Primetime Emmy Awards, 2011

Masterpiece Classic’s Downton Abbey led PBS’s Emmy winners.

Among six Primetime Emmys presented in September [2011] to the British costume drama was the highly coveted statuette for best miniseries.

Maggie Smith won the Prime-time Emmy for her performance in supporting role as Violet, dowager countess of Grantham, the family matriarch in Masterpiece's Downton Abbey. (Photo: © 2010 Nick Briggs/ITV for Masterpiece.)

Producers of documentary and performance series brought PBS’s Emmy total up to 14 while earning recognition for exceptional merit in filmmaking, nonfiction programming and Creative Arts specialties.

The American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences presented its Primetime Emmys in two ceremonies last month: a Sept. 10 [2011] event recognizing achievements in TV’s Creative Arts, and a Sept. 18 televised gala celebrating the biggest shows and stars.

“Freedom Riders,” Stanley Nelson’s two-hour doc for American Experience, also stood out among PBS’s Emmy contenders, winning a juried award for exceptional merit in filmmaking and two statuettes for Creative Arts.  American Masters received its eighth Emmy for outstanding nonfiction series, and Great Performances won three Creative Arts Emmys.

Winning programs and credited talents include:

  • Masterpiece Classic’s Downton Abbey, Part I, which topped miniseries categories for writing by Julian Fellowes;  supporting actress Maggie Smith; directing by Brian Percival; cinematography by David Katznelson; and costumes by Susannah Buxton and Caroline McCall. Credited for the best miniseries Emmy were Nigel Marchant, producer; Liz Trubridge, series producer; and Gareth Neame, Rebecca Eaton and Julian Fellowes, executive producers.
  • American Experience “Freedom Riders,” for writing in the nonfiction programming category by Stanley Nelson and for picture editing by Lewis Erskine and Aljernon Tunsil. Credited for the Emmy for exceptional merit in nonfiction filmmaking were Nelson and Laurens Grant; Sharon Grimberg, senior producer; and Mark Samels, e.p.
  • American Mastersfor music composition (original dramatic score) by Garth Neustadter in “John Muir In the New World.” Credited for the Emmy for nonfiction series were: Michael Epstein and Jessica Levin, producers; Julie Sacks, supervising producer; Prudence Glass, series producer; Susan Lacy, Stanley Buchthal and Michael Cohl, e.p.’s.

Great Performances won Creative Arts Emmys for three productions:

  • “Sondheim! The Birthday Concert,” for directing in a variety, music or comedy special by Lonny Price;
  • “Harry Connick Jr., in Concert on Broadway,” for music direction by Harry Connick Jr.
  • Great Performances at The Met “Don Pasquale,” for technical direction, camerawork, video control for a miniseries, movie or special by Emmett Loughran, technical director; Miguel Armstrong, Joseph Debonis, Manny Gutierrez, Shaun Harkins, John Kosmaczewski, Bob Long, Jay Millard, Alain Onesto, David Smith, Larry Solomon, Ron Washburn and Mark Whitman, camera; Anthony Defonzo, Matty Randazzo and Paul Ranieri, video control.
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