The 64th Annual Stewart Awards -- the Other Emmys

posted Sep 9, 2012, 10:36 AM by Terrence Moss   [ updated Aug 24, 2014, 3:30 PM ]
When the nominations for this year’s Primetime Emmy awards were announced in July, I posted 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 GannWilfred; 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 ReportCOM; 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

Nominees:    Will Arnett, “Idiots Are People Three!”, 30 Rock
                       Norm MacDonald, “The Play”, The Middle
                       Ethan Suplee, “Bro-gurt”, Raising Hope
                       Jason Lee, “New Year’s Eve”, Up All Night
                       Will Forte, “Hey Jealously”, Up All Night
                       Orson Bean, Desperate Housewives
                       John Cullum, “The Clover”, The Middle
Winner:        Will Arnett, “Idiots Are People Three!”, 30 Rock

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy

Nominees:    Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives
                       Mary Steenburgen, “Compassion”, Wilfred
                       Laurie Metcalf, “The Rhinitis Revelation”, The Big Bang Theory
                       Blythe Danner, “Parents”, Up All Night
                       Kathy Bates, “Why We Gave Up on Women”, Two and a Half Men
                       Georgia Engel, Two and a Half Men
                       Elizabeth Banks, “The Return of Avery Jessup”, 30 Rock
                       Phyllis Somerville, “Losing Patients”, The Big C
Winner:        Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Nominees:    Matthew Perry, “Pants on Fire”, The Good Wife
                       Chris Noth, The Good Wife
                       Dylan Baker, “Long Way Home”, The Good Wife
                       John Goodman, Damages
                       Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Winner:        Matthew Perry, “Pants on Fire”, The Good Wife

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Nominees:   Loretta DeVine, “Hope for the Hopeless”, Grey’s Anatomy
                      Mary Beth Piel, The Good Wife
                      Elizabeth Perkins, “Road Block”, The Closer
                      Rita Wilson, The Good Wife
                      Carrie Preston, The Good Wife
                      Martha Plimpton, The Good Wife
Winner:        Loretta DeVine, “Hope for the Hopeless”, Grey’s Anatomy 

Best Comedy Writing
Nominees:    The Big Bang Theory
                       Modern Family
                       The Middle
                       Raising Hope
                       Up All Night
Winner:        The Big Bang Theory

Outstanding Directing of a Comedy
Nominees:    The Middle
                       Raising Hope
                       Modern Family

Winner:        The Middle

Outstanding Writing for a Drama
Nominees:    Breaking Bad
                       The Good Wife
                       Mad Men
                       Downton Abbey
Winner:        Mad Men

Best Directing of a Drama
Nominees:    Downton Abbey
                       Game of Thrones
                       Sons of Anarchy         
                       The Walking Dead
                       The Killing
Winner:        Game of Thrones

Outstanding Comedy EnsembleThe Big Bang Theory

Outstanding Drama CastBreaking 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.