Our rollout of this year’s Award Winners continues. We did the My Cinema Awards earlier this week (check them out, they’re awesome), followed by the My Games Awards (they’re awesome too) and now we’re back with a list of My TV Award winners for you.
Stay tuned for the winners of the My Theatre Awards as well as Emerging Artists, Fan Favourites, Performers of the Year and Honorary Award winners.
First refresh yourself on the Nominees.
Now, The 2012 My TV Award Winners Are:
Best Technical Achievements
(directing, lighting, sound, cinematography)
Game of Thrones
An epic fantasy on HBO full of sweeping fantastical landscapes filmed on location all over the world, cinematic production values, a giant cast of characters, tons of gore. And dragons. No other series stood a chance in this category.
Best Costumes, Hair and Makeup
So You Think You Can Dance
There are lots of shows on the air that achieve incredible things within the world they’re creating. Whether it’s regal England in the early 20th century or a grim zombie-filled dystopia, the costume, hair and makeup work happening on TV these days is astounding (especially considering the myriad of period pieces). But what’s really remarkable about two of our nominees is the sheer diversity of accomplishment. They don’t just accoutre their cast in period-accurate 60s gear every week, the teams on both So You Think You Can Dance and Saturday Night Live run the gamut from renaissance garb to flapper dresses to aliens, bugs and monsters then back again. But the SYTYCD getups take the cake between the two for their attention to detail, movement practicality, and sheer inventiveness week in and week out.
Best Writing for a Drama or Dramedy
Sarah Watson- “The Talk” (Parenthood)
This was a fantastic year for Parenthood, one of the consistently best written shows on TV. In fact, it was a fantastic year for TV writing in general, so much so that this standout episode of the NBC drama beat out not only the genius Emmy-winning Homeland episode “Q&A” but also the great Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant pilot for The Newsroom (an episode that stood head and shoulders above the rest of that troubled but still writerly show). Kristina’s cancer storyline dominated Parenthood‘s fourth season and found an interesting new angle in this episode alongside great arcs for Julia, Joel, Zeek and even Sarah. But it was the Crosby-Jasmine-Jabbar storyline that stood out for its deft and honest examination of a true modern familial conflict.
Best Writing for a Comedy
Josh Malmuth- “Secrets” (New Girl)
New Girl is a brilliant show (more on that to come) but the moment we realized that it might just be a genius show came in the back half of the first season, in the episode where Jess finds out that Cee Cee and Schmidt are sleeping together. The revelation unpacks oodles of consequences both hilarious and moving as Jess reexamines her relationship with her best friend and deals with an awkward amount of honesty from her roommates (including yet another tiny step towards her second season arc with Nick). The episode featured some of the best quotable lines in the whole series- “Jessica P? Jessica freaking P?!”- as well as strong B and C stories to compliment the fantastic main plot. Nick hilariously sought Schmidt’s dating advice and Winston enjoyed a speech so good that for a brief moment he almost felt like a character on par with those with whom he shares the screen. There were 6 seriously great comedy episodes nominated in this category (including the pilot of The Mindy Project that we fell so hard for) but “Secrets” blew them all away.
Best Writing for a Miniseries/TV Movie
Danny Strong- (Game Change)
The nuance, the wit, the research, the sense of something I would almost call fairness that went into this film is nothing short of astounding. Very few liberal screenwriters would have been able to bring the humanity and balance that Danny Strong did to his Sarah Palin project and that made all the difference in taking away the right’s ability to minimize Game Change as anything less than the searing and startling portrait that it was. Erstwhile Jonathan Danny Strong is quickly becoming one of the best pens in the biz. Let’s hope for an interesting 2016 election so he can make it a trilogy (with Recount, his 2008 HBO film about the 2000 Presidential election).
