For the Academy’s Consideration: Ian Somerhalder
This is the time of the year when networks and studios mount their Emmy campaigns. As a member of the Television Academy, my mail box is starting to fill with elaborately packaged DVDs and glossy pamphlets extolling the virtues of various television shows, and their casts. For a TV junkie, it is better than Christmas. So far everything that I have received has been from the usual awards suspects: HBO, Showtime, TNT. I feel bad for the poor publicist who had to figure out how to make ‘Dark Blue‘ sound like an awards contender.
As the resident ‘Vampire Diaries‘ fan girl, I am embarking on what is no doubt a quixotic online campaign: Ian Somerhalder for best supporting actor for the role of Damon. Not only does he expertly play the sort of larger than life character that is typically awards bait, going from bitingly funny to remorselessly vulnerable in the space of an episode, he gets all the best dialogue. Plus, he has a shot at getting past the stigma of being on a CW show thanks to the credibility he has from being one of ‘Lost’s‘ original cast members. His additional exposure from reprising his role as Boone in the Sideways segments this season should remind the Academy members, who awarded ‘Lost’ the Outstanding Drama Series statue for its first season, of his existence. Though Damon is arguably a leading role on the show, he does not have a prayer of contending against the likes of Hugh Laurie, Bryan Cranston and Jon Hamm. The supporting category is where the young and the unexpected have a shot — albeit a very long shot.
Though it has earned an increasing amount of critical respect, the only awards ‘Vampire Diaries’ is likely to win will be of the Teen Choice and People’s Choice variety. (The show already won the less than prestigious People’s Choice Favorite New Series Award.) The Emmys are a caste system as rigid as 18th century India’s. Only cable and network shows that are perceived as high brow need apply. The CW has never been nominated in any major category — not to diminish the contributions of ‘Smallville‘ and ‘Supernatural’s‘ hard working Sound Editors. ‘Gossip Girl‘ has not even been nominated for Outstanding Costume Design despite influencing real-life fashion as much as ‘Mad Men.‘ So, ‘Vampire Diaries’ faces an uphill battle.
The Emmys hate teen dramas, no matter the network. Everyone agrees that ‘Friday Night Lights‘ is one of the best dramas on television, but it has been all but ignored by the Emmys because the majority of its characters are still in high school. Ask any bitter ‘Battlestar Galactica‘ or ‘Farscape‘ fan about how the Academy feels about sci-fi and fantasy. Not even ‘True Blood,‘ the other sexy vampire series, received any acting or writing nominations last year despite its HBO pedigree. But the CW should not let the long odds stop them. ‘Vampire Diaries’ is the network’s biggest hit. It deserves to be recognized. The Academy increased the number of acting nominees per category in 2009 in the hopes that some fresh blood (pun definitely intended) would get a chance to shine. So got for it, CW. I swear I am not just saying that because I hope you will mail me a sexy Damon poster– although that would certainly make me happy.
Check out a clip from tonight’s big season finale. It’s finally Founder’s Day!