Home Forums Television Our Annual Debate: Do Episode Submissions REALLY Matter? Is it all about EMPATHY?

Our Annual Debate: Do Episode Submissions REALLY Matter? Is it all about EMPATHY?

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  • Tom O’Neil
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    #325869

    OK, it’s time for us to have our annual debate on this topic. Yes, sometimes the episodes make all the difference, as demonstrated last year by Jeff Daniels and Dan Bucatinsky. But there was nothing extraordinary about Merritt Weaver’s entry. Frankly, I didn’t find anything amazing about Tony Hale’s entry either. And whenever Maggie Smith wins of late, it’s usually for just a tossed-off bitchy remark on Downton. 

    I think what we learned recently about the voting process explains a lot. Years ago I was told bogus info about voting from someone in the TV academy’s awards dept — that only # 1 votes count when voters rank contenders. But this year I directly contacted the accountants and learned that’s not true. Accoutants tally up all the ranked scores and the nominee with the lowest total score wins. If there’s a points tie, then the number of 1 votes decides the champ. I think this explains the wins last year by Weaver and Hale. I don’t believe they got many 1 votes, but their characters are so LIKEABLE that they probably got a lot 3s, even 2s — enough to give them the win.

    This is strong evidence for our theory that EMPATHY as one of the 3 key elements of an Emmy win — the other 2 being range and impact of acting on the episode. So let’s remember to keep this in mind when picking this year’s winnahs.
     

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    Icky
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    #325871

    Pretty certain the impact of tapes was thoroughly discussed in a thread from a week or two ago. 

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    Tonbone
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    #325872

    If empathy is the biggest factor then explains Louis CK losing for an episode where he called himself a loser 

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    ETPhoneHome
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    #325873

    I think tapes do matter, but they aren’t a be-all-end-all. Robin Wright royally messed it up with her submission, but she still has a chance to win.

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    Icky
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    #325874

    Wright’s not winning. Buzz, momentum and name can only do so much in the drama categories. There’s too big of a gap between her submission and Danes, Margulies and Washington’s. 

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    BenitoDelicias
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    #325875

    We’ll always find an example of when a tape matters and when it doesn’t. Honestly, this shouldn’t be a discussion anymore because we know it can go and has gone either way. But Julia Louis Dreyfus continues to be unbeatable because of them. Jim Parsons wouldn’t still be winning without those tapes. Perhaps the first time on the strengh of the show, character and ratings, but he becomes unbeatable because of tapes. Same with Alec Baldwin, once he stopped submitting perfect tapes, he stopped winning, if tapes didn’t matter, it would have been as awful as his SAG wins. Anna Gunn wouldn’t be winning without tapes. 

    Perfect example: at the height of Betty White’s comeback, the hype that clearly got her a nomination wasn’t enough because of the tape.

    Even with The Suitcase, we can stil say Mad Men actors keep on losing because of better tapes from the competition. James Spader and Jeff Daniels are classic examples of tapes and their speeches in those tapes. Without them, no Emmys.

    Many say Bridesmaids got McCarthy the win, but the tape helped. Jaime Pressly won because of that tape.

    Another great example: Mullally and Hayes won because of the tapes and lost so much because of tapes too since they submitted some bad ones. And then….Mullally wins with the awful finale. So tapes matter…tapes don’t matter.

    And then Merritt Wever wins. And Ricky Gervais wins. And Steve Carrell loses. Sure sometimes tapes don’t matter, but at this point, the discussion is tiresome because we know it can go both ways. 

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    montana82
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    #325876

    It really depends what that panel of 70 people is looking for.  The nominees, and the Goldderby predictors, are at their mercy.

    Certainly in the supporting categories, the voters have been looking for things Goldderby users may have been missing. 

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    Tom O’Neil
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    #325877

    Lack of empathy explains Carell’s serial losses. And Hugh Laurie’s too. The characters they portrayed were, let’s face it, jerks. Remember that special double episode of “House” where Laurie was locked up in a looney hospital with bug-eyed Lin-Manuel Miranda? He gave his best perf ever and still lost.

    Yeah, Gandolfini played a murderous bastard on Sopranos, but we still rooted for him. Tony could often be a lovable teddy bear. 

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    vinny
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    #325878

    It’s all about the episodes in my opinion. Only a couple of people made some bad choices this year but to be honest they probably weren’t going to win anyway. I just feel bad for nominees for lead actor in a comedy series in particular becuase everyone chose great tapes and all legitamely have a shot at winnng. As they say, “May the best man win!”

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    CanadianFan
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    #325879

    This theory will be put to the test this year in the lead actor (drama) race. 

