Latent Racism? NSA-Level Secrecy? Alec Baldwin? 2013 Emmy Burning Questions Answered!
Got a Burning Q about today's Emmy nominations? You're not alone. We're listening to you! And we've got your answers in this special BQLR — Burning Qs Lightning Round!
Why has an African-American woman never won Lead Actress in a Drama Series and does Kerry Washington have a legit shot? — EnnisK4, Los Angeles
To answer your first question: It could have something to do with the painful fact that, historically, Emmy largely has ignored black actresses in this key category. Need proof? Sure. The first Emmys debuted in 1949. The first African-American woman to get nominated for a leading role in a drama? Debbie Allen. For "Fame." In 1982.
Overall, only five black actresses have ever made it into this category at all, Washington among them. Does that make her odds better or worse? Well, she's up against serious competition, including Robin Wright for "House of Cards" and "Homeland" star Claire Danes.
(Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
How can there be a tie in Emmy voting when there are a large number of nominees, such as the seven women up for Best Actress in a Drama?
— P. Butter, Atlanta
Easily, when you consider what an Emmy ballot actually looks like. We're not talking about a standard election ballot, here. Instead, Academy members vote either on a "yes-no" ballot or a preferential-style ballot, depending on the category. "Yes-no" ballots display a list of nominees and ask voters to say whether each candidate deserves an Emmy; multiple affirmatives are just fine. Enough yeses, and suddenly you're looking at a tie.
For the other form of ballot, voters are asked to rank nominees by preference, assigning their top pick the number 1. A complex mathematical formula then determines who wins, but the method does allow enough wiggle room for ties. This year it seems up to three actresses had close enough scores to warrant inclusion for seven ladies, instead of the usual five, to compete for Lead Actress, Drama.
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Why is "American Horror Story" in the miniseries category? Isn't it just a plain old TV drama? — RobotoJinyata, Los Angeles