This recent Emmy awards was probably the only time I can recall that the winners were just as befuddled by their wins as the people watching. It's difficult to understand how these various associations and foundations make their decisions sometimes. One would think that people who make the choices in awards for TV, or movies, or music, would have a pretty well rounded understanding about the field for which they're awarding prizes. You'd also expect that they'd have a good grasp on who was excelling in their field that year, and as a result, who deserves awards in the various categories they judge. Lately it seems like just the opposite of all that is true. These award shows are starting to resemble a corporate sponsored rigged game, with winners chosen from whomever lobbied the hardest or were simply the most recognizable or agreeable name on a list. They certainly don't seem interested in awarding people who have excelled the most. Or at least, they aren't making that important distinction the foremost aspect of their decision-making process.
That's assuming they actually utilize some kind of decision-making process. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they were just scrolling down a list until they find a name they recognized. How else does John Cryer keep winning awards for the abomination that is Two and a Half Men and inspired shows like Parks and Recreation receive absolutely zero recognition for anything? How does a guy who never says a word in the whole movie, beat out George Clooney for Best Actor in one of his most inspired performances? And how the hell do these inane piles of pop music shit make it to the Grammy's or the MTV Music Awards, while great bands with groundbreaking music languish in obscurity?
I don't know, am I being a snob? Is Homeland really better in pretty much every category it was nominated in than shows like Mad Men, or Breaking Bad, or Boardwalk Empire? Yes, it is a good show. Worthy of a near sweep though? Same thing with THE ARTIST. Certainly a big favorite of many a critic. Featured on lots of "Best Of" lists last year. Was it really the best though? And is it really fair that the movies that release during the so called Oscar season take the lion's share of nominations? Aren't they forgetting about the previous eleven months worth of movies? I wont even begin to try to weed through all the mess of record company promoted ear fungus that commonly take home statues at the various music awards.
I'm not going to get bogged down in personal preference here. Maybe you liked all those winners, maybe you didn't. If you're like me and find yourself disagreeing with how these people handle their award distribution, then you're probably somewhat curious about who does the nominating and voting? Do they have any business in that capacity? Most of these awarding academies tend to keep their membership a secret. Which means that it could be just about anyone deciding the fate of your favorite actor, movie, show, or band. Whoever they are, they seem to be the ones with enough free time to go through the whole nomination and evaluation process, which for some awards, is fairly lengthy. In other words, probably not the folks with a lot of gigs on the horizon. Does it sound like a good idea that those in less demand decide who deserves the prizes?
Also, it's unlikely that everyone voting in these various Academies has seen or heard the entirety of everything they vote on. They're probably not sitting around all day, flipping channels and filling up their DVRs with every show on TV (although someone who touts themselves as worthy of voting on the best of TV should probably be doing just that kind of thing). Depending on the medium, getting a complete familiarity with an unknown production could take several hours. So what they probably all saw or heard was some kind of digest, the best moments of a TV show and whatnot. Does that sound like a reasonable way to get informed about things you've never seen? Could one ever be up to speed with an entire TV show's storyline by viewing a few scenes out of context?
I also have to wonder about how pure these votes are. There's a lot of money and clout riding on who takes home their little gold statue. Winners of an Oscar or a Grammy or an Emmy can parlay that into more work, more albums, more seasons for their show. And since everybody knows everybody in Hollywood, how do we know a judge with connections, or desiring connections, isn't biased in their vote? Or maybe they're just lazy. They've seen the Daily Show, they like John Stewart and political comedy, so they nominate it 10 years in a row, just for brevity's sake.
Clearly what we're dealing with here is an inexact science. It was always going to be, considering that it's all riding on the opinion and personal preference of a select group of individuals. The entire concept of voting and nominating people for anything is all about bias for one person over another. And as such, these nominations are always going to provoke rebuke and resentment from people who disagree with them. Still, some resentments are more deserving than others.
Many more things seem to be entering into these Academies' voting processes than the pure desire to seek out the best of the best. I'm sure there are bylaws that instruct AMPAAS and ATASF members to keep unreasonable influences out of their voting processes. In the light of all that rides on these awards, those are probably very difficult rules to abide by, not to mention enforce. As they say, this isn't business - it's show business. And folks in show business tend to make up the rules as they go. I certainly hope none of this corruption is taking place. I'd like to believe the best man, so to speak, will always take home the prize. Yet, the repeated nominations and awards going to academy darlings and back-to-back-to-back wins of the same shows year after year, leads me to believe that some compromise of the system is taking place. They would do well to make every effort to minimize this from now on. Any more of this overt favoritism and these Academies will completely erode away what little interest remains in who they think was best at anything.