Open Mic

September 2013

Creative Arts Emmy Awards: Will Track Shoes Be Required From Now On?

Hillary Atkin Posted September 20, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Here's some advice that might seem odd to give to both male and female awards show nominees: Wear running shoes on the night of the ceremony.

That's right. Fast footwear would have been optimal for all of those nominated in 75 categories handed out during the 65th Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE, for which an abbreviated version of the ceremonies held Sept. 15 will air on cable network FXX Sept. 21 at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific.

Because so many statuettes were awarded during what turns out to be a program that runs about three and a half hours, the producers were quite serious about a 45-second time clock that started ticking as soon as the name of the winners were announced.

If they didn't have the good fortune to be sitting right up by the stage in the cavernous hall, the recipients of television's highest honors had to make a sprint for the podium, a race against time won by the fittest and fastest.

For women, that often meant removing sky-high heels and running barefoot in their gowns or cocktail dresses. For men, the type of shoes worn with tuxes gave them an advantage. For all, it usually meant arriving a little out of breath -- on top of the excitement and heart flutters generated by hearing one’s name called and the pressure to say something cogent, charming and tight in accepting the Emmy.

The Creative Arts Emmys recognize top talent from guest stars to sound mixers, casting agents to start coordinators, hairstylists to costume designers, animators to art directors, along with multiple categories for reality programs, variety specials, documentaries, Web shows, interactive content and even commercials. They are voted on by members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Several trends could be noted that may carry over into the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards that will be handed out Sunday. Netflix, in its first serious outing as an awards contender for its original content, picked up two trophies for the acclaimed political drama "House of Cards."

In some of the guest acting categories, voters recognized performers in roles that could be considered less showy and lower profile than those of the competition. Carrie Preston took the statuette for her guest arc in "The Good Wife” over Jane Fonda, for her turn in "The Newsroom," and Diana Rigg, for “Game of Thrones.”

On the comedy side, Melissa Leo emerged triumphant in her category for “Louie,” defying predictions that Melissa McCarthy or Kristin Wiig would win for their respective hosting gigs on "Saturday Night Live."

Dan Bucatinsky won the guest actor Emmy for his role in "Scandal," topping a field that included Michael J. Fox, Robert Morse, Rupert Friend and Harry Hamlin.

“How many guys get to thank their onscreen husband and their real-life husband? Thank you, Supreme Court of the United States,” Bucatinsky said in an emotional acceptance speech.

And in a moment that elicited a heartfelt standing ovation, Bob Newhart won his first Emmy -- for his guest starring role on "The Big Bang Theory."

Another comedy legend, Lily Tomlin, took an Emmy for voicing HBO’s “An Apology to Elephants,” her first Primetime Emmy since 1981.

Technically hostless, the awards are handed out by a series of presenters, either solo or in pairs. This year “Community” showrunner Dan Harmon and series star Joel McHale started things off trying to get some laughs by dissing the nominees.

"So which hairstylists have DUIs," McHale asked. “'Oh, look at me, I’m a lighting director. I make spotlights possible.’ Yeah? But who stands in them? Who do you fancy assholes think you are?”

The comedy bar dropped even lower when Triumph the Comic Insult Dog, cigar in mouth, let loose with a series of profane comments that would've been more appropriate on a Comedy Central roast, lacerating nominees including Anthony Bourdain, on how he got his CNN job. Here's a hint: The puppet dog, voiced by Robert Smigel, claimed it involved oral sex with Jeff Zucker.

Yet Bourdain got the last laugh as he and his eponymous show, “Parts Unknown,” walked away with two Emmy Awards -- one of which, for best informational program, was shared with Bravo mainstay “Inside the Actors Studio.”

“The 66th Annual Tony Awards,” whose hard-working host Neil Patrick Harris is rehearsing for his next emceeing gig Sunday, picked up four Emmys.

HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra” and “Boardwalk Empire” walked out of the Nokia laden with golden statuettes (8 and 4, respectively) and the pay-cable network's “Game of Thrones” scored two.

Other notable winners, each scoring three Emmys: “Saturday Night Live,” “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God” and “Disney Mickey Mouse Croissant de Triomphe.”

Capping off the night, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn took outstanding reality/reality-competition hosts -- “We made it work,” said Gunn -- and “Undercover Boss” got the Emmy for top reality program.

Cigars seemed to be in order all around.

Please click here for a full list of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards winners.

When Worlds Converge: CIA and TV Folk Mix It Up at 'Homeland's' Washington Premiere (Minor Spoiler Alert)

Hillary Atkin Posted September 19, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Much goes on inside the Beltway, but it's not often that a high-profile premiere of a movie or television show takes place within Wi-Fi range of the nation's capitol.

But Washington, D.C., was indeed the perfect location that pay cabler Showtime chose to screen the first episode of its highly anticipated third season of "Homeland," which is largely set in its environs -- although mainly shot in North Carolina.

Just about everyone who is anyone associated with the Emmy Award-winning drama descended on D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery of Art for the Sept. 9 premiere. There was even speculation that the president himself -- who has publicly identified himself as a fan of the show -- might make an appearance, although a little crisis involving Syria disrupted any such contingencies for the Commander-in-Chief's attendance.

All of the show's main talent, including Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin and Morena Baccarin, walked the red carpet and posed on the step-and-repeat setup inside the ornate gallery. They will be doing the same thing again this weekend at the Emmy Awards for the show, which has garnered 11 nominations, including another one for best drama.

As for the new season, which begins Sept. 29, Danes’ character Carrie is still feeling the ramifications of the terrorist attack on the CIA and grappling with her feelings for Brody, who is now on the run after being blamed for the 9/11-like devastation and death.

"Carrie has a rough go of it," Danes said at the event. "I mean, when does she not, really? I think she feels profound guilt for having failed to anticipate this attack -- you know, obviously the attack that devastated so much of the CIA in the finale -- so she's just reeling from that, really, and the CIA is held under serious investigation, and they're having to defend their existence, basically."

Meanwhile, Baccarin’s role as Brody's wife is evolving, as are those of their teenage children. "You get to see a bit more of the home life without Brody, how they're picking up the pieces and moving forward. There's a lot of conflict between Jessica and Dana, a lot of growth that happens there and a lot of heartbreak," Baccarin said.

If you caught that spoiler -- yes, spoiler alert: Brody does not appear in the first episode of the new season and Patinkin wouldn't divulge much more. "I won't give you any details. I will say that as an actor in it I have not been disappointed one iota as each script has come to me. I think it is thrilling what these writers are doing. I think they go into new territory that I haven't imagined," Patinkin said.

Patinkin and his fellow "Homelanders" arrived at the premiere after spending the day at the CIA, where the man who plays the acting director met the real director of the intelligence organization.

One cast member told us they were still puzzled about the CIA gift shop they encountered that purveyed CIA-branded chocolates, luggage tags and baseball caps. “I was wondering why they had it, as the public is not allowed in [to Langley],” to which I replied, "It’s probably a front for something."

The CIA is so stealth that although a number of guests were affiliated with what they called “the organization,” several we spoke to did not have business cards and were not allowed to give their last names. We decided it was best not to offer them our card as a result. (As if they couldn’t track us down.)

In addition to Showtime’s Matt Blank and David Nevins, Fox’s Gary Newman and “Homeland” showrunner Alex Gansa, a number of the producers and writers were in attendance -- and were allowed to give their names, which was a good way to tell apart the TV people from the CIA crowd. Actually, the writers and producers were introduced by the aforementioned executives, who made opening remarks before the screening began.

It being Washington, politics were not surprisingly involved. Longtime Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) was there to meet and greet a large number of the guests who reside in his home Los Angeles district and flew out for the event.