Cedar Rapids Gazette
July 25, 1992
There s not much doubt why many TV viewers canâ€™t remember who won what in the convoluted awards a week after they’re handed out.
On a sensible note, Roseanne Arnold finally got a nomination as best actress for her sitcom, â€œRoseanne,â€ which is the most popular entertainment series on TV â€” and probably for a good reason: Its portrayal of a blue collar family coping with contemporary problems clearly has touched a nerve. But voters once again snubbed the show itself in nominations.
The TV industry prefers refinement, you know?
Now to the madness. Because of a new rule, the pilot for a series can be nominated separately from the series itself in the TV-movie category. So in the list, we find the series â€œ111 Fly Awayâ€ with eight nominations.
But wait!!! Then we find that the two-hour pilot of â€œIâ€™ll Fly Awayâ€ got six more nominations.
That makes 14 overall.
Whoopee! I mean, itâ€™s great â€” all those nominations for a terrific show. But what a way to run a railroad.
If you Figure the whole shebang as 14 nominations for the FU Fly Awayâ€ series, that means itâ€™s second to â€œNorthern Exposure,â€ which led with 16.
And thatâ€™s terrific, too, because itâ€™s a shot in the arm for the one-hour TV drama form.
Then thereâ€™s another piece of beautiful thinking in the nominations: Guest performers can not only be nominated in the same categories as regular stars, but are guaranteed slots in these categories.
So, for example, in the list for best drama-series actor, we have such fulltimers as Rob Morrow of â€œ Northern Exposure,â€ MichaelÂ Moriarty of â€œLaw & Order,” Sam Waterston of â€œIâ€™ll Fly Awayâ€ and Scott Bakula of â€œQuantum Leap.â€ But there are also three performers who made one-shot guest appearances.
Are you still with me?
Actually, itâ€™s a shame the academy has come up with this shotgun approach because the nominations list shows some encouraging signs.
Nothing, of course, is more satisfying than the salutes to â€œNorthern Exposureâ€ and â€œIâ€™ll Fly Away.â€ Of course, we have to remember that the academyâ€™s tendency is to encourage original entries in its nominations as it did with â€œMoonlightingâ€ and â€œMiami Viceâ€ â€” and thenÂ virtually ignore them at the awards.
Letâ€™s hope the same pattern isnâ€™t in store for â€œNorthern Exposureâ€ and â€œIâ€™ll Fly Away.â€
Itâ€™s a pity that Marlee Matlin wasnâ€™t nominated for â€œReasonable Doubtsâ€ and that actor Charles Dutton and his Fox series, â€œRoc,â€ were ignored in the comedy nominations.
But the charmingly offbeat â€œSeinfeldâ€ pulled in nine nominations, as did â€œ Murphy Brown,â€ Dan Quayleâ€™s favorite show. Do you think â€œMurphy Brownâ€ might win as best comedy series because of Hollywoodâ€™s love for Quayle? Naaaah. Everything in these awards and the
Oscars is determined on pure quality.
MORE GOOD NEWS: Academy voters came through with flying colors when they gave the new sitcom â€œBrooklyn Bridgeâ€ eight nominations and also honored the showâ€™s Marion Ross as a best-actress contender for her performance as the grandmother-matriarch Sophie Berger. Way to go.
And thereâ€™s more sensible stuff. â€œQuantum Leap,â€ which often tries the patience of NBC by going for controversial social issues in its time-travel format, also got eight nominations. â€œIn Living Color,” the outrageously funny black satirical revue, got seven. The defunct â€œ China Beachâ€ got a nice going away present with six nominations.
In addition, â€œLaw & Order,â€ arguably as good as any show on TV, also pulled in six. â€œL.A. Law,â€ slipping so badly in quality that co-creator Steven Bochco had to be called back near the end of the season to revive it, surprisingly also got six â€” showing the academyâ€™s confidence in its basic quality structure.
And it was a real surprise also that the pilot of â€œHomefront,â€ ABCâ€™s new series about Cis returning home after World War II, got six nominations as well â€” which surely won’t hurt it as a borderline ratings entry trying to stay alive.
Yet another pleasant surprise was the seven nominations for â€œThe Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carsonâ€ â€” six of which were for his next-to-last night before retiring after 30 years as host of the series. This was the show in which Bette Midler and Robin Williams gave â€œTonightâ€ one of its great all-time outings.
Midler deservedly was nominated for her â€œTonightâ€ appearance in the category for â€œoutstanding individual performance in a variety or music program.â€
JUST AS PROPERLY, the great Anne Bancroft was nominated for her thrilling performances in PBSâ€™ â€œMrs. Cageâ€ and ABCâ€™s â€œ Broadway Boundâ€ by Neil Simon. Her roles as women who were searingly disappointed with their lives in their middle years are treasures.
Still, the tradition-bound TV academy still refuses to give sufficient recognition to regular series from the world of cable.
How on Earth could such breakthrough and superior cable shows as â€œDream Onâ€ and â€œSessionsâ€ be left off any list of best seriesÂ nominations? (But â€œSessionsâ€ did get one nomination – for hair styling.)
And back in Old World TV, how could CBSâ€™ â€œ0 Pioneers!â€ be dismissed with a paltry two nominations one for hair styling, one for music, but none for the radiant performance of Jessica Lange?
Now, letâ€™s see . . . four across and four down . . . or . . .