Best Drama or Dramedy
People are always asking us for TV show recommendations. What we’ve found is that these requests usually are coming from people who are already watching Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and quite possibly even Sherlock (Cumberbatch is very hip right now). What they’re not watching is Shameless (or Parenthood, but an NBC family dramedy is a tough sell to your average Breaking Bad fan so we usually just let that one slide). But everyone should be watching Shameless, so it has become our go-to recommendation. The sharp writing and killer ensemble find comedy in tragedy and emotional eloquence in even the unlikeliest of characters, resulting in a immeasurably moving saga that is uniquely and completely devoid of both cheese and pretence.
See all the reasons why New Girl won Best Writing for a Comedy then add a dynamic cast wherein current comedy’s most winning leading lady pairs with TV’s most valuable breakout stars in Max Greenfield and Jake Johnson. Add the awesome Hannah Simone to the mix along with a slew of great guest stars, strong direction, and the smart handling of tricky long-term storytelling and you’ve got a show that week after week seems to be foolproof.
Best Miniseries or TV Movie
We were obsessed with this show. It was enthralling in its storytelling in a way that most great character dramas aren’t and sported one of the best casts of supporting players on TV in a great long while. Capping it at 6 episodes was either a dumb move by USA that reveals taste issues and a tragic lack of trust in tried and true showrunner Greg Berlanti, or it was a contract issue involving Sigourney Weaver. Sad part is, we would have been just as happy to watch the show without its headliner, that’s how invested we were in the rest of her fictional former first family.
Best Reality Series
This is a really dumb show. It’s not, actually, dumb in theory. It actually sports the most strategically challenging format on reality TV and doubles as a fascinating experiment in social psychology. But it’s a dumb show because for some reason CBS keeps trivializing it, casting aspiring actors with nothing between the ears and making the competitions so humiliating and random that it prevents many a smart person from applying and many a talented person from actually winning competitions on purpose. However, because it is the most strategically sophisticated format going, there are a few legendary contestants whose domination of the game completely trumps whatever might be happening on less embarrassing shows. Such was the case with Season 14. Adding the coaches to the mix ensured that from start to finish there was someone interesting to watch from a gameplay point of view (and a personality point of view- Thank you, Britney). Dan Gheesling- largely considered the game’s best strategist- elevated the last 3 or 4 weeks of this season to make it one of the best in history but even as he was laying low most of the summer, smart and showy gamers like Boogie and underused but fantastic newcomer Wil kept the season full of high notes.
Best Variety or Talk Show
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
With a slew of smart recurring bits and the most amicable persona on TV, Jimmy Fallon has become the most reliable performer on the late night circuit. He’s more consistently funny than Jon Stewart (who is at the mercy of the political news cycle) and completely smarm-free, something that can’t be said of almost anyone else on after primetime (at least until Seth Meyers joins the gang in 2014). With a late-night audience that’s quickly disintegrating as young people timeshift their appointment TV into those 11pm and 12am slots, Jimmy continuously produces content buzzy enough to take over newsfeeds and twitter, forcing young people to pay him more mind than anyone else in his game.
Best New Series
Oh, The Newsroom. Everyone liked to dump on The Newsroom. Hey, even we liked to dump on The Newsroom on occasion. But the reason we were all doing that comes down to one thing: insanely high standards. This was a pretty decent year for new shows but most of our favourites were things that are more enjoyable than important (The Mindy Project, Bunheads, Nashville). The importance of Girls can be debated, but we had the opposite problem with it- we barely enjoyed it at all (despite whatever valuable “it makes you think” moments it provided). The Newsroom, on the other hand, even through all its frustrating growing pains and overblown controversies, was a show that both entertained and roused us. We think its moments of greatness outshone its moments of weakness (hey Mack, learn how to use a blackberry!) and while it never stood a chance of living up to expectations, it easily outran its competition.
