Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and HBO’s “Westworld” gained momentum in the Emmy Award race as both shows racked up five wins at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
NBC’s “This Is Us” pulled out a big win with the last award of the night — the guest drama actor win for Gerald McRaney. The same was true for Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” as Alexis Bledel prevailed for guest drama actress.
“Saturday Night Live,” the venerable NBC sketch comedy, also took five wins, including comedy guest actor and actress awards for Dave Chappelle, as host, and Melissa McCarthy, for her guest appearances as former White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
“Stranger Things” took the drama series casting kudo — a category that is often a bellwether for program wins at the televised Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, which is set for Sept. 17. HBO’s “Big Little Lies” won for casting for a limited series.
Two other wins for “Big Little Lies” — the first-ever music supervision award and contemporary costumes — indicate Emmy voters’ affection for the limited series. HBO’s “The Night Of” collected four wins that recognized the craftsmanship of the show, taking the trophies for cinematography, editing, sound mixing and sound editing.
HBO’s “Westworld” established its momentum early in the night. The epic fantasy drama won for visual effects, sound mixing, interactive programming, hairstyling and makeup.
Netflix’s “The Crown” collected two prizes, for production design and period-drama costumes.
“Stranger Things” also took the main title theme music win, for TV newbies Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon. Jeff Russo won for music composition for a limited series for FX’s “Fargo.” Jeff Beal won music composition for a series for Netflix’s “House of Cards.”
Jane Lynch added another Emmy to her trophy with the win for short-form actress for her online series “Dropping the Soap.” Kim Estes won short-form actor for “Dicks.”
Both McRaney and Bledel were unexpected winners against tough competition. McRaney has been a staple of TV since the 1970s but “This Is Us” marked his first-ever Emmy nomination. McRaney told reporters backstage that he’s happy for the breakthrough at long last because “what it means to a working actor is that he can keep working.”
But McRaney also emphasized that he never chased awards stardust. The work is the major reward, he said.