Again this year, Emmy voters in the seven music categories snubbed most of the superstars who entered songs or scores, with a single exception: “Euphoria” star Zendaya earned two nominations for co-writing songs with her series composer Labrinth. Both are previous winners for the HBO series.
Voters ignored country stars Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert, rockers Mick Jagger and Sheryl Crow, pop stars Imagine Dragons and Finneas O’Connell, and rappers 50 Cent and Kanye West, all of whom entered original music in the 2022 competition. Even perennial favorite Lin-Manuel Miranda walked away empty-handed for a song he penned for an Amazon series.
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The 460 eligible voters in Emmy’s music peer group instead chose composers and songwriters who contributed to well-known or popular series. A clear favorite was Siddhartha Khosla, who earned three nominations: two for Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” (theme and series score) and one for a song in NBC’s “This Is Us” (for which he has received three previous nominations). Khosla shared the latter songwriting nod with the only notable rock singer to make it into contention — Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith, who is also the husband of series star Mandy Moore and worked on several songs for the just-completed show.
English composer Natalie Holt received two nominations for Marvel’s “Loki” (theme and series score), while American composer Theodore Shapiro earned two (theme and series score) for the Apple+ sci-fi series “Severance.” Montreal-based composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer also earned two (theme and limited-series score) for HBO’s “The White Lotus.”
Veteran music director Rickey Minor also received two, for the 43rd and 44th “Kennedy Center Honors,” both of which aired within the Emmy window; he’s a two-time winner, most recently for the 42nd edition of the CBS awards show.
Emmy rewarded a number of first-timers, including Christopher Willis (series score) and Cinco Paul (song) for the Apple+ musical “Schmigadoon!,” Breton Vivian (limited series score, with previous nominee Brian Tyler) for the western “1883,” Egyptian composer Hesham Nazih (limited series score) for Marvel’s “Moon Knight” and Dan Romer (limited series score) for HBO Max’s “Station Eleven.”
Three of the six nominees in the documentary-score category are first-timers: Terence Blanchard for the Apple+ doc “They Call Me Magic,” Nainita Desai for Netflix’s “14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible” and Jessica Jones for Netflix’s “The Tinder Swindler.” Previous Emmy winner Mychael Danna and nominee Harry Gregson-Williams shared a nomination for the Elon Musk doc “Return to Space,” and multiple Emmy nominee David Schwartz earned one for “Lucy and Desi.”
Previous winners were acknowledged again for music in this year’s series, including Blake Neely (series score) for HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant” and Nicholas Britell (series score) for HBO’s “Succession.” Both won for composing the themes for those series in earlier years.
Nathan Barr, prior winner for “Hollywood,” received a nomination (limited-series score) for Amazon’s “A Very British Scandal.” Eli Brueggemann, 2018 winner for a “Saturday Night Live” song, was nominated again for music direction – along with fellow directors Lenny Pickett and Leon Pendarvis – for the Jake Gyllenhaal episode of “SNL.”
Adam Blackstone received his third nomination as music director for a Super Bowl Half-Time show, this time for the February edition featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent. “One Last Time: An Evening With Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga” was also acknowledged for music direction, a first Emmy nomination for Lee Musiker and a second one for Michael Bearden.
Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” earned a pair of nominations, one for songwriters Thomas Mizer and Curtis Moore, another for music supervisor Robin Urdang (a three-time winner, all for “Mrs. Maisel”).
Jen Malone and Adam Leber were again nominated for music supervision on HBO’s “Euphoria,” as was Nora Felder for Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and Thomas Golubic for “Better Call Saul” (his fourth nom for that series). Gabe Hilfer, for Netflix’s “Ozark,” and Janet Lopez, for HBO’s “The White Lotus,” are first-time nominees in the music supervision category.
South Korean composer Jung Jae-il received his first nomination (main title theme) for the popular Netflix series “Squid Game.”
Emmy voters had the colossal challenge of wading through more than 600 entries (159 for series score and 153 for music supervision alone) to choose nominees for the 2021-2022 eligibility year.
Winners in all seven music categories will be announced over the two nights of Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sept. 3-4 at the Microsoft Theater. An edited presentation of those will air Sept. 10 on FXX.
Although the music branch of the Academy continues to show little inclination toward awarding pop stars as they become eligible in those categories, that doesn’t mean that shows spotlighting the superstars of music went unmentioned in the general nominations. Specials and series featuring some of music’s biggest stars got multiple nods, although the nominations were primarily for these shows’ producers, directors and craftspeople and not the performers.
Examples of music-related programming doing well outside the actual music categories include “Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” being nominated for six Emmys, including outstanding competition program, and Adele’s “One Night Only” special being up for five technical categories. Both “Jeen-yuhs,” a four-and-a-half-hour documentary about Kanye West, and “Get Back,” an eight-hour doc spotlighting the Beatles, were nominated for outstanding documentary or nonfiction series. The latter project also picked up directing, sound editing and mixing nominations. “One Last Time: An Evening with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga” is nominated for outstanding variety special and has three additional technical nods. Other nominations went to Rihanna’s “Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3,” the Grammy Awards, the Super Bowl halftime show and “When Billie Met Lisa,” a “Simpsons” offshoot animated short featuring Billie Eilish. Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, again joins Zendaya as a multiple acting/musical threat, being nominated for lead actor in a comedy series for “Atlanta.”
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