I created this infographic to show some stats I’ve discovered as I researched Black actors at the Emmy awards. I focused on the acting, directing, and writing categories and found some interesting things. In addition to the facts on the graphic, below are some other facts I couldn’t fit on there.
The category with the most wins? Best Writing in a Variety Show (8) (Though, those are split between just 3 people: Wyatt Cenac with 4 from the Daily Show and Chris Rock with 4. Wanda Sykes has two co-won with Chris.), followed by Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama (8) and Lead Actor in a Drama (5).
I think Chris Rock and Wanda Sykes are the only black duo to win.
Best Lead Actor in a Drama has 5 wins but there hasn’t been a winner since 1998 and no one has even been nominated since 2001 (Andre Braugher was the last in both wins and noms for the category).
There wasn’t a single nomination for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy in the 90s. Not one. (Weren’t the 90s the heyday of black sitcoms?)
Phylicia Rashad is the last actress to be nominated for BestLead Actress in a Comedy, back in 1986. Did the Emmy voting committee really not see Tracee Ellis Ross in blackish this year? Or any of the other black actresses in the last 30 years? The last person to win in that category was Isabel Sanford (The Jeffersons) back in 1981.
Viola Davis in 2015 became the first black woman to win BestLead Actress in a Drama.
There hasn’t been a black winner of Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy since Robert Guillaume won for Soap in 1979.
No black male has won Best Supporting Actor in a Drama and there are no nominees this year (2015).
No black actress has won Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy since 1987, when Jackee Harry won for 227.
In acting, there are 255 nominations to date, with 41 total wins.
No black actress has won for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama since 1993 (Mary Alice, I’ll Fly Away).
I’m waiting for Chandra Wilson or Debbie’s Allen to be nominated for best director on Grey’s Anatomy. One day. So far, only three women have ever been nominated (Debbie Allen back in 1989 among them). None have won.
Shonda Rhimes, Dee Rees and Wanda Sykes are the only black women nominated for Best Writing in any category.
Larry Wilmore is the only black writer to be nominated for Best Writing in a Comedy. He won the year he was nominated in 2002 for The Bernie Mac Show.
The Emmys are this week! With that comes the speculation, the anticipation, and the inevitable consolation when your pick loses in their category (I expect to need lots of consolation). But I don’t want to talk about the nominees, I want to talk about Emmy herself.
Only recently have I ever wondered about the process of how awards are made. You’ve probably never seen an Emmy ® or an Oscar up close and in person (if you have, who are you and how did you find this tiny blog?), so it’s easy to dismiss where they come from. But they’re made somewhere, right? They don’t just appear from the sky into the winners hands, someone places an order, a company sculpts them, they’re shipped out to the award ceremony location, and stamped with the winners. So I decided to do a little research into how the award statuettes are made (and other random facts).
According to the Emmy website, he Emmy ® statuette was designed by television engineer Louis McManus, who used his wife as the model. There’s gotta be something to the Oscar being a guy and the Emmy being a woman… There is the simple fact that Oscar was already a guy, so why not make the second biggest award in the industry a woman (and clearly a woman admired by the designer)? However there are some subtle correlations between the lauded importance of film (especially back in the day) and the second-class treatment of television (until the recent Golden Age where movie stars want to do TV and not because their careers are in the crapper). But this isn’t the point of this post.
Concerning the look of the statuette: “The wings represent the muse of art; the atom the electron of science.” It’s really easy to forget that television (and film as well) were scientific endeavors when they first began. We take the mechanisms behind it for granted, but television’s debut at the 1939 World’s Fair was basically someone presenting their giant science project. The Emmy represents both the art of the acting/directing/writing, but the science of cinematography and sound and color awarded in the (two) ceremonies today. (Those Creative Arts Emmys seem to often represent the more science-y side, despite its name. Those awards are given out the week before and aren’t widely televised like the regular award ceremony.)
Harry Lubcke, a pioneer television engineer and the third Academy president, suggested “Immy,” a term commonly used for the early image orthicon camera (there goes the science part again). The name stuck and was later modified to Emmy, which members thought was more appropriate for a female symbol. (x)
Each year, the R.S. Owens company in Chicago (who also make the Oscar, seen below) is charged with manufacturing over 400 statuettes ordered for the Primetime Emmys, which are awarded at the Creative Arts ceremony and Primetime Emmy telecast. As we get more and more television and the Emmys make adjustments to categories (like splitting up the miniseries category), I’m sure this will mean more Emmys to produce. R.S. Owens has been manufacturing the Oscar and Emmy Award trophies since 1983, after taking over from C.W. Shumway & Sons. In addition, between two hundred fifty and three hundred statuettes are ordered annually for the Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards, honoring excellence in local broadcasting. I think other local awards are produced elsewhere.
Here is a photo of Emmys in various stages of completion:
The possibility of multiple winners is why the number of statuettes ordered varies each year. And don’t multiple writers on a show that wins best writing in a series get Emmys? (Otherwise, when the show is over, who keeps the Emmy? Writing duos wouldn’t just pass one back and forth every six months.) That would change how many people get a physical trophy as well, since some shows’ numbers differ. Surplus awards are saved for the following year’s ceremony.
