MaHB / TV: And the Nomination Should Have Gone To…

Esquire Malaysia, October 2015

The Americans
Image: Margo Martindale, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys in ‘The Americans’

And The Nomination Should Have Gone To…
Where the Emmys got it wrong, in my humble opinion of course.

By Sophia Goh

You can’t please everyone. That is true of a lot of things – what you wear, whom you invite to your wedding, whether or not the world needs another reboot of a classic TV series (the answer: that depends on which one). But never is that truth more evident than during a major awards show, when, having already disappointed probably 90% of the industry who weren’t nominated, they proceed to disappoint 90% of the people who were actually invited to be there.

By the time you read this, the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards will be over. To the winners: Congratulations! To the losers: Think of those who didn’t even get nominated. I don’t envy the Emmy voters. No matter whom/what they pick, there will always be people who disagree. Every couch potato has an opinion, and award shows are a wonderful opportunity to make those opinions known. Also, nothing bonds TV addicts together like having a common target against which to point their collective indignation.

So instead of waxing lyrical about the winners and how well (or badly) everyone did at this year’s awards, I want to list three Emmy snubs that I thought were the most outrageous. All of you did amazing work this past year, and this fan thanks you for your service.

1. Empire

I still can’t believe Empire was left out of the drama series category. Arguably the most talked-about new show of 2015, the hip-hop drama wasn’t perfect, but it was a pretty damn good first season. Everything from the predominantly African-American cast to the music to the gay African-American lead character were a breath of fresh air. Even though the best thing to come out of the series, Cookie Lyon, did earn Taraji P Henson a Best Actress in a Drama nod, that’s still small consolation for a show many thought would be a shoo-in for its category.

2. The Americans

Why don’t Emmy voters like The Americans? With a fourth season due next year, the Russian spy drama series starring Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell is freaking good television, but has yet to land an Emmy nomination in a major category. If you haven’t already done so, consider this my public service announcement: go check it out.

3. Jim Parsons

Jim Parsons a.k.a. Sheldon Cooper has won Best Actor in a Comedy a record-tying four times – joining Carroll O’Connor for All in the Family, Kelsey Grammer for Frasier, and Michael J. Fox for Family Ties and Spin City – but this year he won’t get a shot at a fifth. Emmy voters not only left him out; they left The Big Bang Theory out of the Best Comedy category too.

Fortunately, although the Emmys might have gotten these wrong, they did get some things very right. Following 2014’s historical nomination of the first openly transgender actor – Laverne Cox for Orange Is The New Black – the TV Academy took another progressive step towards diversity this year by nominating African-American actresses Henson and Viola Davis from How to Get Away With Murder in the Best Actress in a Drama category.

The move was all the more significant after the Oscars brouhaha, which further underlines my view that television is a much better place to be than the movies. To recap: all 20 of this year’s Academy Award acting nominations went to only white actors and actresses, which is just the second time in two decades that this has happened. Who knows? At the rate they’re going, we might even see an Asian acting nominee in the next five years.