A complete guide to nominees in the seven categories

Opera song

As Emmy voting draws to a close, the 2021 musical nominations range from rookies to regulars. Here’s a guide, rating the competition in seven categories, including scoring, supervision, and song.

There is a multitude of nominated music in different sounds and genres. Variety breaks everything down in the annual Emmy chart.

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Musical composition for a series

“Bridgerton” (Netflix)
Composer: Kris Bowers
Two previous nominations (two this year)
“Diamond of the first water”
Period-appropriate strings dominate the score for small ensembles.

“The Crown” (Netflix)
Composer: Martin Phipps
Six previous appointments
“The Balmoral Test”
Harp, female voice for Diana’s entry into the royal family

“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
Composer: Adam Taylor
A previous appointment
“The passage”
Strange textures, string quartet, for the capture and torture of June

“Land of Lovecraft” (HBO)
Composers: Laura Karpman, Raphael Saadiq
One victory, three names for Karpman; first name for Saadiq
“Flashback to 1921”
Opera aria, large orchestra requiem for the Tulsa massacre

“The Mandalorian” (Disney Plus)
Composer: Ludwig Göransson
Pedigree: A previous victory
“Chapter 16: The Rescue”
Action music, allusions to “Star Wars”, as Mando saves Grogu

“This is us” (NBC)
Composer: Siddhartha Khosla
Pedigree: Two previous nominations
“Biological mother”
Evocative guitar, piano, cello, for Randall who discovers his mother

Musical composition for a limited series, a film or a special

“Fargo” (FX)
Composer: Jeff Russo
One win, two previous names (two more this year)
“Is West”
Guitars, mandolin, 1950s mid-American vibe

Oslo (HBO)
Composer: Jeff Russo, Zoë Keating
A victory for Russo; first nomination for Keating
Telefilm on the 1992 Middle East Peace Accords
Piano, cello, strings for tense Israeli-Palestinian encounters

“The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix)
Composer: Carlos Rafael Rivera
One victory, another nomination
“End of Game”
Classically styled orchestral score for the struggling chess genius

“The Underground Railroad” (Amazon Prime)
Composer: Nicholas Britell
One victory, another nomination
“Chapter 2: South Carolina”
A luxuriant orchestra counterpixes the strangeness, the anachronisms in history

“WandaVision” (Disney Plus)
Composer: Christophe Beck
One victory, another nomination
Rich symphonic sound for the witches of Salem, the sorrow of Wanda

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in “WandaVision” - Credit: Courtesy Marvel Studios

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in “WandaVision” – Credit: Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Musical composition for a documentary or special series

“Allen vs. Farrow” (HBO)
Composer: Michael Abels
First nomination (two this year)
Doc on alleged pedophilia
A delicate musical approach for Dylan; jazz clarinet for Woody

“American Masters: Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir” (PBS)
Composer: Catherine Bostic
First appointment
PBS Profile of “Joy Luck Club” Author
Piano, sheet music for string quartet for mother and daughter pianists

“David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet” (Netflix)
Composer: Steven Price
Two prior appointments
The concerns of nature historians about the environment
Intimate music reflects Attenborough’s personal perspective

“The Social Dilemma” (Netflix)
Composer: Mark Crawford
First appointment
Experts detail the dangers of social media
Hybrid score of real musicians and vintage synthesizers

“Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre” (History)
Composer: Branford Marsalis
First appointment
Gruesome Chronicles of Assault on Black Wall Street
Ragtime, early jazz, Americana backdrop for time and place

“The Social Dilemma” - Credit: Courtesy of the Sundance Institute

“The Social Dilemma” – Credit: Courtesy of the Sundance Institute

Courtesy of the Sundance Institute

Musical direction

“Billie Eilish: The World Is A Little Fuzzy” (Apple TV Plus)
Musical direction: Aron Forbes
First appointment
Superstar documentary
Mixed, supervised all of Eilish’s performances in the cinema

“Bo Burnham: Inside” (Netflix)
Musical Director: Bo Burnham
First nomination (one in five this year)
Pandemic era comedy filmed in his home
Burnham wrote, sang 20 songs

“David Byrne’s American Utopia” (HBO)
Musical direction: Karl Mansfield
First appointment
Spike Lee Movie from Byrne’s Broadway Show

