What do Geri Halliwell, Redfoo, Ricky Martin, Rachel Griffiths and David Wenham have in common? They have all been nominated for the 2014 Logie Awards. That’s where the similarities end, and that’s the biggest problem with our premier entertainment awards.
Voting for the Logies opened this week and a quick look through the list of contenders highlights the very best and the very worst of Australia’s favourite TV awards show, sometimes in the same category.
And therein lies the point of why the Logies are basically the Australian school sports version of the Emmys – everyone gets a go because everyone is nominated and the awards are for the ‘most popular’ rather than for ‘the best’.
The Logies have never been known for making A-List careers bloom but the vast number of mediocre ‘performers’ who get a look in, alongside the genuinely talented stars of our screens, undermines the credibility of a Logie award.
This year there are 85 male and 83 female actors on the Logies longlist (they are not ‘officially’ nominees until the first round of voting is completed) for the best actor and actress categories alone and the range of talent extends from David Wenham, for the internationally acclaimed Top of the Lake, through to every single actor who has appeared on Neighbours and Home & Away in the past 12 months. Phew.
It’s exhausting just trying to figure out who they all are let alone vote for the most popular actor, but it’s depressingly predictable scanning through the long list of nominees for pretty much any category.
Among more than 50 names eligible for the Most Popular Presenter the truly worthy include the likes of RockWiz’s Julia Zemiro (who impressed with interview series Home Delivery last year), Shelley Ware of the excellent Marngrook Footy Show, Nazeem Hussein of thought-provoking SBS comedy Legally Brown and Tom Gleisner, host of Working Dog’s welcome TV return Have You Been Paying Attention? Any would be worthy nominees, let alone winners.
But can anybody imagine their public votes toppling the likes of Ricky Martin (The Voice), Redfoo (X-Factor Australia) or My Kitchen Rules pair Manu Fieldel and Pete Evans, especially when those stars are supported by advertising campaigns and, in the case of Martin and Redfoo, global fan bases?
The same goes for the Most Popular Drama and Light Entertainment Programs, where the likes of Wentworth, Power Games and The Chaser’s The Checkout will inevitably be swallowed whole by long running soaps and reality shows, such as Neighbours, Home & Away and The Biggest Loser.
By contrast, the third annual AACTA (Australian Academy Cinema Television Awards) were held in Sydney last month. Among the worthy winners were the powerful second series of drama Redfern Now, Lachy Hulme’s chameleon-like portrayal of Kerry Packer in Power Games and Shaun Micallef’s madcap Mad as Hell.
And therein lies the point of why the Logies are basically the Australian school sports version of the Emmys — everyone gets a go because everyone is nominated and the awards are for the ‘most popular’ rather than for ‘the best’.
But does the sheer number of nominations and the fact that it is a popular vote from TV viewers make the Logies less important than its competitors?
In a word, YES!
Fast tracking on Fango and Foxtel iQ have changed the way we consume TV, and more than ever the Logies don’t reflect real viewing habits. Take, for example, Hamish Blake’s Gold Logie win in 2012. Nobody doubts the comedian’s popularity, but his on-screen success with Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year paled into significance compared with his radio achievements. However, he and partner in comedy Andy Lee have two million Facebook fans — and the rest is history.
In 2014, only the Logies’ industry-voted Most Outstanding categories remain relevant. This is where the likes of The Slap, Howzat! and The Hollowmen have been recognised, and where some of 2013’s stand out programming like Redfern Now, The Time of our Lives, The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting and It’s a Date stand the best chance of winning. Best of all, no social media campaigns are necessary.
If the Logies are to ever become an awards ceremony that is taken seriously it needs to fix the way it is run. It’s never going to join the Ivy League if it remains a primary school.
—with Antonia Acott