So we have another Emmys done and dusted, and I think if there’s one message that the TV academy was sending loud and clear it was: We are not the Oscars! And I agree.
TV’s top honor is no longer the ugly stepsister to filmdom’s biggest prize. Who the Emmys choose to honour and how they do so make it a winner in my book. Below, my top five reasons for making such a declaration.
1. No free ride for Oscar winners.
Matthew McConaughey, who had won Best Actor at the Oscars for “Dallas Buyers Club,” picked up every precursor leading up to the Emmys for “True Detective.” Surely the TV academy would trip over themselves to hoist the big acclaimed movie star on their stage? Well no, at the end of the day they went with TV veteran and past three-time category champ Bryan Cranston from “Breaking Bad.”
2. Genre wins galore.
You would think that performances presenting the important social issue of HIV/AIDS would be tailor-made to win awards. Especially when you consider those performances in “The Normal Heart” were by Oscar winner Julia Roberts, movie star Mark Ruffalo and TV star Matt Bomer. And if you were thinking the Oscars you would probably be right.
But when the movie/mini acting winners were unveiled at the Emmys jaws were left on the floor. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman won the male honours for “Sherlock: His Last Vow” while a pair of Oscar champs — Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates — won on the distaff side for “American Horror Story: Coven” The baity performances were not only trumped but they were done so by those from two genres — crime and horror — which struggle to win film kudos.
3. They don’t stick to the script.
The top score for those predicting the Oscar winners at Gold Derby was 96%. Compare that to the Emmys where the best anyone did was 66%. The Emmys voting structure which views samples of nominees work before voting on winners and enlists different voting groups to assess each category individually. But it is also likely a testament to the academy’s independence and not voting for someone just because they have won other awards or everyone thinks they should. This can sometimes lead to disappointment, like when Steve Carell lost for “The Office,” but also brings with it great surprises, like when “Arrested Development” defied the odds in the comedy series stakes.
4. People have fun.
Seeing Julia Louis-Dreyfus make out with Cranston, and Jimmy Fallon stealing the microphone from Stephen Colbert are moments you would never see at the Oscars. Sure, Ellen will take some selfies and get pizza delivered, but when the envelopes are being opened its all serious. Although it’s a long drawn out ceremony, it’s moments like this that show the TV stars are enjoying seeing each other win and have some fun with it.
5. A canon that is hard to beat.
Since “The Practice” won back to back Best Drama Series awards beginning in 1998, only seven other shows have prevailed in this top race: “The West Wing” (2000 – 2033); “The Sopranos” (2004, 2007); “Lost” (2005); “24” (2006); “Mad Men” (2008 – 2011); “Homeland” (2012); and “Breaking Bad” (last year and this).
While you may not be a fan of all of these shows, you must concede this is a canon that encompasses the best of television in this new golden age. And it certainly outdoes the Oscar roster of Best Picture winners. People often say that television at the moment is superior to film and the Emmys are doing a fine job of proving that point.