History has a chance to repeat itself at the Emmy Awards on August 25th if Matthew McConaughey wins Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He would become the first – and only other male — to pull off an Oscar win and Emmy win in the same year since George C. Scott did it 43 years ago in 1971. Scott, who famously didn’t attend either ceremony, won the Best Actor Oscar for Patton on April 15th of that year and then less than a month later on May 9th pulled off the Emmy for Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for the “The Price” episode of ITV Saturday Night Theatre. Of course, McConaughey won the Oscar in March for Best Actor in Dallas Buyers Club. Both also won Golden Globes in their respective years too.
As everyone knows, Scott actually refused the Oscar and called the ceremony a “meat parade.” Goldie Hawn announced him as the winner by saying “Oh my God, it’s George C. Scott!” As I recall, when presenter Suzanne Pleshette opened the Emmy envelope that year she parodied that moment by saying, “Oh my God, it’s George C. Scott!” It should be noted that, unlike his unwanted Academy Award, Scott never turned down the Emmy. He just didn’t show up for it and it was accepted instead on his behalf by Jack Cassidy.
This promises to be one of the most exciting categories at the Emmys this year, with the list of nominees announced this morning not producing a ton of surprises but offering a rich group of nominees featuring the TRIED (Downton Abbey, Mad Men, etc), the TRUE (Detective) along with the NEW (Orange Is The New Black, Silicon Valley, etc). The most astounding thing to me was to see Netflix really break through big-time with 31 nominations and within shouting distance of the traditional three networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) and ahead of Fox.
Television Academy chairman Bruce Rosenblum told me after this morning”s announcement that he’s excited by the results of the nominations. “When you look at the diversity of what was nominated both behind and in front of the camera, our membership should be commended for being bold in their choices — you’ve got shows from broadcast, cable and pay and premium cable, and you have over the top,” he said. “Netflix now has a best nominated show in both comedy and drama series. But equally important, you have a first-year show like Fargo getting 18 nominations, the most nominated show other than Game Of Thrones with 19, so the membership found great content on whatever platform it was being presented, and that’s really exciting.”
Rosenblum also said he wasn’t surprised the 2% rule did not happen in the Drama and Comedy series categories, where for the first time it could have triggered a seventh nomination in those tight races but didn’t. He attributes the fact that no series came within 2% of the six that were nominated in each of those categories to the enormously successful rollout of online voting for the first time in Emmy history. “We had a lot more voting participation this year because we went to online voting so we had a meaningful improvement in the numbers of our members who voted, which I think caused an easier disparity between number six and number seven.”
He also said the move to online voting turned out to be seamless. “We got very very few complaints about it. It ran so effectively and efficiently and increased the number of votes. We are saying ‘meaningful’ and not giving out the number, but you can infer from ‘meaningful’ that it was large and we look forward to next year when the entire process (including the final voting for winners which this year will be snail mail as in the past) will be online,” he said. “In hindsight, based on how efficiently it worked this year, we probably could have done it this year but I think it was a prudent decision to go slowly and then do the full vote next year.”
More to come on the Emmys soon.