Best Canceled Series
Here’s where things get sad. We loved this show. It was a half hour of pure, lovely, bantery sweetness from the makers of an all-time sitcom great (Will & Grace). We loved Pan Am too, but its January cancellation pushed it very barely into this year’s awards (want to hear something tragic? It won “Best New Show” last season- So Much Potential!). None of the other nominated shows this year even come close to Partners or Pan Am. For the most part, last year’s crop of cancellations were smart moves against bad shows (this year, on the other hand,… we’ll talk about the fate of Happy Endings around this time next year) but Partners was never really given a chance to charm its audience the way it charmed us out of the gate. It got caught between oldschool CBS viewers who embraced the traditional tone but rejected the great Michael Urie’s fast-talking, pop-culture-referencing, stereotype-balking leading man, and hip young people who got that character but couldn’t handle the laughtrack and un-hip CBS pleasantness of the whole thing. It’s too bad, because from the creators through to the entire cast, Partners was full of people we wanted working. Together, ideally.
Best Ensemble in a Drama or Dramedy
William H Macy was this show’s selling point when it first began, helped along a little by the quirky presence of Joan Cusack. Through every episode of the series so far, both Macy and Cusack have been impressive, interesting, entertaining and affecting. But they are far from the stars of the show. Loyal viewers tune in for Emmy Rossum’s steel-skinned big sister Fiona and the genius Jeremy Allen White as her wasted genius brother Lip (a fascinating character so demandingly written that White continues to astound year in and year out). We tune in for Shanola Hampton and Steve Howey as the loyally absurd couple that somehow keeps the Gallaghers grounded. We tune in for the soulful Cameron Monaghan whose strong-headed and closed-mouthed Ian has been sent through some of TV’s most complicated emotional arcs in the last few seasons. We tune in to see Noel Fisher’s infuriating bad kid Mickey grapple with falling for someone as stubbornly, fundamentally good as Ian. We tune in to see Emma Kenney and Ethan Cutkosky grow their characters up from goofy kids good for a gag or two into full-fledged, complicated Gallaghers like the rest. We tune in for Laura Wiggins’ fearlessness and Emma Greenwell’s reluctant softness and Justin Chatwin’s comic timing. We tune in because this ensemble is just outrageously good across the entire board.
Best Lead Actor in a Drama or Dramedy
Damian Lewis (Homeland)
Does this one actually require very much explanation? We are in agreement with the rest of the TV-watching world that Damian Lewis is a genius who took a character the American public was more than likely to immediately and unwaveringly hate and made him a sympathetic, vulnerable, heroic, romantic, believable human being. Season two of Homeland was a little rocky but Damian Lewis held down the fort.
Best Lead Actress in a Drama or Dramedy
Emmy Rossum (Shameless)
See “Best Drama or Dramedy” and “Best Ensemble” and know that if the best dramedy on TV has a “star” it’s Emmy Rossum. Fiona is the glue of the show and Rossum continues to amaze with a brash, fragile, funny, exhausted and loving performance that makes the dainty former Christine Daae disappear completely into the eldest Gallagher girl.
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama or Dramedy
Thomas Sadoski (The Newsroom)
The best thing about our Best New Show winner is its most surprising character. The fantastic pilot episode set up a lot of heroes and not many villains. Over the course of the first season we gradually began to see the less shiny side of seemingly perfect pilot characters like Jim, making them a lot more interesting. But, for the most part, everyone was introduced as someone meant to be loved and admired (to varying degrees of success). Don was the sole exception. He was set up to be judged harshly by the audience, then we got to discover him over the course of the season. We got to mine all those moments- when he said the wrong thing or took an unpopular side or got in the way of Maggie being with Jim- for the good guy motivations buried defensively within. There are definitely people who made it to the end of the first season still thinking that Don is a villain, and that’s okay. That’s interesting. Because there are lots of good people in this world that are thought of as villains by those who weren’t paying all that much attention. These are the people who feed right into Sloan’s beautiful finale speech- “at some point along the way, someone told you that you’re a bad guy”- and make Don’s struggle to be a good guy all the more compelling. Thomas Sadoski walks that line beautifully. He plays Don as a confident, sometimes overbearing, achingly smart, occasionally manipulative, wryly funny, overly compromising upstart crippled by the way the world sees him and the terrifying desperation that brings to the way he conducts himself in the newsroom and in his actual life. Season one of The Newsroom was a very frustrating experience but we will always remember it for the beautiful experience of getting to meet Don the way you might actually meet a person- slowly uncovering small truths and fighting assumptions until you can actually see them clearly for the first time.
