The Last of Us Episode 9 finale ending Joel Ellie
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Awards Creative Arts Emmy analysis: ‘The Last of Us’ and ‘The White Lotus’ are Big Craft winners

Creative Arts Emmy analysis: ‘The Last of Us’ and ‘The White Lotus’ are Big Craft winners

The Last of Us Episode 9 finale ending Joel Ellie

HBO’s “The Last of Us,” the acclaimed dystopian survival drama from showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, led all Emmy categories on July 12 with 12 (a first for a live-action video game adaptation). Close behind was the streamer’s ‘The White Lotus’ with 11 nominations. Mike White’s holiday social satire has moved to Sicily and is now competing for Best Drama Series after winning Best Anthology/Limited Series for its first season.

“The Mandalorian” followed with nine nominations, a sharp drop for season 3 after Disney+ behemoth “Star Wars” dominated its first two seasons with 15 and 17 nominations, respectively. Also sharing nine nominations were Netflix’s popular “Addams Family” spin-off “Wednesday” and the final seasons of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Prime) and “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+), both in increase over the previous season.

HBO’s Best Drama Series, “Succession,” earned eight nominations for its final season (with a contemporary turn for costume designer Michelle Matland), also up from the previous season. This was followed by the streamer’s ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel, ‘House of the Dragon’ with a somewhat disappointing seven nominations. Also with seven nominations were “Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities” and “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” by Netflix and “Only Murders in the Building” by Hulu, down from last season.

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Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ picked up six nominations for its Chapter Nine season finale, along with Prime’s ‘Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ and ‘Daisy Jones & the Six.’ Racking up five nominations each were the sizzling hits “Andor” (Disney+), the prequel to “Star Wars: Rogue One” and “The Bear,” the well-received comedy-drama Chef (Hulu), and the finale of “Barry.” of HBO, down from the previous season. Interestingly, composer Nicholas Britell, who earned a major title nomination for ‘Andor’, competes against himself with his scores for both ‘Andor’ and ‘Succession’.

Aubrey Plaza, The White Lotus Season 2
“The White Lotus” season 2 screenshots/HBO

Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ dropped to four nominations, which it shared with the streamer’s acclaimed road rage comedy ‘Beef’, ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ (Disney+) and HBO’s non-fiction ‘100 Foot Wave’. Close behind with three nominations were “Ms. Marvel” (Disney+), “Schmigadoon!”, “Emily in Paris” (Netflix) and “Prey” (Hulu).

Earning three nominations each were Peackock’s murder mystery throwback “Poker Face” (contemporary production design and stunt coordination), Paramount+’s “Star Trek: Picard” finale (prosthetic makeup and contemporary non-prosthetic), HBO’s “Perry Mason” (period production) design and costume design) and the Showtime biopic “George & Tammy” (limited series cinematography and period costume).

However, handling only one apiece were Hulu’s ‘The Great’ (period costume), FX’s ‘The Old Man’ (cinematography), Showtime’s ‘Yellowjackets’ (again in casting), ‘Dead Prime’s Ringers” (cinema limited series) and Peacock’s “Mrs. Davis” (sound editor). Totally snubbed were Paramount+’s popular “Yellowstone” and its prequel, “1923”.

Meanwhile, they have been nominated for Netflix’s animated show “Entergalactic” (“Mad Solar”) and four previous winners: “Bob’s Burgers” (“The Plight Before Christmas”) and “The Simpsons” (“Treehouse of Horror”) Fox and Adult’s “Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal” (“Shadow of Fate”) and Swim’s “Rick and Morty” (“Night Family”). Interestingly, there were no short-form nominees because none of the proposals received nine-tenths approval.

Jenna Ortega
“Wednesday”Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Digging deeper, ‘The Last of Us’ certainly made the biggest visceral impact of any series this season and was rewarded for its impressive show of craftsmanship. The series was nominated for Contemporary Production Design (“Infected”), Casting, Contemporary Costumes (“Endure and Survive”), Editing (“Endure and Survive”), Contemporary Hairstyling (“Long, Long Time” ), the main title design, contemporary non-prosthetic makeup (“Long, Long Time”), prosthetic makeup (“Infected”), original soundtrack (“Long, Long Time”, Gustavo Santaolalla), sound editing (“When You ‘re Lost in the Darkness”), sound mixing (“When You’re Lost in the Darkness”) and special visual effects (Wētā FX and Digital Domain).

The show was built on an organic naturalism that stems from a plague caused by the Cordyceps fungus, which infiltrates and controls the mind and body (and sets it apart from a zombie premise). Production designer John Paino’s Cordyceps world building is extraordinary. And the fact that it has been featured in various contemporary categories is a smart move to avoid sci-fi competition with ‘House of the Dragon’, ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ and ‘The Rings of Power’. However, Eben Bolter and Ksenia Sereda’s omission of the series’ cinematography was surprising considering its overall artistic dominance.

“The White Lotus,” which compares to “The Last of Us” in several categories, continues its assault on wealth and privilege in season two, but with more visual opulence. As IndieWire’s Sarah Shachat points out, many of the trades come together for a sly operatic twist in “That’s Amore.”

The series was nominated for Contemporary Art Direction (“Hello”), Casting, Contemporary Costumes (“That’s Amore”), Editing (“Abductions”, “Goodbye”), Contemporary Hair (“Abductions”), Main Title Design, Non-Contemporary – prosthetic makeup (“That’s Amore”), original soundtrack (“In the Sandbox”, Cristobal Tapia de Veer), musical supervision and sound mixing (“Goodbye”). However, like ‘The Last of Us’, it too has been overlooked for its outstanding cinematography (courtesy of Xavier Grobet).

“Wednesday,” Tim Burton’s Emmy-nominated horror-comedy series starring Jenna Ortega shouldn’t be underestimated as a contemporary craft contender. The prestigious team of craftsmen includes composer Danny Elfman, Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood, production designer Mark Scruton, music supervisor Jen Malone and visual effects supervisor Tom Turnbull.

The series was nominated for Contemporary Production and Costume Design (both for “Wednesday’s Child Is Full of Woe”), Cinematography (“Woe What A Night”), Main Title Design, Contemporary Non-Prosthetic Makeup, Original Score (Elfman/Chris Bacon, “Woe Is the Loneliest Number”), main title theme (Elfman), special visual effects in a single episode (“A Murder of Woes”) and stunt coordination.

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