Emmy nomination voting begins Monday. For the next week or two we'll be sharing FYCs of some kind. Here's Daniel...
If you haven’t had a chance yet to read Debra Birnbaum’s shake-up Emmys proposal in Variety, I highly recommend you do. Her argument seems tailor made for feedback from passionate awards watchers (i.e. TFE readers) who have cultivated reams of opinions for how various awards bodies do business, nomination-wise, in an ever-changing marketplace of taste and broader appeal. Living in this age of television where high quality programs are on an infinity loop, she wonders whether the Emmys should consider expanding their Outstanding Drama and Comedy Series categories to ten nominees.
While there’s a certain integrity in maintaining a tradition of exclusive acclaim – after all, not every deserving piece of art can statistically make the cut – one wonders how a taboo-busting, conversation-elevating, and surprising comedy like the aptly named Broad City can so consistently take bong hits off the zeitgeist without seeing a few gold men women along the way. That aren’t hallucinations, mind you. Same goes for The Americans, which has been uniformly accepted by critics as one of the all-time greats and yet fails time and time again to nudge out a longstanding favorite like Downton Abbey. The Emmys notoriously pick their favorites and bitterly cling to them so could this be an inclusive measure to better reflect populist and critical tastes?
On the flipside, for every District 9 or A Serious Man, there’s a Blind Side amongst expanded groups. On the movie side, AMPAS has struggled to find clarity on this issue – abandoning the hard ten for a jostle between seven and nine. That's made some yearn for a time when five was fine. There's no guarantee that bigger sized envelopes equal 'pushing the envelope' in awards selections. After expanding their roster to seven nominees last year, perhaps the Emmys are better served to wait and see how their fresh shuffle deals in the long game. As Birnbaum touches upon, mainstays like Mad Men and Nurse Jackie have ended their runs and opened up space for new nominees. And, yet, the juggernaut that is Modern Family journeys on unchecked, save a Veep.
Should the Emmys take a page from the 2009-2010 Oscar playbook and expand their nominations in hopes of new players? Or will their fresh groceries go stale? How do you adjust an influx of quality with such limited quantity?