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama or Dramedy
Olivia Munn (The Newsroom)
Like Thomas Sadoski as Don, Olivia Munn wasn’t handed an easily winnable task on The Newsroom. She wasn’t in the pilot episode, then when she finally was introduced, Sloan had just a few lines a week, voicing her concerns about the crumbling economy and giving horrible relationship advice. She was in that weird space where most people were easily overlooking her and those who weren’t had decided they hated her because they were carrying around an unhelpful dislike of the actress herself. People didn’t seem to buy the phone-sex-scandal victim (is that the right word?) and Maxim cover girl as a fierce economist with 2 PhDs (we’d like to point out how sexist that is, by the way) but by the time we got to the tour-de-force episode “Bullies”, Sloan had developed, like Don, into a character completely worth rooting for, at least in the eyes of people willing to give characters a second chance to win them over. That episode thrust her into the forefront of badassery and dynamic character moments (“Don’t call me girl, Sir”!) and in a show where the heroes are, by definition, entirely too pleased with themselves, it’s less obviously shiny characters like Sloan and Don who stand out. It’s telling that one of the best scenes of the whole series so far was the one they shared in the finale.
Best Ensemble in a Comedy
We thought this show was pretty stupid when it first came on, but we stayed with it out of unconditional love for Matthew Perry and it didn’t take long before we found ourselves tuning in happily every week with thoughts of Friends far from our minds. Sure, Perry’s always fun and this show did also have the reliable dose of awesome that always comes with casting John Cho in anything (even as a vague best friend who doesn’t really fit into the show’s setup), but it was the weirdos at Ryan’s grief counseling group who bizarrely made this show work for the short time it did (honestly, one of the sadder cancelations of the year. You’ll likely see this show in next season’s Best Canceled Series category). Laura Benanti, who started out as a slightly obnoxious potential love interest and not a lot more, quickly got her quirk on and made Lauren hilarious even as the resident “sane one”. The great Tyler James Williams brought the perfect deadpan dynamic to keep the group balanced, Tonita Castro’s English-less Fausta went in all sorts of unexpected and delightful directions, and the unlikely romantic developments between Sarah Baker’s cat lady Sonia and Seth Morris’ sunshiny loser Danny shockingly had us hooked. Even Suzy Nakamura’s potentially toxic Yolanda and Brett Gelman’s over-the-top Mr. K won us over. But it’s probably Julie White as Anne that we’ll miss the most. She was so witty, so wry, so genuinely touching in her dramatic moments that her character easily could live on in an hour-long spinoff of her own. We liked having a major gay character on a network sitcom who wasn’t defined by or obsessed with her sexuality (yes, we’re talking to you, The New Normal) and we liked how beautifully her story paralleled and contrasted Ryan’s. It wasn’t until we were pretty sure this show wasn’t coming back that we realized how much we would miss it, not really for the show itself but for its grief-stricken but genuinely loveable ensemble.
