“These are the real Emmys. The ego-free Emmys,” shouted Kristen Schaal, part of the ensemble from “Bob’s Burgers” accepting one of more than 90 trophies handed out at the 2014 Creative Arts Emmy Awards Aug. 16 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE.
Egos did seem to be left at the door for the 3½-hour-long ceremony — the prelude to the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards next Monday — which honors outstanding achievement in categories including casting, picture editing, hairstyling, art direction, costume design, animation, music composition, title design, sound editing and makeup. And there are multiple categories for reality programs, variety specials, documentaries, Web shows, interactive content and even one for commercials.
It was a big night for HBO, which took home 15 trophies including a quartet of honors each for “Game of Thrones” and “True Detective,” and NBC, awarded 10 Emmys, including five for “Saturday Night Live,” the most honored show of the night. Two other programs, “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” (Fox/NatGeo) and “Sherlock: His Last Vow” (PBS/Masterpiece), also topped the charts with four Emmys apiece.
The guest actor categories are always a highlight of the ceremony, and this year’s winners included Allison Janney for Showtime’s “Masters of Sex,” Joe Morton for ABC’s “Scandal” and Jimmy Fallon for “SNL.”
Jon Voight gave a moving tribute as he presented the prestigious Governors Award posthumously to casting icon Marion Dougherty, whom he credited with giving him his first television role, albeit a small one, on “Naked City” and later casting him in his star-making role as Joe Buck in 1969’s “Midnight Cowboy.”
The Creative Arts Emmys, produced for the 20th year running by Spike Jones Jr., are technically host-less, but feature individuals or pairs of well-known personalities who present multiple awards.
This year, the lengthy kudofest got started with two of television’s most brilliant creator/showrunners, Matt Weiner and Vince Gilligan, handing out the casting awards after making some cracks about top talent on “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.”
“I see Don Draper when I look in the mirror,” Weiner said, to which Gilligan retorted, “I see this guy” — showing a picture on the theater’s monitors of Tortuga’s severed head on a tortoise shell.
Humor, or attempts at it, made the protracted ceremony seem to go a bit faster and just about all of it came from the presenters, with funny bits from the likes of Jane Lynch, Amy Schumer, Joel McHale, Nick Kroll, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, Paul Scheer and Aisha Tyler.
“All kidding aside — which seems to be the theme of tonight — they thought they were talking to Chelsea Handler when they asked me to come,” said Schumer.
Key and Peele did a little comedy routine juxtaposing admiration for television shows with the fact that they weren’t getting paid to appear. “They picked me up in an Uber,” Peele complained, while Key, ignoring him, intoned about how he admired Eddie Murphy. “My driver was a hipster from Silver Lake. His cologne gave me a nosebleed. He asked for a five-star rating. I’m doing his podcast on Thursday,” said Peele, in an interplay with Key, getting in the last word before they presented awards in the sound mixing categories.
This year’s award winners had it a little bit easier than last year, when they were given just 45 seconds to get out of their seats, make it up to the stage and give an acceptance speech — a situation that resulted in those seated in the far reaches of the auditorium running down the aisle and arriving on stage short of breath with just a few seconds left to shout out their gratitude.
A 30-second clock started ticking this time when Emmy recipients hit the stage, and it was a hard 30. Those who weren’t short, sweet and to the point received a loud dose of playoff music, in one case, the theme to “The Twilight Zone,” before their mics were abruptly and unceremoniously cut.
But when it came time for Morgan Freeman to present the last award of the evening, outstanding guest actress in a comedy series, there was no clock running for winner Uzo Aduba of “Orange Is the New Black,” the last of three Emmys the Netflix program took home.
With tears streaming down her cheeks, the actress thanked her mother — who was in the audience — for coming to America from Nigeria to make a better life for her family and producers for a show “that lets everyone be represented in such a beautiful way.”
(FXM will broadcast an edited version of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sunday, Aug. 24, at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET, repeating at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET, and they will be streamed in their entirety on www.Emmys.com at noon PT/3 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 25.)