The Oscars recently expanded their Best Picture category to 10 movies, after last year's debacle in which movies like "The Dark Knight" and "Wall-E" were left out of the race.
Should the Emmys follow suit? Generally, I'd say no. I think the voters should just be more clued into all the great TV that is out there. After all, when they waste votes on the likes of "Boston Legal," that's a vote that's not going to a quality show such as "The Shield" or "Friday Night Lights," for example.
Generally, the Emmys have been the opposite of the Oscars -- while populist fare at the Oscars like "The Dark Knight" doesn't do well at the major award shows, the Emmys are full of shows like "Grey's Anatomy" that earn scores of noms even if they don't produce great TV.
Still, there are some categories that I'm going to list below that are so full of worthy candidates, that it's difficult NOT to want to expand the list to 10 nominees.
BEST ACTOR: Here's a prime example. Look at last year's list of nominees -- Gabriel Byrne, Jon Hamm, Hugh Laurie, Michael C. Hall and eventual winner Bryan Cranston -- and it's hard to argue against any of them. (BTW, Emmy voters, great selection of Cranston last year -- one of the best votes the Academy has done, ever).
But I could come up with five equally deserving actors: Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights"); Denis Leary ("Rescue Me"); Michael Chiklis ("The Shield"), Edward James Olmos ("Battlestar Galactica") and Matthew Fox ("Lost"). Throw in some new faces, like Tim Roth ("Lie To Me"), for example, or "CSI's" Laurence Fishburne, and 10 nominees seem much more attractive than five.
BEST ACTRESS: Here's a prime example of where the Emmys have wasted nominations in the past, elevating the likes of Patricia Arquette or Mariska Hargitay and excluding much better performances. With vets such as Glenn Close and Sally Field almost shoo-ins to be among the contenders, it narrows the gap for very deserving actresses. My pick: Mary McDonnell of "Battlestar Galactica," who gave TV's best performance last year, bar none. I've really given up the idea that the Emmys will ever honor a sci-fi series, but I might as well throw it out there one more time. Since I feel good that McDonell will score a nom, I hope the Emmys don't forget Katey Sagal of "Sons of Anarchy," the best performance of this actress' career.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Speaking of loaded categories, the voters could expand this to 15 picks and it still would be excluding some top talent. So many worthy people to list here -- Walton Goggins and David Rees Snell of "The Shield"; Steven Pasquale, "Rescue Me"; James Callis and Michael Hogan of "BSG"; Josh Holloway of "Lost"; Zach Gilford of "Friday Night Lights" and William Hurt, "Damages".
My hope here, however, is Aaron Paul of "Breaking Bad," who proved himself the equal of Cranston this season as Cranston's junkie partner.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: This is a category in which a show like "Grey's Anatomy" loads up the nominations, though "Mad Men's" talented group of women could also earn some of the slots (I keep my fingers crossed for you, Christina Hendricks, as always, my love).
Though Andrea Roth of "Rescue Me" is always Emmy worthy, I'm pulling for castmate Callie Thorne, who has been sensational this year. Another FX actress, CCH Pounder, turned in her finest work yet on the final season of "The Shield." Katee Sackhoff and Tricia Helfer are givens for me. And the always brilliant Elizabeth Mitchell was at the top of her game on "Lost."
If I have one dark horse who might get overlooked, it'd be Rutina Wesley, the scene-stealing Tara on "True Blood." It's a great performance, both wonderfully comic and dramatic.
BEST DRAMA: My guess is that if you've read the above, you can figure out which series deserve nods. Certainly, I think both AMC shows, "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," are near-locks for nods, and FX has to have a contender. While "Damages" is the sort of show that seems to resonate with the voters, I'd much rather a slot go to "Rescue Me," in the midst of a great comeback season, or "The Shield," which may go down as the best cop show ever done on American TV.
Will the Emmys overcome its bias against sci-fi TV and give "Battlestar Galactica" some love for its final season? Here's hoping. No drama on the air has produced more thought-provoking TV over the lifespan of the series than "BSG" has.
Which stars and dramas do you want the Emmy voters to remember when they put the ballots together?
WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: Mostly reality fare tonight, among NBC's "America's Got Talent," Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance?" and ABC's "Wipeout" and "I Survived A Japanese Game Show" all running during the 8-10 p.m. hours. (My pick: People bouncing off giant rubber balls. Obviously.)
NBC does air a new "Philanthropist" tonight at 10 p.m.
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