It’s all come down to this. Emmy voting starts today and runs two weeks.
After a year of television bingeing, anticipating, and speculating, members of the Television Academy will begin the voting process to elect nominees for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards. Emmy voting commences today, June 13, and will continue through June 27, allowing two weeks for industry insiders to select the contenders for the 68th annual ceremony.
The general process begins similarly to the Oscar nomination process. Studios fawn over Television Academy members with fancy “For Your Consideration” (FYC) packages. Studios promote their television shows to voters with these DVD mailers, although networks have increasingly been using FYC websites for voters to stream episodes in a less expensive, more environment friendly manner. Mailers are often elegantly artful (with the exception of Netflix’s 20-pound behemoth) and carry snob appeal. Studios will also include a list of the categories a show (or movie or mini-series) will be competing in with the artist (actor, writer, director, etc.) who will be competing in that category. Most of the time, seeing which specific artist is being submitted for categories are only important for actors because studios often leave off certain actors and focus energies on others for Emmy voting.
The goal of the screeners is to give Television Academy voters a taste of television shows at their best, and networks are usually particular about which episodes they include in these packages. The competitive nature of award shows in this day and age allows for politics in who studios campaign, and the episodes they send to voters usually represent the show’s best hours over the past season. Frequently studios will target their nominations goals with the episodes during the Emmy voting period.
For instance, CBS submitted two episodes in The Good Wife’s FYC package this year, “Iowa” and “Judged,” both of which are heavy dramatic acting showcases for Julianna Margulies. This implies the major goal of CBS in this campaign cycle is for Margulies to return to the Outstanding Lead Actress slate. Rather than sending out episodes that include heavier material for Alan Cumming and Christine Baranski from the past season, CBS is most likely trying to play their cards for Margulies since she missed out on a nomination last year while Cumming and Baranski were nominated.
Emmy voters would have had access to dozens of FYC episodes. The goal of the studios sending out the DVDs is for their shows to resonate with voters enough for them to remember during Emmy voting.
In the past, the ballots for each of the categories were displayed online for public consumption. The ballots are usually lengthy and show every submitted actor, writer, director, etc., by category. It may sound simple, but the inventory of talent displayed on the lists is daunting and choosing from among the submitted names would be a time-consuming process. So, if there are nominations that seem out of the ordinary or as though a person was nominated based on status and name-recognition, it could very well be because of how tedious a process it is to carefully compile a list where each choice has merits.
With today’s world constantly changing due to technological advancements and reflections on how to more efficiently and fairly conduct the ceremony and competition, the Emmys have been undergoing changes to their process in recent years. Last year, we saw an increase in the number of nominees in each of the main categories (Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Comedy Series) and voting online released voting members from the strict obligation from watching submitted episodes, thus allowing less informed voting selections. A change this year includes the order in which the potential nominees will be listed on the ballot. Instead of the names of each potential nominee being listed alphabetically, Awards Daily reported a month ago that each category could be in a randomized. Each voter will potentially see the list of actors, directors, writers, ect., to pick from differently, which could shake up who ends up nominated.
The Television Academy houses over 20,000 members from 29 peer groups of specialized fields in the arts. For the next two weeks, they will funnel all of the screeners they have consumed over the past few weeks and make decisions that will impact the industry, careers, and popularity.
Once the Emmy voting period is complete, nominations for the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced July 14.
Update: Here are the entries submitted for Emmy consideration.