Conductor and keyboardist, for shows and specials

“Celebrating America: An Inauguration Night Special” (multiple platforms)
Musical direction: Rickey Minor
Two wins, nine more nominations
Biden-Harris Inauguration Special hosted by Tom Hanks
Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Demi Lovato, Katy Perry perform

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Reading List” (NBC)
Musical Director: Harvey Mason Jr.
Pedigree: First name (two this year)
“Zoey’s Extraordinary Goodbye”
Production of several songs performed by the cast in front of the camera

Music and lyrics

“Bo Burnham: Inside” (Netflix)
Songwriter: Bo Burnham, music and lyrics
First nomination (one in five this year)
Song: “Comedy”
Introductory song about the need for humor in a messy world

“The Boys” (Amazon Prime)
Songwriters: Christopher Lennertz, music and lyrics; Michael Saltzman, lyrics
Second nomination for each
Song: “Never really disappeared”
Starlight sings heroic hymn at Translucent’s funeral

“The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix)
Songwriters: Anna Hauss, Robert Wienröder, music; William Horberg, lyrics
First nominations for all
Song: “I don’t remember love”
Melancholy love song performed while Beth dines alone

“Soundtrack of our lives” (YouTube)
Songwriter: Marc Shaiman, music and lyrics
One victory, 10 more nominations
Song: “The End Titles”
Shaiman sings his own satirical song about end-credits roles

“WandaVision” (Disney Plus)
Songwriters: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez, music and lyrics
Three previous names for Lopez; two for Anderson-Lopez
Song: “Agatha all along”
“Munsters” – “Addams Family” Mailing Explains Agatha’s Role

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Reading List” (NBC)
Songwriters: Harvey Mason Jr., Andrew Hey, music; Austin Winsberg, Lindsey Rosin, lyrics
First nominations for all
Song: “Crimson Love”
Risky song performed by Aiden at Zoey’s birthday party

Main title Theme Music

“Allen vs. Farrow” (HBO)
Composer: Michael Abels
First nomination (two this year)
Doc on alleged pedophilia
Classical string ensemble and piano for intro

“Bridgerton” (Netflix)
Composers: Kris Bowers, Michael Dean Parsons
Two previous appointments for Bowers; first for Parsons
Alternative history Regency London love story
Elegant period style chamber music piece

“The Stewardess” (HBO Max)
Composer: Blake Neely
Three prior appointments
Dark and humorous murder mystery
Colored title sequence composed entirely of percussion

“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV Plus)
Composers: Marcus Mumford, Tom Howe
First nominations for both
Comedy about the American coach of the English football team
“Mid-Atlantic” rock from the 60s and 70s for the Americans in the United Kingdom

“WandaVision” (Disney Plus)
Composers: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
Three previous names for Lopez; two for Anderson-Lopez
Serious look at suburban marriage for Vision, Scarlet Witch
Title songs in the style of sitcom themes across the decades

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Music supervision

“Bridgerton” (Netflix)
Supervisor: Alexandra Patsavas
First appointment
“Diamond of the first water”
Clever string quartet covers of modern pop songs

“The Crown” (Netflix)
Supervisor: Sarah Bridge
First appointment
“Fairy tale”
Diana dances to songs by Stevie Nicks and Elton John

“Halston” (Netflix)
Supervisors: Amanda Krieg Thomas, Alexis Martin Woodall, Ryan Murphy
First nominations for Thomas, Woodall; five wins for Murphy
” The party is over “
Dan Hartman, Face, Yaz songs for the Studio 54 era and beyond

“Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
Supervisor: Liza Richardson
A previous appointment
“Strange case”
Cardi B, Frank Ocean, Moses Sumney songs in stylistic mix

“The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix)
Supervisor: Randall Poster
First appointment
60s songs by Kinks, Georgie Fame, Shocking Blue

“I can destroy you” (HBO)
Supervisor: Ciara Elwis, Matt Biffa
First nominations for both
“Death of the ego”
Songs of Janelle Monáe, Weval, for Arabella’s fantasies

“WandaVision” (Disney Plus)
Supervisors: Dave Jordan, Shannon Murphy
First nomination for both
“Don’t touch that dial”
60s-style TV theme, Beach Boys song evokes the era

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