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What's behind Emmy surprises? Were voters drunk?

August 29, 2010 |  9:18 pm

While most Emmy pundits correctly forecast the top races for best comedy and drama series, movie, mini and lead acting in movies/mini, we botched so many others. What happened?

Jim parsons emmys

Some pundits like me put too much emphasis on evaluating the episodes submitted to Emmy voters as examples of their best work. Usually, the longest episodes win, but appearing in two-hour specials of "Monk" and "House M.D." didn't help Tony Shalhoub or Hugh Laurie. Instead, another voter bias paid off for Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"): appearing drunk in "The Pants Alternative." Hollywood voters are suckers for that — Jeff Bridges just nabbed an Oscar for the awful "Crazy Heart" to prove it. Perhaps the theme of substance abuse helped Bryan Cranston to prevail for a third year in a row as crystal-meth cook in "Breaking Bad." Is it a coincidence that Edie Falco triumphed as a pill-gobbling hospital worker in "Nurse Jackie"?

Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer") had the strongest episode submission among all nominees for best drama actress, but we made the mistake of believing that buzz and momentum would carry along Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife") after previously winning the Golden Globe and SAG Award (and an Emmy victory in 1995 for "E.R."). Ditto for Globe and SAG champ Michael C. Hall ("Dexter"), who gave judges the powerhouse season finale episode but still wasn't enough to stop the Cranston momentum.

However, "The Amazing Race" Emmy juggernaut finally stalled. It didn't get derailed by "American Idol," as I had predicted, but by "Top Chef." That was one of the biggest shocks of the night along with Archie Panjabi's victory as supporting drama actress for "The Good Wife."

But "The Daily Show" romp, mysteriously, continues. Not even boatloads of Hollywood sentiment behind Conan O'Brien's "Tonight Show," the vast popularity of Betty White's stellar episode of "Saturday Night Live" or Stephen Colbert's gutsy visit to Iraq in his "Colbert Report" submission could topple "Daily Show." Why? I don't have a clue.

Turns out I didn't have a clue about a lot of Emmy categories this year. Easily, this was my worst bout ever as a pundit. I will continue my mea culpa Monday when I attempt to fathom further what happened tonight.

Photo: Jim Parsons in "The Pants Alternative" of "The Big Bang Theory." (CBS)

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The comments to this entry are closed.


Well.. I do love Archie Panjabi.. but I still think that Christina Hendricks should have won..

Cable and Network shows should NOT be competing against each other. They are both different mediums. Network can not do what cable shows can, so why are they included together? Mad Men and Cranston win for the third time!!WTF!!Did those voters really watch the episodes? I think not. They I bet just ticked off the same box as they did last year and the year before ect: I was heart boken for Hugh Laurie. What does that man have to do to win an EMMY, if ever a TV actor deserved this award its him. Do the voters really hate him that much, to want to put him through this humiliaton every year!! The EMMYs are a disgrace to television. They need to do a big overhaul of their voting practices!

I saw the episode that Archie Panjabi submitted and she was so great in it -- as she is in every episode of the good wife. I'm a bit tired of the mad men wins, is it really THAT good?

I was upset at Conan's loss, too, but the episode TDS submitted was Jon Stewart's 15-minute verbal demolition/castration/annihilation of anti-American terrorist Glenn Beck.

Not only did I not agree with most of the winners, but also this was one of the worst award shows I have ever seen. What happened to dignity in Hollywood? Guess it went out with the past actors of the Film Noir days.

The Daily Show proved everyone wrong this year who said that it'd be difficult for them to still be funny with someone they like in office, and the way they went after the conservative pundit machine this year was absolutely brilliant (as you saw from that clip breaking down the word "libertarian" on a chalk board a la Glen Beck). It's even gotten to the point where they, an admitted satirical news program, break news stories that puts other media sources to shame — like when they pointed out that FOX News, making a big commotion over one of the main funders of the Ground Zero Islamic Center project and the ties he has, whose second largest shareholder is that guy himself. The Daily Show got to it first, and though I think winning so many times consecutively might be a bit much, this season they deserved it in particular.

As for all the embittered LOST fans, they just need to get over it. It just wasn't that good of a show. People are always going to complain when the usual thing wins (The Daily Show) but they get ESPECIALLY mad in the upsets that you think would quell that side of whining. Most of these people complaining haven't even seen 90% of the shows nominated, and probably more among what actually won (hence why they must be so ~undeserving~).

Who watches these lame shows and who are these lame voters? No wonder people don't watch the Emmies like they used to. I remember the days when you knew the obvious winners because of good acting. NCIS and LOST should have that's ACTING.

Well said AK! I think this is sour grapes more than anything else. I'm not mad about these winners. Lots of fresh blood and truly exciting talents.

If the voters were drunk I dont know, but maybe asleep?
Typical - prices are won by actors we barely heard about, series that we never see win prices. Who decides??
Not one word mentions the one that gets Americas highest ratings: NCIS.
So I dont give one cent for this price-sircus.Pfffff
Go - NCIS - we wil continue to watch, because you're good!

All the usual suspects win and people complain. Now, a bunch of upset and newbie victories is followed by even more bitching?! You can't have it both ways. Are you just upset that you sucked at forecasting the winners this year?

I really want to know who this jury consists of that votes for these awards. I think they need some fresh faces on the panel.

And let me just say the actual ceremony was so boring. If you are going to split up each section into genre then don't put the two that everyone cares about in the beginning and then make us sit through the other stuff. Spread it out like: comedy, reality, variety, movie, and then drama.

Every year I have to remind myself, "This is the Emmys. The people voting probably don't have the best taste, nor are they as informed as the average critic (or even average TV viewer). So don't kick yourself when your favorite shows don't get recognized".

Kyra Sydwick? Really? Random actress from The Good Wife? Freaking Jim Parsons? What?

I love Mad Men and Breaking Bad as much as the next viewer, but seriously, if the Academy can't recognize and reward LOST for it's audacious, ambitious and overall successful final season (and for helping change the television landscape forever), then they deserve to continue to lose credibility. Moreover, it was a spit in the face to Jack Bender, who directed a 1 hour and 44 minute movie masquerading as a television show. Dexter is great as well, but I just rewatched the episode it won far--something with seemingly no flash and little afterthought to its usual process. And don't get me started on Giacchino not winning best score (ugh).

Aaron Paul is a welcomed addition so I can't argue with that. As much as I LOVE Cranston and believe he might be the second coming of Christ, I think Jon Hamm had a powerhouse season and Matthew Fox had a great tape as well. It's wins like this that make me think that the Emmys is on autopilot now. Does anyone actually watch any tapes?

Screw you, Emmys. You continue to perpetually disappoint.

Did you hear the crowd after "Daily Show" won? It was virtually silent. Very telling.



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