    I don’t know if there has ever been a better single tape for anyone in this category than Cranston’s “Ozymandias”. 

    EMPATHY: He sees his brother-in-law get shot in front of his very eyes
    RANGE: He goes from sympathetic to crazy to mad to enraged (taking the baby)… and then to remorseful and depressed when he calls Skylar.
    IMPACT: The entire episode. In every scene, Walt’s world crumbles around him.

    Furthermore, he is against the buzziest actor in the world, Matthew McConaughey, and he has two tapes because of Woody Harrelson. Finally, True Detective is the hot, new show whereas Breaking Bad has been over for almost a year. If Cranston wins, they definitely voted based on the tapes. 

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    montana82
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    #325880

    Isn’t Julia Louis Dreyfus character in Veep unsympathetic?  She has no problem winning.

    1. I think show quality is important.  Your show and the writing needs to be good. Some shows simply know how to write Emmy worthy scenes better than others.  Multiple actors from Breaking Bad, The Good Wife, Modern Family, Veep, and Homeland have had the most success recently.  When more than one castmember is winning from a show, that’s not an accident.  The writers give them a lot to do, the directors don’t screw it up, and they submit it to voters. I know some Parks and Rec fans won’t like this but that’s why Amy keeps losing.  Parks and Rec just feels so slight and her character so lightweight.   Mad Men simply does not give it’s actors the scenes and impact necessary to win (most times).

    2. You need to submit a quality tape to voters, not necassarily the best. Most people don’t win for stinkers. I actually had Merrit Wever in 4th and she personally would have been my 2nd choice to Krakowski last year so her tape has been unfairly maligned.  Most of the winners submit a good to great tape.

    3. Yes it helps to have a sympathetic/empathetic character.  Wever, Hale, Claire Danes, Kyle Chandler, all examples.

    4. Have at least 1 memorable scene.  Cannavale beat more fleshed out storylines for that one scene in Church.  Daniels won for that big rant scene.

    5. Be lucky.  Again all the categories have different voters.  70 people randomly selected.  We are all at their mercy.  Different panels look for different stuff.  No way of knowing.

    Jim Parsons keeps winning because of #2 and #3. He’s usually up against guys on bad shows like House of Lies and unsympathetic characters like Louie. 

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    CanadianFan
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    #325881

    JLD in Veep chose very sympathetic tapes. 

    In season one, she chose a tape that she cries in due to the relationship with her daughter. In season two, she chose a tape that she gets high in, so she is happier than ever. Finally, in season three, she chooses a tape where she is given the news that she will become President. She also redeems herself by calling her team a bunch of winners and having a great moment with Gary in the bathroom.

    She has never chosen a tape that shows Selina’s really nasty side. 

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    dude93
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    #325882

    I think ‘Tears’ was absolute Emmy bait (talk about range) but I do still wish that JLD submitted ‘Nicknames’ because I’d love to think that she won an Emmy for comparing a croissant to a dildo. But yeah, she knows how to submit episodes, it’s safe to say. 

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    nahborghi
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    #325883

    Since last year I’ve been saying that Hale won due to voting triage. Ty Burell, who as I remember was the frontrunner, probably split #1s votes with JTF, who had a good episode too, while Hale had sent his best episode – a truly supporting character, but with funny moments in it- and probably got a lot of #2s. In the end, the “less hurt” won.

    I do think episodes matter, but they’re not the primary cause of a win. There’s the high profile of actors, there’s buzz, there’s name-checking, and I think most voters watch shows that are under the Emmy radar, and have a pretty substancial view on the season-long arc of the actors. We don’t give them as much credit for it, but I doubt there’s people out there within the voting system that haven’t watched Breaking Bad. So, even with not-so-great submissions, actors that were consistently good can also win.

    That being said, when it comes to tapes, empathy is only a factor if the episode lacks impact. Wever’s tape was an okay episode, but she was very likeable, which made her stand out in the middle of over-the-top Krakowski, Bowen, Bialik, Lynch, Chlumsky and Vergara. In a field where most of the nominees didn’t have a good tape – I’d say only Krakowski’s was an Emmy-worthy tape- and most of them are either mean or crazy caricatures, a performance about a nice, real person might have given her the win. I will never agree with going for that instead of Jenna Maroney, but what can you do.

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    Jalal Haddad
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    #325884

    I am going to make a weird argument for why the tapes mattered for Merritt Wever. I think the submission tapes really helped her gain traction for people to fall in love with her character who was arguably the sweetest and most relatable in that category. It was her second nomination, as well as many previous nominations for Edie Falco and Bobby Cannavale.
    I think after a year or two enough people had judged categories where they had been introduced to her character and enough of them were collected together last year to get her through to a win.

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