paul mccrane emmys gi Emmys 2011: 'Boardwalk Empire' dominance, 'Futurama' and other Creative Arts surprisesIt’s always fun to look at the Creative Arts Emmy winners to see if they hold any predictors of what might happen at the primetime Emmy ceremony. This year’s Creative Arts ceremony, just over one week before the primetime awards are given out, is no exception, given some of the surprises that we saw Saturday (Sept. 10).

Whether these are any indication of what might happen next Sunday is anybody’s guess. But it’s sure as heck fun to speculate, right?

“Boardwalk Empire” dominates: It wasn’t a big stretch to think that the academy voters were going to fall in love with “Boardwalk Empire.” It’s a sweeping period piece shot on an epic scale, with the pedigree of both Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter behind it. But given the love the academy has had for “Mad Men” during the last three years, it was a surprise to see “Boardwalk” dominate most of the technical awards for drama, including the outstanding casting category.

This could mean that both the series and Steve Buscemi might have a better night next Sunday than originally thought. Then again, “Mad Men” has been shut out of the technical awards before and won the writing and series prizes during the main ceremony. But it sure makes for an intriguing last week.

“Mildred Pierce” gets the (relative) cold shoulder: A bigger surprise than “Boardwalk Empire” winning was that “Mildred Pierce” didn’t win, at least not to the degree that most people expected. Of the programs in the movies and miniseries categories, “Pierce” was the one that got the most critical attention and was one of the most-watched programs in the category. Yet (gulp) ReelzChannel’s “The Kennedys” won as many technical awards as “Mildred Pierce” did (three), and PBS’ “Downton Abbey” also grabbed two. Again, this may not mean much, but it stands to reason that at the very least, the opera-heavy “Pierce” should have won for costume design. Instead, “Abbey” won.

“Futurama” wins animation award: Good news, everyone! Even though “The Simpsons” was, as usual, the favorite to get the outstanding animation series award, its cousin “Futurama” nabbed the hardware for the first time since 2002. The reason why this is good news is twofold: 1) the show’s first regular episodic season in seven years showed no drop-off from when it left the air, and 2) the episode submitted, “The Late Philip J. Fry,” where Fry, Farnsworth and Bender use a time machine that can only go forward, was a high-water mark for the show in both writing and animation. Extra kudos go to Maurice LaMarche for winning the voiceover Emmy over sentimental nominee Brenda Strong of “Desperate Housewives.”

“Deadliest Catch” beats Kathy Griffin: The folks at “Deadliest Catch” had a rough year, starting with the death of ship captain Phil Harris. But no one expected the show, new in the reality series category, to upend “Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List,” a previous winner that was in the category for the last time. Heck, even “Hoarders” was given a better shot than “Catch.” But “Catch” snagged the award in its nets.

Paltrow over Leachman, McCrane over Fox: The guest actor categories are always a bit of a crapshoot, given the mix of nominees every year. And, while it wasn’t all that surprising to see Gweyneth Paltrow win for playing Holly Holiday on “Glee,” Cloris Leachman felt like an equally strong candidate for playing Maw Maw in “Raising Hope” all season. It’s not easy to make dementia funny without making it insulting, but somehow Leachman pulled it off with her usual younger-than-her-age zeal. The bigger shocker was Paul McCrane winning for his seemingly one-note prosecutor character in “Harry’s Law” over the much more heavily favored Michael J. Fox in “The Good Wife.”

Have any of your predictions changed for next week based on the Creative Arts Emmys?

Posted by:Joel Keller