Tuesday, September 10, 2019

'RuPaul's Drag Race' leads competition shows at the Emmy Awards while being an example of inclusion and acceptance

"Stay tuned for a celebration of "RuPaul's Drag Race" along with the other competition reality show nominees.  That should be an interesting take on diversity."  That's how I ended 'Queer Eye,' 'Shark Tank,' and 'Tidying Up with Marie Kondo' — diversity in structured reality programs and that's where I begin today.

Before I look at the show and its spinoffs' nominations and how I think they will turn out, I'm quoting Tom Campbell, head of development for World of Wonder, the production company behind “Drag Race” and its many offshoots.  Here's what Campbell told The Wrap about the message of the series.
“It’s a place where identity and self-expression and love are appreciated, and so it’s almost become part of the resistance without even trying to be,” he said. “We’ve been doing the same show the whole time, but I think it’s filling a gap. People want to be entertained and want to be moved.”
“I think there’s always a difference between what you can do in the club and what you can do on TV, but I think the very act of challenging a patriarchal society is still taboo in a lot of places,” Campbell said, noting the still-precarious state of LGBTQ rights in many parts of this country and around the world. “It’s wonderful to feel like there’s people out there who can see that they’re not alone.”

“Because whether you dress in drag or not right, ‘Drag Race’ is the queer sensibility,” he said. “You’re in on the joke and you’re not alone.”
That's the subversive message of the show.  The flip side is that it's also about acceptance of difference.
[T]here’s no denying that “Drag Race” has seen wider cultural acceptance than ever before. In those three intervening years, “Drag Race” and its many spinoffs — which now include the fan-favorite “All-Stars” showdown and the behind-the-scenes gabfest “Untucked,” as well as a number of international editions — have collected a total of nine Emmys with the potential to add 11 more next month. Alums of the show have gone on to successful careers outside of “Drag Race,” signing major brand deals or releasing their own music.

But what such a line of thinking elides is all the good that can come from that acceptance and visibility, Campbell says. The good that can come from seeing LGBTQ individuals accepting a trophy on a major awards show, for instance.
Now on to those trophies from a major awards show.

The reality competition programs are being recognized at the Primetime Emmy Awards, so I'm including them along with the rest of the reality shows, as they compete with them in the non-program categories at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Outstanding Competition Program

The Amazing Race (CBS)
American Ninja Warrior (NBC)
Nailed It! (Netflix)
RuPaul's Drag Race (VH1)
Top Chef (Bravo)
The Voice (NBC)
I think "RuPaul's Drag Race" displays the most acceptance of diversity, althugh the other competition shows have diverse sets of contestants.  It's also the returning winner and has the most nominations of the shows in this category with nine, thirteen if one adds the four from its unstructured companion shows "RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked," "RuPaul's Drag Race's: Out Of The Closet," and "RuPaul's Drag Race's: Portrait Of A Queen," so I consider it the odds-on favorite.  Its biggest competition is probably "The Voice" with seven nominations.

Speaking of "RuPaul's Drag Race's: Out Of The Closet," and "RuPaul's Drag Race's: Portrait Of A Queen," here is the category in which they earned nominations from this year's Creative Arts Emmy Awards Wikipedia entry.

Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series

Creating Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Fosse/Verdon (Inside Look) (FX)
Pose: Identity, Family, Community (Inside Look) (FX)
RuPaul's Drag Race's: Out Of The Closet (VH1)
RuPaul's Drag Race's: Portrait Of A Queen (VH1)
"RuPaul's Drag Race" isn't the only nominee exploring the gender identity and sexual orientation dimensions of diversity; so is "Pose: Identity, Family, Community," which also deals with race and ethnicity.  Both are also dealing with inclusion and acceptance, something I might return to when I deal with the nominations for its parent show "Pose."

From the competitive angle, there is no returning winner, so I can't handicap the contest that way.  However, I think the two most popular programs are SNL and "RuPaul's Drag Race."  I suspect the latter will split its vote, giving the former the inside track.  It helps that "Creating Saturday Night Live" is the only former nominee, albeit from two years ago.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the nominations for "RuPaul's Drag Race" and the other competition shows at this year's Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Outstanding Choreography for Variety and Reality Programming

Luther Brown for So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)
Travis Wall for So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)
Melvin "Timtim" Rogador for World of Dance (NBC)
Suresh Mukund for World of Dance (NBC)
Karen Forcano and Ricardo Vega for World of Dance (NBC)
Tessandra Chavez for World of Dance (NBC)
"So You Think You Can Dance" is the two-time returning winner, so it's the favorite.  Who knows, "World of Dance" might surprise everyone.

Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Programming

Dancing with the Stars (Episode: "The Premiere") (ABC)
Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (Netflix)
The Masked Singer (Episode: "Finale") (Fox)
RuPaul's Drag Race (Episode: "Trump: The Rusical") (VH1)
Saturday Night Live (Episode: "Host: Sandra Oh") (NBC)
"RuPaul's Drag Race" has won this two years in a row, so I consider it the favorite.  The next best bets would be SNL and "Dancing with the Stars."

Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special

Dancing with the Stars (Episode: "Halloween Night") (ABC)
RuPaul's Drag Race (Episode: "Trump: The Rusical") (VH1)
Saturday Night Live (Episode: "Host: Adam Sandler") (NBC)
The Voice (Episode: "Live Top 13 Performances") (NBC)
World of Dance (Episode: "Episode 306") (NBC)
Just like the last category, I think it's between "RuPaul's Drag Race" and SNL, with the former the returning winner.

Outstanding Lighting Design / Lighting Direction for a Variety Series

America's Got Talent (Episode: "Semi Final #1 Performance Show") (NBC)
Dancing with the Stars (Episode: "Semi-Finals") (ABC)
Saturday Night Live (Episode: "Host: John Mulaney") (NBC)
So You Think You Can Dance (Episode: "Finale") (Fox)
The Voice (Episode: "Live Finale, Part 1") (NBC)
SNL is the returning winner, so I consider it the favorite.  It's strongest competition comes from "The Voice" with three previous wins, followed by "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance," each of which has two awards in this category.

Now for the categories I already covered in 'United Shades of America,' 'Born This Way,' 'Life Below Zero,' 'Deadliest Catch' — unstructured reality shows highlight diversity and nature.
Outstanding Casting for a Reality Program

Born This Way (A&E)
Queer Eye (Netflix)
RuPaul's Drag Race (VH1)
Shark Tank (ABC)
The Voice (NBC)
"Queer Eye" won this award last year and "Born This Way" the year before, so I consider them to be co-favorites.  However, all these shows have strong sets of subjects and contestants, so the competition will be fierce, particularly with "RuPaul's Drag Race" in the mix.
Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program

Deadliest Catch (Discovery Channel)
Life Below Zero (Nat Geo)
Queer Eye (Episode: "God Bless Gay") (Netflix)
RuPaul's Drag Race (Episode: "Trump: The Rusical") (VH1)
Survivor (CBS)
"Life Below Zero" won this award last year and three years ago, so I consider it to be the nominal favorite.  However, "Born This Way" won the year before that and "Deadliest Catch" won five consecutive years before either, so the competition will be stiff.
I'd be surprised if "RuPaul's Drag Race" has much of a chance.

Next, the categories I wrote about in 'Queer Eye,' 'Shark Tank,' and 'Tidying Up with Marie Kondo' — diversity in structured reality programs.
Outstanding Directing for a Reality Program

Bertram van Munster for The Amazing Race (Episode: "Who Wants A Rolex?") (CBS)
Patrick McManus for American Ninja Warrior (Episode: "Minneapolis City Qualifiers") (NBC)
Hisham Abed for Queer Eye (Episode: "Black Girl Magic") (NBC)
Nick Murray for RuPaul's Drag Race (Episode: "Whatcha Unpackin?") (VH1)
Ken Fuchs for Shark Tank (Episode: "Episode 1002") (ABC)
"RuPaul's Drag Race" won this category last year, the first year it was awarded, so I consider it the nominal favorite.  I'm not sure I'd pick "Queer Eye" as the most likely to pull off an upset — "The Amazing Race" perhaps.  Still, I'm using an image from "Shark Tank" for this category even if I don't think it will win.
Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program

James Corden for The World's Best (CBS)
Ellen DeGeneres for Ellen's Game of Games (NBC)
Marie Kondo for Tidying Up with Marie Kondo (Netflix)
Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman for Making It (NBC)
RuPaul for RuPaul's Drag Race (VH1)
The nominees showcase diversity in terms of race, sex, and orientation, so chalk one up for representation.  While I'm using an image of Marie Kondo to illustrate this entry, RuPaul won this award last year and I think he will win it again.
Outstanding Picture Editing for a Structured Reality or Competition Program

The Amazing Race – Editing Team (Episode: "Who Wants a Rolex?") (CBS)
Queer Eye – Editing Team (Netflix)
RuPaul's Drag Race – Editing Team (VH1)
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars – Editing Team (Episode: "Jersey Justice") (VH1)
Survivor – Editing Team (Episode: "Appearances Are Deceiving") (CBS)
"Queer Eye" won this category last year, so I think it's the favorite.  However, "RuPaul's Drag Race" won it the year before, so it could pull off an upset.
Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Reality or Competition Series

At Home with Amy Sedaris (Episode: "Teenagers") (truTV)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Episode: "Authoritarianism") (HBO)
Queer Eye (Episode: "Jones Bar-B-Q") (Netflix)
Saturday Night Live (Episodes: "Host: John Mulaney", "Host: Emma Stone") (NBC)
The Voice (Episode: "Live Cross Battles Part 1") (NBC)
"Saturday Night Live" won this award last year and I'm pretty sure it will win it again.  "Queer Eye" should just be happy to be nominated.
I could say the same about "RuPaul's Drag Race" except I think it has a slightly better shot.

That's it for reality and competition shows.  Time to move on to variety shows, beginning with the talk shows.  Once again, "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" has the most nominations.

Previous entries in this series.

No comments:

Post a Comment