Reflecting on the 2013 Emmy Nominations
Alright, so for the five you that actually read the articles that Mat and I have written over the past week, you’ll know that we’ve been kind of making the Emmys a big deal. Why? Something to do mostly but also because we enjoy them, so what?
Anyways, if you read them, you’ll also know that I closed the final piece out with the information for my Twitter account saying that I would be live-tweeting the webcast like the delusional, self-important jerk that I am. Unfortunately none of that actually happened because I decided that I needed sleep. How dickish of me right? Well, sort of. I do feel bad about not delivering on something I promised I’d do but I’d been running on fumes the previous 48-72 hours so I was in desperate need of some sleep, especially so when you take into account that I had a job interview yesterday afternoon. I don’t talk about my personal life on here much (or the internet in general for that matter) but I felt like I owed an explanation to…well, I don’t know how many of you (I’d like to think it’s a lot but I have my suspicions that it isn’t). Bottom line? I’m sorry. Not all is lost, however, because I am here to give you my thoughts on how the actual nominations panned out. So, without further ado, let the complaining begin.
Originally, I was going to go through and list all the nominations and then pick them apart but you know what? I was bored just going through them and I’m the one interested in this crap. So, in order to reduce the boredom of both of us, let’s just go through some random thoughts I have about it.
It’s funny, I actually sent a message to Mat very early Thursday morning talking about how I had forgotten to include Ryan Cartwright (Alphas) on my list for Supporting Actor in a Drama so I might as well correct that now. For those of you unaware, Alphas was basically SyFy’s attempt at re-creating the X-Men without calling it the X-Men. There were bits and pieces that were altered (like the fact that after a hero would use their ability, they would be weakened somehow) but for most part that’s what it was. Anyways, the reason Cartwright deserves not only special mention but also one this long is because he played Gary Bell, an autistic hero with the ability to see various waves of energy around him. Long story short: he was a human computer. But the reason he deserves this mention is because his portrayal of an autistic person is pretty much perfect. How perfect? Many parents with autistic relatives and organizations that focus on autism commended his performance as such. It didn’t hurt that Gary was also the most entertaining character on the show and the show (but mostly the character) will be missed.
Alright, with my guilt about not making mention of that this week over, let’s talk about the actual nominations and what issues I have with them. Overall, I think it’s pretty obvious that a majority of the choices were political. Seriously, look at the nominees and point to the names that aren’t stars or on highly rated and/or buzzy shows. Now, being a high-rated or buzzworthy show does not automatically mean that they’re bad, quite the contrary, but it does show a lack of foresight by the voters to go beyond those they feel comfortable with. I’m not going to pretend I know more than they do because I probably don’t but I will voice the fact that their display of, for the lack of a better term, ignorance is off-putting.
Overall, it would appear that they loved House of Cards. It racked up an impressive 9 total nominations. However, of those 9, none of them are Corey Stoll and he was really the only one that deserved to be close to winning his award. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are fine in their roles (I nominated them after all) but their performances weren’t quite at the same level and the only reason I can come up with as to why they were nominated and he wasn’t is name value. People know Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright; they don’t know Corey Stoll. And that’s unfortunate because, as I mentioned in my nomination of him, he really shined in his role and there was nobody in that cast more deserving of an Emmy nomination than him.
Those of you that follow my Twitter account know that I did give some quick thoughts when I woke up and realized I had missed the nominations about a couple, mostly from Game of Thrones. As the show that I awarded Outstanding Drama to, it was nice to see the show get nominations. After all, the Oscars and Emmys tend to frown upon fantasy stuff (they’re old) and I should just be glad they got nominated at all, right? Not really because they got the nominations wrong. The most egregious of the GoT nominations is Peter Dinklage over Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in the Supporting Actor in a Drama category. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Dinklage (at this point he’s the only reason I’m not entirely pessimistic about X-Men: Days of Future Past) and he definitely deserved the nominations the previous two years but this year? Not so much. As I explained in my nomination of Coster-Waldau, he was clearly the best actor on the show this season and it seems like the only reason that Dinklage was nominated is because he’s got some cache to his name now. Coster-Waldau will soon find himself in that position (just look at him) but that time should’ve been now and not god-knows-how-long from now. The other nomination that Game of Thrones got for acting was Emilia Clarke in the Supporting Actress in a Drama category. Yeah, you know that category in which Michelle Fairley should’ve been nominated in (as I suggested in my nominations)? That one. To be fair, out of the two, that actually isn’t that bad because I do feel like Clarke really started to grow in her role as Danaerys but anybody who’s seen the show knows that it had to be Fairley’s award. Add the fact that there’s actually only 5 nominees for the category as well and I can’t help but utter a bewildered “WTF?”.
I really don’t know what the Emmy voters have against Justified (and FX as a whole really) but it should stop. The fact that the only nominations outside of 2011 when everybody made it vehemently clear that it was one of the best shows on TV that year, Justified has only been nominated for guest performances. That’s better than nothing I guess and it does have the unfortunate task of running up against Breaking Bad and Mad Men (as I discussed in my Outstanding Drama Series nominations) but it deserves so much more than that. This is essentially more my problem than anyone else’s because Justified happens to be my favorite show but I’m also not so delusional to expect it to get nominations despite not being good enough because I know for a fact that it is. Heavy wears…umm, not crown I guess? I don’t know, what does a Duke wear? A funny hat or something right? That then, I guess. Yeah.
I can ultimately live with Parks and Recreation not getting nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series. Oh wait, no I can’t because that mindless drivel called The Big Bang Theory was nominated. Look, I’ve made my peace with the fact that the show exists, in all its wonderful “this is what jocks think nerds say” glory and I’ve also (reluctantly) made my peace with the fact that it gets enourmous ratings. However, I cannot and will not, make peace with the implication that it’s anywhere close to being one of the 6 best comedies on TV. That’s just not true and the fact that it was nominated is a clear indication of the Emmy voters ignorance when it comes to the quality of the awards they’re giving out. Oh and how Aubrey Plaza hasn’t been nominated for an Emmy yet is beyond me.
Since we’re talking about comedies, how awful is the Lead Actor in a Comedy category? Look at that list of names and point to one that isn’t a star. The only one you could conceivably say isn’t is Louis C.K. but that’d still be wrong because he’s clearly the most famous stand-up at the moment. Other than him you have Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Matt LeBlanc (Episodes), Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Don Cheadle (House of Lies) and Alec Baldwin (30 Rock). Yeah, they weren’t intent on nominating big names at all.
I’ve never been a fan of Modern Family but I’m really past just being mildly annoyed that they nominate a million members of the cast each year. How about some variety people?
It’s hard to suggest any changes to the Supporting Actor in a Drama category but the lack of Vincent Kartheiser for Mad Men is pretty surprising. He had a really strong season and had the key moments that I felt had the makings of a solid nomination. I guess I was wrong.
All in all, I’m quite glad that Mat and I decided to do our own nominations because it sort of helps balance out just how awful these nominations are. Maybe it’s because of the site and the fact that I actually write about TV more than just think about it but I can’t remember a year being this disappointed with the nominations.
What these nominations ultimately tell me is that the Emmys are quickly becoming just another popularity contest. Maybe it’s my fault for assuming they weren’t before but what bothers me about it is that we already have a popularity contest: ratings. Granted, ratings in their current form are pretty misleading and antiquated but their purpose is to reflect what most people are watching. That’s fine, that’s how it’s always been but aren’t the Emmys supposed to be a barometer of quality and not quantity?
Maybe I’m just naive (spoiler: I’m not).