Best Lead Actor in a Comedy & Best Lead Actress in a Comedy
Jake Johnson (New Girl) & Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
We had to lump these two together because they are as good as they are specifically because of each other. We don’t mean to say that they’re not both brilliant in their own rights (Johnson’s performance in his solo storyline where Nick meets “future Nick” is pretty much a standout moment in sitcom history in our minds) but it was because of the awesome, unexpected chemistry between these two that series creator Elizabeth Meriwether decided to change her planned dynamics and try getting Nick and Jess together. The resulting season and a half of slow-burn, fantastically awkward dancing around the issue has perfectly shown off not only the brightness of the chemistry between Johnson and Deschanel but the incredible not only comic but dramatic power of both actors. They’ve stepped up as TV’s leading comic players amidst one of the strongest comedy landscapes in a really long time. There were tons of great nominees in both of these categories this year (awards favourite Jim Parsons, personal favourites Sutton Foster and Michael Urie, hero to all Amy Poehler, the great Justin Kirk in his last season on the seminal Weeds…) but this year there was just no arguing with the power of Nick & Jess.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Adam Driver (Girls)
Girls is a tricky show. If you don’t inherently relate to it, or see it as ultimately true, it can be hard to understand why on earth you’re supposed to care about characters so unamusingly trapped each in their own narrow window of self-indulgent horribleness. Our hypothesis- especially as it applies to 2012’s season one- is that to appreciate Girls is to appreciate Adam. It was our journey towards just that that made season one actually surprisingly special despite our not being quite as universally entranced as much of the critical community. We hated him at first for his harsh crassness and unapologetic lack of what one could call gentlemanliness but more likely should just be called general human functioning. It was astounding, then, how Adam Driver managed to take this utterly unappealing man and, with barely a twist in the writing, reveal enough dimensions that even the most harshly judgemental audience member could see his point of view. He didn’t just humanize Adam, he made him into the reason we came back for season two.
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Toks Olagundoye (The Neighbors)
On a show as truly silly as The Neighbors, Toks Olagundoye stands out from the other great actresses in this field not because we love her character (not that we don’t love Jackie, because we do; she’s adorable) but because of the sheer technical skill she displays in playing her. Jackie is weird but Olagundoye doesn’t go all the way to wackadoo “I’m playing an alien! Isn’t it freeing?!” weird like the actors playing her husband and youngest son. She is the only Neighbors actor who’s had much heavy lifting to do on the emotional front (aside from the remarkably lovely teen romance playing out between the Mamet girl and the alien boy) and she has some of the most remarkable comic timing in recent sitcom history. Most notable, perhaps, is that the strange versatility the role requires barely seems to make the actress blink. One particularly memorable scene early on saw Olagundoye flip through a roster of dead-on accents to show how the aliens landed on their British personas. Like the rest of the nominees on this list (Zosia Mamet! Gillian Jacobs!), Olagundoye makes us laugh out loud and care about her character, but more than any of the others she makes us marvel at “how on earth did she just do that?!”.
Best Actor in a Miniseries/TV Movie
Sebastian Stan (Political Animals)
We’re obsessed with Sebastian Stan. Ever since the sadly short-lived Kings, he’s been a master of the misunderstood princely “bad boy” but he seems to keep just missing his breakthrough role by an inch. In the case of the great but also sadly short-lived Political Animals, Stan was perfectly cast in a wonderfully written part that allowed him to stretch all sorts of fresh dramatic muscles while showing off handy side skills like piano virtuosity but staying in the wheelhouse that serves him best. One of TV’s most consistent showrunners, Greg Berlanti handed a breakout part to the only actor we can think of who could have played it as soulfully as the role required, and yet it somehow still snuck in under the critical radar. Just like with Kings, Sebastian Stan’s genius here will have to develop its cult following in DVD afterlife.
Best Actress in a Miniseries/TV Movie
Julianne Moore (Game Change)
Much as we like to tout actors who didn’t get their due in a particular role, we couldn’t argue with how simply wonderful Julianne Moore was in her Emmy-winning role as Sarah Palin. The impersonation- from the hair to the voice to the practiced nods of her head- was eerily astute, but it was the humanity she mustered on behalf of the most controversial woman in politics that earned Julianne Moore all the accolades she’s won. The rage, the terror, the sadness, the blind ambition, the irreverent hopefulness, the defensiveness, the loneliness- it was all in there in a character portrait that might even be more fascinating than the real Palin.
