Emmy, why must you torment me so? Every once in a while you do some things that make me so happy, that are fresh and original and cool, but for the most part, you just nominate the same damn people over and over. You pick shows from “prestige” cable channels like HBO and ignore impressive series if they come from (yet again) a genre you’re not interested in. And you persist in ignoring my beloved Cat Deeley. What are you thinking?
I’m thrilled – thrilled – that you nominated Family Guy for Best Comedy series. I love that Little Dorrit is one of two (two? for real, people?) nominees for Best Miniseries, and that Tom Courtnay and Andy Serkis are nominated for their work therein. (I’ll sniffle alone over Claire Foy, Russell Tovey and Eddie Marsan; one can’t have everything, especially not obscure British actresses taking leading nods away from movie stars.) I’ll be happy as I always am for perpetual nominee Chandra Wilson, and pleased for M’s homeboy Jim Parsons. Not to mention everybody’s favorite former child star, Neil Patrick Harris! Hmm, I wonder how normal it is for the host to be nominated? And Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio have a co-hosting nod – woot! That’s terrific, anyway. And okay, in general the cast of Ugly Betty was snubbed, but at least the amazing Vanessa Williams got herself a nod – even if her partner in crime Michael Urie might just be best things about the show. But ensembles we love are never sufficiently honored, don’t you think?
There’s a weird trouble with giving awards for tv acting, especially. You get to honor the achievement of a year’s worth of work (even though technically the nominations are based on specific episodes or reels), and sustaining that high level of artistry is more impressive, in some ways, than making a great two hour film. BUT. These awards can get so boring, because they nominate, year after year, the same bloody people. I’m not saying that Kyra Sedgewick might not be fantastic in The Closer – I’m sure she is – and it’s hard to make a case that, if her work is just as good, she might not deserve a nod this year BECAUSE she got one last year. This turns into some sort of weird ghetto, though, where the same people get nominated and the same people win over and over. (Hello, Dolores Roberts, I’m talking to you!) Candace Bergin was so embarassed by this that she eventually refused to submit her name for a nomination, saying she’d been rewarded enough and it was high time they picked somebody else. Who, I believe it turned out, was Helen Hunt, starting a long run of Emmy and culminating in an Oscar and then her disappearance from the big and little screens, but I digress. Honestly, I loved her on ER, and I don’t want to pick on her, but why is it that Mariska Hargitay consistently nominated for the always serviceably acted Law and Order franchise? Well, maybe if I watched it more I’d understand, but still, does she really even have that much of a character arc? I don’t know, maybe she does, but don’t those shows tend to be way more about the cases than about the people presenting them? How many Emmys noms do Patricias Heaton and Richardson have for glaring at their dopey sitcom husbands? And anyway, isn’t it fair to let in a little new blood?
This year Emmy rejiggered it’s rules to make such a thing happen – instead of nominating committees everyone got to vote on the nominees. They opened up the number of nominees, too; many categories have 6 or 7 nods (much more reasonable, Oscar!) except the aforementioned miniseries award. And that’s good. New blood has arrived – and good old blood really ought to be rewarded.
But here’s the thing that’s really under my skin. What does a thrilling, critically acclaimed well written, brilliantly acted by Oscar nominated actors cable series have to do to get nominated if it has the misfortune of also being a sci fi series? Yes, that’s right. Battlestar Galactica snubbed again. Big surprise. Why should I care, you ask? Because it was a frakkin great show. Because lots of amazing work went into it. Because it’s over and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences won’t get a chance now to make it right. I’m shaking my fist at you, Emmy, for your short-sightedness and your inability to see the brilliance of Mary McDonnell as the steely, dying president, or Edward James Olmos as the brutal and tender admiral. And I’m stamping my feet over the transformations you clearly didn’t see James Callis and Michael Hogan undergo – not to mention the sheer number of personalities that Grace Park and Tricia Helfter have played through war, famine, motherhood, loss, rape, battle and every other kind of disaster. I’m shaking my fists at you, Emmy, you big idiot. Anyone who watches this show knows it’s unusually good stuff. So all I can conclude is that you don’t really pay attention because you don’t think truth can be spoken on the deck of a space ship. And that’s where you really show your lunacy, because if there was anything more timely on tv – what do we do with democracy, with morality, when under seige? What gets tossed to the way side when your way off life is under attack? what is it that makes us human – is it intrinsic, or is it in the way we choose to behave? – it was probably Frontline on PBS.
Excuse me while I go off and growl at something other than my computer screen. Maybe I’ll cry over Adam Baldwin and everyone else involved with Chuck being ruthlessly ignored. Yes, perhaps that would be best.
A list of all the nominees here. You had no idea there were so many, did you? Insane, isn’t it? Like me. I’m sure I’ll calm down once I’ve had a chance to absorb this. Probably.