusive backstage about the privilege of working in American television in a big way, as he has since landing on “Late Late Show” in 2015. “We just want to be a place people go to have a really nice time before or, let’s be honest, while they fall asleep,” Corden said of the show.
CNN’s “United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell” prevailed once again for unstructured reality program, picking up its third consecutive trophy. Bell used his moment on stage to call on the industry to embrace diversity and inclusion at every level of the industry.
“I’ve thanked my wife and my kids and the people I work with enough,” Bell told reporters backstage. “I not only have to call my team out, but I have to call the industry out. I feel like if I’m going to be about it I have to talk about it.”
Fox’s staging of “Rent” earned two trophies, for lighting design and production design.
HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” documentary was recognized for documentary special. CNN’s “RBG” and HBO’s “The Sentence” earned exceptional merit in documentary filmmaking honors.
Among networks, Netflix emerged with 15 wins (including a number of animation wins that were previously announced), followed by National Geographic with eight; CNN and NBC with five apiece; and Fox, HBO and YouTube with four apiece.
Saturday’s full list of winners:
Variety special (live): “Live In Front Of A Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All In The Family’ And ‘The Jeffersons'” (ABC)
Variety special (pre-recorded): “Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool” (CBS)
Choreography for variety or reality programming: Tessandra Chavez, “World of Dance” (NBC)
Production design for a variety special: “Rent” (Fox)
Production design for a variety, reality or competition series: “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
Structured reality program: “Queer Eye” (Netflix)
Short form variety series: “Carpool Karaoke: the Series” (Apple)
Short form animated program: “Love, Death & Robots” (Netflix)
Picture editing for a nonfiction program: Bob Eisenhardt, “Free Solo” (National Geographic)
Narrator: Sir David Attenborough, “Our Planet” (Netflix)
Music composition for a documentary series or special (original dramatic score): Marco Beltrami, Brandon Roberts, “Free Solo” (National Geographic)
Music direction: Alex Lacamoire, “Fosse/Verdon” (FX)
Original music and lyrics: Adam Schlesinger, Rachel Bloom, Jack Dolgen, “Antidepressants Are So Not a Big Deal,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (CW)
Creative achievement in interactive media within an unscripted program: “Free Solo” (National Geographic)
Interactive program: “NASA and SpaceX: The Interactive Demo-1 Launch” (YouTube)
Technical direction, camerawork, video control for a special: “Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2019” (CBS)
Technical direction, camerawork, video control for a series: “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” (HBO)
Short form nonfiction or reality series: “Creating Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
Writing for a variety special: Hannah Gadsby, “Nanette” (Netflix)
Writing for a nonfiction program: Anthony Bourdain, “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” (CNN)
Motion design: “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj” (Netflix)
Exceptional merit in documentary filmmaking: (tie) “RBG” (CNN); “The Sentence” (HBO)
Informational series or special: “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” (CNN)
Documentary or nonfiction special: “Leaving Neverland” (HBO)
Documentary or nonfiction series: “Our Planet” (Netflix)
Makeup for a multi-camera series or special (non-prosthetic): “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
Hairstyling for a multi-camera series or special: Hector Pocasangre, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
Costumes for variety, nonfiction or reality programming: Zaldy Goco, Art Conn, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
Directing for a reality program: Hisham Abed, “Queer Eye” (Netflix)
Casting for a reality program: “Queer Eye” (Netflix)
Directing for a documentary/nonfiction program: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, “Free Solo” (National Geographic)
Directing for a variety special: Thom Zimny, “Springsteen on Broadway” (Netflix)
Animated program: “The Simpsons” (Fox)
Character voice-over performance: Seth MacFarlane, “Family Guy” (Fox)
Picture editing for variety programming: “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)
PIcture editing for an unstructured reality program: “United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell” (CNN)
Picture editing for a structured reality or competition program: “Queer Eye” (Netflix)
Sound mixing for a variety series or special: “Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul” (CBS)
Sound mixing for a nonfiction program (single or multi-camera): “Free Solo” (National Geographic)
Sound editing for a nonfiction program (single or multi-camera): “Free Solo” (National Geographic)
Lighting design/direction for a variety special: “Rent” (Fox)
Lighting design/direction for a variety series: “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
Host for a reality or competition program: RuPaul, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)
Unstructured reality program: “United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell” (CNN)
Cinematography for a nonfiction program: “Free Solo” (National Geographic TV)
Cinematography for a reality program: “Life Below Zero” (National Geographic TV)
Saturday’s award categories are primarily for unscripted programs: reality, variety special, documentaries, animated program and short form animation, choreography for variety or reality programs, and interactive program.
Sunday’s awards will focus on scripted programs: short form drama and comedy series, casting, cinematography, and guest performers in comedy and drama series.
(Joe Otterson contributed to this report.)