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2020 Emmy Nominations Honor Alumni Lynn Shelton, Rebecca Sugar, John Paino, and More
July 29, 2020 by Emma Drew
From left: A photograph of the late Lynn Shelton; a poster for Hulu's limited series "Little Fires Everywhere".

SVA alumnus Lynn Shelton, director of Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere, is nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series.

Hollywood, like industries the world over, continues to adapt to the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but when it comes to the Emmys, it appears the show will go on. Nominations for the Television Academy's 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards were announced on Tuesday, July 28. Divided into separate categories for comedy and drama, but also animation, limited series, interactive projects and more, Emmys covers a wide swath of media. This year the ceremony is scheduled for the end of September as a safe virtual event. As usual, several SVA alumni will compete for television's highest honor.


Cartoon Network's critically-acclaimed, inclusivity-focused animated show Steven Universe was nominated for Outstanding Short Form Animated Program for the sixth year in a row. Created by alumnus Rebecca Sugar (BFA 2009 Animation), the episode receiving the nod, "Fragments," was part of the limited series 'Steven Universe Future' — an epilogue to the original series and its follow-up 2019 animated film, in which the titular character battles his series-long demons and savior-complex. Kat Morris (BFA 2008 Animation) served as Supervising Director for "Fragments."

From left: A photograph of Rebecca Sugar; The poster for the new Steven Universe movie: "Steven Universe: The Movie".

SVA alumnus Rebecca Sugar's hit show Steven Universe is nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Short Form Animated Program.

John Paino (BFA 1983 Fine Arts) received two nominations for Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program. One nomination was for AppleTV's The Morning Show, a drama centered around a network morning television show coming to terms with the Me Too movement, starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. Paino received another for the dark and affectingly soapy ensemble hit Big Little Lies from HBO.



Ava Berkofsky (BFA 2005 Photography) and Martin Ahlgren (BFA 2000 Film and Video) were both singled out for their camera work this year. Berkofsky was nominated in the Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series category for Issa Rae's hit comedy series Insecure (HBO). Built around Rae's own experiences as a millennial Black woman in L.A., this nomination is Berkofsky's second in a row for Insecure in the same category. Ahlgren was tapped for Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series, for his work on The Plot Against America (also HBO), based on the timely, alternate American history novel by Philip Roth of the same name where the U.S. president turns towards fascism. Ahlgren was previously nominated in the same category in 2015 for Netflix's House of Cards

From left: A photograph of John Paino; the poster for Apple TV's drama series, "The Morning Show"; and the poster for HBO's show "Big Little Lies".

SVA alumnus John Paino, production designer for Apple TV's drama series The Morning Show, and HBO's series Big Little Lies is nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program.

Finally, writer and director Lynn Shelton (1995 MFA Photo, Video and Related Media), whose sudden passing earlier this summer devastated the indie film community, has been nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series for her work on the Hulu series Little Fires Everywhere, starring Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. While widely known for her intimate and insightful indie films, Shelton had a long history of directing for television, including Mad Men, GLOW, Fresh off the Boat, The Good Place and many more. This is her first Emmy nomination.


Stay tuned for more news about SVA alumni in television and this year's Emmys ceremony.