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February 05, 2009

More Emmy nods, less diversity

82940605 More stars! More shows!

The folks who populate TV shows and the series themselves will have more of a chance to get nominated for Emmys, according to a rejiggered rule at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. There will now be six actors and six shows in the top categories, instead of five, for the first time since the awards started in 1949.

So, that's the good news.

The bad news, say some longtime Emmy pundits, is that the lists will be the same-old, same-old. The nominees will be the behemoths of TV, the most popular shows and performers, with little chance for the underdogs.

Nods for such actors, which turned into wins this past fall, as Bryan Cranston, the center of the decidedly off-center "Breaking Bad," and Zjelko Ivanek, the defense attorney whose ethics got the better of him in "Damages," aren't likely to happen. 

That's because of another rule change. It disbands what might sound like a layer of bureaucracy in the form of blue ribbon panels. In fact, though, those groups existed to try to give a leg up to the ratings challenged, the daring, the fresh and the new.

The reason for this change? Money, says the Academy. Lack of backbone, says GoldDerby's Tom O'Neil.

We say that any tinkering with the nomination process that will shut out risk-taking programs and little seen but excellent performances is the wrong way to go.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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