Awards Daily TV examines a new Emmy® rule regarding the first round Emmy ballot and whether or not it will affect Thursday’s nominations.
The Television Academy made a lot of changes in their voting process over the past few years in an attempt to remove bias and inspire more passionate nominations through their Emmy ballot. Final round voting opened up to the entire membership, ranked Emmy ballots were discarded in favor of a simple popular vote, and even ballot displays were randomized to be viewed either A-Z or Z-A.
This year, voters are no longer restricted to vote for a given number of nominees on their Emmy ballot. Instead, Academy members can vote for as many shows and performances as they see fit. This means some voters will be throwing their weight behind their five favorite shows while others might be checking off over a dozen various titles.
What Does This Change Mean?
This new voting method is untested. Because of that, the way it affects the nomination process is clearly hypothetical. Still there are plenty of differing guesses on how this will change the course of the nominations:
- Lazy voting and name checking has the potential to become even more predominant. In the past, certain actors racked up nomination after nomination simply off of goodwill from the Television Academy even though the average voter had never seen their show. Old favorites that voters eventually dropped have the potential to return like Julie Bowen and Jim Parsons.
- Smaller shows with lots of buzz have the potential to benefit. If a show has strong word-of-mouth some voters might decide to vote for it simply based off of a strong recommendation from a friend. A show like The Leftovers, which had the best reviews of the season and a strong FYC campaign around town, might benefit the most.
In the series races, it will be interesting to find out if this has any effect on older shows that are on their way out at the Emmys. Will old favorites like Modern Family or House of Cards be able to hold onto a nomination just because enough voters casually check them off on their ballots?
This new way of voting might also make it harder for perennial nominees to fall out of the race to make room for fresh faces. With unlimited room on their Emmy ballot, voters have the opportunity to nominate past winners like Claire Danes, Allison Janney, Andre Braugher, and Kathy Bates even after their shows have gone past their prime. Will goodwill towards a Hollywood legend like Jane Fonda result in her first Emmy nomination for Grace & Frankie after popping up at SAG?
When voters were more restricted with their ballots, shows that submitted too many episodes for consideration in the writing and directing categories and large ensembles might have been at a disadvantage because of vote splitting. Now fans of Veep or Silicon Valley have the opportunity to vote for the entire cast and still have room for their other favorite shows.
One interesting side effect of this new rule might be that, with voters given an unlimited number of votes, categories might fill with a surprising amount of ties. The current Emmy rules allow for a tie when other programs and performances fall within 2 percent of the sixth place vote-getter. That rule resulted in seven and sometimes eight nominations in the acting races. Now, even more categories might result in ties giving even more shows the chance to be recognized. This has the potential to affect the entire Emmy process since the more nominations there are the less votes a performer or show needs to win a popular vote.
Readers, what do you think of the new voting procedure at this year’s Emmys? Will it affect the nominations in any way?