Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Word On Awards

This weekend everyone in Hollywood is talking about the Oscars.  Just the time for the Emmy people to slip in new rules.  Mind you, these are awards that do need some guidance, since you'll get what seem like very different nominees in the same category.  However, though the changes may clarify, that doesn't mean they make sense.

Here are the two biggest changes:

Series Nominees: The number of nominees in comedy and drama races has been increased to seven, due to the dramatic increase in series production.

Comedy vs. Drama: To clarify the difference between the “comedy” and “drama” series categories, series with episodes of 30 minutes or less are defined as a “comedy”; those with episodes of more than 30 minutes will be considered a “drama.”

Why increase the number of series nominated?  Even if there are more shows (and just how many more, considering broadcast TV and cable are filled with so many reality shows), why not keep standards high.  Five seems plenty.  Some years, it seems like too many.

The comedy versus drama thing is even sillier.  It true comedies are traditionally a half hour and dramas an hour, but so what?  You can reverse things. It should be up to the people submitting to decide what category.  (Hourlong series can submit as comedies, but two-thirds of an industry panel will have to okay it.)

Other changes:

Series vs. Limited Series: “Mini-Series” will be changed to “Limited Series” and defined as programs of two or more episodes with a total running time of at least 150 program minutes that tell a complete, non-recurring story, and do not have an ongoing storyline and/or main characters in subsequent seasons.  “Comedy” and “Drama” will continue to be defined as programs with a minimum of six episodes which have an ongoing storyline, theme and main characters presented under the same title and with continuity of production supervision. Producers may formally petition for review by the aforementioned industry panel to change category eligibility.

• Guest Actor: Only performers appearing in less than 50% of a program’s episodes are now eligible to submit in the Guest Actor category.

• Variety Series: The Variety Series category is now split into Outstanding Variety Talk, to be awarded during the Primetime Emmy telecast, and Outstanding Variety Sketch, to be included in the Creative Arts Emmy program.

These are mostly sensible clarifications.  However, why won't the best sketch show win on prime time?  And aren't there plenty of shows that are true hybrids--Jimmy Fallon is talk, but he also does plenty of comedy routines.  And what is something like John Oliver or the daily show?

The one change that no one is discussing--because it's my idea and no one else knows about it--is a rule about acting.  I'm tired of someone winning the same award year after year. Once an actor wins for a specific role in a specific category, that is the last time.  If they want another Emmy, either change categories or get in a new show.  Let others win for a change.  No one loses--winning once for your role means, forevermore, that's an Emmy-winning role, no more need be said.


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