Best Young Actor
Jack Gleeson (Game of Thrones)
Joffrey Baratheon is not a likeable character. On a show full of people in differing degrees of morally gray, he’s the grayest. And he’s not even the brilliant kind of gray that makes an audience member root for a well-thought-out evil plan, like Tywin Lannister or Little Finger. No. Joffrey is a snot-nosed bastard with a sadistic streak and little authority not handed to him by his ill-gotten crown. And in the books, we never wanted to see the guy. So how the hell did Jack Gleeson end up winning Best Young Actor for Game of Thrones? By going full throttle on the sadism and hair-trigger insanity. Gleeson doesn’t tamper down Joffrey – doesn’t make him sympathetic or tragic – he makes him the very embodiment of political corruption and the random, cruel hand of fate. And somehow STILL makes him infinitely watchable.
Best Guest Actor
David Harbour (The Newsroom)
We gave this to the nominee with the largest guest arc. That is, in some ways, an unfair advantage and it’s one that is often reflected in awards recognition, but the fact is the more material an actor has to work with the more impact he can often make. In the case of David Harbour, he used his small-ish recurring role as Elliott, the anchor who follows Will’s nightly broadcast, to great effect. He had standout moments in multiple episodes- most notably “Amen” wherein he risks his safety to get a story from the streets of Cairo and ends up in the hospital- and has become a surprising number of people’s favourite character.
Best Guest Actress
Sarah Ramos (Parenthood)
Jason Katims has never been afraid to graduate his characters. In many cases, that means that series stars move on to become guest stars as their characters move on to college. For good-girl Haddie Braverman, there was never any chance she would stay around like her cousin Amber. Haddie was a girl going to college, most likely to a dream school far away from the Braverman camp. It was inevitable. But the effect was actually great. Like Matt Saracen before her, it wasn’t actually until Haddie was downgraded to a guest star that she really started to shine. Her farewell episode that kicked off the season was heartbreaking in how true-to-life it felt, then Ramos and Peter Krause stole the entire season with the phonecall that stopped the hearts of viewers across the continent (earning a nomination for “Moment of the Year”). Haddie was always just so-so on the Braverman scale of brilliant characters but in small doses this season she was mesmerizing.
Best Late Night Personality/Talk or Variety Host
Taran Killam (Saturday Night Live)
When Taran Killam first showed up as a featured player on SNL in 2010 we could tell pretty quickly that he was a game-changer. Spot-on impressions like his “Being Quirky” sidekick Michael Cera and original characters like the fantastically zany host of “J-Pop America Fun Time Now” quickly had Killam scoring more sketch appearances each week than many of the full cast members. He was promoted as soon as there was room on the roster and became one of the show’s most-used performers, appearing in almost every sketch, parody and digital short in some capacity. He’s the heir apparent to the recently sadly departed Bill Hader for brazen invention and pure hilarity track record but also has the leading man looks and affable charm of a Jason Sudeikis or Seth Meyers. Throw in a spouse as kickass as HIMYM/The Avengers‘ Cobie Smulders and you’ve got yourself one of the coolest guys in Hollywood (or New York, rather).
Best Variety Performance
Jimmy Kimmel (The Emmy Awards)
This category is always stacked with Saturday Night Live, hosts but its the awards show hosts that often win. It’s a tricky thing to do well so the few who manage to keep the bloated, self-congratulatory schmooze-fests rollicking along usually deserve the highest praise. This year the late night funnyman killed it at the Emmys, generating plenty of moments to talk about and sponsoring his own “In Memorium” segment in which Josh Groban serenaded his memory with a rendition of “What Makes You Beautiful”. It was, in a word, beautiful.
