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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

2014 Emmy Questions: Orphan Black

Click here for the introduction to The Cover 3's "2014 Emmy Questions" series



Full disclaimer: I have only seen one episode of Orphan Black, the pilot, and I was not a fan. However, I will not let my bias come into play here, as this post is an objective discussion about who will get nominated and win. In fact, most of the shows I like don't win and shows I don't like do win. Plus, with Orphan Black, there really is only one important question that needs to be asked:

QUESTION ONE: Will Tatiana Maslany get an Emmy nomination?


Sorry Tatiana Maslany and Orphan Black fans. I hate to burst your bubble, but there's just no way Maslany even sniffs a nomination. Last year, The Internet was in an outrage when Maslany failed to earn an Emmy nomination. People who write about television for a living saw this show nobody had ever heard of and saw a brilliant performance by a young actress that nobody had ever heard of before. Maslany plays at least 7 completely different roles as clones on the show, and from what I understand, she's great in every single role. 

Here's the problem: nobody outside of TV critics had ever heard of Orphan Black. If The Internet hadn't bitched and moaned about Maslany's snub, very few people would have ever known this low rated BBC America show ever existed. Remember, the Emmy's are a completely different body than the T.V. critics. The critics have their own award show and the television industry insiders have theirs. The latter's award show is called the Primetime Emmy's. I can't imagine many Emmy voters had even heard of Orphan Black come nomination time. Heck, even I, who casually writes about television in my spare time, had never heard of Orphan Black or Tatiana Maslany. 

We live in an unprecedented era of great television. More and more networks like FX, AMC, HBO, Showtime, and Netflix are competing for eyeballs. Networks that were once only a place to watch old movies and TV reruns are now networks that run original programming that You Have To Watch! The average person who doesn't watch TV for a living can only watch a finite number of shows. Orphan Black and Tatiana Maslany fans realistically should not have been disappointed when Emmy voters, who don't watch TV for a living, didn't hear anything about the BBC America show or its star to warrant it award consideration. 

However, thanks to The Internet's complaints, Tatiana Maslany is firmly on the awards radar now. The Maslany bandwagon picked up steam since the summer of 2013, until she was finally granted a Golden Globe nomination in December of last year. Sometimes, a Golden Globe nomination can be helpful come Emmy time. I think that helped The Newsroom last year and will help Brooklyn Nine-Nine this year. However, I unfortunately don't think that will help Tatiana Maslany this year. Remember, the Golden Globes aren't perfect either, as they consistently fail to nominate Mad Men.

In 2013, the Emmy's nominated seven women in the Best Lead Actress from a Drama Series, as opposed to their normal six. The seven women that were nominated last year, Claire Danes (Homeland), Connie Britton (Nashville), Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men), Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel), Robin Wright (House of Cards), and Kerry Washington (Scandal), are all eligible again this year. Then you have to add the monkey wrench of newcomer Lizzy Caplan from Showtime's Masters of Sex also being eligible. Masters of Sex is on a prestigious network and I show I guarantee you more Emmy members watched than Orphan Black. 

While defenders of Maslany will say that not only is the actress great, she's great in seven freaking different roles, and therefore she should be the clear front runner. Unfortunately, that's not how the game is rigged. Historically, if you earn an Emmy nomination, it's hard to lose it, and if you weren't nominated from your rookie season, it's difficult to begin to get nominations. Luckily for Maslany, that latter trend as been disappearing of late, but she still has the road blocks of previous nominees to contend with. If former nominees became ineligible that would be one thing, but the reality is that all seven former nominees have a leg up over Maslany. Caplan also has the advantage over Maslany because not only is she an industry name, 2014 is her first chance to become eligible versus Maslany's second. 

I will say though that Maslany's chances of earning a nomination are much greater now that it was a year ago. The industry is now fully aware of who she is and the show she's on. I imagine that Emmy voters are much more inclined to gave Maslany a shot and/or a nomination vote. However, this is still an industry with a mob mentality that votes their own way, and now how critics or The Internet tell them to vote.


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