Every year around this time, I lament Emmy nominations. Every year. I’ve actually never been happy with Emmy voters, because they continue to play it safe every year. Should we be happy for Tatiana Maslany? Absolutely. She bucked the trend in a big way. Not only did she “finally get recognized”, but she got recognized for a sci-fi drama that’s been running for a few seasons. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS?
The problem with Emmy voters, is that unlike the Academy, they don’t disclose who the voters are every year. There’s no wave of new voters. There’s no sigh of relief that adding Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon Levitt to the voting pool will result in a fresher batch of nominees. Unlike the Academy, Emmy voters aren’t required to watch new TV shows, or really even disclose that they watch more than just endless marathons of Downton Abbey and The Good Wife.
So, if Emmy voters missed The Americans in its first season, it pretty much guarantees The Americans will never be nominated. That’s right, children. No matter how much praise you heap upon The Americans, I’m calling it right now. It will never be nominated for Best Drama Series, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, or Best Supporting Actress. The only nomination this fine series will see is Margo Martindale. Because, even though they don’t watch the show, they see Margo’s on the list, and they vote for her anyway. She’s a fine actress.
And they’ll continue to nominate Homeland, despite the decline in quality since the first season. This year, Mandy Patinkin finally fell off the list, but Claire Danes still takes up a spot that could have gone to Ruth Wilson for The Affair.
Sons Of Anarchy was snubbed again. In its entire run, it received only two nominations… and not in major categories. That means Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Jimmy Smits, Ron Perlman, Maggie Siff, Ryan Hurst, and the rest of the amazing cast finished their runs going 0-6. The Walking Dead? Same thing. No actor has ever been nominated from The Walking Dead.
Emmy voters had their shot this year to connect with viewers in a big way. Empire. Critics liked it. Audiences liked it. It became Broadcast TV’s #1 scripted drama, and it left with… a nomination for Taraji P. Henson for Best Actress. Empire was shut out of both Best Drama and Best Actor for Terrence Howard, despite most experts predicting nominations for both.
The problem is that every year, we predict… hoping that Emmy voters change their tune. They don’t.
Four of the Seven nominees for Best Comedy Series were nominated last year (when there were only 6 nominees). Orange Is The New Black was technically nominated in Drama this year, which would have made this category with five repeats. Of those four, three were nominated in 2013. Modern Family and Veep have been nominated every year they’ve been eligible.
Last year, there were only six nominees for Best Actor in a Comedy Series. Four of them are back this year, and the category expanded to add a seventh nominee. Last years nominee Ricky Gervais was ineligible as Derek competed in TV Movie this year.
Three of the six Best Actress In A Comedy Series nominees were nominated last year. Taylor Schilling was nominated last year, but shifted to drama this year (and failed to get a nomination).
Supporting Actor in a Comedy saw four actors return from last year. The only new nominees here were Tituss Burgess for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Keegan Michael-Key for Key and Peele.
Supporting Actress in a Comedy expanded to a shocking eight nominees, but five of them were nominated last year. The only one who missed out was Kate Mulgrew, who switched to drama (and also missed out this year).
In the drama category, four of the six nominees were renominated this year. The other two missing were ineligible this year (Breaking Bad ended, True Detective missed the voting window and will be considered a Limited Series moving forward). Somehow, Homeland found its way back into the category, having not been nominated last year, but nominated in 2013. With Orange Is The New Black having been nominated last year in Best Comedy, the only “new” nominee is the spinoff to the show that won the category last year.
Three nominees return to the Best Actor field, which saw the other three nominees be ineligible. Bryan Cranston’s show ended, and True Detective’s year off took it out of contention. This upheaval forced three new nominees into the race (Schreiber, Odenkirk, Chandler).
Best Actress kicked Julianna Marguilies, Kerry Washington, and Michelle Dockery to the curb in favor of Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, and Tatiana Maslany. Three deserved nominations, for sure.
Best Supporting Actor was the most versatile category, keeping only two nominees from the previous year (Dinklage and Carter) and going with four new nominees. Supporting Actress, however, repeated four nominees. Uzo Aduba competed as a Guest Actress in a Comedy series last year when she won. Emilia Clarke is the only true newbie here.
The one good thing Emmy voters did this year was increase nominations for black actors. Last year, there were seven nominees (outside of the guest categories, or hosts). Just talking Best Actor/Actress/Supporting Actor/Supporting Actress, we’re up to 15 now.
An easy proposition would be changing the voter base, adding new members every year. New members means different people watching different programs. If you just keep allowing the same 100 voters (or whatever) to vote, they’re just going to vote for the same things they’ve been voting for.
Time to change.