Best Reality Host
Ryan Seacrest (American Idol)
Jeff Probst wins this award pretty much every year and we were just about to hand him his third straight trophy for his beautiful handling of Colton’s tribal council controversies and subsequent medical evacuation from One World when the news of yet another American Idol judging panel shakeup was confirmed. This made us stop and reconsider the four-time nominee who has never won: Ryan Seacrest. American Idol is still considered the crown (if fading) jewel of reality competition shows, but it’s incredibly rare that an actual contestant captures national attention while on the show (it hasn’t really happened since Adam Lambert in season 8) and the judging panel has been a joke since Simon left, if not years before (I say it started to go downhill somewhere around season 5). As the show gets more and more desperate (and thus crazier and crazier), it’s come down to one man to keep the entire thing afloat- steadfast host Ryan Seacrest. When the new season premieres next winter without executive producer Nigel Lithgow and without original judge Randy Jackson on the panel, Ryan will officially be the only thing left over from the series’ heyday. And it’s a good thing he’s stayed. His elimination reveals are still annoyingly over-dramatic but he handles the crazy people like a champ and maneuvers around technical hiccups better than almost any other host out there (this past season there was a live episode where Nicki Minaj didn’t even show up until 15 minutes in). We felt it was high time Ryan finally got his due for being the only reason left to watch American Idol.
Best Reality Judge/Coach
Blake Shelton (The Voice)
It’s actually getting to be a bit of a problem, how likeable Blake Shelton is. Someone from his team won both seasons of The Voice that aired in 2012 and he’s set up to take home season 4 as well (unless Michelle Chamuel has anything to say about it!) but all that winning seems to have less to do with the actual contestants than you’d think. Blake has decent taste in the blinds (and a great ear for pitch) but he doesn’t often end up with the season’s best vocalists (they often go TeamChristina) or the most special artists (TeamCeeLo almost every time). But Team Blake wins anyway. What Blake does really really well is support his players and endear them to the audience. He picks songs that will sell well and boost their iTunes votes and makes sure they tell a good story. But as great as Blake is at making his team into people we want to vote for, I think he’s winning because people are voting for him, not his team. He’s funny and warm and sweet and plays beautifully off the other standout personality at the coaches table (Adam Levine, last year’s winner in this category). How much Blake loves his artists makes us love them on his behalf and if he himself keeps on being so winning he will win The Voice no sweat every time out.
Best Female Reality Star/Team
Kim Spradlin (Survivor)
This wasn’t a huge year for dynamic women on reality TV. Our nominees in this category are endearing sweethearts (Katie Martin, Lisa Whelchel, Cassadee Pope) or entertaining “villains” (Courtney Robertson) but we like to reward standout strategists whenever we can and there only seemed to be one of those this year. Kim Spradlin dominated Survivor: One World so thoroughly that it actually got boring. She didn’t put one foot wrong all competition to the point where she was even in fairly good favour with the jury she had so swiftly voted out and there was no chance she wouldn’t win. Such mastery of anything deserves recognition, even if it sucked all the drama out of the usually high-tension show.
Best Male Reality Star/Team
Jamar Rogers (The Voice)
This was one of the toughest categories of the year. In one corner you have the newly crowned strategic king of reality TV (Dan Gheesling). In another corner you have the man who beat him at his own game (Ian Terry). Then there were two Amazing Race teams (Bopper & Mark and Jaymes & James) that captured our hearts immeasurably by running the race with charm and humour and sportsmanship that was truly inspiring. It came down to the wire, but fan votes tipped the scales in favour of another inspiring personality known for his optimism and grace even more than for his vocal acrobatics and inventive arrangements on season two of The Voice. Read our Exclusive Interview with Jamar HERE.
Best TV Couple
Brad & Jane (Happy Endings)
It’s a strange phenomenon but genuinely happy, drama-free married people rarely exist on TV unless they are background parents on a teen show. That was one of the many interesting things about the sadly departed but so-good-for-the-tv-landscape sitcom Happy Endings. Its bold embracement and subsequent annihilation of traditional television “types” ranged from a sloppy straight man of a gay character, to a rom-com loving “token black guy”, to a dainty leading lady who could put away ribs like she was Fred Flintstone. The deliriously happy, perfectly complementary, dangerously functional coupling of Brad and Jane was one of the show’s most defiantly hilarious inventions. Damon Wayans Jr. was a marvel of comedic detail as syrupy Brad, pairing with the razor-sharp Eliza Coupe (so great in late Scrubs) as the world’s most intense woman to make a couple that did unspeakable things like balance and support each other. Very very rarely did the show lean on a Brad vs. Jane trope to fill plotting time, knowing that the strength of the dynamic the pilot set up was that they were far more hilarious together than apart.
