TCA vs. Critics’ Choice TV Awards: How to tell them apart

The Television Critics Assn. announced nominations for the 30th annual edition of their kudos on Tuesday and the Broadcast Television Journalists Assn. chimed in with their lineup for the 4th annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards on Wednesday.

Why are there two such associations and how do they vary?

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The TCA comprises over 200 of North America’s top television critics, including many of those whose reviews regularly appear in newspapers. Unlike other awards, the TCA nominations are determined by write-in votes. This leads to anomalies like “Orange is the New Black” reaping nominations for Program of the Year and Best New Program but being snubbed for a series prize because TCA members variably voted for it as a comedy or a drama.

TCA Awards: Complete list of nominations

Also unlike most other award shows, the TCA does not have separate categories for actors and actresses in lead and supporting roles. Instead, they are all lumped together in two “Individual Achievement” categories, one for drama and one for comedy. However, these are not strictly performance prizes. David E. Kelley won in 1999 for writing and producing “The Practice.” A nomination for Louis C.K. may be as much for his work on “Louie” behind the camera as it is in front.

Given that the TCA typically only nominates 10 performances per year and the Emmys nominate nearly 100, one would expect all of the TCA nominees to also contend at the Emmys. While this happened in 2012, last year only four of the 10 TCA nominees reaped Emmy bids. Among those snubbed was drama winner Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”).

TCA members are allowed only two write-in votes for each category, thus ensuring that every nomination has a level of passionate support behind it.

THe BTJA also includes renowned critics like Ken Tucker (previously of Entertainment Weekly, now The Daily Beast). However many of the members, who number under one hundred, rarely write reviews of specific episodes.

Critics’ Choice TV Awards: Complete list of nominations

It is an offshoot of the Broadcast Film Critics Assn., which has bestowed the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards since 1995. Similar to how those awards echo the Oscars, the CCTA follow the Emmys, at least in terms of how they categorize nominations and how many nominees they have per category. 

For example, when the Television Academy announced earlier this year the reintroduction of separate categories for telefilms and miniseries, the BTJA quickly followed suit, also splitting up this category. But, despite the shared template, CCTA nominations wildly differ from the Emmys.

For example, none of the 12 comedy supporting CCTA contenders last year was nominated for an Emmy. And only two of the CCTA acting champs — Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”) and Michael Douglas (“Behind the Candelabra”) repeated at the Emmy. Indeed, six of the Emmy acting winners had been snubbed by the CCTA.

The TCA Awards, which take place July 19, is a private affair with the winners notified in advance. The CCTA ceremony on June 19, will be televised for the first time with winners revealed during the live ceremony on the CW. 

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5 thoughts on “TCA vs. Critics’ Choice TV Awards: How to tell them apart

  1. The critics have a high opinion of themselves. Sadly, their views rarely coincide with the views of the voting members of the TV academy.

    So while the critics celebrate their own awards, in the long run their awards are not remembered by the general public and do not have the prestige associated with the big awards (Emmy, SAG, Peabody, AFI, the ridiculous Golden Globes, etc.)

  2. Sorry Lee S, but you’re wrong. Critics actually watch a lot more television than the average member of the TV academy. After all, it’s their job to watch television. So I would be much more likely to trust some who watches a lot of TV before I would trust an academy member, many of whom admit to watching very little TV, and who may or may not watch the screeners they get in the mail.

  3. Critics awards drastically change the nominations every year….can’t be taken seriously….we get it you want to showcase the fresh/hip dramas and comedies of the year…but your awards show doesn’t mean anything when actors from Modern Family are clearly better than some of the ones you nominated…

  4. JC, how I am wrong? I said the critics are entitled to their views but that they rarely match the views of the voting members who I agree have less time to view as much TV as the critics. The voting members will cast their vote based on the screeners submitted and other factors.

    Let’s see the percentage of actual Emmy nominees that match the nominees on this critics list. My guess is only about 60-70%.

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