‘Empire’ & ‘Transparent’ lead 2015 Television Critics Association Awards nominees

06.04.15 3 years ago 25 Comments

FOX

“Empire” and “Transparent” were the big winners when the 2015 Television Criticis Association Awards nominees were announced, but will either newbie be able to knock off more well-established shows like “Mad Men” and “Big Bang Theory”?

The way the TCA Awards (which will be presented at an untelevised ceremony in Beverly Hills on August 8) are structured, with no differentiation between lead and supporting actors, or between actors and actresses, and with a separate category to honor new series, a new show inevitably leads each year’s nominations list. In this case, it was a pair of them: “Empire,” which almost single-handedly brought the primetime soap, the FOX network, and broadcast television itself back from the dead; and “Transparent,” the beautiful Amazon dramedy that the TCA membership at large opted to vote in as a comedy(*).

(*) There are no rules about which categories a show can be assigned to – see also “The Daily Show” frequently being nominated for, and even winning, the News & Information category, over Jon Stewart’s befuddled protests – which is why I tried nominating “The Jinx” for the reality and news categories, in addition to the movies and miniseries category (which has previously featured the likes of Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” and “Baseball”) where it was ultimately nominated. Also, the TCA employs a weird nominating process where each member only gets to pick two shows or people per category, which is why you occasionally get oddities like something being nominated for Program of the Year when it wasn’t also nominated in its respective genre category.

Both were nominated for Outstanding New Program and Program of the Year – competing with “The Americans,” “Game of Thrones,” and the final season of “Mad Men” – and nabbed individual nominations for stars Taraji P. Henson and Jeffrey Tambor, along with respective nominations for drama and comedy series.

Tambor plays a female role on “Transparent,” and is the only male performer in his category, competing with reigning winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus from “Veep,” Gina Rodriguez from “Jane the Virgin,” Constance Wu from “Fresh Off the Boat” and Amy Schumer from “Inside Amy Schumer.” Henson, meanwhile, competes with Viola Davis from “How to Get Away with Murder,” Jon Hamm from “Mad Men,” Matthew Rhys from “The Americans” and “Better Call Saul” star Bob Odenkirk.

Though “Veep” won the comedy series category last year (and is in the midst of another great season, albeit one that wasn’t finished at the time of voting), it wasn’t nominated this year in that category, which features “Inside Amy Schumer,” “Jane the Virgin,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and former winner “Big Bang Theory” in addition to “Transparent.” The drama series category largely overlaps the Program of the Year list, with the addition of the final “Justified” season.

In what was another great year for new series, the Outstanding New Program roster includes “Empire,” “Transparent,” “Better Call Saul,” “The Flash” and “Jane the Virgin.” (I voted for “The Leftovers” here and in a bunch of other places, but this is a representation of a lot of critics’ tastes, and as we saw with the HitFix TV Critics Poll – held before several TCA nominees had even debuted – only a few of us really loved it.)

The Heritage Award was conceived of as a kind of Career Achievement Award(**) for TV series, but it’s an award the membership has never entirely decided how to use. Some years, most of the nominees are shows that just ended, but in a year with so many memorable series concluding, the only such nominee is David Letterman’s “Late Show” (which got a combined nomination with “Late Night”), which will compete with older shows like “The Shield,” “Star Trek,” “Friends” and “Twin Peaks.”

(**) The TCA will vote on five Career Achievement nominees, but it was decided recently to only publicly announce the winner after the August ceremony.

With so much great TV in any given year, and with fewer categories than a lot of other awards bodies, there are only so many people and shows we can recognize, but this is an interesting and eclectic list.

Here’s the full list of 2015 TCA Awards nominees. What does everybody else think of the lineup?

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep,” HBO – (2014 Winner in Category)

Gina Rodriguez, “Jane The Virgin,” The CW

Amy Schumer, “Inside Amy Schumer,” Comedy Central

Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent,” Amazon

Constance Wu, “Fresh Off the Boat,” ABC

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA

Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder,” ABC

Jon Hamm, “Mad Men,” AMC

Taraji P. Henson, “Empire,” Fox

Matthew Rhys, “The Americans,” FX

Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul,” AMC

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN NEWS AND INFORMATION

“CBS Sunday Morning,” CBS

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Comedy Central

“Frontline,” PBS

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” HBO

“60 Minutes,” CBS

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN REALITY PROGRAMMING

“The Amazing Race,” CBS

“The Chair,” Starz

“Dancing with the Stars,” ABC

“RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Logo – (2014 Winner in Category)

“Shark Tank,” ABC

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUTH PROGRAMMING

“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” PBS

“The Fosters,” ABC Family – (2014 Winner in Category)

“The Legend of Korra,” Nickelodeon

“Sesame Street,” PBS

“Switched at Birth,” ABC Family

OUTSTANDING NEW PROGRAM

“Better Call Saul,” AMC

“Empire,” Fox

“The Flash,” The CW

“Jane the Virgin,” The CW

“Transparent,” Amazon

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN MOVIES, MINISERIES AND SPECIALS

“Bessie,” HBO

“The Honorable Woman,” SundanceTV

“The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” HBO

“Olive Kitteridge,” HBO

“Wolf Hall,” PBS

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMEDY

“The Big Bang Theory,” CBS

“Inside Amy Schumer,” Comedy Central

“Jane the Virgin,” The CW

“Transparent,” Amazon

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Netflix

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA

“The Americans,” FX

“Empire,” Fox

“Game of Thrones,” HBO

“Justified,” FX

“Mad Men,” AMC

HERITAGE AWARD

“Friends,” NBC

“Late Show/Late Night with David Letterman,” CBS/NBC

“The Shield,” FX

“Star Trek,” NBC

“Twin Peaks,” ABC

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR

“The Americans,” FX

“Empire,” Fox

“Game of Thrones,” HBO

“Mad Men,” AMC

“Transparent,” Amazon

Past TCA Award winners are listed on the organization”s official website, tvcritics.org/tca-awards.

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