Emmys Whats Wrong With Them Now
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
A COMPLICATED JUDGING SYSTEM AND SURPRISING OMISSIONS TARNISH DAYTIME'S SHINING NIGHT
In recent years, it seems like no sooner are the Daytime Emmy nominees announced than someone is complaining. "In 30 years of this and through 12 nominations, there have been all kinds of attempts and different ways of nominating and choosing winners, and I don't think we've quite gotten it right yet," admits Anthony Geary (Luke, GENERAL HOSPITAL), who is up for Outstanding Lead Actor.
This year, however, seemed particularly contentious as certain seemingly surefire stars got snubbed. Soap fans, actors and industry people alike were stunned by the near-ABC shutout. One Alphabet Network actor, who requested anonymity remarks: "What was the deal? I know it has to be something political, but you'd think it would swing in favor of the network carrying the show [laughs] I don't want to sound like sour grapes, but I'm not going to support that.... Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to acting class now because apparently, I suck."
Aside from a lopsided network representation, there was confusion over the judging process. TV Guide columnist Michael Logan explains, "Their big problem this year is the voting criterion that they used, which was they asked all the judges voting for the actors to judge the reels that they were looking at in three categories: creativity, content and execdtion. It used to be you watched the damn performances and then you rated them. They are making them vote in categories that are, first of all, not clear. One would think that content was a writer's thing. And then execution, is that like acting? And the other one, creativity, are you going to penalize the ones that just deliver it straight without the bells and whistles, like Susan Flannery [Stephanie, BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL] or Jon Hensley [Holden, AS THE WORLD TURNS]? If you're doing a lot of unnecessary s---, if you're hanging from the chandeliers, then you get a higher grade? And if you're just giving a real, honest delivery like Flannery, then you get downgraded for that?"
There were also complaints that the judges were expected to watch, too many submission reels. Geary shares, "I didn't know there was all that controversy going on until I spoke to one of my colleagues who told me that people have complained about too many things to watch. I can tell you that I was on the blue-ribbon panel of the Best Actress nominations and I did sit through, gosh, 28 or 30, 20-30-minute DVDs. I didn't think it was excessive. I ,c thought it was a lot to sit through, but took it very seriously and I did it over, three-week period. And, I did do no than three to four a night because I w to be fresh. I took it seriously. I watched every minute of every submis sion because that's only fair if you're going to agree to do this." "Judging is very time-consuming. It takes patience," echoes Marj Dusay (Alexandra, GUIDING LIGHT) who has judged Emmy reels in the past, but did not do so this year.
Not everyone had that attitude. Logan tattles, "People were going cross-eyed. One voter said they had to have a couple of scotches to get through it."
Perhaps slogging through so many tapes might have been more palatable if those judges felt that all the material was up to par. The anonymous ABC actor muses, "Emmys, to me, are about celebrating the best in whatever category and that's not what happened here. I know for a fact that [pre-nominees] were supposed to have two episodes that were the best things they'd done in their lives and from the ones I saw, they weren't."
Logan says, "Nobody knew that the system was being shaken up and it was shaken up in virtually every way. For a while there, it was like two people in each category. This time, they broadened it to three. In some cases, especially the younger categories, that allowed a lot of dead weight on those ballots and part of the reason people were bitching about having to look at so much is that they were looking at so much crap."
This year, the Younger Actress catego was a lightning rod for criticism. Stars like GH's Kirsten Storms (Maxie) and OLTL' Kristen Alderson (Starr), who very capab shouldered major storylines, were looked, while three relative unknowns, Tammin Sursok (Colleen), Emily O'Brien (Jana) and Vail Bloom (Heather), were all nominated. from Y&R. Interestingly, that show's leading younger actress, Christel Khalil, didn't make the cut. Talent manager Michael Bruno says: "The thing that strikes me as so odd, which is what everyone is saying, is the three you watched younger girls from Y&R. When you kinda see that one and look at the list, it seems like it's off. If those three girls weren't in that, I think the other nominations would seem less jarring. If I hadn't seen that, I'd be like, `Okay, these people ... yeah, they all deserve it: But yeah, as soon as I saw those three girls, I didn't even know who they were and I do this for a living! So, then I went, 'Something's wrong here: "
Logan sighs, "There are certain people who, over the long haul, never get in there at all. Katherine Kelly Lang [Brooke, B&B] is one of them, Laura Wright [Carly, GH] — never nominated."
Dusay offers: "This business is not fair. There are wonderful performances by people who don't get an Emmy. Its very subjective. Judging comes down to very personal things. Do they have a tic that bugs you? Sometimes, people [who are nomi nated] just get lucky. It's very happenstance."
Geary says, "I don't knowhow to fix it. It's not a science. Giving actors awards is a difficult thing to do unless you took the same scene, same director and had five nominees do it. There'd be no way to choose who's best. It's such an incredi- ble, symbiotic relationship between the material and the performance. So much of it depends on the material. Nobody gets nominated or wins an award with crappy material.
It never happens. It's not an objective thing. It's subjective and choosing a winner among submissions is not as easy or clear-cut as one might think."