Australia’s Logie Awards are a strange beast. Sponsored by TV Week magazine, the Australian television industry’s awards combine People’s Choice awards in the “Best” categories, and industry voted awards in the “Most Outstanding” categories. The first awards, which were then known as the TV Week awards were held in 1959, after the magazine attached voting coupons to its editions in late 1958. Australians can nominate their favourite shows and television personalities by snail mail, as well as via text message and online. The eligibility of a show is fairly simple: it must be produced in Australia and have a predominantly Australian cast. It’s fairly straightforward, at least until you get into categories.
Last year the Emmys did a shake up of its categories: a ‘comedy’ was a half-hour show, while dramas ran for an hour. The ‘miniseries’ category was changed to ‘limited series’ so that it included anthology series, which had been included in both the miniseries and drama categories in previous years. Here is how the shows are sorted into categories at the Logies:
- Drama Program
- Entertainment Program
- News Panel or Current Affairs Program
- Reality Program (People’s Choice only)
- Sports Program
- Lifestyle Program (People’s Choice only)
- Factual Program (People’s Choice only)
- Miniseries or Telemovie (industry award only)
- Comedy Program (industry award only)
- Children’s Program (industry award only)
For the industry awards, “News Panel or Current Affairs” and “Sports” become “Outstanding coverage,” which awards coverage of a particular event (The Grand Final, or the Liberal Leadership spill). The “Most Outstanding Public Affairs Report” covers specific segments or episodes of current affairs programmes like 4 Corners or 60 Minutes, as well as docuseries including The Killing Season.
It’s a lot. Not every genre is included in both the industry and People’s Choice awards, and that’s okay, because awards shows go for a really long time. The Emmys have two ceremonies for this very reason. What I don’t understand is how shows fall into particular categories. For the most part, the nominations make sense, but then I saw Gogglebox nominated for “Best Factual Program,” which was not where I would have put it. It struck me as an Entertainment Program rather than factual, and that’s not to say that facts can’t be entertaining! It’s just that I don’t think Gogglebox is particularly factual, and it doesn’t have to be. It just stuck out amongst Australian Story and Who Do You Think You Are?.
There were some great nominations this year, including nominations for both Foxtel (Wentworth and A Place to Call Home) and local streaming service Stan (No Activity). There was also a nomination for Hugh Dancy for his work on Deadline Gallipoli. This prompted a quick Google search to check if this is the same Hugh Dancy that’s married to Claire Danes and starred in the much loved but poorly rated Hannibal. Spoiler alert: he’s the same guy. He’s also English, which was slightly surprising. I’ve not known a non-Australian actor to be nominated for their work in an Australian production before. There’s nothing in the rules to say he’s ineligible, so he must be. It’s not unusual for a British actor to appear in an Australian show; Miriam Margolyes plays Phryne’s Aunt Prudence in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysterys, Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) also starred in Deadline Gallipoli, and Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey) is part of the upcoming ABC series Cleverman. It’s a surprising but not unwelcome development, especially now that there’s the (probably slim) possibility of Hugh Dancy and Claire Danes coming to Australia.
The other issue with the acting categories is that when you don’t have separate awards for comedy and drama, the judges are more likely to favour dramatic performances. Celia Pacquola is my favourite part of Utopia, but she’s nowhere to be seen. Dan Wyllie was nominated for his performance on No Activity, which was fantastic, but that’s the only comedy performance that’s been nominated. Both Patrick Brammall and Tim Minchin starred in No Activity, but they were nominated for their work on Glitch and The Secret River respectively. Emily Barclay was nominated for her work on Glitch and not Please Like Me. It’s something to think about, but maybe keeping them separate is best so we don’t get an Allison Janney situation.
I asked how the Logies work in the title for this post. To be honest, I’m still figuring it out. I’ll let you know when I have an answer.