Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Emmy Odds: 20:1

The betting site has the odds of "The West Wing" winning Best Drama at 20:1. "Lost" appears to be the favorite at 11:10. (Thanks, Matt! )

From the New York Post:
"The flawed nominations already undermine some of the key categories in this year's Emmys, most notably Best Actor in a Drama, for which Martin Sheen was not nominated, despite having his best season yet on "The West Wing."" has an interesting analysis what makes a succesful Emmy bid, with references to and many analysis that can applied to "The West Wing":
"So what causes some shows to win, and others, like the "The Wire," to go sorely undervalued? "There's a level of visibility you need to reach to get an Emmy," said Lawrence O'Donnell, an Emmy-nominated writer for "The West Wing." "'The Wire' just never achieved it."

David Simon, the creator of "The Wire," agreed....."I don't consider the Emmys to be particularly precise measurement of anything other than a show's cultural popularity," Simon said, from the set in Baltimore. "I don't think an Emmy is going to convince anyone who's not with us already that they should watch the show."

But Simon and O'Donnell are not entirely right. The fact is that bad ratings and a lack of popularity do not disqualify a show from Emmy consideration.
But what most of the above-cited shows have in common are major industry figures to stand behind them when the executives are hovering with axes drawn. A powerful producer may be the biggest boon of all when it comes to getting an Emmy nomination.
Of the three series not belonging to HBO that are nominated for outstanding drama this year, the category that would have included "The Wire," Grazer is behind one ("24"), John Wells, an Emmy perennial, another ("The West Wing"), while the only upstart nominee, "Lost," belongs to J.J. Abrams, one of the most ballyhooed young producers in Hollywood because of his success with "Alias" and "Felicity," who's now directing major Hollywood films ("Mission Impossible: III").

These big-cheese producers attract other big-cheese producers, writers, directors and crew who have been in Hollywood for a long time and know a lot of Academy members. Indeed, most of them are members themselves. It's likely that these veterans have been nominated and even won before. Hollywood is a small world; TV, even smaller.

"If we see David Kelley's or John Wells' name down there, a lot of us will think: Well, gee, I really like 'The West Wing.' It's as good as it is because of John Wells. I'm just voting for him," said O'Donnell, a former Senate staffer and political pundit.

For producers as prolific as Wells, in other words, output and reputation alone can bag a good bloc of votes. (Wells is O'Donnell's boss on "The West Wing.") Hollywood's incestuous atmosphere also leads to a kind of competitive collusion. Since Emmys are given out for particular episodes, not entire series, producers, directors and writers with clout will push for their own work to be nominated, even when they know those episodes are not the best examples of their show.

Stephen J. Cannell, who produced "The Rockford Files," "The A-Team," and "Wiseguy," summed up the attitude this way: "The executive producer wrote that one, so it's his favorite, so he puts it in." The studios that produce the most shows are also a major power in deciding which shows get nominated, often by engaging in what's known as "bloc voting": encouraging the many academy members employed by the studio or affiliated with it to vote for shows produced by that studio. For a company like Warner Bros., which has thousands of employees, myriad production deals with independent producers, and more than 30 shows on the air, bloc voting can be an overwhelming force in the process.
Spinning out the ploy further and further, shows now hire season-long guest stars for the express purpose of getting an Emmy along with more attention, often making a nominating campaign part of the deal with the actor."

TV Guide Prediction for Best Supporting Actor:
"Matt Roush:
WILL WIN: Alda SHOULD WIN: O'Quinn WHY: As a maverick Republican presidential contender, Alda (who earned Oscar and Tony nominations earlier this year) is an industry favorite, but O'Quinn as Locke is the mysterious heart and soul of Lost."

Inside TV Executive Editor Debra Birnbaum:

WILL WIN: Shatner SHOULD WIN: O'Quinn WHY: Yes, insider choice Alan Alda breathed new life into the moribund West Wing, but it's Terry O'Quinn's Locke who had us listening to the island. Alas, Emmy can't get enough of Shatner's wacky Denny Crane. Yawn.

Birnbaum on Best Drama:
WILL WIN: Lost SHOULD WIN: Lost WHY: Both West Wing and Six Feet Under deserve kudos for being brought back from the dead, while 24 rebounded from a lackluster Season 3 with as thrilling a ride as ever. But it was the well-acted, brilliantly written Lost that had both audiences and critics riveted. I know what's in the hatch: a pile of well-deserved Emmys!"

TV Guide also has a poll, where you can vote on for the actor/actress you feel was most snubbed, including Martin Sheen and Alllison Janney.