[The following is a post I wrote last year around this time, explaining how the Emmy Awards nomination process works. Tomorrow is the deadline for the first stage of the process, where the popular vote will be completed and the Top 10s will be tabulated. Look for more coverage here at Cultural Learnings of the various categories as the process continues, but in the meantime enjoy this updated explanation.]
Tomorrow, June 20th, the first stage of the Emmy Nomination process ends. Getting nominated for an Emmy Award is not an easy task, and the entire process was recently made even more complicated in an effort to create fairness. To help you follow the process as it unfolds over the next month, here’s a rundown on how the decision is made and who benefits from each stage.
Stage One: The Popular Vote
How it Works: Voters select their favourite candidate from all individuals who have submitted themselves for nomination. They read For Your Consideration ads, watch screeners, but in the end likely just pick who they like, allowed to vote for as many as Ten candidates who gets more points the higher they are on their list.
Who it Benefits: Shows that are either perennial nominees or extremely buzz-worthy, and actors that are well-known in Hollywood. Thus, voters don’t really even need to see what these candidates have to offer, they just assume they’re really good. Examples of shows that perform well at this stage are big winners last year like 30 Rock, current awards season sensation Mad Men, or highly rated shows like Grey’s Anatomy, while perennial Emmy favourites like Julia Louis-Dreyfus (New Adventures of Old Christine) or William Shatner (Boston Legal) will place highly based on their past acclaim.
Who it Harms: Ratings-deprived, critically acclaimed programs without any of the above, and actors or actresses who lack star power or past Emmys attention. Friday Night Lights and The Wire are generally the two best examples, shows that so few people watch that their unquestioned quality (Mostly unquestioned, anyways) goes unrecognized when they can’t make their Top 10. Performers, meanwhile, have an even tougher time even on hit shows; multiple Lost performers will make it onto the next part of the process, but for relative unknowns like Yunjin Kim standing out amongst over 100 other names is tougher. It also does nothing for fan favourite shows, as Emmy voters don’t tend to watch recently canceled shows like Jericho or Moonlight, and therefore they have very little chance of emerging out of this round.
Stage Two: The Top 10 Run-Off
How it Works: The Top 10 series from the popular vote are isolated and screened in front of a blue ribbon panel. Each show/actor/actress selects an episode that will be screened for the panel if it makes the Top 10. They also prepare a short written statement explaining their show and the episode in context with the show. For example, should Mad Men make the Best Drama Series panel (Count on it), they will be screening the shows’s pilot, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.”
Then, each member of the panel will rank the shows from 1 to 10, and a final ranking will be decided.