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HomeAwardsTV Awards Season-Creative Arts Noms Analysis

TV Awards Season-Creative Arts Noms Analysis


If the names Junie Lowry-Johnson, Thomas Del Ruth, Georgianne Walken,Sheila Jaffe, Ron Volk and Roy Christopher sound familiar, that may beat least partly because they seem to pop up every year on the technicaland creative arts roster of Emmy nominees. Over the past decade and, ina few cases, far longer, you can practically set your watch to theirinclusion among the chosen few.
Consider that casting directorLowry-Johnson has received 15 Emmy nominations, seven in the past threeyears alone (including 2007). Del Ruth, a cinematographer who becamepart of the annual Emmy parade with the ascension of The West Wing, hasgarnered seven Emmy nods all told, six since 2000 (also including thisyear). Partners Walken and Jaffe have each earned nine nominations ascasting directors from 1999 to this year, while editor Volk has hauledin a dozen, winning eight – all for Frasier.
As for Christopher, youpractically need a calculator – if not a computer – to keep track ofthe art director’s prodigious Emmy history. He’s credited on IMDB with36 nominations all told, the majority for his work annually on theAcademy Awards telecast. He’s won nine.
While no one begrudgestalented, hard-working professionals such as these the abundant andconsistent recognition from their peers, some, like longtime artdirector-production designer and TV Academy Board of Governors memberDwight Jackson, wonder if maybe the wealth should be spread a bitfarther and wider.
“It does bother me to see the same names over andover, but you only have so much time to watch everything,” saysJackson, himself an 11-time Emmy nominee and one-time winner. “But atthe same time, I realize this is a tiny group of people who do what wedo as professionals on a TV crew. The people who excel at it tend toexcel regularly. And I mean, there are probably a lot of people whoshould be nominated who aren’t every year, but you only have so muchtime.”
Philip Angerhofer, a TV industry vet who also serves as agovernor on the academy’s electronic-production peer group, notes thatthere have been internal discussions on the subject among his fellowgovernors and that the tweaks to the Emmy judging process during thepast few years have been designed to fuel greater category diversityand help prevent the same individuals and shows from earningnominations and winning year after year.
“The truth is, however,that it’s your peers who are appraising your work, and it is they whoare looking upon it as being exceptional,” Angerhofer says. “What Ithink might make some sense is to have someone who, say, is nominatedthree times in a row to pull themselves from the competition for thefourth year to give others a chance.”
That idea isn’t likely to bemandated anytime soon, as Angerhofer acknowledges. And his co-governoron the electronic-production committee, veteran camera operator StephenA. Jones, minces no words in shooting it down as a truly lousy idea.But he maintains that isn’t simply because he happens to be a 16-timeEmmy nominee (and four-time winner) for his work in the networksituation-comedy world.
“Having repeat winners doesn’t bother mebecause the idea is to reward excellence, whether someone is beinghonored every year or not,” Jones says. “I can appreciate the idea oftaking steps to allow different nominees to get into the mix. There aresome really great people whose talent somehow doesn’t get acknowledged.
“ButI’ll tell you whom I think this issue bothers the most: networkexecutives and TV critics. I think it bothers the people who actuallydo the work a lot less.”

Written by Ray Richmond

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