Smart Reads: Emmys 2013 Edition

EmmyAwards

The Emmys are like the Mad Men season 6 of awards shows – sometimes they’re entertaining and insightful and perfectly represent the talent involved. And sometimes they just suck.


Last year, for example, Maggie Smith steamrolled her hard-working, publicity-seeking fellow nominees for the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama and didn’t even show up. Claire Danes (who by all accounts did deserve her award) appeared dressed in a bright yellow sack. And speaking of Mad Men season 6, last year that show was supposed to break the record for most consecutive Emmy wins for Best Drama. Instead, Mad Men set a different record: biggest losing streak ever. 17 nominations for Mad Men in 2012. Zero wins. I still lose sleep over the injustice.

On the other hand, there was this magical moment:

The awards that are supposed to be honoring a medium of entertainment currently experiencing a huge renaissance have been for the last half decade or so, uneven and silly. The awards ceremonies themselves have often been criticized as tedious as well, given the many arbitrary categories and sheer number of event attendees. Linda Holmes put it best in her recap of last year’s show, when she said, “The combination of a lot of expected and uninspiring winners and a lackluster show made for an evening that ultimately didn’t do justice to how much good television there is right now.”

This year, in the midst of the internet craze that is Breaking Bad’s series finale, and an ever-shifting landscape of new technologies (the “watch-as-it-airs” vs “Netflix-binge” debate continues) the Emmy nomination list contains many of the same names it’s had again and again in recent years. Modern Family, despite the fact nobody cares about it anymore, continues its ubiquitous reign. Jon Stewart, after a straight decade of dominating the¬†Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series Emmy, is unlikely to suddenly lose to any of his nominee buddies. The Emmys, like any entertainment awards, are a lose-lose situation. Regardless of the results, not everyone is going to be happy, and many deserving TV-makers will fail to be recognized. I just wish the awards for such an increasingly important medium were able to make more TV fans happy, more hard-working artists recognized, than in the past. I’ll be tuning in this Sunday night (maybe even live-tweeting!) to judge red carpet looks, bask in the NPH glow, and of course, cheer on Mad Men.

  • Vulture has well-informed opinions about the chances of contenders in the comedy, drama,¬†miniseries, late-night and reality categories. I particularly like that they’re rooting for the Mad Men actors, none of whom have ever won an Emmy.
  • Emily Nussbaum points out there’s so much excellent television right now, the nominations list inspired her to emotionally invest in the Emmys, for once. She accurately calls caring about such things “a terrible slippery slope.”
  • Kate Aurthur over at Buzzfeed breaks down the nominations list, makes her own astute predictions, and is rooting for all the right people.
  • Matt Zoller Seitz offers his thoughts on Emmy races he’s excited about. His description of Jane Krakowski’s performance on 30 Rock is spot-on. It’s stiff competition, but I’ve got my fingers crossed too.
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