‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Wins Its First Emmy, For Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup

(Danny Moloshok/Shutterstock)

Discovery’s impressive prosthetics makeup team scored a well-deserved Emmy last night at the Creative Arts Emmys, as part of a two-night ceremony held over the weekend.

As we previously covered, Star Trek: Discovery was nominated for three other Emmys this year: Outstanding Main Title Design, Outstanding Sound Design, and Outstanding Visual Effects. Last year Discovery was nominated in 2 categories, but came home empty, so last night marks the first win for the new Star Trek series. The winning episode was “If Memory Serves,” which featured the updated take on the Talosians.

“If Memory Serves” brought the Talosians back to Star Trek.

The winning team:

Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special
Star Trek: Discovery, “If Memory Serves”
CBS (CBS All Access), CBS Television Studios / Secret Hideout / Roddenberry Entertainment
Glenn Hetrick, Special Makeup Effects Department Head
James Mackinnon, Special Makeup Effects Department Head
Hugo Villasenor, Special Makeup Effects Artist
Rocky Faulkner, Special Makeup Effects Artist
Chris Bridges, Special Makeup Effects Artist
Nicola Bendrey, Special Makeup Effects Artist
Mike O’Brien, Prosthetic Designer
Neville Page, Prosthetic Designer

Their fellow nominees included the HBO miniseries Chernobyl, FX’s Fosse/Verdon and American Horror Story: Apocalpyse, and the award-winning juggernaut Game of Thrones. 

Other members of the Disco team were quick to congratulate their colleagues.

CBS All Access congratulated their winners, and also gave a shoutout to the man underneath the heaviest prosthetics, along with his fellow aliens.

The show is on a roll this weekend: the Emmy win comes on the heels of the Saturn Awards, where Discovery won in three categories: Best Streaming Science Fiction, Action, & Fantasy Series, Best Actress in Streaming Presentation (Sonequa Martin-Green), and Best Supporting Actor in Streaming Presentation (Doug Jones).

Congratulations to all!

Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on Space and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else. The cast and crew are currently shooting season three.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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Excellent job. Congrats!

Whoa, incredible!!! Disco has joined the legion of Emmy-winning Treks. Completely deserved, also there’s something satisfying about Star Trek besting Game of Thrones in anything. Of course GOT season 8 was a disgrace, and they aren’t like a big prosthetic show anyway, but still, good job Disco

I think the GoT work is so good it often passes unnoticed. Sort of like how 2001 didn’t get a makeup fx Oscar, and instead PLANET OF THE APES (which may have employed spies to get access to the 2001 ape makeup workings) won. Or how BABE somehow beat APOLLO 13 for VFX, which is the jaw-dropper of all jaw-droppers.

May have employed spies lol!

There’s fire as well as smoke with this story. Check out Dan Richter’s book and others on 2001. Plus the APES makekup fx guy, Chambers, claimed credit for stuff he didn’t do in other cases – like Spock’s ears, for which he only did molding / baking. Nimoy forced him to apologize to Fred PHilips during TMP when he heard about how that had been going on.

this is a Joke right? because Chambers was CIA

I seem to recall Nimoy also acknowledging the pain in the butt time they were having making the ears turn out right in a way that they fit right, blended with the skin right, and were soft enough until Chambers solved that problem with a more advanced(at the time) Mold system and Foam Latex Formula. Chambers hardly designed the the look of the ears, it was the new standard that was introduced for molding, formulating and baking them, which falls into the category of “Makeup Design”

I suppose somebody could ask Scott Essman about this, he did articles and I think a full book about Chambers and had a ton of access. I had no idea Chambers was CIA-affiliated, but then again, that isn’t such an exclusive club. Again, I’d refer to the Dan Richter book for the account of stuff getting purloined, I don’t have it, I just read an advance reader copy many years back.

Yeah, Chambers was in the Operations Directorate’s list of important numbers. He was brought in when a field agent needed special make-up, prosthetic, or prop that for whatever reason couldn’t be done by Langley or farmed out to an allied intelligence service. John Goodman played him in Argo.


I recall recently seeing Tony Mendez’ wife (both CIA) on TV promoting a book and relating tales of his IMF-like disguise achievements with Chambers in reality. I believe she said on retirement the married couple created and curated the CIA museum.

FYI, Dana Gould did an episode of his podcast not long ago all about old school makeup FX, and if memory serves Chambers was covered in it. Anyway, it was a good listen.

Well, the Thing about Planet Of The Apes VS 2001, is that Planet Of The Apes was obviously Makeup, it was also strictly prosthetics, and did not involve mechanisms to give the Apes lip movement, 2001’s Early Man Apes, were the Prototype for Chewbaca in terms of making the face snarl, The Apes in that film were also seemingly so realistic at the time, that alot of people didn’t seem to notice they were watching a Makeup Effect(which wasn’t an official category at that point) the irony of suggesting POTA used Spies is laughable, given that Makeup Designer John Chamber actually did some “Government Work”

That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

This is why I’m not a writer, while I like ‘well done, pig, well done’ that could be taken a few ways….

I was a vegetarian long before BABE, so my bias doesn’t extend in quite that fashion.

Circling back…

Can we give the prosthetic makeup team on Discovery kudos for making the Tellarites finally look like something credible. (Actor Harry Judge’s portrayal helps too.)

The Tellarites in TOS Journey to Babel reminded me too much of the people transformed into pigs in the early 60s cinematic feature Atlantis, the Lost Continent, but weren’t as well done.

