Emmys reinstate separate categories for movies' lead and supporting actors

By Tom O'Neil
By Tom O'Neil
Apr 18 2013 22:41 pm
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Oct 08 2015 11:08 am
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Just two weeks prior to the May 3 deadline for contenders to declare their category placement upon entering the Emmy race, TV academy chiefs dropped a controversial rule that combined the lead and supporting categories for movies/miniseries actors.

Previously, the Board of Governors claimed that they bunched the two classifications together because of a shortage of longform programs on TV. However, after the board met on Thursday night, the academy issued this statement to explain the curious flip-flop: "Longform production has increased.  Based on the unanticipated resurgence of television miniseries and movies, the board voted tonight to reverse the consolidation, thereby reinstating the longform lead and supporting categories in the 65th Emmy Awards competition. This year as last year, there will be separate longform categories for Outstanding Lead and Supporting, Actors and Actresses (four total categories)."

Predict all four movie/mini acting categories as well as the rest of the primetime Emmy races here

That explanation is rubbish, of course. The true reason for the policy change is because board members have grown weary of outcries over the lunacy of combining the categories in the first place. Academy chiefs won't admit it, but they tried to drop the two acting slots in order to streamline the ceremony telecast.

Similar pressure has caused the Screen Actors Guild Awards and Golden Globes to do equally ridiculous category grouping. It's illogical, but the SAG Awards have lead and supporting categories for film acting, but not TV performances. The Golden Globes have separate categories for lead actors in drama series, comedy series and movies/minis, but the supporting players in all three program genres are bunched together in races according to gender.

Why don't all of these showbiz awards just surrender to the logic of having consistent, separate award categories for lead and supporting races and spare poor telecast viewers from having to endure more inane segments full of bad jokes and lousy musical numbers by Hollywood professionals? The time is better spent focusing on TV stars with talent.

Emmys: Why Do They Hate Sci-Fi and Fantasy Shows?

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

Over the years, Emmy has demonstrated an affinity for certain familiar genres in the races for Best Comedy and Best Drama: the family sitcom (“The Cosby Show,” “Modern Family”), the office comedy (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Office”), the police procedural (“Hill Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue”) and the courtroom drama (“The Defenders,” “The Practice”). And the races for Best TV Movie and Miniseries have been filled with historical biopics (“Eleanor and Franklin,” “John Adams”) and literary adaptations (“Roots,” “Nicholas Nickleby”).

But Emmy has continually turned a blind eye to science-fiction and fantasy programs. The following 25 programs tried to overcome Emmy's sci-fi/fantasy curse and while some fared better than others, none but "Lost" were able to take the top prize.

Above: She saved the world a lot. But despite the protestations of critics, neither the show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" nor lead actress Sarah Michelle Gellar were ever nominated for Emmys. Series creator Joss Whedon received a single writing nod in 2000, losing to "The West Wing"; to date, that is the only time a show on the WB, UPN, or CW networks has ever been nominated for an award presented on the Emmy telecast.

Click arrow to right of photo to see how 24 other sci-fi and fantasy shows fared at the Emmys.

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'
'The Jetsons'
'Star Trek'
'The Bionic Woman'
'Fantasy Island'
'Mork & Mindy'
'Star Trek: The Next Generation'
'Quantum Leap'
'The X-Files'
'Xena: Warrior Princess'
'3rd Rock from the Sun'
'Gulliver's Travels'
'The Twilight Zone'
'Joan of Arcadia'
'Battlestar Galactica'
'Pushing Daisies'
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