my annual response – but this time without the annual disappointment.
I wasn’t particularly satisfied or dissatisfied with the list of nominees as much as I was just ambivalent. Given the current state of the television industry, the proliferation of cable networks and the resulting increase in competition, the Emmy Awards find themselves in an unenviable position. Not only can’t they recognize all worthy candidates with a nomination, they have no choice but to get a few things wrong when it comes to selecting winners – especially when you consider how those nominees become winners.
Actors, writers and directors select ONE episode that represents their best work for the TV season. It is that ONE episode by which the Academy is supposed to make their decision. While this makes sense for a writer or a director, I have never particularly liked this process for actors – especially on more stylized comedies and dramas where the greatness of a performance can’t be judged on just that one episode. This is why no one from the cast of Mad Men, inarguably the most stylized of dramas on television today, has taken home a trophy even though the series itself is undefeated as of this writing for the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy.
But the difference between a series such as Mad Men and actors from a show such as Mad Men is that Mad Men gets to submit SIX episodes as a representation of its 12-episode season instead of just the one.
This process also favors big scenes and big moments over far
more subtle and understated performances such as those on Mad Men. And because voters are drawn to powerhouse episodes that
convey a broad range of emotions, the process then becomes more about the
selection of the episode than the work within the episode itself.
I have never particularly liked this process. My preference would be for that one episode to REPRESENT an actor’s body of work for that TV season with the entire body considered. While this is difficult to do without watching every episode, I believe the Academy is large enough for those bases to be covered without relying on buzz – which they’re not supposed to do anyway (insert scoff here).
This is why I had to create my own award – the Stewarts.
A few points of note:
- Some categories are the same as the Emmys such as those for Best Series and Lead/Supporting Acting in a Series.
- Some categories are unique to the Stewarts such as Younger Actor/Actress (though they exist at the Daytime awards), Drama Cast and Comedy Ensemble (which exist at the SAG awards, but as a “juried” award here) as well as Individual Performance in a Variety Series (which should be reinstated at the Emmys).
- Instead of singular episodes being judged, an entire body of work for the TV season is considered. If that fails because I can’t watch all the shows, then I have to incorporate some reliable buzz and press because this Academy is largely made up of one person.
- There is no trophy; just the honor of being recognized by the active voters of the Steward Award Committee.
Another key difference between the Emmys and the Stewarts is that, as of this year (yes, as of this year, but more on that later), there are no nominees for the main acting categories – just winners. There is just too much competition out there and too many deserving performers going unrecognized by the current system in place at the Emmys. It’s getting to the point where you can’t even be great to be recognized (case in point – the criminally ignored The Middle, Sons of Anarchy, Wilfred and Southland).
This is intended to allow as many worthy candidates as possible in any given year to be duly recognized for their work in that given year. So the number of nominees in any given category that goes through that process ranges this year from five to eight and the number of winners in the remaining “non-juried” categories range from two to six.
With the Creative Arts awards next weekend and the main event one week later, the Nominees and winners -- or just winners in some cases -- for the 2012 Stewart Awards are as follows:
Best Comedy Series
Nominees: The Middle, ABC; Modern Family, ABC; Parks and Recreation, NBC; Raising Hope, FOX; The Big Bang Theory, CBS; Wilfred, FX; Louie, FX
Winner: The Middle, ABC
Best Drama Series
Nominees: Mad Men, AMC; Southland, TNT; Sons of Anarchy, FX; Homeland, SHO; Breaking Bad, AMC; Game of Thrones, HBO; Downton Abbey, PBS
Winner: Mad Men, AMC
Honorees for Best Comedic Actor - Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory; Jason Gann, Wilfred; James Roday, Psych; Dule Hill, Psych
Honors for Best Comedic Actress – Patricia Heaton, The Middle; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation; Laura Linney, The Big C
Honorees for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Garret Dillahunt, Raising Hope; Neil Flynn, The Middle; Ty Burrell, Modern Family; John Benjamin Hickey, The Big C; Dominic Fumusa, Nurse Jackie
Honorees for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series – Julie Bowen, Modern Family; Maya Rudolph, Up All Night; Betty White, Hot in Cleveland; Cheryl Hines, Suburgatory; Anna Deavere Smith, Nurse Jackie; Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Honorees for Best Dramatic Actor – Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad; Timothy Olyphant, Justified; Kelsey Grammer, Boss; Damian Lewis, Homeland
Honorees for Best Dramatic Actress – Juliana Margulies, The Good Wife; Claire Danes, Homeland
Honorees for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad; Josh Charles, The Good Wife; Walton Goggins, Justified; Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Honorees for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series -- Maggie Siff, Sons of Anarchy; Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad; Regina King, Southland; Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Best Variety Series
Nominees: The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, CBS; Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, NBC; The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, COM; The Colbert Report, COM; The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS
Winner: The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, CBS
Best Performer in a Variety Series
Nominees: Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report; Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon; Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live; Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live; Craig Ferguson, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
Winner: Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report
Outstanding New Series
Nominees: Suits, USA; Two Broke Girls, CBS; Girls, HBO; Up All Night, NBC; Homeland, SHO; Wilfred, FX; Suburgatory, ABC
Winner: Suits, USA
Outstanding Younger Actor - Nolan Gould, Modern Family; Atticus Shaffer, The Middle; Rico Rodriquez, Modern Family; Angus T. Jones, Two and a Half Men; Charlie McDermott, The Middle
Winner: Nolan Gould, Modern Family
Outstanding Younger Actress - Eden Sher, The Middle; Ruby Jerins, Nurse Jackie; Ariel Winter, Modern Family; Sarah Hyland, Modern Family; Jane Levy, Suburgatory; Carly Chaikin, Suburgatory
Winner: Eden Sher, The Middle
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy
Arnett, “Idiots Are People Three!”, 30
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy
Joosten, Desperate Housewives
Actor in a Drama Series
Actress in a Drama Series
Best Comedy Writing
of a Comedy
Winner: The Middle
for a Drama
Best Directing of a
Outstanding Comedy Ensemble – The Big Bang Theory
Outstanding Drama Cast – Breaking Bad
Outstanding Episode(s) – “Everybody Dies”, House
Were this a more well-known award, I would have released the nominees around the same time as the Emmys in July along with the winners of the Comedy Ensemble, Drama Cast and Episode “juried” awards. The remaining winners would then be announced around the same time as the Emmys in September.
Since it is not, I don't necessarily have to suffer the outrageous slings of dissent for my choice.
The 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air live on ABC at 8pm EST/5pm PST on September 23.
Original Fiction from a Sitcom Mind > The Halls of Shambala > The Non-Fiction Archives: 2012-2014 > Media Commentaries and Reaction Pieces >