The Sound of Music at the 2020 Emmys

Janos Gereben on July 31, 2020

Patriotism is not necessarily the last refuge of composers and performers in the Age of COVID-19. Refuge and succor are definitely promised to musicians from the pandemic-boosted TV and media business. That is the subject of special interest to SF Classical Voice in Tuesday’s announcement of the 2020 Emmy Award nominees “for excellence within various areas of television and emerging media.”

The 72nd award ceremony will be held — if all goes well, which it rarely does these days — on Sept. 20, but no details have been announced about what will be in-person and what pretaped — it’s all up to the virus.

Along with Oscars, Grammys, Tonys, and their ilk, an Emmy is coveted by studios for greater exposure and by artists for bigger paychecks and more opportunities, so millions are spent in campaigns for them. For headline news and big stars of the nomination announcement, see the Television Academy website, but here is how music is represented in the nominations. Among the umpteen categories, somewhere under the nods for makeup and hair artistry, there are seven brackets dedicated to music.

Timothy Lee McKenzie, known as Labrinth, is nominated for his work on HBO’s Euphoria | Credit: William Bunce

Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)

  • Martin Phipps, composer, for The Crown (Netflix)

  • Labrinth, composer, for Euphoria (HBO)

  • Ludwig Göransson, composer, for The Mandalorian (Disney+)

  • Saunder Jurriaans, composer, for Ozark (Netflix)

  • Nicholas Britell, “music by,” for Succession (HBO)

Outstanding Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie or Special (Original Dramatic Score)

  • Nathan Barr, composer, for Hollywood (Netflix)

  • Mark Isham and Isabella Summers, composers, for Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)

  • Kris Bowers, “score by,” for Mrs. America (FX Networks)

  • Antonio Gambale, composer, for Unorthodox (Netflix)

  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “music by,” for Watchmen (HBO)

Ludwig Göransson is nominated for his score for The Mandalorian | Credit: Disney+

Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Score)

  • Kamasi Washington, composer, for Becoming (Netflix)

  • Amanda Jones and Pinar Toprak, composers, for Home (Apple TV+)

  • Pinar Toprak and Alex Kovacs, composers, for McMillion$ (HBO)

  • Mark Mothersbaugh, John Enroth, and Albert Fox, composers, for

  • Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness (Netflix)

  • Laura Karpman, composer, for Why We Hate (Discovery Channel)

Outstanding Music Direction

  • Rickey Minor, music director, for Kennedy Center Honors (CBS)

  • Sheila E., Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis, music directors, for the Grammy Salute to Prince (CBS)

  • Rickey Minor, music director, the Oscars (ABC)

  • Lenny Pickett, Eli Brueggemann, and Leon Pendarvis, music directors, for Saturday Night Live (NBC)

  • Adam Wayne Blackstone, music director, for Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show (FOX)

Composer Nathan Barr has three nominations this year | Credit: William Short Photography

Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics

  • Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, music and lyrics, for The Black Godfather (Netflix)

  • Labrinth, music and lyrics, for Euphoria (HBO)

  • David Dabbon, music, Joanna Rothkopf, Jill Twiss, and Seena Vali, lyrics, for Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)

  • Ingrid Michaelson, music and lyrics, for Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)

  • Thomas Mizer and Curtis Moore, music and lyrics, for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Prime Video)

  • Siddhartha Khosla and Taylor Goldsmith, music and lyrics, for This Is Us (NBC)

  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, music and lyrics, for Watchmen (HBO)

Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music

  • Nathan Barr, theme music, for Carnival Row (Prime Video)

  • Ólafur Arnalds, theme music, for Defending Jacob (Apple TV+)

  • Nathan Barr, theme music, for Hollywood (Netflix)

  • Antonio Gambale, theme music, for Unorthodox (Netflix)

  • Laura Karpman, theme music, for Why We Hate (Discovery Channel)

  • The Rza, theme music, for Wu-Tang: An American Saga (Hulu)

Outstanding Music Supervision

  • Thomas Golubic, music supervisor, for Better Call Saul (AMC)

  • Jen Malone and Adam Leber, music supervisors. for Euphoria (HBO)

  • Kier Lehman, music supervisor, for Insecure (HBO)

  • Catherine Grieves and David Holmes, music supervisors, for Killing Eve (BBC America)

  • Robin Urdang, Amy Sherman-Palladino, and Daniel Palladino, music supervisors, for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Prime Video)

  • Nora Felder, music supervisor, for Stranger Things (Netflix)

  • Liza Richardson, music supervisor, for Watchmen (HBO)

NOTE: In the above list, details of producers and song titles are omitted, using only the name of the main work and the presenting venue. For example, the full text of “The Mandalorian, Chapter 8: Redemption, Disney+, Lucasfilm Ltd., Ludwig Göransson, Composer” is abbreviated as “Ludwig Göransson, composer, for The Mandalorian (Disney+),” omitting Lucasfilm participation and other (not nominated) composers who might have been involved in the series.

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