The Creative Arts Emmy Awards Honor Creativity in Hollywood
A few weeks ago, the nominees for the 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards were announced and the Internet was abuzz with talks of who would win in all of the usual categories. Would Steve Carell’s final season on The Office also be the season that nets him his first Emmy? Michael C. Hall, Jon Hamm and Hugh Laurie are all seeking for their first awards for their leading roles in Dexter, Mad Men and House, respectively. Yet, with all of this talk and speculation, little mention was made of the award ceremony that takes place a week before the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast, a ceremony that honors recipients in over 70 categories and a ceremony that year after year sits in the shadow of its more popular sibling: the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
The Creative Arts Emmy Awards is not televised live, but features awards in categories that range from cinematography and art direction, to animation and commercials. According to the official Emmy website, the Creative Arts Emmys are “dedicated to key technical disciplines and behind-the-scenes crafts essential to television production.” It is an awards show that celebrates the creative minds that drive the television shows we love, and that is why it is the awards ceremony we will be paying the most attention to this September.
This year, the Creative Arts Emmy Awards nominees span a variety of different television genres and styles. With comedies like How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory, and dramas like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire, the categories of Outstanding Art Direction For A Single-Camera Series, Outstanding Art Direction For A Multi-Camera Series, Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series and Outstanding Cinematography For A Multi-Camera Series will likely feature some fierce and diverse competition. It is this diversity within the individual categories that makes the Creative Arts Awards so unique; so long as the creativity behind the show is exceptional, it is given a chance to compete, regardless of genre.
No award exemplifies this diversity and creativity better than the Outstanding Animated Program category. This year, three hand-drawn programs have been nominated, along with two “non-traditional” animated programs. The hand-drawn nominees include the original animated sitcom The Simpsons, the recently revived Futurama and Family Guy spinoff The Cleveland Show, while the “non-traditional animation” nominees include the always socially relevant South Park and the pop-culture filled sketch comedy show Robot Chicken.
Within these two non-traditional animation nominees, there is yet even more diversity to be found. Robot Chicken is created using the stop motion technique of animation, a technique that involves moving an object (action figures in the case of this show) in small increments and capturing an image of the objects after each move. When these images are played in sequence, it gives the objects the appearance of motion, thus creating the animation. South Park was originally created using the same technique, only with construction paper cutouts of the show’s characters replacing the action figures used in Robot Chicken. The show’s production has since shifted to the use of computer software, though it goes to great lengths to imitate the show’s humble beginnings. Despite their crude nature, both of these shows epitomize the diversity and creativity the Creative Arts Awards stand for.
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