Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Emmys, Part I

I come to bury the Emmy awards, not to praise them.

I'd long given up hope that the quirky little shows of high quality that I so enjoyed were not going to be honored. I had come to expect that certain shows would be nominated ad infinitum even though they had moved long past their prime.

But in the past, the Emmys managed to get a few things right. Not this year.

This year, the voting was supposed to be changed; "blue-ribbon" panels were created to examine (supposedly) those shows like "Veronica Mars" that were somewhat off the radar but still of high quality. So what happened?

Not only did many of those critically acclaimed yet ratings challenged shows NOT get any more love from the voters, but good shows and actors that routinely got deserved Emmy nominations got left off.

Here are a few examples: No love for "Lost," which racked up Emmy noms last year; no nomination for the brilliant Hugh Laurie, who won the Golden Globe for best actor and whose show, "House," is nominated for Best Drama. There is no "House" without Laurie's performance every week.

"The Sopranos" gets a best drama nom but all of its key cast members such as James Gandolfini and Edie Falco are ignored, which is utter nonsense.

Meanwhile, the best the "blue-ribbon" committees could come up with are a long list of nominations for the pedestrian "Law & Order: SVU" and the mediocre "Two and a half Men." Seriously. And those changes that were designed to leave shows that had gone stale off the noms list? Interestingly, everyone except Eric McCormack on "Will & Grace" were nominated once again in the comedy categories, yet the show itself wasn't nominated for Best Comedy. There's just no rhyme or reason to these choices.

So far, the biggest controversy has surrounded Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. Ellen Burstyn is nominated for appearing (literally) 30 seconds in the movie "Mrs. Harris." Now, don't get me wrong, Burstyn is one of the great American actresses, so this isn't a knock on her. Rather, it's proof of how little these nominating committees pay attention to their jobs. Burstyn, who had all of two lines in a flashback sequence, is going against Kelly McDonald from "The Girl in the Cafe." McDonald was actual girl in the cafe; she's in the bulk of the scenes and gets the only significant screen time of any actress in the movie. Yet she is listed as a supporting actress, not a lead.

The Emmys, if you bother to watch them, are coming on Sunday night. Me, I'll stick to the Golden Globes.

COMING FRIDAY: TV Guy makes his Emmy predictions, and tells you which deserving talents were left out completely.

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