So what are these rules? They’re actually pretty simple:
Rule 1: Winners win….until you know, they don’t.
The Emmys are unique among entertainment awards shows in that the same show or people can win year after year. The equivalent at the Oscars would be for last year’s Best Picture winner to win again this year. It doesn’t happen at the Tonys, the Grammys or the Oscars, just the Emmys and any other awards show that touches on TV. And the Emmys tend to give awards to previous season’s winners.
Rule 2: The “Hot New Thing” can overturn previous season’s winners, but it’s the academy that decide what the hot new thing is.
Funny thing about the TV awards. The people who choose the nominees and who vote for the winners don’t actually watch a hell of a lot of TV. TV critics (the pros) watch a lot of TV but the people at the TV academy are too busy working making TV shows to actually watch TV shows on a regular basis. What they know about what’s hot and what’s not is generally based on ratings and buzz and whatever they decide is “quality” TV this year.
Rule 3: Premium cable trumps basic cable which trumps broadcast TV.
And by premium cable I mean HBO. This year HBO had 40 nominations, while Showtime had nine and Cinemax (!) had one. Those 40 nominations for HBO were greater than ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC combined although when you factor PBS into the mix it is greater. We don’t know yet were streaming video factors into this except to say that while they get more nominations than The CW, Amazon and Netflix have had very limited success.
Rule 4: Fantasy and Science Fiction don’t win… unless they come from HBO.
In fact Fantasy and Science Fiction shows almost never get nominations unless they’re on HBO. Battlestar Galactica may have been one of the best shows on all of TV during its run but never earned a Primetime Emmy nomination. Creative Arts Emmys sure, but not Emmy’s from Writing, Directing or Acting, let alone Outstanding Drama Series which are the categories being awarded on Sunday.
Let’s take a look at the series and acting categories and apply the rules. I’ll put the rule number that applies to the person or show beside their name.
Outstanding Supporting Actor Comedy
- Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, FOX (2)
- Titus Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix (2)
- Ty Burrell, Modern Family, ABC (1)
- Adam Driver, Girls, HBO (3)
- Tony Hale, Veep, HBO (1, 3)
- Keegan-Michael Key, Key and Peele, Comedy Central
Outstanding Supporting Actress Comedy
- Mayim Bialik, Big Bang Theory, CBS
- Julie Bowen, Modern Family, ABC (1)
- Anna Chlumsky, Veep, HBO (3)
- Gaby Hoffman, Transparent, Amazon (2)
- Allison Janney, Mom, CBS (1)
- Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix (2)
- Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live, NBC
- Niecy Nash, Getting On, HBO (3)
Outstanding Supporting Actor Drama
- Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul, AMC (2)
- Jim Carter, Downton Abbey, PBS
- Alan Cumming, The Good Wife, CBS
- Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones, HBO (1,3,4)
- Michael Kelly, House of Cards, Netflix
- Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline, Netflix
Outstanding Supporting Actress Drama
- Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black, Netflix
- Christine Baranski, The Good Wife, CBS
- Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones, HBO (3, 4)
- Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey, PBS
- Lena Headey, Game of Thrones, HBO (3, 4)
- Christina Hendricks, Mad Men, AMC
Outstanding Lead Actor Comedy
- Anthony Anderson, Black-ish, ABC (2)
- Don Cheadle, House of Lies, Showtime (3)
- Louis C.K., Louie, FX (3)
- Will Forte, The Last Man on Earth, Fox (2)
- Matt LeBlanc, Episodes, Showtime (3)
- William H. Macy, Shameless, Showtime (3)
- Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent, Amazon (2)
Outstanding Lead Actress Comedy
- Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie, Showtime (1,3)
- Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback, HBO (3)
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep, HBO (1,3)
- Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation, NBC
- Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer, Comedy Central (2)
- Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie, Netflix
Outstanding Lead Actor Drama
- Kyle Chandler, Bloodline, Netflix
- Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom, HBO (1, 3)
- Jon Hamm, Mad Men, AMC
- Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul, AMC (2)
- Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan, Showtime (3)
- Kevin Spacey, House of Cards, Netflix
Outstanding Lead Actress Drama
- Claire Danes, Homeland, Showtime (1, 3)
- Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder, ABC (2)
- Taraji P. Henson, Empire, Fox (2)
- Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black, BBC America (4)
- Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men, AMC
- Robin Wright, House of Cards, Netflix
Outstanding Comedy Series
- Louie, FX
- Modern Family, ABC (1)
- Parks and Recreation, NBC
- Silicon Valley, HBO (3)
- Transparent, Amazon (2)
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix
- Veep, HBO (3)
Outstanding Drama Series
- Better Call Saul, AMC (2)
- Downton Abbey, PBS
- Game of Thrones, HBO (3, 4)
- Homeland, Showtime (1, 3)
- House of Cards, Netflix
- Mad Men, AMC (1)
- Orange Is the New Black, Netflix
The 67th Annual Emmy Awards will be seen Sunday, September 20 on FOX. Watch this space to see how well I and the “rules” I came up with do.
Update: The rules had a .600 Batting Average which is really rather good, although I will have to tinker with them more for next year. Details to follow.