Other Emmys Facts
Each custom casting is hand poured and takes five-and-one-half hours to make and is handled with white gloves to prevent fingerprints.
Emmys labels, declaring your name and category) used to (and probably sometimes still) be mailed to winners. But recently, the Governor’s Ball (held after the ceremony) hired an engraver to do it on the spot. (x)
The local South East chapter of the Emmys will replace your lost Emmy for a fee! (x) But what are you doing that you lose your EMMY?!
Each statuette costs about $400 to make and consist mostly of cheap metals, dipped in liquid gold. This cost is then passed on to the Emmy winners, as they’re required to purchase the statuette if they’d actually like to keep the award. (HuffPost) Woah! Imagine a show like Fraiser, which has won 37 TIMES (in various categories over 11 years)! But for a successful show/actor who just won an Emmy, the cost must be nothing compared to the increased pay, recognition, offers you must receive after getting the award.
The Emmy ® statuette must always appear facing left. ALWAYS.
As I’ve blogged before, summer 2015 basically became a blog hiatus, but during that time, I tried to brainstorm ways to be a more productive blogger. In addition to TV reviews (I’ll be reviewing FOUR shows this season so far! Wish me luck!) and ConStar Clicks, I want to have more original stuff too. I was inspired by the monthly themes over on Girls in Capes, which I thought might be a great way to kickstart more writing. So each month, I will (should, because I like to push myself but also be honest with myself) have a different theme! Hopefully I can add other non-themed posts in there too, but it’s all in the effort to write/blog more.
I’ve been slacking on the #Clicks lately, I know. I’ve been either writing elsewhere, trying to finish my spec script, or watching Pulp Fiction for the first time. Also, haven’t found that many worthy articles. But, here are a few things, including some shameless self-promotion. This just in! The Emmy’s have cleaned-up their category rules: comedy’s are now defined as series 30 minutes or less (blocking shows like Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin from being nom’ed in the Comedy category), but have also expanded categories selections from 5 to 7 nominees to make room for the crowding. As James Poniewozik said,
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”>
Appreciate Emmys trying to clarify, but real issue is a lot of best TV today is neither strictly drama/comedy http://t.co/RmlLrEP8ZD
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) February 20, 2015
There simply just needs to be a dramedy category (adding two slots per category basically gives Dramedy 4 slots if you just include Best Comedy/Drama. Instead of squeezing everyone between two, spread the love between three!), as I explain here: The Emmys Need New Categories. The article also says that “guest” stars who are in more than 50% of the series episodes are no longer eligible (which, though I love her, is how Uzo Aduba won for OitNB. Not fair to actual guest actors and not fair to her for not being allowed to submit for supporting actor!). This LA Times article discusses how the diverse TV shows this year—and their phenomenal ratings—means that people are finally seeing that black shows (by nature of the shows presented) and diverse casts are winning this year. From Scandal beginning the wave to How to Get Away with Murder, Empire, and Black-ish all seeing increases—some record breaking—in their already high, premiere ratings, does this mean execs are finally seeing the value in diverse content? I surely hope so. And as much as I love Shonda Rhimes, I hope she is paving the way for more opportunities from other people of color and that ABC in particular aren’t just going to continue to default to her for their diverse offerings. Follow her example and find others to nurture and support and give their own platform. Though written before Fresh Off the Boat‘s premiere, I know that show also has premiered with fantastic numbers that I see increasing when competing time slot shows Parks and Recreation is over and The Flash is on hiatus for a month. The Dangers of Binge Watching. Loved this humorous take on how addicting marathoning and bingeing can be. We’ve all been there… Binge Hangover.
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/ohtRFAat-WM” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen> I wrote ‘In Defence of Felicity‘ because of an article that boiled her arc on this season’s Arrow down to being “a woman scorned.” The author seemed upset that her writing had reduced her, but I felt that the post reduced her and didn’t see that there’s more going on in Felicity’s head than just her failed relationship with Oliver. Click through to read my thoughts and check out the original piece. This week’s recaps by yours truly: Castle, Arrow. Finally, I’ll be hanging out over on the Entertainment Weekly Community, where fans get to ramble about and write recaps for TV shows they love. It’s a pretty exclusive community, so I’m really excited to join in! For my first post, I wrote about the similarities between two of my favorite shows: Angel and Arrow. TV side-by-side: ‘Angel’ and ‘Arrow‘. I’ll also be doing Nightly Show round-ups and Angel nostalgia recaps.
