Applaud the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for understanding that the Primetime Emmy Awards no longer need be determined by platform or time slot. This year’s nominations reveal a welcome agnostic approach to TV in 2013: the recognition of series on Netflix, including nine nominations for “House of Cards” (two for the superb music by composer Jeff Beal); the dominance of “Top Chef” in multiple arenas; commercials; and portions of programs (Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance, for example).?
Yet as one scans the 99 categories, even pausing to debate the relevance of makeup for a single-camera series (non-prosthetic) vs. makeup for a multicamera series or special (non-prosthetic), it feels that a key element in modern storytelling remains absent from the awards: music supervision.?
Consider the vital roles music plays on HBO’s “Girls” and “Treme,” Showtime’s “Shameless” and “Californication,” AMC’s “Mad Men,” NBC’s “Parenthood,” the CW’s “Hart of Dixie,” nearly the entire slate of ABC Family series and the show that garnered the greatest number of nominations, FX’s “American Horror Story.” On the film side, seemingly every element of HBO’s Liberace tale “Behind the Candelabra” was honored except the music.
?If the visual effects on “Boardwalk Empire” can be recognized, why not the work of music supervisor Randall Poster and bandleader Vince Giordano, whose research and recordings evoke the 1920s as much as the work of nominated art directors Bill Groom, Adam Scher and Carol Silverman?
?It’s time to push that category count to 100.
?The Guild of Music Supervisors has actively lobbied the academy to secure an honor for music supervision, and by all accounts the idea continues to be discussed. There should not be that many hoops to jump through: The individual(s) who make the artistic decision to use a particular song would be entitled to the award.
?It has been a decade since “The O.C.” presented music on TV in a different light, and that model has expanded to the point where TV shows are now providing initial exposure for songs and acts. The Lumineers, fun. and Icona Pop owe their success to very early clearances; honoring the people who make those decisions feels logical and in line with the academy’s decision five years ago to allow programs produced for the Internet into the competition.
?The big story this year was the rise of Netflix, the first time a non-broadcast player took a seat at the big folks’ table. By and large, though, the nominations played out as usual, with many major categories looking much as they did last year.?
Music tends to have a more fluid role in TV—not every show can be “Glee.” A few seasons ago, “Mad Men” cutely used a tune at its conclusion, but in the last two seasons records from the 1960s have become characters that reflect a mind-set as much as the mod colors, high hemlines and pot smoking. Just as there are writers, actors and directors worthy of acknowledgement behind the team at Sterling Cooper & Partners, so, too, is there a worthy team setting their musical ambience.