2023 Emmys ‘White Lotus,’ ‘Last of Us’ Lead Creative Arts Nominees – IndieWire

HBO’s “The Last of Us,” the acclaimed dystopian survival drama from showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, led all Emmys craft categories July 12 with 12 (the first TV Academy recognition for a live-action video game adaptation). Right behind was the streamer’s “The White Lotus” with 11 nominations. Mike White’s vacationing social satire relocated to Sicily and now competes for Best Drama Series after winning Best Anthology/Limited Series for its first season.

“The Mandalorian” followed with nine nominations, a sharp falloff for Season 3 after the Disney+ “Star Wars” juggernaut dominated its first two seasons with 15 and 17 noms, respectively. Also sharing nine noms 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 up from the previous season.

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

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” collected six noms for its Chapter Nine season finale, along with Prime’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” and “Daisy Jones & the Six.” Collecting five nominations apiece were the buzzy breakouts “Andor” (but shamefully not for editing), the Disney+ “Star Wars: Rogue One” prequel, and “The Bear,” the well-received chef comedy-drama (Hulu), along with HBO’s “Barry” finale, down from its previous season. Interestingly, composer Nicholas Britell, who scored a main 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 screenshot/HBO

Netflix’s “The Crown” dipped to four noms, which it shared with the streamer’s acclaimed “Beef” road rage comedy, “Obi-Wan Kenobi” (Disney+), and HBO’s non-fiction “100 Foot Wave.” Closely behind with three noms were Marvel’s “Ms. Marvel” (Disney+), “Schmigadoon!,” “Emily in Paris” (Netflix), and “Prey” (Hulu), though not for its highly touted VFX.

Scoring two craft nominations each were Peacock’s murder mystery throwback, “Poker Face” (contemporary production design and stunt coordination), Paramount+’s “Star Trek: Picard” finale (prosthetic and contemporary non-prosthetic makeup), HBO’s “Perry Mason” (period production design and a breakthrough in period costumes by costume designer Catherine Adair), Showtime’s “George & Tammy” biopic (limited series cinematography and period costumes), and Prime’s “The Boys” (sound editing and stunt coordination).

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

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

Jenna Ortega
“Wednesday”Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Digging deeper, “The Last of Us” certainly delivered the greatest visceral impact of any series this season and was rewarded for its heightened crafts. The series was nominated for contemporary production design (“Infected”), casting, contemporary costumes (“Endure and Survive”), editing (“Endure and Survive”), contemporary hairstyling (“Long, Long Time”), main title design, contemporary non-prosthetic makeup (“Long, Long Time”), prosthetic makeup (“Infected”), original score (Gustavo Santaolalla, “Long, Long Time”), 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 distinguishes it from a zombie premise). The Cordyceps world building by production designer John Paino is a standout. And the fact that it was submitted 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, the omission of the series’ cinematography by Eben Bolter and Ksenia Sereda was surprising considering its overall craft dominance.

“The White Lotus,” which goes head to head with “The Last of Us” in several categories, continues its assault on wealth and privilege in Season 2 but with more visual opulence. As IndieWire’s Sarah Shachat points out, several of the crafts come together for a sly operatic twist in “That’s Amore.”

The series was nominated for contemporary production design (“Ciao”), casting, contemporary costumes (“That’s Amore”), editing (“Abductions,” “Arrivederci”), contemporary hairstyling (“Abductions”), main title design, contemporary non-prosthetic makeup (“That’s Amore”), original score (Cristobal Tapia de Veer, “In the Sandbox”), music supervision, and sound mixing (“Arrivederci”). However, like “The Last of Us,” it too was overlooked for its exceptional cinematography (courtesy of Xavier Grobet).

“Wednesday,” the comedy horror series from Tim Burton starring Emmy-nominated Jenna Ortega, should not be underestimated as a contemporary crafts competitor. The prestigious crafts team 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 design and costumes (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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