While Enterprise gave us amazing Andorians, it’s saggy Tellarites just weren’t compelling.

Discovery has given us Tellerites and Saurians we can believe in, not to mention a truly new look with the Kelpians.

I’m wondering if some of the Delta Quadrant aliens only seen in Voyager, might intersect with Discovery’s 33rd century Alpha and Beta quadrant adventures. I’d like to see some updates on the Hirogens or species 8472.

Congratulations to the STD Prosthetic Makeup Team. Well deserved. Hope is the first of many!

Congrats to the team at Star Trek Discovery. Looking at the heavy hitters they were up against, this is definitely one the show can celebrate. Now hurry up and get season 3 on the air!!

By all accounts, Discovery season 3 will only air after season 1 of Picard is over. Unless CBS All Access has changed its plans to spread the shows out.

Yeah from the sounds of things, Short Treks will air first, then Picard early in 2020 followed by Discovery. Hopefully it will air immediately after Picard late spring or early summer but some think it might be late 2020 instead.

I’d expect maybe 2-3 short treks, then Picard, then a couple more short treks, then either Discovery Season 3 or Lower Decks, and a couple more short treks, then the other of either DSC S3 or Lower Decks.

Either way, there’s 39 weeks of Star Trek content coming at us relatively soon. :-)

I’m betting on
– a new trailer of some sort for NY Comic-Con, followed by
-dropping the first Short Trek in October (maybe Canadian Thanksgiving / Columbus Day weekend) – Pike’s Enterprise (aka Discovery)
-2nd Short Trek US Thanksgiving -Picard (for the buzz)
– 3rd Short Trek mid January – more Pike
– Picard Premiere February

But, with all that content targeted for 2020 (32 episodes over 3 series, not including Short Treks), perhaps we might see more shorts sooner than that.

They won for the Talosians? But Discovery’s Talosians didn’t even have butts on the back of their heads. That would be like having a Ferengi without humungous ears.

Seriously though, the Emmy is well deserved.

I’m just here for the, “The makeup was better on TOS and the stuff on Discovery isn’t canon!”, comments. 😁

Typical. When they get something for best writing or acting, you’ll have my attention.

so I guess no trek series ever got your attention. because none of them ever won an emmy for writing or acting. and only nimoy ever got nominated. no writers, ever. only tng and tos were ever even nominated for dram, once each.

and can you really compare. in 1967, the year that got tos nominated there were maybe 20-25 dramas on television, today there’s about 100-150 qualifying dramas between network, cable and streaming shows.

this complaint is getting really old.

tos was up for writing

Not specifically for writing. Besides technical awards, and Leonard Nimoy’s nominations, the show was nominated for best series its first two seasons.

The Filmation series won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Series in 1975 for its 1974 work.

I believe it was in a “Children’s” category but the Daytime Emmy site is being particularly cantankerous about listing its prior winners and their categories so I’ve been unable to absolutely confirm that.

This might be good enough, if you are willing to rely on Heritage Auctions’ provenance:

comment image

Isn’t TAS the only Trek to do that?

Discovery winning an Emmy for best writing or acting would really be impressive since no Trek has ever achieved that. TAS winning best children’s series probably comes closest.

So Jonboc : You paid attention to Sonequa Martin-Green and Doug Jones Acting Saturn Awards?

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to s**t on the birthday cake. Sadly, not long at all.

Unfortunately Phil, the contingent that seems determined not to value anything that’s excellent about Discovery can’t seem to resist any opportunity to grumble.

For my part, I really welcome this award this year. The prosthetic makeup team acknowledged that in S1 they were relearning their craft to adapt to Red and HD.

For S2, they responded to the heartfelt fan concerns on design, and again raised their game.

There’s no reason not to celebrate where Discovery shines, and give encouragement to address other areas.

Hate what DIS makeup peeps did to the Klingons, but Saru’s makeup etc has been great.

love it or hate it for its historical context, changing them, or whatever, but the Klingon make up is very well done for what it is.

I also saw a S7 episode of Voyager last night and Klingon Borg drone Korok (without any hair), much to my surprise, looked a lot like the Discovery S1 Klingons.

I loved the show Face/Off which I am now certain was how Hetrick and Neville recruited the crew that is doing the Star Trek: Discovery make-up squad. I love watching the show just to see what they come up with. Congrats Team and of course thank you for the performances of the actors under all that stuff.

The biggest mistake of this franchise would be to keep the changes they made to the alien species,because many of us still can’t get used to the new Kingons , so this is just dust in the wind.This is just a honest thought from an old fan.

Just wondering Jem’hadar:

Which or the previous 5 or 6 different versions of Klingon make up and prosthetics is the one that you believe ‘many of us’ are irrevocably attached to?

And are you unwilling to give credit for excellent new species (Kelpians) or brilliant updates of others (Tellarites, Saurians, Barzans)?

I must say, respectfully (also as an old fan), one of the only things that Doesn’t bother me about the franchise (DSC, in particular) is any visual updates they’ve given to alien species. Klingons, could care less, fine with me (although I do like a little hair on top) Tellarites, just fine. Talosians, just great. For all the faults I find with DSC, production values with regard to makeup/design are not one of them. Top notch, imo. And Saru is one compelling new alien, a bright spot.

Good thing for Discovery it was a slow year for prosthetic makeup on other shows.

Great News.