The Be-My-Best-Friend Award
Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project)
The following accurately represents the Mindy-related sentiments of at least three of our most senior writers: “It’s uncanny; I feel like she’s quoting me half the time. The other half is when she’s being all ‘I was plucked out of near obscurity to be on and write for The Office; BJ Novak and I have an epic relationship-friendship thing that could be a screenplay; I went to an Ivy League school; I go to the Emmys; I consider Ellie Kemper one of my best friends; I have my own TV show on FOX that I run and star in, wherein I can pretend that I’m a party girl/brilliant doctor instead of a homebody with a blog’. To my knowledge, Mindy Kaling has never said any of those things, but they are nonetheless true and they are the points on which we differ (also: race, but Mindy and I both know that that’s not a game-changing detail). Mindy Kaling, in all her messy imperfect not-Tina-Fey ness, is the closest thing to a Hollywood idol I’ve ever had (in that please-be-my-best-friend way, not in the we-should-all-strive-to-be-more-like-Oprah way).” That’s from our glowing pilot watch of The Mindy Project, a show that, while imperfect, gives us episodes wherein Seth Rogen is “the one that got away” and Chris Messina tries unsuccessfully to teach himself to play “Piano Man” on the keyboard. Like all great best friends, Mindy knows how to make us smile when pretty much no one else could.
The Marry-Me Award
Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy)
It’s surprisingly rare that the contenders for the Marry-Me Award and the Ridiculously Good-Looking Male Award overlap. The former is all about editorial tastes whereas the latter is at least somewhat objective so doesn’t tend to skew quite as dramatically or consistently towards tall, eloquent and slightly geeky boys with brown hair and glasses. Jesse Williams is where that pattern falls to pieces. He’s insanely good looking in the most objective sense possible- those cheekbones, those abs, those eyes!- but we also love him like we love Adam Scott or Zachary Levi or Taran Killam. He’s funny and smart and married to a real person, not a Hollywood type or inhuman model. This year he brought Jackson Avery to the forefront of the Grey’s Anatomy ensemble and gave consistently fantastic performances that demanded the writers give him more to do than take off his shirt. He also starred in a Joss Whedon-penned horror film and earned a My Cinema Award nomination as part of that stellar ensemble. We love him, a little because he’s a Ridiculously Good-Looking Male, but mostly because we actually like him.
Ridiculously Good-Looking Male
Ridiculously Good-Looking Female
Matt Bomer (White Collar)
Allison Williams (Girls)
No More Explanation Needed.
Moment of the Year
Dan’s Funeral (Big Brother)
Yes, it seems weird to declare a Big Brother move the “TV Moment of the Year” but this was the sort of thing that rocked not only the reality competition landscape but made news beyond the insular community of avid fans. With his back against the wall and 24 hours of solitary confinement ahead of him, season 10’s great strategist Dan Gheesling made up his mind that he wasn’t going out like this. He came out of solitary with one of the weirdest, sneakiest, ballsiest strategies anyone’s ever seen, something that would get him compared to Daniel Ocean and the characters in The Sting, something that is heretofore just referred to as “Dan’s Funeral”. He hosted an elaborate charade to protect his strongest ally from being evicted in his place then proceeded to flip the house, create a fake alliance to oust his greatest threat Britney, then flip it back and maneuver his former alliance to propel him into the final two. His status as a former winner ultimately lost him the jury vote and the grand prize went to 21-year-old superfan Ian Terry, but Season 14 was the season of Dan Gheesling either way. Those final weeks of Big Brother last summer were some of the best TV of the year and Dan might just have changed the way the game is played forever. Read our Exclusive Interview with the notorious BB mastermind HERE.