As a media studies major, one of the first things I learned in my television history class was that it started out as being simply televised plays* EDIT: or televised radio shows. TV scripts are called “teleplays” for a reason. A lot of early series are presented as one-act plays for the small screen, lots of anthology shows, where each episode was a different story. The most famous, perhaps, might be The Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents, both featuring mysterious, science-fiction, and horror/thriller type stories, but others were more explicit in their titles like Playhouse 90 (90 minute teleplays) and the Philco Television Playhouse. Both media are heavily focused on dialogue and character, with plot being often secondary. This article in The Atlantic on the trend of playwrights also writing for television and vice versa doesn’t talk as much about the history of early television plays as much as I would like, but it’s interesting the way things cycle back around. ♦It’s been a minor struggle all of my life that the shows that I like don’t get major award recognition.This article over at the AV Club finally talks about this struggle. I watch “mid-reputable” television. I’m usually not interested in the prestige shows. The Mad Mens or the Homelands or the Boardwalk Empires. I gave Breaking Bad a shot, but I wasn’t as into it as everyone else. Recently, The Wire had a marathon on HBO, and I just didn’t feel like starting it. But the shows listed in this article: Sleepy Hollow (once I catch up and the show redeems itself), Jane the Virgin, Arrow, The Flash, etc (all genre shows you’ll notice) are more my jam. I spent my teens loving Charmed and Angel, Chuck, Pushing Daisies,Dollhouse and I still miss 30 Rock and need to find all the waffles to cope with the last season of Parks and Recreation. None of these shows were ever ratings darlings or big award winners. What do these shows get? They’re so often sidelined, “There’s less of a sense that TV buffs have to watch these shows to stay current,” and when they are nominated, it’s rare for them to get recognized a second time (I’m looking at you, Brooklyn Nine-Nine).
“Astute TV watchers may hope that Tatiana Maslany will get nominated for her work on Orphan Black, but they also know—or should, anyway—that it’s a longshot.”
— True, but it hurts, because she’s just as good — better even — than the usual players on the prestige dramas that always get nominated!
I think this line in the article is really important, as it reminds me that while the Emmy’s may not recognize my shows for awards, that it doesn’t really matter. “And if in the end we’re all more excited about a new episode of The Flash than The Affair, maybe that says something about what’s really the best that TV has to offer.” Because while there are plenty of shows that are ratings, awards, and critical hits, I think the middle-ground shows make people happier. You look forward to them more, they often have lighter or funnier storylines. (Isn’t it a wonder that the awards that typically don’t get nominated for Emmy and Golden Globe Awards are often winners of People’s Choice Awards?) And that feeling of joy and excitement to watch your show is more important than how many awards it gets or if the big wigs over at the New Yorker or the Times think it’s “art.”
Shameless plug: Here’s an article I wrote last year about New Emmy categories we need. It basically would get recognition for a lot of midlevel TV shows out there in the Dramedy, Procedural, and Scif-fi/Fantasy genres. ♦ Want to know when your shows are returning or premiering this winter?Here’s a full list thanks to THR. Make sure to input them into your calendars so you don’t miss mid-season premieres! I definitely suggest Agent Carter, which I enjoyed much more than I’ve ever enjoyed Agents of SHIELD. ♦ Finally, as I venture into my first writing project of the year (a post coming on that soon), I probably need an app like this presented by the AV Club, that doesn’t let you use the rest of your computer until you complete the goals you set. It’s easier to get around the time limit (by not writing) than the word count limit. Though I’m sure if I write WRITING IS SO HARD over and over, I’ll hit it in no time. I won’t even copy and paste.
EDIT: Maybe I will go through some old textbooks for more blog fodder…
New and burgeoning TV genres should get new Emmy categories. Here are three Emmy categories I think we need and some shows to nominate in them. What are your Emmy genre picks and what shows do you submit? #Emmys
Check out the Post’s article on the PoC led dramas coming this fall. And a few are led by women! Numbers are getting better, but no where near where they need to be.
The link and a couple of quotes below.
With “Scandal” commanding $200,970 per 30-second advertising spot, it’s a cash cow.“The color Hollywood loves the most is green,” says Wilmore. “Shonda Rhimes really showed that you can have a black lead in your thriller and you can have a great show. She broke down that wall, and Hollywood follows success.”
Hollywood definitely follows the money. Hopefully these new shows prove to be great television as well. The problem we’ve faced in the past has not always been a lack of content (well, yes, this is the problem, but) sometimes the content put out there isn’t good. There are a lot of times people of color will watch a show featuring someone of their background and that will boost ratings, but ratings will drop off if they don’t consider the show good. It’s not just about representation in numbers, but representation in quality and content. Don’t just give us a show with a black person and say it’s diversity, the content has to be good as well.
Rina Mimoun, executive producer of “Red Band Society,” says that, because of the Rhimes effect, “people will open up their casting. There’s no reason not to.”
More and more producers are realizing this, but things still aren’t where they need to be. The Emmy’s certainly showed that with the small amount of PoC nominees and smaller winners (most weren’t even televised). Hopefully, with this new crop of PoC led shows, next year’s Emmy’s will feature more PoC nominees and winners (now that Breaking Bad is finally out of the race; and maybe Emmy voters will finally be over Modern Family).
(In addition to these current shows, let’s not forget Sleepy Hollow, also led by a black female–I don’t think the article mentioned it.)
via Minority actors land the lead roles in fall’s diverse TV lineup | New York Post.
Who are the people who vote for Emmy awards? Because who in their right mind sees Tatiana Maslany pull of five different roles and not give her an award for it? Seems to me the Emmy voter committee might need a diversity upgrade, like every other prestigious institution.