Tag Archives: Tom O’Neil

The Zero Sum Game: Why The Emmys Can Never Be Perfect

In writing this editorial, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: I am greatly appreciative of the great work that Tom O’Neil does at The Envelope’s Gold Derby Blog in getting inside scoops on the Emmy Top 10s and creating important discussion about these awards. He is clearly highly committed to this process, and I have great respect for him and his coverage.

But, one of my nagging issues about Gold Derby is its reliance on searching out any potential flaws in the Emmy system and exploiting them in ways that just don’t make any sense. Earlier this week, I was outright flabbergasted at the theory that the reason some favourites didn’t get nominated was because they hadn’t submitted a picture to sit beside their entry on the official list. It’s one thing to mention this off hand (And one voter did mention it to Tom, hence the article), it’s another to turn it into a potential widespread conspiracy. Heck, even his own article listed off all sorts of other competitors who didn’t have pictures but were still shortlisted.

But this is the trend, and a dangerous one. We’re always highly critical of the Emmy Awards process due to the various reformations of the past few years, and while I’m not suggesting that we ignore the negatives in favour of the positives I do think that we need to stop extrapolating grand theories from the exclusions. O’Neil’s latest editorial, continuing to paint his oft-favoured picture of the recent Emmy changes as a conspiracy to get Lost back into the main category, devolves into the usual complaint that the Emmys screwed over The Wire and other low-rated programs.

Has Emmy Wandered Off Base – GoldDerby

And I’m not defending the Emmys’ decision to exclude that great HBO series, but rather defending the system from being to “blame” for the exclusion. While the method that they’ve developed is certainly not perfect, there is no way it can be: like the traditional zero sum game, everything you add to one side will simply be taken away from the other. This journey of Emmy overhaul is likely not over, but every single snub or every single surprise cannot be taken as a pattern to be jumped on, or ironed out. And, this year in particular, the positives seem to have won the day, something that should not lead to such extensive deconstruction of the Emmy process.

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