Emmy Complaint

So here’s the thing: I know awards of any kind are entirely subjective. Still, when there’s a general consensus among the public, you tend to expect certain things. For example, everyone knew Brokeback Mountain was a superbly made movie and deserved an Academy Award nomination.

I also know that people watch way too much television. That should, I would think, include members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Still out of all the major (and even minor) awards shows, the one that seems most out of step with the public consciousness remains the Emmy Awards. I find that odd given how much television we all watch and talk about.

As a result, in looking over yesterday’s nominations I remain genuinely amazed at how clueless the membership appears. What’s worse, steps taken to correct the oversight (so credit to the Academy board for finally addressing the problem) didn’t work. This year, the top 15 nominations in every category were reviewed by a special panel to finalize the nominations.

The final list came out yesterday and it was received with a collective sense of surprise…at the lack of fresh names. As usual, anything deserving on UPN or WB or even Sci-Fi were ignored despite critics and audiences raving about certain shows or performers.

Personally, I was disappointed to see the brilliant writing and Lauren Graham’s work on Gilmore Girls got passed over for a fifth straight year. Battlestar Galactica has some strongly written episodes and some nice performances that might have deserved a nod, but it got technical nominations for things like costumes.

You also have to scratch your head how Martin Sheen, who had little work with this season, got another nomination for West Wing but Hugh Laurie got passed over for his superior work on House. Speaking of that show, Sela Ward deserved a guest star berth. At least the academy acknowledged Michael J. Fox’s fine performance on Boston Legal.

It’s getting to the point where I suspect the Academy needs to make certain the voters have actually watched any of these shows or perhaps instill term limits. Or, maybe add actual fans of television to aid in the nomination process. I certainly don’t want the Emmys turned into the People’s Choice Awards, but clearly something drastic needs to change.

5 comments

  • I too am disappointed by the passing over of Gilmore Girls and Lauren Graham. I’ve been a fan of Graham’s since she was doing tiny guest spots on sitcoms.

  • Ali T. Kokmen

    Well, I certainly empathize with folks who find their favorites ignored–Lauren Graham being perhaps the most egregious.

    But I think it might be too early to claim that the producers’ measures to broaden the nomination pool were a total failure. After all, Kyra Sedgewick (for “The Closer”), Dennis Leary (for “Rescue Me”), and Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: SVU) all got their first nominations this year, and have certainly been among those mentioned as unfairly overlooked before.

    It’s interesting that neither LOST nor DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES got nominations, which I suppose one could use as another example of how Emmy voters are out of touch with the public.

    And on a totally minor level, I am amused that one of the nominees in the “Outstanding Reality Program” category is PENN & TELLER: BULLSH*T, and find myself wondering if that category will be among those telecast and, if so, how the title will be said or shown…

  • Alan Kistler

    I say that all Academy Award nominees should be forced to BATTLE for the award. Give them those giant cue-tips so they can joust a la AMERICAN GLADIATORS and see who really wants it more. I think Lauren Graham would definitely win then, she’s got moxy. 🙂

  • Cary Friedman

    Dear Mr. Greenberger –

    I am about to publish a book entitled Wisdom from the Batcave. The book, in its original manuscript form, was distributed by Batman Comics Group Editor Denny O’Neil to his Batman writers and artists about six years ago. His comments on the book [and those of comic book writer Mark Waid and actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.] appear below. At long last, I am at the point of preparing Wisdom from the Batcave for publication.

    I am the author of four other published books, including Spiritual Survival for Law Enforcement (Compass Books, 2005). Spiritual Survival is based on my work as a consultant to the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit [BSU] in Quantico, VA and the law enforcement community in general.

    I would be honored and grateful if you would consider perusing Wisdom from the Batcave and perhaps contributing a short blurb for the book. I would be pleased to send you the manuscript for your consideration.

    Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

    – Cary Friedman

    Cary A. Friedman
    1605 Orchard Terrace
    Linden, NJ 07036
    (908) 486-1860 [home]
    (908) 868-1023 [cell]
    ravcary@aol.com

    * * * * * * * * * *

    March 21, 2000

    Cary Friedman understands Batman in the largest possible sense: as a character, as entertainment, as modern mythology and as an exemplar of moral and ethical values. His book is the best of its kind I’ve ever read and I’ve given copies of it to the writers and artists who produce our stories with the promise that they’ll both enjoy it and learn from it.

    Dennis O’Neil
    Group Editor
    Batman Comics

    * * * * * * * * * *

    June 11, 2006

    The greatest heroes of literature are inspirational not because of their feats and powers but because of their ethics and their integrity. The dream of stopping bank robbers and super-villains like Batman does isn’t something we can realistically aspire to – but each and every one of us can find within us a
    path to personal heroism, and Cary Friedman provides the roadmap. This is one terrific read.

    Mark Waid
    Writer
    Justice League of America

    * * * * * * * * * *

    April 28, 2006

    It was with a bemused skepticism that I sat down to read Wisdom from the Batcave. The idea of equating man’s highest and noblest aspirations
    with a cartoon character seemed outrageous, to put it mildly.

    I couldn’t have been more mistaken. With his brilliant analysis and fearless postulations, Rabbi Friedman has shown why, in an era of
    timidity, correctness and lassitude, Batman, by his own code of honor, is able to leapfrog over the demons that cause police, armies, and nations
    to pause.

    A spectacular book!

    Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

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