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Highlights From The 61st Prime Time Creative Arts Emmy Awards

M. Galas


On Saturday, Sept. 12th, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences welcomed honorees and guests to the 61st Prime Time Creative Arts Emmy Awards.  Those honored were invited to walk down the red carpet into the Nokia Theater before the program began.  411 Publishing was there to share the excitement these talented individuals experienced before awards were announced.


The Red Carpet

Choreographer Tyce Diorio, nominated for “So You Think You Can Dance,” was excited to be nominated along with four other “SYTYCD” choreographers.


“I feel really honored.  I admire and respect all of the choreographers.   We all work together, so this honor is so much a part of us all.”


Adam Beckman, Director of Photography for “This American Life” was humbled by his Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming nomination.


“This is wonderful.  The project was such a challenge.  I was required to think about how the radio show sounds, and make it look the way it sounds.  I tried to find a way for the camera to replicate the generosity of Ira and the staff, and find the same humanity and humility.  It really required figuring out how to not dumb down the camera work, but make it as sophisticated as what they do with their words.”


Composer Mark Snow, a 17 time nominee who’s not yet received an Emmy, spoke about his approach to scoring new projects.


“It’s always fun.  You just have to adapt to the story of the different shows, and try to erase your memory of what you’ve done before on other shows, and try to create something new.”


Lee Wilson, nominated for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for the series “Sanctuary,” was excited to have his staffs’ work recognized.


“We feel great.  ‘Sanctuary’ is a very effects-intensive show.  We had 2,100 different visual effects for 13 episodes.  It’s a show were most of the environments are all computer generated.  We’re pretty jazzed and proud of the work we’ve done.”


Juried winner Soyon An, a costume designer for “So You Think You Can Dance” spoke about her development of costumes for dancers.


“I definitely take into consideration every dancer’s performance because it’s about them as much as the costumes.  They have to be able to dance in it, and perform 100%.  The costume creation happens simultaneously with the choreography so it is kind of a whirlwind of fittings and choreography and getting to watch the rehearsals.  You see something and it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s not going to work,’ and you have to be able to switch it around.  It’s a whole 24 hour job, but I just love it!”


 Michael Wylie, production designer for “Pushing Daisies”, enjoyed the bitter-sweat moment of being recognized for a show that was canceled after last season’s conclusion.


“A lot of people say this, but I’m going to say it again because it’s so true.  It was a dream job.  Somebody literally came to me and said ‘Do whatever you like.  Just as long as it’s within the concept of the show, just go nuts.’ So we went nuts!  It was a great show and we had a great time.”


The Award Show

Host Kathy Griffin kicked off the evening with a video montage of herself preparing for her hosting gig as if it was a child’s beauty pageant.  Griffin relied on a number of additional video segments to provide sporadic comic breaks, including snide comments aimed at winners who were not present to receive their awards.   


With 77 categories and 88 awards presented, the producers kept the show moving at a fairly quick pace.  Winners were promptly whisked from the stage after receiving their awards and brought to the press area. 


Nigel Lythgoe was excited to have presented the award to his show’s choreographer, Tyce Diorio.  “Fancy giving me the job of presenting the choreography award!”   


Dan Castellaneta spoke to the press using his alter ego, Homer Simpson, to share his feelings regarding his Outstanding Voice-Over Performance Emmy.  “I have three others, but as Homer would say, ‘This one means the most because I lost the other three.’  This is the first time I’ve been nominated; the other three were juried.”


In regards to beating out his cast-mates Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer, Castellaneta said “This is the first time this situation has come up where we’ve all been nominated against each other.  My only consolation is that Hank and Harry are as great of actors you would ever want to work with, and I guess the competition makes each of us try a little harder.  My win has to do a lot with them.”    


Having won numerous awards throughout her career, Ellen Burstyn was truly excited by her first Emmy win.  “It’s all good.  As you get older, you appreciate awards more.   I respect my profession and I’m glad to be a part of it.”


Joss Whedon and the team behind “Dr. Horrible’s Sing -Along Blog” crowded the press stage after winning their Outstanding Special Class – Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program Award.  “This is why we made it, to win an Emmy for something that’s not on TV,” quipped Whedon.


“We did it ourselves, we filmed it ourselves, and we made it ourselves out of paper mache.  It was made to support the (Writers) strike, and it was done all in conjunction with the Writers Guild and SAG and all the other guilds.   And that’s how we got around the issue of writing.  Actually, all of the songs were improvised, which is harder than it looks.”    


After receiving the Governors Award for her dedication to the documentary format, Shelia Nevins expressed her satisfaction of being recognized for her work.  “I put so much of myself into the shows.  As reality shows take over TV, the documentary has to be strong and fierce to win.  It has to be noisy for you to applaud it.  Winning these awards applauds the form of documentaries.”


The Creative Arts Ball

As guests entered the dining area, they were treated to an “explosion of color” that was established by Cheryl Cecchetto, founder and president of Sequoia Productions, under the direction of the Governors Ball Committee.


“This year we had an amazing committee headed by Joe Stuart and Dwight Jackson, who are both production designers.   The idea was inspired by costume designer Tony Duquit.  We used his book to come up with a signature style.”


Cecchetto and her team were charged with transforming the sterile conference room environment into a “kaleidoscope of color.”  Lanterns and chandeliers were hung from the ceiling, fabrics were draped over chairs, tables and walls, floral arrangements that included feathers and painted branches were placed on the tables.


“This is a ball, so the setting must fit the outlet,” said Cecchetto.  “All printed material was consistent with the show’s program, the china is gold trimmed, satin lamour covered the tables.  Our goal was to be elegant and respectful.”


For a complete list of all 61st Prime Time Creative Arts Emmy winners, please visit: