Two years ago, Lost won the Emmy award for Outstanding Drama Series. Last year, it was snubbed in all the major categories, the lone holdout being Henry Ian Cusick’s Guest Actor nomination for playing Desmond. This year, with even newer rules changes in the nomination process, Lost’s Emmy chances are much improved and it could make a big comeback for the way it returned to its early levels of greatness.
When Lost won the Emmy, the nomination process was simple: all the voters pick their favorites, and whatever shows get the five most votes are the nominees. For Lost’s first season, this worked well as it was the hot new show with huge ratings that everyone loved.
The Academy of Arts and Sciences, however, thought this process was being unfair to underdog shows that might have higher quality, so they abandoned the popularity contest and made it mostly merit-based. Last year, the top 10 shows from the popular vote each submitted a single episode and voter panels met one weekend to watch all the submissions and rank them. Based on that single episode, the actual nominees were chosen.
This easily explained why Lost was ignored last year. Though it did make the top 10, it’s submission was the season two premiere, “Man of Science, Man of Faith.” Lost fans are quite familiar with the exhilarating way the opening revealed Desmond in the hatch, but it’s not difficult to imagine Emmy voters gathering in a room saying, “Who is that? I thought they were on an island, why is there a blender and a record player?”
This year, the Academy has once again revised its rules, and the news is good for Lost. Rather than base the final five nominations solely on the single episode panels or the general popular vote, the tabulators will combine those two with a 50-50 formula. Shows could be wildly popular, but if they submit a horrible episode, they might get ousted, or they could be huge underdogs but have an incredible tape to sneak in.
The true benefit goes to shows like Lost, which can easily do reasonably well in both halves. After the mind-blowing finale, Lost is once again a hot commodity that has everyone buzzing. What’s more, that episode, “Through the Looking Glass,” is the same one they submitted for panel judgment. Even if some panelists are confused, the episode has great drama, huge explosions and some tragic deaths. Also, the episode is two-hours long, so viewers will get to see twice as much Lost as they do most other shows. That’s another instant advantage.
The new rules also apply to the acting categories, where Lost could score several nominations. Terry O’Quinn, nominated in the first season, gave a powerful performance in “The Man from Tallahassee,” where we discover how John Locke ended up in the wheelchair. Also nominated the for the first season was Naveen Andrews as Sayid, who has the torture tables turned on him in the flashbacks from his episode, “Enter 77.” Voters might get to see Henry Ian Cusick, the sole acting nominee last year, get unstuck in time in the surreal “Flashes Before Your Eyes.”
The talented Michael Emerson (who won an Emmy in 2001 for his guest appearance as a serial killer on The Practice) is a fan favorite as Ben, and his evil side is explored in his submission, the Sawyer-centric “Every Man for Himself” where Ben memorably pretends to kill a bunny. On the ladies’ side, Elizabeth Mitchell is winning rave reviews for the complicated Juliet, and her second flashback episode, “One of Us,” features one of her best performances.
The nominations will be announced July 18, so we’ll need to wait until then to find out if Lost made it into the top five. Fans should feel a bit more optimistic about the new rules and focus less on last year’s total snub.
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of ABC)